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Combination Skin: What Is It and How to Care for It

Skin Care Concerns

Combination Skin: What Is It and How to Care for It Combination Skin: What Is It and How to Care for It Combination Skin: What Is It and How to Care for It

Have you noticed that some parts of your skin are dry and other parts are oily? If that’s the case, you might have combination skin. When it comes to having combination skin, it can be tricky to figure out how to care for your skin properly, since different parts of your face have different needs. Help your skin find the perfect balance by following our skin care routine for combination skin and checking out our best skin care products for your skin type, including a facial cleanser, face scrub, and face mask. But first, let’s answer the age-old question, “What is combination skin?”


In order to learn how to take care of combination skin, you first have to know what, exactly, it is. You’ll know you have combination skin if some parts of your face are dry, while other parts are oily. Specifically, you may notice that your T-zone (the central part of your face, including your forehead, nose, and chin) is oilier since your skin’s oil-producing glands are more concentrated there. Sound familiar? In that case, you could have combination skin.


Now that you know what combination skin is, it’s only right to explore what this skin type actually looks like. When tackling the appearance of combination skin, it’s pretty standard for one or a few areas of your face to sport a super shiny look thanks to an oily T-zone. Your nose and chin may also appear dull and rough because of a buildup of dead skin cells, which can cause flaking to occur. Your cheeks and the skin around your eyes may be drier than the rest of your face. It’s also common for your skin to have a mix of dry patches and breakouts at the same time.


Since oily skin and combination skin are similar, it’s common for people to mix up these two skin types. The key difference between both skin types lies in the area of the skin that looks oily. When it comes to oily skin, you can expect to deal with a greasy-looking complexion all over your face. You can also expect blackheads and pimples to become a factor.

On the flip side, you can tell that you have combination skin when you feel like you’re dealing with two different skin types at the same time. Like oily skin, there is a struggle with excess oils, but only on your T-zone. The other areas of your face tend to be dry and dull, especially around your cheeks, temples, and eye area.


Now that you know how to identify combination skin, you can put together a skin care routine tailored to address your needs. Follow these tips for a happy complexion!


As you go about your day, your skin’s surface becomes covered with dirt, excess oils, and impurities. Help wash them away with a gentle facial cleanser twice a day—once in the morning and once at night. Make sure to use a facial cleanser that helps to mattify your oily T-zone without over-drying your cheeks. Micellar water is an excellent pick if you have combination skin.


Exfoliate once or twice a week to slough off dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. A buildup of dead skin cells can make your complexion look dull, so this is a must. But at the same time, you don’t want to over-exfoliate—everyone’s skin is different, so it may take some trial and error to determine how much exfoliation your skin can handle. If you have combination skin, grab a face scrub that’s suitable for all skin types; after all, you are dealing with two types of skin.


Think having combination skin gets you a free pass for not using moisturizer? Think again! Every skin type—combination skin included—needs moisture, so don’t skip out on this step. In terms of the best moisturizer for combination skin, an oil-free moisturizer will be your best bet, as it won’t add any additional slickness to your already oily T-zone area.


We get it: This is easier said than done. But it’s essential to try to keep your hands away from your face if you have combination skin! Your hands carry a lot of invisible dirt, and you don’t want to transfer that to your face, as it could end up clogging your pores.


Dealing with excess shine? Reach for blotting papers! These papers are easy to fit in your purse and can offer you a quick way to cut back on excess grease mid-day. They’ll temporarily absorb oil without ruining your flawlessly applied makeup.


This goes for all skin types, not just combination skin: One of the best ways you can care for your skin is by applying a generous amount of a broad-spectrum sunscreen (with an SPF value of 15 or higher) each day. If you’re pressed for time, reach for a moisturizer with SPF so that you don’t have to apply moisturizer and sunscreen separately.

Here’s why this skin care step is so important: Spending time in the sun sans SPF protection can cause damage, which can lead to visible signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles and dark spots down the road. No thanks! Remember to take other sun protection measures, too—limit your amount of time in the sun, seek shade when you’re outside, and cover up exposed areas.


Using a face mask is a great way to take care of combination skin—even better if you multi-mask. Multi-masking involves applying different face masks to different areas of your face to address different issues at the same time, making it the perfect technique for combination skin types.


Your under-eye area can be a dead giveaway that you didn’t get enough sleep! Keep an eye cream on hand to help minimize the appearance of dark circles or under-eye bags—and apply it morning and night.


Now that you know how to spot combination skin and how to put together a skin care routine for your skin type, it’s time to figure out which skin care products you should be using. Here are our best skin care products for combination skin.

L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser Waterproof - All Skin Types: This no-rinse facial cleanser can be used by all skin types to intensely purify the surface of your skin.

L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Purify & Unclog Kiwi Scrub: Effectively remove dirt, oil, and impurities from the surface of skin and polish away dead skin with this face scrub. With continued use over time, pores look tighter, unclogged, and less visible.

L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Smooth & Glow Grapeseed Scrub: This face scrub gives skin a glowing appearance immediately and leaves skin feeling baby soft, smooth, and comforted with continued use over time.

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Scrub Cleanser: This daily scrub facial cleanser is formulated with glycolic acid and gentle micro-pearls to exfoliate dullness and impurities from the surface of skin. Immediately, skin looks brighter, while skin tone appears more even with continued use over time. Keep in mind that glycolic acid can increase skin’s sun sensitivity, so make sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen as directed and take additional sun protection measures after using any products formulated with this alpha-hydroxy acid.

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Peel Pads: Formulated with glycolic acid, these multi-ply textured pads physically resurface dead skin cells from the surface of skin. Immediately, skin looks brighter and feels softer, while skin tone is more even and texture more refined with continued use over time. Use nightly on clean skin. Gently wipe the peel pad over your face in a circular motion, and in the morning, apply broad-spectrum sunscreen as directed and take additional sun protection measures.

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Cicacream Face Moisturizer Pro Retinol & Centella Asiatica: Formulated with centella asiatica (a.k.a. tiger grass), an herb from Chinese medicine, this cica cream helps repair the skin barrier to resist visible signs of aging. Every morning and evening, smooth it over your face until thoroughly absorbed.

L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Exfoliate & Refining Face Mask: Formulated with red algae, this face mask can help draw out the buildup of impurities, dirt, and oils, exfoliate dead skin cells from skin’s surface, and smooth imperfections. Immediately, skin texture appears refined, and skin looks smoother. Three times a week, apply an even layer to clean, dry skin, leave it on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water and pat dry.

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Miracle Blur Eye: This anti-aging eye cream is formulated with light-diffusing pigments to instantly reduce the appearance of signs of aging and fatigue around the eyes. The look of dark circles, crow’s feet, and puffiness are minimized with continued use over time.

Next up: Get more combination skin tips in our article on Our Best Foundation for Combination Skin.