Sick of asking yourself, "What skin care should I use?"
Or worse yet, using skincare and seeing no effects?
Well, fret not, I am here to solve your skincare woes, whatever they might be!
From dry to sensitive, oily and acne-prone, here is exactly what skincare you should be using according to your skin type.
What Are The Different Skin Types?
To figure out what skincare you should use based on your skin type, you will need to determine what type of skin you have.
Before we get into that, let's chat about your potential categories.
1. Normal Skin: The term 'normal' describes skin which is well balanced, meaning your skin has the right the amount of oil and the right amount of dryness. But don't read into this too much, there's no such thing as 'abnormal' skin.
2. Dry Skin: Dry skin produces less sebum (oil) than "normal" or oily skin. This creates inadequate barrier function as the skin doesn't have the lipids need to retain moisture; which leads to...dry skin.
3. Oily Skin: Unlike dry skin, oily skin produces an excessive amount of sebum, (Throwback to the hormonal high school days of shiny foundation before we mastered setting powder).
4. Combination Skin: This means your skin can be both too oily and too dry, simultaneously (blessed). Combination skin is typically oily in the T-zone and dry in the cheeks.
It is important to keep in mind that while your skin type is determined by genetics, internal and external factors can have a massive impact on the condition of your skin.
This why it is important to understand what skin type you have first and foremost before you commit to a skincare regime.
What Is My Skin Type?
As I mention when asking the question, "what skincare should I use based on my skin type", you must determine what your skin type is.
So, let's play a game.
I want you to answer the following questions to figure exactly what skin type you have!
Question 1: What best describes your pores?
A. Barely visibly
B. They look large and open
C. Almost invisible
Question 2: Your complexion is:
A. Radiant with a healthy and smooth texture
B. Shiny in some parts, but dull in others
C. Dull and rough
D. Dull with rough patches
Question 3: What are your main skin concerns?
A. I don't have many skin concerns aside from the occasional pimple or slight sensitivity ( I am god's favourite child).
B. I shine bright like a diamond, but not in a good way... and I get blackheads.
C. I have red patches, visible lines and/or am lacking elasticity
D. Blackheads, pimples and other blemishes, I get 'em all.
Mostly A's Normal Skin!
Congratulations you blessed being you have normal skin. This is the super healthy and subtle skin that everyone else is probably trying to achieve or maintain.
Mostly B's Combination Skin!
You have combination skin. Lucky you this means you might need different skincare for different areas of your face.
Mostly C's Dry Skin!
You're probably itching while you read this so hearing that you have dry skin probably doesn't come as a shock. From cracking, peeling, and other irritations, it probably feels like your skin hates you.
Mostly D's Oily Skin!
Do you carry blotting paper in your purse? Emotionally dependant on translucent powder? Does the sun reflect off your face? Soz darls, but you're probably dealing with oily skin.
So, now you know what type of skin you have let's talk skincare!
As well as covering the basics, I'm going to delve into the best skincare for acne-prone and sensitive skin, because let's face it, most of our faces can be sensitive and spotty a lot of the time.
Love that for us.
So, what type of skincare should I use?
Let me tell you.
Skincare for Normal Skin
Go home, you're good.
If you're blessed with normal skin, the answer to what skincare should I use is, you tell me!
Because whatever you're doing is working!
Okay, okay, I'm kidding... Sort of... Not really.
Share your secrets sorceress!
Even those of us blessed with the best skin can still experience blemishes, dryness or the occasional hormone-induced oily patches.
So you'll want skincare to keep those issues in check and stay ahead of any potential problems.
When it comes to skincare for normal skin, it's all about maintaining the balance so keep it basic.
Remember we are preventing problems not treating them, so using any product which is too specific or tailored could cause other issues to arise.
Stick to a simple cleanse, tone, serum and moisturise routine with twice per weeks exfoliant and a few masks here and there.
Use gentle lightweight formulas with ingredients such as non-irritating and hydrating AHA or BHA, antioxidants, retinol and Hyaluronic, linoleic and linolenic acids.
Image credit: @glossier
As I mentioned above, the skincare you should use for combination skin is a little tricky.
As your face has varying needs for various areas you may need separate products for those areas.
Soz to your wallet.
If you don't want two separate routines and multiple products, you'll need to find a way to serve the middle ground.
Your problems areas are probably shiny skin and clogged pores mostly in the T-zone and dry patches, flakiness and red patches on your cheeks and jaw.
So, what skincare should I use for combination skin?
In the AM you should start by using a cream cleanser. This is a great option as creams are gentle enough to keep both the dry or oily parts of your skin balanced.
Follow up with a toner to minimise pores, restore hydration and balance your pH.
Opt for a retinol-based toner. This again helps the oily and dry parts of your skin simultaneously.
Finish your routine with a hydrating moisturiser containing SPF. Stick to lightweight and nourishing formulas.
Change your routine up at night time and start with mild micellar water to clean your skin.
This will unclog your pores and scrub away any grime without drying your face out.
Then cleanse again using your cream cleanser and follow up with an AHA/BHA serum.
AHA/BHA serums contain lactic acids that shed dead skin cells and hyaluronic acid which helps to hydrate the skin. This improves barrier control and dryness while reducing oiliness. So it's perfect for combination skin!
Finish your night with a hydrating moisturiser. Apply a little more in the drier areas of your face.
Skincare for Dry Skin
When it comes to skincare for dry skin, you want to focus on three things.
The first is obviously hydration.
And the second and third are protection and repair.
This is why you should differentiate your morning and night routines to focus specifically on these areas.
Both regimes should cater for your hydration needs while your AM routine should focus on protection and your PM should be for repair.
So, what skincare should I use for dry skin in the morning?
Start your day with a cleanser that helps to lock in moisturiser. This will contain ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
Take it from a fellow tomato, if you suffer from redness you should also add anything containing niacinamide to your cleansing regime as it helps reduce inflammation.
Once your skin is clean use a small amount of alcohol-free toner to help balance your complexion. But make sure it is a super gentle one.
As for serums, you want something that has vitamin C for antioxidant protection.
Finish with a light, hydrating moisturiser and SPF.
Before bed, you should double cleanse and use a gentle exfoliant.
You should then use a naturally derived retinol serum as this is more easily tolerated by dry skin.
Dry skin needs a thick moisturiser and its best to opt for one that's non-comedogenic and oil-free.
The ingredients you want are ceramides, glycerin, or dimethicone and they boost hydration and barrier protection.
If you're a millennial, you should be already using an eye cream. But this is especially important for those with dry skin.
Before bed apply a rich eye cream every night.
Spice up your skincare by adding a facemask a few times a week.
Choose hydrating masks with ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, hyaluronic acid for hydration and antioxidants like green tea and vitamin E to repair and protect.
Image Credit: @bangn.body
Call me crazy but one of the best ways to combat oily skin is with oil.
HEAR ME OUT.
Oil-based products help to rebalance your complexion and avoiding these products is actually a serious skincare mistake!
So, when it comes to what skincare you should use for oily skin, the answer is much the same to what my grandma always tells me while cooking pasta, "add more oil!"
Start by double cleansing, first with an oil-based cleanser and second with a gel cleanser.
This will help to clean your skin without stripping it of its natural essential oils.
As for serums, you should be using one with salicylic acid and also, our favourite ingredient, retinol.
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that dissolves oil. YASSS.
It also unclogs pores and dissolves dead skin, so ya welcome.
Retinol is just a must for everyone. It really is a skincare god. But why I recommend it for oily skin is it helps regulate sebum production.
The biggest mistakes oily babes make is thinking they don't need to moisturise.
You're wrong and you're doing your skin a serious disservice!
Make sure you moisturise twice per day using products that are non-comedogenic, alcohol and oil-free.
(Yes I know what I said about using oil products, but you can use too much, GRANDMA).
Stick to products containing glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
Skincare for Acne-Prone
If like me, your face hasn't quite cottoned on to the fact we're no longer in high school and you still get acne despite being a grown-ass adult, here are some tips:
Keeping your skin clean is the backbone of reducing acne. And the right cleanser is imperative of this anti-acne skincare routine.
Go for ingredients like sulphur to reduce inflammation, benzoyl peroxide to clean out bacteria, salicylic acid to help exfoliate and remove debris and glycolic acid to help strip dead skin.
For the second cleanser switch to something gentle and hydrating to compensate for the harshness of the first.
Use a gentle exfoliant three times per week to help clean away dirt and keep your pores unclogged.
A lot of anti-acne skincare products can be drying so it is important to compensate by boosting your hydration in other products.
Use an alcohol-free toner to remove excess oil and hydrate your skin.
While the toner is setting you should go in with any specific anti-acne treatments you have these could be medically prescribed lotions or spot drying creams.
After you have treated you spots apply an oil-free moisturiser that is also specifically for hydration. Always apply twice per day.
I'm the morning follow your moisturiser with a good SPF.
In the PM, before you moisturise, apply a clay mask twice per week to help draw out impurities.
Skincare For Sensitive Skin
Keep skincare simple for sensitive skin.
What's more important than your routine is the products you're using.
So, let's chat skincare for sensitive skin.
Start your morning with a cleansing lotion. You want to use a light soothing lotion and sweep it gently across your face.
There is no need for vigorous scrubbing which will just irritate your face.
Spritz your freshly washed face with a mist to boost hydration and minimise dryness. Re-apply through the day as needed.
To finish your morning routine, moisturise. DUH.
Your moisturiser should contain allantoin, a natural anti-inflammatory, and carnation oil, which hydrates without clogging pores.
Switch things up slightly for your nighttime routine.
Before bed, begin by cleaning your face with a super gentle micellar water then use a cleansing gel.
Go for a non-foaming gel formulated with glycerin and always rinse with warm (not hot) water.
Once your face is clean apply a lactic acid serum. This will help exfoliate and hydrate your skin without harming it.
Add a gentle, fragrance-free eye cream with a light formula and gel texture to reduce redness and inflammation.
And finish with a moisturiser rich in vitamin e and essential oils for extra hydration.
Image credit: @sandandskyaus
Cover image by @aceologybeauty