Sunday, May 17, 2015

How to: Determine Your Skin Type

Hi, friends! For those of you who haven't been following this blog for awhile, my favorite part of the beauty realm is skincare. I love talking about skincare and ingredients and the science behind it all (which is weird, since I was never one for science in grade school). Today I want to go back to the basics and talk about the foundation of skincare: skin types.

I'm sure if you've gone into any store, from drugstore to department store, you've seen products marketed at different skin types. Products target different "problem areas," depending on the typical issues that people in different categories face. It's often hard to label someone, since many people have more than one issue they're trying to combat. A variety of things contribute to what our skin looks and feels like, so it can be hard trying to pinpoint what products would work best for you. It could be genetics that's making your skin oily, or the twenty packs of Twinkies you consumed yesterday.

To find your skin type once and for all, it's recommended that you take a day to cleanse your face, use your toner (if you have one), and then stop there. Before applying moisturizer or makeup to treat your skin, wait at least two hours to see what your skin does. Does your skin feel tight? Is your skin shiny/oily? There's not going to be a neon sign advertising what you are, but it'll help you get a better look at your natural skin before you add anything to it.

Here are some guidelines to figuring out your basic skin type. The most common categories are Normal, Dry, Oily, Combination, and Sensitive.

Common Skin Types


  • Small pores (barely visible)
  • Few or no "imperfections"
  • Perfect balance of oil in skin
  • Essentially a rare unicorn of skin types
Not-so-fun fact: I don't think I've meet one person who is "normal," which is why the name makes no sense. Everyone has something that they would like to change (I blame the media) so honestly I think this skin type is the equivalent of Nelson from the Simpsons' pointing and laughing at everyone else with non-balanced skin.


  • Skin often feels tight
  • Small pores (barely visible)
  • Can look patchy or flaky

  1. Makeup won't break up as easily (ex. might not need to set with powder or use eyeshadow primer)
  2. Pores are basically invisible
  1. You'll need to use a lot of products to get a radiant, dewy look
  2. If you don't exfoliate often, your skin could look dry and flaky (especially under makeup) 
  3. Winter is the worst (especially if you keep the heat on -- better invest in a humidifier!)
  4. Shows wrinkles sooner
Not-so-fun fact: People with dry skin can get acne, too! Flaky skin can clog pores if it's not exfoliated, which means no one is safe from blackheads.


  • Larger pores
  • Skin often looks shiny
  • Higher chance of acne (pimples, blackheads, etc.)
  1. Skin will look youthful longer (will wrinkle later in life)
  2. Radiant, dewy skin naturally
  1. You'll spend the rest of your life looking for something that can unclog your pores
  2. Probably will struggle more with acne than other skin types
Not-so-fun fact: You'll want to invest in some setting powder and eyeshadow primer. Trust me, you'll need it.


  • A mix and match of other skin types and traits on different areas of the face
  • You'll find that some areas may be dry while others may be oily (ex. many people have an oily T-zone, aka forehead/nose/chin)
  • AKA the worst skin type ever
  1. You don't get all of the cons of one skin type
  1. You'll have a heck of a time trying to determine your skin type before realizing you're not oily or dry
  2. You might have to treat different areas of your face with different products
  3. A lot of companies group combination skin with oily skin, which makes no sense since only parts of it will be oily. These will only target the oily parts of your face, which is just not fair. 
Not-so-fun fact: A lot of people have combination skin! It's the new normal!

Other Skin Types

Think of these as the icing on the skincare cake. No, wait don't think of that. That's gross. But these are kind of extra skin types in addition to the basic ones. Just additional facts about your skin that you should consider when choosing a skincare regimen. 


  • Skin might look red or blotchy at times
  • More prone to feeling an itchy or burning sensation after using a product
  • Certain ingredients and temperatures can show visible irritation on skin
  • You will spend the rest of your life trying to find out what those irritating things are 

Not-so-fun factI think it's best if everyone follows a "sensitive skin" regimen, since even if you don't see the irritation happening on the top, visible layer of skin, you could still be hurting the new layers underneath. 

Keep in mind that your skin might often be more than one type! I consider myself dry-combination, because even though I have large pores around my nose and forehead, they're still relatively dry, and I find that creamy products targeted at dry skin work best for me. I also consider myself sensitive, since my skin can sometimes show irritation from certain ingredients. 

Eczema  & Rosacea

  • Areas of the skin might be red, but there won't be any bumps (not a pimple)
  • Certain products or ingredients might inflame it or make it itchy
  • Extremely sensitive skin
Not-so-fun fact: Unscented products are the way to go. There's less of a chance that a boring, fragrance-free body wash will irritate your skin than the one that came with your perfume. (r.i.p. fun)

Sun Damaged

  • Skin discoloration
  • Fine lines/wrinkles (possibly early onset)
Not-so-fun fact: Wear sun screen. It will prevent further damage. 


  • Visible wrinkles or lines (ex. around the mouth and eyes)
Not-so-fun fact: Depending on the ingredients, I sometimes like to go for products that are anti-aging. That's not to be mistaken with products meant for people who are already aging. 


  • Breakouts around the time of your period (or hormonal cycle)
  • Often associated with cystic acne or pimples that leave a scar
Not-so-fun fact: Acne is one of the most common skin conditions. For many people, it doesn't stop after puberty. Sad but true. Thankfully there are products out there to treat it now! 

For More Information

If you're interested in learning more, check out some of the sources I used for more information! 
Paula's Choice - chocked with tons of information!
Renee Rouleau - she has a really great skin type quiz!
Web MD - just don't misdiagnose yourself with a rare disease!

What's your skin type? (Also, what did you think of this post? I'm thinking of making these skincare how-to's into a series).

I did a post on why I hate lemons in skincare. Want to see it? Click here!

Let's be friends! 

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Bloglovin' | Google + | Email Newsletter

Disclaimer: Nothing to disclose. Not sponsored. So, there.