Chapter 13: Get To Know Your Skin Type

Beauty Book

I used to be a beauty hoarder so I know the feeling of getting your hands on a new and trendy skin care product, hoping that it will be a miracle worker, only to be left disappointed when it doesn’t live up to its hype. It happens to most of us, particularly beauty junkies.

Thanks to my curiosity and learning experience, I now follow a simple skin care routine comprising only products that suit my skin type. Instead of collecting a bunch of products that you aren’t sure will work for you, ask for a sample first (if they have any), or simply get to know your skin type.

Just like knowing your skin undertone, it’s important to understand your skin type as it helps you get the maximum effectiveness out of your skin care regimen. Take some time to get to know your skin so you can give it the proper care it deserves!

How to determine your skin type

If you’re not sure how to figure out your skin type, you can follow this method:

  1. Wash your face with a mild, gentle cleanser and pat the skin dry.
  2. Don’t apply any products for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Grab a mirror and examine your face.

What’s the first thing you notice – tightness, oily T-zone, dry cheeks, redness? Continue below for a quick guide that will help you determine your skin type along with a curated selection of products for each one.

Oily Skin

If your skin often feels greasy and looks shiny, then chances are you have oily skin. Oily skin produces an excessive amount of sebum which easily clogs pores, leaving you with larger pores compared to other skin types. As if enlarged pores aren’t enough, oily skin types are also more prone to breakouts and blackheads. On the bright side, having oily skin means your skin is already naturally moisturized and supple so you won’t have to worry about wrinkles.

What to avoid: Though it might be tempting, those with oily skin should avoid using products that completely strip skin of its natural oils as this over-dries the skin, leading it to produce even more oil.

What to use: Apply products that aren’t too heavy and thick to avoid clogging your pores further. Stick to products with a lightweight formula like gels and liquids. If your skin is feeling extra slick, you can use blotting paper to get rid of excess sebum or incorporate a clay mask into your routine twice a week for a deep cleanse of your pores.

4-step routine to try:  

Dry Skin

Tightness is one of the main signs that you have dry skin. Flakiness or dry patches can also occur on parts of your face. Since dry skin produces less oil, the skin is prone to developing fine lines earlier and can also appear dull due to poor elasticity. Luckily, those with dry skin won’t have to stress about the size of their pores since they’ll be smaller.

What to avoid: Products that are too harsh or contain irritating ingredients, as dry skin can be easily irritated due to its weaker moisture barrier.

What to use: Moisturizer – and lots of it! Rich creams are your best friend as they nourish and hydrate dry skin. You can also add a sleeping mask on top of your daily night cream, especially in winter, to boost your skin’s hydration level.

4-step routine to try: 

Combination Skin

I grew up with oily skin and I thought that was difficult to deal with, at least up until my skin type switched to combination. If you can’t figure out your skin type because you have an oily T-zone but normal or dry skin everywhere else, then welcome to the club – you have combination skin.

What to avoid: Caring for combination skin means you have to multi-task when it comes to your skin care products, or find products that cater to both oily and dry skin.

What to use: Apply gel-based products or light lotions on oily areas and soothe the dry parts of your face with products that have more nourishing and moisturizing ingredients. Once a week, treat your skin to some multi-masking – check out my review of SKIN&LAB’s clay facial masks, which can be used simultaneously on both the oily and dry parts of your face.

4-step routine to try: 


Sensitive Skin

When checking out a skin care product, do you first check its ingredients? If you do, not just out of curiosity but to see whether your skin will react to any of the components, then you probably have sensitive skin. Those with sensitive skin should be extra careful, especially when testing out new products as they might cause break outs, or your skin might react with redness, itchiness or a burning sensation.

What to avoid: Heavily fragranced products as well as products formulated with many chemicals are a no-no for sensitive skin types.

What to use: Go for products that strengthen your skin’s barrier and look out for ingredients such as ceramides, aloe vera, calendula and chamomile extracts, and hyaluronic acid.

4-step routine to try: 

Normal Skin

If you read all of the above and can’t relate to any, then lucky you – you fall under the normal skin type category. If you have normal skin, you have a balanced skin tone (not too oily and not too dry), smooth skin texture, almost non-existent pores, glowing skin and no signs of breakouts – you’re basically blessed with flawless genes!

What to avoid: Since normal skin already has a good balance of oil and moisture, it’s essential to use products that will maintain that balance. Avoid products that strip your skin of its natural oils and most importantly, don’t take your skin for granted! Your skin might look perfect now but normal skin is still prone to fine lines and wrinkles as you age.

What to use: The simplest product to add to your routine if you don’t want premature wrinkles is sunscreen. Also, stick to gentle cleansers and products that have the perfect balance of not being too light or too thick, and you’re good to go!

4-step routine to try: 

Keep in mind that whatever your skin type is right now, it may change depending on several factors such as the environment and climate, your stress levels, your diet and lifestyle, your age, and even hormonal changes. Skin types can also adjust according to season; for instance, your skin may be oily during the summer, but relatively dry in winter when extra doses of hydration will be needed.

To keep your skin in tip-top condition, you can do the skin test (as mentioned above) every once in a while or if you feel like your products are no longer working for you.

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