Beauty School – Combination Skin

My third blog post in my ‘Beauty School’ series.  To learn more about this new series , head over here.  Click here to check out my blog post on oily skin, and to learn more about sensitive skin, click here.

As mentioned in my previous blog posts, there are 5 basic skin types: oily (we’ve already covered this one), normal, combination, sensitive (we’ve also covered this one) and dry. Your skin type is determined by how much (or how little) oil your skin produces.  Genes, stress levels, diet, hormonal fluctuations, medication and even your current skincare regimen all determine how much oil your skin produces.

The Test

As mentioned in my other blog posts there’s a quick test you can do to determine which skin type you have:  Cleanse your face at night but don’t apply any skin care products after cleansing the skin (no toners, serums, moisturisers, eye creams) and make sure you sleep without air-conditioning on.  When you wake up in the morning, pat your face with a tissue, the result will tell you which skin type you have.  If you have combo skin, the tissue will show oils spots from your nose and forehead area but not your cheeks.

Causes Of Combination Skin

If you have combination skin (like I do) and your skin was to have its own Facebook page, its relationship status would be ‘It’s complicated’.

Combination skin features areas of both dry and oily skin. The oily areas are concentrated in the T-zone of the face (forehead, nose and chin), while the dry (sometimes flaky) skin is on the cheeks, eye area and jaw line.

A variety of factors can contribute to combination skin – sometimes it is genetics, or it could also be overuse of products, seasonal changes, medications, hormonal changes, stress and even sun tanning.


♥  Cleansing combination skin means keeping dry or normal areas hydrated, while not overloading a congested T-zone as this might lead to clogged pores and blemishes.  Cleanse with a gentle water-soluble soap-free gel cleanser and stay away from products that are too heavily fragranced.

♥  Exfoliate once per week with a finely textured scrub or a non-abrasive product i.e. Alpha Hydroxy Acid (Glycolic Acid) or Beta Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic Acid).

♥  Use a clarifying toner to tackle both shine and dryness.  A gentle clarifying toner will help to exfoliate the parched areas of the skin while clarifying congested areas to ensure clear and blemish-free skin.  If you have excessive dry areas and a very oily T-zone, it might be worth using two toners – one that contains alcohol for your oily areas and one without for the dry, sensitive areas.

♥  The right combination skin serum will help your skin find balance without over-moisturising your oily areas. Plus, it will prevent premature aging.  If you have very dry skin in some areas and oily skin in others, then an antioxidant-rich serum paired with an emollient moisturising lotion will work great.

♥  For skin with excessive oil production in some areas and dryness in others, use a water-based moisturising lotion or gel containing Glycolic Acid, tea tree oil, or Zinc to address the oiliness.  And look for ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid (read this blog post here for more info on HA), Ceramide, colloidal oatmeal or apricot kernel oil to address and soothe dryness.

♥  Always protect your skin by using a broad spectrum of sunblock with no less than 30 SPF, UVA and UVB protection.

♥  If you don’t want to go out and buy a mask made specifically for combination skin, double up with masks you already have: Use a clarifying mask on your T-zone and a moisturising mask on your cheeks and other dry areas.


♥  As mentioned in my previous blog posts regarding any skin type, you should always read the labels on your cosmetics before purchasing.  Avoid the potentially irritating and oil-producing ingredients such as mineral oil, petrolatum, peppermint oil, Octyl Stearate and Palmitate.

♥  If you have oily and dry skin apply a foundation that will give you a matte finish, but apply a hydrating primer / serum to the dry areas first.  You can add a natural glow to specific areas using a powder highlighter.

♥  Another great option is a cream-to-powder formula foundation, as it’s neither too greasy nor too drying.

♥  As mentioned in my blog post on oily skin, a great trick I learned from Wayne Goss is to take a tissue (after you have applied your foundation) and separate the layers so that you are left with only one single thin sheet.  Then press it onto your T-zone area (don’t rub), this will absorb the excess oils that the foundation contains but will leave the pigment on your skin.

♥  After your foundation is applied, let it set in for 5 – 10 minutes.  Then apply a light dusting of a finely milled setting powder or translucent powder to slow down oil production throughout the day.

♥  In terms of blush, a good option would be a cream or stick-form blush because the cheeks are often one of the dry areas.  If you prefer using a powder blush, a radiant glow can always be added using a powder highlighter.  But be careful:  Never apply a cream product over a powder product.  So if you are using a cream blush, apply it after your foundation and before you powder.  Plus, don’t powder over the cream blush on the cheeks because then you’re just concealing the colour of the blush.

♥  Finish your makeup with a finishing spray.  These sprays really do make a difference in the staying power of your makeup, and the shine factor will be turned down as the day wears on.   They are also great if your face looks a bit too matte after applying the oil-free foundation and face powder, as they give the skin a subtle satin finish.

♥  Carry blotting papers with you wherever you go (I always have blotting papers in my handbag).  These will soak up the oils without messing with your makeup (remember to pat, don’t rub).

♥  Be sure to wash makeup brushes and other tools with an anti-bacterial wash or soap as often as you can.

I hope you guys are learning something from these blog posts, I know I’m learning quite a lot doing research.  On Wednesday I’ll be loading the MIY homemade facial mask recipe for combination skin (plus I will have a giveaway for a couple of Garnier BB creams!).

Don’t forget to email me a photo of yourself with your favourite skincare product to stand a chance to be my #WhatsYourBB #GarnierGirl.  If you win, you will be joining me and a couple of other girls on a wonderful spa day.  I know I need a good pamper session after the festive season, how about you?



  1. Anna
    6 January 2014 / 16:38

    You did well with this article. I love it. Give us some affordable products you use to help us choose correctly. Thanks xx

    • 6 January 2014 / 22:33

      Hi Anna, I’ll research a couple of products and will go look in the shops. I’ll then do a couple of blog posts of example products for each skin type – thanks for the idea! 🙂

  2. Clara Dinkelmann
    6 January 2014 / 16:43

    I love how thorough you are in your blog posts, Luzanne. I am finding your blogs posts to be very helpful, thank you. Even your review blog posts are so informative.

    Well done. x

    • 6 January 2014 / 22:34

      Thanks for your kind words, Clara. I’m so glad you are loving these posts! 😀

  3. Kelly M
    6 January 2014 / 17:45

    This blog post is a godsend, now I know I have combination skin (I always thought I had oily skin). so looking forward to seeing the homemade face mask recipe.


    • 6 January 2014 / 22:34

      Great! So happy you found this blog post helpful. 🙂

  4. 7 January 2014 / 21:21

    Great job, as always Luzanne!! I’m so glad to see how much these posts help people. It can be really difficult and confusing to find out what skin type you have.

    I still need to try the mask you shared with us for oily skin. I’ve so busy, but I wrote it down and have it handy!

    Thanks for sharing beautiful!


    • 8 January 2014 / 10:14

      Thanks so much, Lily, you are such a doll! Let me know how you find the face mask when you try it. 🙂 x

    • 8 January 2014 / 10:13

      Thank you for commenting, Abby! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *