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What To Use and How To Use It

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Combination skin
is a real thing. Not quite dry, not quite oily; knowing how to care for it isn’t always easy. This common
but sometimes confusing skin type marries areas of the face that are in oil
production overdrive with areas that are dry, forming a patchwork-like texture
on the skin’s surface.  Simply,
combination skin is out of balance, so sourcing beauty products to cater to it
requires a little vigilance.

Alina Roytberg – co-founder
of skincare company, Fresh – laid down the facts on this very skin type. She
described the main indicators to include: “an oily T-zone (forehead, down the nose to the
chin) with dry cheeks, or skin that’s [generally] oilier in summer and drier in
winter.” If you ever wondered how
your skin came to be this way, Roytberg will tell you that genetics plays a
leading role, above environmental factors and personal lifestyle. Each step of
your skincare regime can be curated to work in favour of both surfaces at play,
where harmonising your skin’s hydration levels is key.

FACT: According
to Roytberg, normal and dry skin types tend to lean more toward a combination
skin type when you’re on your period.“


Your cleanser should serve as the
backbone of your regime by manipulating the condition of your skin regardless
of what products are placed on top. Choose cleansing products that work with,
not against, your multi-faceted skin type; products that replenish and balance
your skin’s natural oils. “Using a good, gentle cleanser twice a day,” Roytberg suggests, “will
help cleanse the skin without over-drying or leaving any residue behind.”

Replacing oil with oil is also
an effective way to rebalance moisture levels across the board – I love Frank
Body’s Anti-Makeup Cleansing Oil. Alternately,
opt for a gentle cream solution like Clarins’ Cleansing Milk containing extracts
of soothing yellow gentian. Avoid
cleansers that contain high levels of salicylic acid because this additive can
further dry out the skin. On the contrary, cleansing balms that boast a thick,
buttery consistency may feel a little over the top against areas that are
producing generous amounts of sebum as it is.


TIP: “I recommend using a cream cleanser like
Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser after an oil-based [one] as a double cleansing
ritual… to ensure skin is fully cleansed,” Roytberg says.

To provide an
even deeper clean to the skin, throw in an exfoliating product once or twice a
week. By doing so, you’ll relieve the build-up of oil and bacteria, reducing
the likelihood of developing acne. It’s a common misconception that the larger
the pores, the more sebum secreted. Roytberg instead says this theory probably works
in reverse, in that the secretion of sebum itself can enlarge pores. “If sebum can’t discharge freely, pores can
become wider and more clearly visible, and pimples may form.” Regardless of whether you opt for an acidic exfoliant or granular
liquid, skin will look and feel more even with the removal of surface-level
grime and dead skin cells. LUMA’s Crushed Pearl Facial Polish boasts botanical grape
seed oil – an ingredient praised for its nourishing and protective abilities
when used on the skin. A toner can also be a great addition to your cleanser routine when the correct product is used. Moisten a
cotton pad in your toner of choice and mark out the most oil-prone areas of
your face only. Naturally hydrating ingredients, like cucumber in Mario
Badescu’s Special Cucumber Lotion, will act as a suitable replacement. Even the oiliest of T-zones can still
hide underlying dryness.

Tip: The
further up an ingredient is listed on a product, the higher the content level
of that ingredient will be. You can ensure you’re getting the most out of key
ingredients before buying.


You’ll be misguided in believing a rich cream
will act as a cure-all, since your oiliest areas need no such thing.

When it comes to moisturiser, a
lightweight formula containing hydrating hyaluronic acid should cover all bases
(oily or otherwise). Prior to sleep, apply a refreshing gel cream that will sooth
the skin and absorb in a flash, like Tarte Cosmetics Rainforest of The Sea
Drink of H2O Hydrating Boost Moisturizer or Glow
Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer. Come morning, opt for a shine controlling moisturiser like Bioderma’s new
Sébium Shine-Control Moisturiser or La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat.

TIP: Combination Skin or not, it’s important to always apply
sun protection. Prior to makeup application, apply an SPF. Invisible
Zinc’s Sheer Defence Facial Moisturiser SPF50 is great for combination
skin as it sits
incognito under foundation without the greasiness or scent of a

As with moisturiser application, multi-masking
is the way to go. Apply residue-removing charcoal, like that in FORMULA 10.0.6’s Take Back Control
Oil-Controlling Mud Mask, to oily areas. This charcoal and cacao
hybrid is designed to decongest pores and hydrate the skin respectively. Likewise,
Fresh’s Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask can be applied to the T-Zone, while the
brand’s hydrating Rose Face Mask be applied along the cheeks. If you’d prefer a
sheet mask, The Body Shop’s Seaweed Balance Sheet Mask is an easy one-size-fits-all
option that contains refreshing aloe vera your whole face will benefit from.

acne is a concern, manage your combination skin first before reaching for
acne-targeted solutions. Until then, minimise your use of silicones to allow
pores to breathe easily.

Originally posted Nov 29th, 2019. Updated Feb 25, 2021
Story by: Hannah Gay

Photography: Evangeline Sarney

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