How to Know Your Skin Type: The Only Guide You’ll Need

How to Know Your Skin Type: The Only Guide You’ll Need

Nowadays, we see a lot of skincare product recommendations online, and it’s either the pretty packaging or the ingredient list that hooks us into making a purchase. But, before you add it to your cart, are you certain itwill work great with your skin type?

If you’re not 100% sure about your skin type, then you’re in the right place!

Understanding your skin type is the foundation of any effective skincare routine. Knowing your skin type helps you choose the right products and treatments. In this guide, we’ll help you through the process and provide recommendations tailored to each skin type, ensuring you’re better informed about the skincare products you buy.

What are the Different Skin Types?

There are five skin types: normal, dry, oily, combination, and sensitive. Each type has unique characteristics and requires specific care. Let’s discuss each one in detail. 

Normal Skin

Normal skin is well-balanced, neither too oily nor too dry. It has a smooth texture, fine pores, and a healthy glow with few imperfections. This skin type is less prone to sensitivity and typically has good circulation. While normal skin is relatively low-maintenance, a consistent skincare routine is great for maintaining its balance and protecting against environmental damage.

Dry Skin

If your skin often feels tight and rough, you might have dry skin. Dry skin is also accompanied by a dull complexion, more prone to flaking, irritation, and fine lines. This type lacks sufficient sebum production, which means it doesn't have the natural oils needed to maintain moisture. It’s important to keep your skin hydrated and moisturized to restore and maintain its natural barrier.

Oily Skin

Oily skin has excess sebum production, which creates a shiny appearance. Other characteristics include enlarged pores and a tendency for acne and blackheads. While oily skin can be challenging, it is often less prone to wrinkles and maintains its elasticity longer. Make sure to use non-comedogenic products to manage oil and prevent breakouts.

Combination Skin

If you’re dry in some parts of your face but oily on others, you have combination skin! Typically, the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) is oily, while the cheeks are dry or normal. This skin type requires a balanced approach to address the diverse needs of different areas. It can be tricky to manage, but thankfully, many products that work for those with combination skin are available in the market.

Sensitive Skin

Does your face turn red or get irritated when introducing new skincare products? This is a clear sign of sensitive skin. It can also react to different factors, including harsh ingredients, environmental triggers, and stress. It often appears red, and itchy and may have visible blood vessels. Sensitive skin requires gentle, soothing products that minimize irritation and strengthen the skin barrier.

Mature Skin

As we grow older, our skin loses collagen. Mature skin shows signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, and age spots. It may also become drier and thinner over time. Mature skin requires products that promote cell renewal, hydration, and elasticity. While there’s no way to the fountain of youth, ingredients like retinoids, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants can help address the signs of aging and maintain a younger-looking appearance.

How to Know Your Skin Type

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the different skin types, it’s time to determine which one you have! Here are two popular techniques to help you identify your skin type accurately.

The Bare-Faced Method

Start with clean skin. Wash your face with a mild cleanser and pat dry. Leave your skin bare for about an hour without applying any products. After this period, observe how your skin feels and looks. Here is the list of symptoms and which skin type they correspond to:

  • Normal Skin: Feels comfortable and not tight or greasy.
  • Dry Skin: Feels tight, may look flaky or rough.
  • Oily Skin: Appears shiny, especially on the T-zone.
  • Combination Skin: Oily in the T-zone, normal to dry on the cheeks.
  • Sensitive Skin: Shows signs of redness, itchiness, or irritation.

The Blotting Sheet Method

This method involves using blotting papers to absorb excess oil from your skin. It’s a quick and effective way to determine your skin type. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Gently pat a blotting paper on different areas of your face.
  2. Hold the sheet to the light to see how much oil is visible.
  • Normal Skin: Minimal oil on the blotting paper.
  • Dry Skin: Little to no oil.
  • Oily Skin: Blotting paper appears saturated with oil.
  • Combination Skin: Oil from the T-zone, but not from other areas.
  • Sensitive Skin: You may notice minimal oil, possible redness or irritation.

Can Your Skin Type Change Over Time?

It’s possible. Your skin type can change due to age, hormonal changes, and lifestyle habits. For instance, skin tends to become drier with age due to decreased sebum production. Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause can also alter your skin’s behavior. 

Now that we have covered the basics, here are some product recommendations for your skin type!

Normal Skin Product Recommendations

SkinMedica AHA/BHA Cream

This cream from SkinMedica combines alpha and beta hydroxy acids to exfoliate and improve skin texture. It helps maintain a balanced complexion by removing dead skin cells and promoting cell renewal, giving your skin a natural glow!

SkinMedica Rejuvenative Moisturizer

Another SkinMedica product is their Rejuvenative Moisturizer! It’s designed to hydrate and rejuvenate the skin without making it greasy. It contains hyaluronic acid and vitamins C and E, keeping normal skin hydrated and protected from environmental stressors. Its lightweight formula ensures it absorbs quickly, giving you the right amount of moisture while maintaining your skin's natural balance.

Dry Skin Product Recommendations

ZO Skin Health Hydrating Crème

This hydrating crème is made specifically for dry skin, offering intense moisture and protection. It contains emollients and humectants that draw and retain moisture, ensuring long-lasting hydration. The rich, creamy texture helps repair the skin barrier and relieves dryness and irritation, making it an excellent choice for dry skin.

SkinCeuticals Hydra Balm

This Hydra Balm from SkinCeuticals is a rich, occlusive balm designed to provide deep hydration and comfort to dehydrated skin. It is packed with emollients and natural oils that help restore the skin’s lipid barrier, locking in moisture and preventing further dehydration. If your dry skin needs intense, long-lasting hydration, then this is perfect for you!

Oily Skin Product Recommendations

Neocutis MICRO GEL Moisturizing Hydrogel

Generally, gel-based moisturizers are great for oily skin people. Try Neocutis gel moisturizer. It is ideal for oily skin and provides hydration without a cream's heaviness. Its oil-free formula helps balance sebum production while delivering essential moisture.

Epionce Purifying Wash

This purifying wash from Epionce is formulated to cleanse deeply and remove excess oil without stripping your skin of its natural moisture. It contains salicylic acid to help unclog pores and prevent acne, a lifesaver for your oily skin!

Combination Skin Product Recommendations

ZO Skin Health Instant Pore Refiner

This pore refiner from ZO targets the oily areas of your combination skin, especially the T-zone, reducing the appearance of enlarged pores and control shine. It provides a matte finish while helping to smooth and refine the skin’s texture. The lightweight formula ensures doesn’t clog your pores or add extra oil, giving your combo skin a best of both worlds.

Cosmedix Glow Bamboo Brightening Mask

This brightening mask from Cosmedix is another great recommendation for combo skin! It contains bamboo extract and other natural exfoliants to remove dead skin cells and reveal a brighter complexion. The mask addresses both dry and oily areas, providing hydration and exfoliation where needed.

Sensitive Skin Product Recommendations

Neocutis NEO CLEANSE Gentle Skin Cleanser

Don’t worry; you won’t get irritation from this gentle cleanser from Neocutis. Formulated for sensitive skin, it provides a thorough yet mild cleansing experience. It doesn’t contain harsh chemicals and fragrances, reducing the irritation risk. The soothing ingredients help calm and protect your sensitive skin, ensuring it remains clean and balanced without over-drying.

Colorescience Calming Primer SPF 20

If you’re looking for a primer that doesn’t irritate, check this one out from Colorescience! Thanks to the added SPF, it calms and preps your skin while providing sun protection.

Mature Skin Product Recommendations

ZO Skin Health Recovery Crème

This recovery crème from ZO is designed to support mature skin by promoting cell renewal and hydration. It contains retinol and other anti-aging ingredients that can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Its rich formula helps restore elasticity and firmness within your skin.

Obagi ELASTIderm Eye Cream

This eye cream targets the delicate skin around the eyes, a common area for signs of aging. It contains a bi-mineral complex and malonic acid to support elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The hydrating formula helps to firm and smooth the skin, making it perfect for mature skin.


The more you know about your skin, the more knowledgeable you will be about selecting the best skincare products and achieving healthy, radiant skin. Try the two methods out and see the results for yourself!

No matter your skin type,Totality Skincare has the best selection of products for your skin! All our products are curated and come from reputable brands in the skincare industry. It’s time to upgrade your skincare routine today!

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