How To Diagnose Your Skin Type

Skin care can be intimidating, especially if you're just starting out, as there are so many different products to choose from. Our recommendation is that you focus on narrowing the choices down by evaluating your skin type and skin concerns. This way you'll have better luck finding the best formula that's well-suited to you and will offer the results you are looking for.

Here are some tips to help you pinpoint your skin type:

First and foremost, skin types are not set in stone. The climate you live in, the season, and even your age can affect how your skin behaves. To be sure you are using the most effective products year-round, reevaluate how your skin feels every so often, and make note of any changes. For example, as it starts to get colder, your skin may need an extra layer of hydration, or as it warms up, your skin might need a lighter moisturiser.

Oily Skin

All skin produces sebum, but those with oily skin types find that their face is producing sebum to an extent that their whole face often ends up with a noticeable sheen.

If makeup tends to melt off your face, you find yourself blotting multiple times a day, or if your pores look enlarged, you may have oily skin.

If you find that your t-zone is the only part of your face that gets oily, you might not have oily skin, and could instead be combination or normal.

The key to picking products for oily skin types is to choose lightweight, oil free formulas and to only layer as many products as you feel comfortable with to avoid a “heavy” feeling on the face. Oily skin types can find themselves wanting to skip moisturiser or sun creams, but they shouldn’t! Skipping moisturiser can leave your face dehydrated, which will lead to the skin overproducing sebum to compensate. Instead of a rich cream moisturiser, try a lightweight formula instead. Stick to similarly lightweight products for SPF, to ensure your skin is protected from the sun. A gel texture will melt right into the skin and keep you from feeling the extra layer.

We recommend trying:

COSRX Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturising Lotion with Birch Sap

COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream


Dry Skin

All skin types should be using moisturiser to keep their skin supple and hydrated. Those with dry skin types, however, have an especially hard time keeping their skin in this state.

If you find you can’t leave the house without moisturising (even in the warmer months), that full coverage foundations tend to cake on your skin, or that your face tends to crack or flake in the cooler months, you probably have dry skin.

If you find that your face feels tight only after cleansing, you might not truly be a dry skin type, as it could be that your cleanser is drying you out.

The key to picking products for dry skin is to keep hydrated with light layers of suitable products. One rich cream moisturiser may not be enough – so think of layering with a hydrating toner or toner and essence combo. To combat dry flakes, be sure to have some exfoliation in your routine and even a moisturising sleeping mask can be great. You can even wear your sleeping mask out on really cold or dry days, or on a plane for some extra protection!

We recommend trying:

COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask


Combination Skin

Oily skin types are working to combat oiliness in the face. Dry skin types are working to combat dry flakes and a tight feeling to the face. Combination skin types have to deal with both.

If you would use a matte foundation for your oily forehead but a BB cream for your dry patches, you might have combination skin. Any combination of oily and dry patches can mean you have combination skin.

If you find that your skin only gets dry during the colder months, or oily in the warmer months, you might not have a combination skin and are instead experiencing seasonal changes. Try to understand how your skin acts in different temperatures to get a better idea of your skin type.

It can be tricky to pick products for combination skin types because it encompasses such a large variety of skin behaviours. To pick the best products for you, you’ll want to determine if your skin leans more to combination-oily or combination-dry. With combination skin types, it’s best to mix and match your products accordingly. So if you lean to combo-oily, add in a sebum controlling toner to your routine, or if you lean combo-dry, use a rich moisturiser in the areas you need it. By keeping most of your routine full of products that are formulated for your skin type, then adding in a product here and there are more targeted to your concerns, you’ll be able to see the best results!

We recommend trying:

COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner

Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence Rose Edition


Normal Skin

“Normal” skin isn’t very temperamental, but this doesn’t mean that normal skin types have no skin concerns. Normal skin types can have concerns with pigmentation, fine lines, acne, or any of the other skin concerns that other skin types deal with - their concerns just aren't linked to their skin type.

If you find that most products work well with your skin, that you only get oily in the t-zone, and dry only on super cold days, you might have normal skin.

Normal skin types can get away with using most products. Of course you’ll want to stay away from a routine full of products formulated for oily skin, as that won't be hydrating enough for you in the long run. Similarly, a routine full of products formulated for dry skin could be too rich and end up clogging your pores. Look for products formulated for “all skin types” or sensitive skin types. Products formulated for sensitive skin are going to be more gentle and are generally formulated without common irritants. The moisture barrier protecting your skin is fragile and it’ll only benefit you to use soothing and calming formulas in the long run – so feel free to sneak a couple of those in your routine!

We recommend trying:

Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner

Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener 10-in-1

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Shop now