Image of @garypeppergirl by @melaniegrantskin

Are you vaguely sure of your skin type? Want to reconfirm what you already know before making a purchase? Maybe you know that people with dry skin have different skincare needs than those with oily skin. But perhaps you didn’t know that understanding your skin type is the step that should come before all skincare and makeup purchases, including casual purchases of makeup brushes and eye makeup.

Ready to figure out your skin type once and for all? Let’s get started.

Normal skin

Normal skin does not have problems with excessive oiliness or dryness. It can handle new makeup or skin care products without breaking out or getting red or patchy. You can wash your face without it feeling tight afterward. And outside of extreme weather conditions, such as winter dryness, or summer humidity, your skin needs remain fairly stable.

Test: Wash your face and don’t apply anything afterward. An hour later, use an oil blotter on your cheeks and forehead, if the sheet picked up only a slight amount of oil from your nose and forehead, you likely have normal skin.

Dry skin

Dry skin feels tight when not treated with moisturizer. It is one of the easiest skin types to diagnose due to this reason. Any washing of the face requires moisturizing afterward, otherwise a tight, crackly feeling sets in. Dry skin may also be flaky, itchy, dull, rough, or show patchiness here or there. Combination skin also has dryness as a symptom, so assess if your T-zone is oily before determining this is your skin type.

Test: Wash your face, and don’t apply anything afterward. If your face feels tight or itchy after your skin has dried, and if using a blotter shows little to no oil on the sheet, it is likely you have dry skin.

Oily skin

Oily skin is often acne prone and has a shine to it when not using products. Those with oily skin also often have larger pores than other skin types. However, since combination skin types also often have larger pores around the forehead and nose, look to other signs of oily skin to determine whether this skin type describes you.

Test: Wash your face and leave it free from any cosmetics or skincare treatments. 3-4 hours later, assess your skin. If it feels oily and looks shiny, and if a blotter comes away very oily, you have oily skin.

Combination skin

A combination of oily skin around the forehead and nose area and dry skin around the cheeks and outer edges of the face. Combination skin types also often have larger pores around the nose area, and smaller pores elsewhere. If you have difficulty determining whether yours is a combination skin type or an oily skin type, take the test.

Test: Wash your face but avoid putting anything on it afterward. A couple hours later, assess your face. If your nose and forehead feel oily, but your cheeks feel tight or dry, you likely have a combination skin type.

Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin types are prone to redness (rosacea) and irritation when introduced to products with fragrances or other irritants. Sensitive skin is highly reactive skin that will reject anything but the gentlest of ingredients and the best skincare products. There is some overlap between dry skin and sensitive skin types. And those with dry skin may also experience some sensitive skin symptoms. The opposite is also true.

Test: Wash your face and do not put anything on afterward. A couple hours later, if you see patchiness, redness, or your skin feels tight, it is possible you have sensitive skin. Also, if patch tests of products with fragrance typically have your skin turning red or stinging, this could be an indication of sensitive skin.

Emma Jean

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