Photo: Najiyah Imani (@najiyahimani)

Whether it’s due to a new #goal, trend, craze, or even simple interest, skincare has quickly become a popular topic. Considering skin is our largest organ, it’s important to be kind to it. But without knowing your skin type, it can get a little hectic trying to find the right products to do your skin right.

Luckily, there’s a couple of ways to figure out your skin type:

Blot test: This is the quickest method for testing your skin type and all you need for this test is blotting paper and light! It’s also the easiest way to differentiate whether your skin is oily or dry. Take your blotting paper and gently pat different areas of your face. If you notice that there is little to no oil on the paper, then you most likely have dry skin. If the blotting paper is saturated with oil, then you likely have oily skin. If you notice that patting certain areas of your face (forehead, nose, chin) produce oil while other parts of your face (cheeks) don’t produce any, you likely have combination skin.

Overnight Test: Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, preferably anything that doesn’t foam, and leave your face bare for the night. Examine your face in the morning. If your skin is shiny and feels slick to the touch, you likely have oily skin. If you notice you have some flaky spots and your face feels tight, especially when making any facial expressions, you likely have dry skin. If your t-zone (forehead and nose) is shiny but your cheeks feel tight, you likely have combination skin.

Bare Face Test: This one is like the overnight test, except it’s done in an hour. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, pat dry and do not apply any product. Wait 30 minutes and examine your cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. Wait another 30 minutes and evaluate your skin. If there’s tightness and flakiness, your skin is likely dry. If there’s shine on your forehead and nose, then you likely have combination skin. If there is shine on your cheeks as well as your forehead, nose, and chin, then your skin is likely oily.

Now that you know your skin type, here’s a little more about each and some key things to take care of your skin. Disclaimer: drinking half of your weight in ounces of water will be mentioned. (It works!)

Normal: 

Pores on normal skin are so small that they’re practically unnoticeable and the skin is neither oily nor dry. Those with normal skin tend to have an even complexion, very few signs of aging and barely any breakouts. #blessed. Normal skin is not to be confused with perfect skin and does require maintenance. Using gentle cleansers, toners and moisturizers daily can help with keeping your skin balanced. Ingredients to avoid: denatured alcohol, ethanol, and isopropyl alcohol. Ingredients to look for: vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. Lastly, drinking water is crucial! If you find it hard to drink half of your weight in ounces of water, try adding fruit to it. Pretty water bottles don’t hurt either. 

Dry:

Dry skin feels tight and tends to have some flaky spots, usually on the cheeks. Pores are almost invisible. Skin is prone to irritation and premature aging. For those with dry skin, using products that will keep your skin hydrated is key. For dry skin, using a mild cleansing lotion, an alcohol-free toner, retinol serum, and moisturizer with SPF will help keep the skin hydrated and help restore the skin’s moisture barrier. Dry skin causes dead skin buildup so weekly chemical exfoliants can help rid dead cell buildup and help you moisturize your skin’s barrier instead of the dead skin sitting on top of it. Ingredients to avoid: ethanol, alcohol. Ingredients to look for: Vitamin C, A, and E, Rosehip seed oil, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil. Also, drink, drink, drink!

Oily: 

Oily skin has lots (and lots) of shine. This is due to oil glands being on the larger side as well as having high sebum content. Oily skin tends to show enlarged pores and can be breakout/acne-prone. Keeping your face clean is essential when having oily skin. The less oil buildup, the less bacteria which means fewer breakouts. Using a gel cleanser, followed by an alcohol-free toner, aha/bha serum, retinol serum, and an oil-free moisturizer can help keep your skin lightly hydrated and the oil under control. Enjoying a weekly clay mask is very beneficial for oily skin as well. Ingredients to avoid: sulfate, alcohol. Ingredients to look for: tea tree oil, salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids and/or beta-hydroxy acids. Keep drinking water!

Combo:

Combination skin is any mix of either skin type. The most common type of combination skin tends to be oily on the forehead and nose while being dry and tight on the cheeks. However, combination skin also applies to those who have normal and dry skin as well as oily and normal skin. It can be tough to do two separate routines when having combination skin so it’s great to find products that are fit to treat many skin concerns. Following the steps for oily skin and substituting the oil-free moisturizer for a light-weight one can help the various needs of combination skin. Clay masks can also be used for combination skin, however use them in areas where you’re most oily (usually T-zone). Don’t forget about your water! Ingredients to avoid: alcohol, ethanol. Ingredients to look for: antioxidants, zinc oxide.

Sensitive:

Sensitive skin is prone to redness and irritation. Due to this, sensitive skin routines need to be non-irritating. Using a cleansing oil, followed by an alcohol-free toner, scent-free moisturizer, and zinc oxide SPF daily can ensure less irritation. Exfoliation is still needed even when your skin is sensitive. Opt for a Lactic Acid serum at least twice a week - it’s a milder exfoliation for sensitive skin. Ingredients to avoid: alcohol, synthetic dyes. Ingredients to look for: green tea, chamomile, white tea extract. Lastly, water bottle bottoms up!

beauty routinebare face testskincaresensitive skinoily skinblot testbeautynormal skinskindry skin