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Combination Skin Care 101

Do’s and don’ts, plus an easy combination skin care routine

Written by: 100% PURE ®
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Of all the different skin types, combination skin might just get the least attention. For those of us with this somewhat dry, sort of normal, occasionally oily skin, we can often be expected to patch together skin care tips tailored to the other types to create our perfect regimen.

And while in a sense, we all must tailor our skin care routines, we want to show a bit of specific skin care love to combination skin. There’s a fun, healthy, and loving way to care for this mixed skin care type, just like we can care for any other.

What Defines Combination Skin?

It may sound surprising, but the majority of people fall under the combo skin umbrella. That means for most of us, we get a varying degree of oiliness on different parts of our faces. And while some of us develop this kind of skin over time, there are certainly other factors – such as puberty, hormones and medication, climate, and diet – that can have an impact.

Most commonly for combination skin, there are both oily and dry areas on the face. The oily parts land in the T-zone, which includes the forehead, nose, and chin. For the more normal and dry areas, these are often under and around the eyes, the cheeks, and the jawline. The biggest indicator of having oily skin is an overly oily T-zone compared to the rest of the face.

For combination skin, the oil produced in the oily parts of the face isn’t just a general glow at the end of the day. This is typically inconsistent and excessive oil that can’t be addressed with the same products used on the dry areas of the face. This is why curating a truly personal combination skin care routine can be a gamechanger for those with this skin type.

What Does Combo Skin Need?

Combination skin needs to be addressed in parts because the different areas of the face have different needs. More than that, a morning and evening routine can be even more beneficial for this skin type, as the varying behavior of the skin can mean different products at different times.

It’s important to note that just because there’s excess oil on the skin does not mean the skin is too hydrated or moisturized. It’s surprising, but sometimes oiliness can indicate the skin is in need of more moisture, and that the sebum we’re producing isn’t penetrating the skin or hydrating us efficiently. With that in mind, a combination skin care routine should look very different than a routine for oily skin. Just because they’re both oily, doesn’t mean they’re the same!

Combination skin needs a gentle cleanser that doesn’t dry out the bulk of the face but still neutralizes the oiliness. A great combination skin care routine should also definitely utilize toner. A clarifying toner for the T-zone and something hydrating for the perimeter would work wonders and add extra hydration for the more dry skin that needs it. And finally, serums and moisturizers infused with balancing ingredients are also beneficial.

No matter what skin type any of us have, all skin really needs the same things: balance, hydration, and protection. There’s just more of an emphasis on balance with combination skin than there is for the other skin types. And because of how important balance is with combination skin, there are a number of behaviors and ingredients that can agitate this already variable skin type.

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Our Favorite Products for Combination Skin

Now onto the best part of any party – the favors! Here’s our dream team for a balanced and glowy combination skin care routine.

Mask: Matcha Oat Milk Nourishing Mask
Key ingredients: Anti-inflammatory matcha to address balancing oil plus soothing and calming rose and oat for satisfying the dry and normal zones of the skin.

Why we love it: Combo skin needs time to soak things in. Starting off with this brightening but gentle and hydrating mask at least once a week provides a clean reset that hydrates without weighing the skin down.

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Cleanser: Green Tea Cloud Foam Cleanser
Key ingredients: White tea to fight skin damage and gentle, healing aloe for calming.

Why we love it: This creamy cloud-like cleanser sweeps away dirt and debris, not just from the surface but deep within the pores without stripping or drying the skin.

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Serum: Vitamin C Serum
Key ingredients: Balancing green apple and hydrating, healing vitamin E.

Why we love it: The it-girl for all skin types is perfect in this routine because vitamin C brightens the perimeter of the face while clarifying any excess oiliness.

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Moisture: Rose Water Hydrating Milk
Key ingredients: Rose water to soften and heal all over, plus exfoliating and antibacterial baking soda to balance.

Why we love it: Lightweight and refreshing, here’s a product the whole face can enjoy! Combo skin will love how the rose eases oiliness as well as discomfort and inflammation on the dry parts of the face.

Combination Skin: What to Avoid

As with all skin, there are a number of things we may want to avoid. This can be especially true for oily skin, as even a small shift can throw either the oily or the dry zones completely for a loop. Here’s a super clear list of 6 things for combination skin to avoid and why:

#1: Oily skin-targeted products applied all over the face
This can cause real mayhem on the normal and dry parts of our skin. A healthy combination skin care routine should adequately address all the behaviors and zones of the skin without compromising its needs.

#2: Touching the face
This is a rule we all should follow regardless of skin type, but the reason why it’s so important for combination skin especially is that we transfer oil onto our face when we touch it. The dirt, debris, and oil from our fingers end up on our faces. Then we just exacerbate the oiliness that’s already there, potentially causing a breakout in the process.

#3: Heavy-duty cleansers
A very clarifying cleanser can cause the T-zone to become even oilier! The oily parts of the face aren’t hydrated simply because the skin is oily. Plus, the harsh cleanser is likely to stress out the non-oily part of the face, causing tight and uncomfortable skin all the way around.

#4: Harsh climates
While we may not always be able to avoid this, a super cold and extremely hot climate can often contribute to the way our skin is behaving. To achieve more balance in the skin, supplement a harsh climate with treatments, masks, and the right skin care routine.

#5: Irritating ingredients
The fragrance in some skin care products can make the oiliness in combination skin worse. So, it’s a good idea to use fragrance-free options.

#6: Skipping the exfoliant
Instead, try focusing a chemical or physical exfoliant just on the T-zone or oily parts of the face. This will keep the deep parts of the pores expressed, allowing for a better flow of sebum and less oiliness in the long run.

We carefully hand-select products based on strict purity standards, and only recommend products we feel meet this criteria. 100% PURE™ may earn a small commission for products purchased through affiliate links.

The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.

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