Skincare for Beginners – Combination


The most common skin type. You’ll have dry patches in some areas and oily patches in others (usually t-zone). In fact, if you have dry skin, it’ll often result in combination skin as your body produces more sebum to try and counteract the dryness.

As mentioned in both my dry and oily skincare posts – if you have one, it’s very likely you’ll have the other, and that’s what results in what’s known as combination skin.

You’ll probably find that the most oily section will be your “T-Zone”, which is your forehead down to your nose and often your chin.

Me demonstrating the T-Zone like a pro

Your T-Zone is usually the most oily as it has a higher number of sebaceous glands.

You will find that your nose has enlarged pores that may often become blocked and become black/whiteheads (see my other post for more information) and the general area will look very shiny. The forehead is also prone to blemishes, particularly pustules, due to the excessive oil production.

While your T-Zone will be oily, if you have combination skin, you may find you have dry patches, particularly on your cheeks. These can look red and sore or just generally quite dry and flaky. They can also feel quite tight after washing your face.

If you do not have dry patches and your cheeks are generally quite clear, you have what is known as normal/combination skin.

Generally, all of this is caused by either genetics, hormones or environmental factors. You may find, for example, that you have dry cheeks in the winter when the weather is harsh and windy.
However, it is also very possible that the cause of combination skin is using products that are too harsh and astringent.

When you have an oily T-Zone, it’s common to opt for products that claim to deep clean your face and rid it of all oil. The problem is, these products usually contain ingredients like alcohol, that, while they do temporarily reduce the symptoms of oily skin, is actually harming the normal areas of your face, like your cheeks, and making them dry.

You might then opt for a very heavy moisturiser to counteract the drying out your face wash is causing, but in turn end up making the oily areas worse.

So what would I recommend for this seemingly lose-lose situation?

Firstly, I’d like to mention that this is where the first three posts of this series come together. I’d recommend you read them (you can find them through the directory) so you understand the aspects and symptoms of all three “base” skin types.

What is important to remember with combination skin, is that you have to treat each affected area of the face as if it is separate from everything else.

However, it’s much easier to do this with moisturiser than it is with face wash (who really washes their face in sections?!) so to begin your routine, I recommend you use a mild cleanser designed for combination skin, such as the Garnier Micellar Gel Face Wash (Superdrug – £3.99).


Garnier have used Micellar “technology” to create a gel wash that removes all make-up, dirt and buildup of oil in a gentle all-in-one product.

Micellar water and products are now commonplace in the world of beauty. It is a very complex science, but the general idea is micelles pick up dirt and oil, so they will cleanse the surface of your skin without being too harsh.

Think of it as a droplet of oil on the surface of water being “attracted” to the other droplets of oil on the surface, and while the oil will happily mix and “collect” the other oil droplets, it won’t pick up any water.

Confused? Me too. Lets move on.

How to use:
The gel face wash comes with a pump dispenser, so just wet your face with warm water or use in the shower, and massage your skin with a couple of pumps of the product, focusing on the T-Zone area. Rinse and pat dry.

This product shouldn’t leave your skin feeling tight or dry and also has mattifying properties to reduce the shine on your nose and forehead.

While I wouldn’t recommend you use it on your whole face, I would also suggest that once a week you exfoliate with the St Ives Oatmeal scrub – Boots £5.65 that I recommended for dry skin.
Just massage this into the dry areas of your face (cheeks) in small circular motions, then leave for a few minutes for the mask effect to take hold. Rinse and pat dry.

Once you have washed your face, you will need to moisturise.

While it seems completely counterintuitive, it is very important that you moisturise your T-Zone, as the excessive sebum production could be down to the fact your T-Zone is actually very dry, and your skin is trying to over-compensate.

With this in mind, you need to be using a moisturiser that is light on your T-Zone and “heavy” on your dry patches. Buildable moisturisers will work best, and that is why the first moisturiser I’d recommend is one I recommended in my last post – the Glossier Priming Moisturiser (£18).
The beauty of this moisturiser – and the reason it’s so 
perfect for combination skin – is the fact it is buildable. You can apply it all over your face, and then add more to the drier areas of your skin. It is a light, hydrating and buildable moisturiser that absorbs quickly, leaving your skin feeling soft and plump.

How to use:
Squeeze a small amount onto your fingertips and massage gently upwards into your face. You can add more or use less as you feel necessary.

However, while i strongly recommend Glossier, I haven’t been writing this series to recommend the same products over and over, as there’d be little point!

So if you’d rather not splash out £18 for Glossier, the other moisturiser I would recommend, is the Superdrug Naturally Radiant Renewing Night Cream (Superdrug £5.99). (I apologise in advance if this is unavailable in your country!)


The beauty of this moisturiser is it is a night cream, which means it’s an intense hydrating moisturiser, but it’s not too heavy or greasy. It has a similar effect to the Glosser Priming Moisturiser, in that your skin looks plump and radiant after use.

It is quick to absorb so you’re able to apply a little extra on the drier areas of your face without having to wait around to see if you’ve gone too far and applied too much!

How to use:
Start by massaging a small amount into your face in a circular motion, focusing on the drier areas – but not missing the T-Zone! – and working your way down into your neck. Leave to absorb and apply small amounts at a time to drier patches on your face if necessary.

Superdrug also do a day version of this cream here: Superdrug Naturally Radiant Day Cram for Normal/Combi skin (Superdrug – £5.99) however, it actually feels heavier than the night cream, and so I would recommend you use a small amount of the night cream as a day cream with your usual primer instead.

Applying Make-up to Combination Skin

When applying makeup to combination skin, it’s important to use the right types of products for the different areas of your face.

For example, for an oily T-Zone I would recommend a non-silicone based primer, followed by an oil-free/water based foundation and plenty of powder.

For the cheeks/drier areas, a silicone or hydrating primer would work better and use cream based blush and apply all products downwards so you don’t get build up underneath flaky skin.
Avoid using powder on dry skin where possible as this generally dries it out even more and emphasises the dry patches.

While using different types of make-up in different areas may seem finicky and take time, making the effort will ensure your make-up looks as flawless as possible.

While maintaining a nourishing, moisturising skincare routine, make sure that you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and drinking enough water. While skincare products can help relieve symptoms of combination skin, a healthy diet can actually improve dry skin from the source – you!

Eating healthily not only improves your overall health and clarity of your complexion, but can help to balance out hormones and drinking plenty of water helps your liver flush out toxins.

If you live in the north or experience cold, dark winters like we do here in Britain, I also recommend you take a Vitamin D supplement, as we usually absorb this from the sun’s radiation and it can affect our skin if we don’t get enough.
Please consult a doctor before taking Vitamin D supplements. 

When it comes to any particular skin type, it is important to remember that there is no quick fix. You may have to trial several products before you find the one that’s right for you, and this can be a long and disheartening process. But you must stick to it, because it is so worth it once you finally find the regime and products that work for you.

I have chosen to suggest mainly drugstore brands as I feel they will be more readily available and affordable for my readers. If you have used a more high end product that has worked really well, please recommend it in the comments!

You can find out more about other skin types by visiting the Directory. The directory will be complete by the 28/01/2018.


  • I have not been sponsored to promote any of the products within this post. It is important to note that this post is ADVICE ONLY and if choosing to take supplements or make drastic changes to your diet I strongly advise you consult a doctor. 

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