Shopping for and creating a skincare routine is admittedly challenging, but knowing one bit of information can make it exponentially easier. We’re talking about your skin type, one of the most important things to consider when picking skincare products. The good news? Unlike determining what your rising moon sign is, figuring out your skin type really is pretty simple. If you’ve ever wondered, “what’s my skin type?” Keep reading to learn how to figure it out. Spoiler alert: All you have to do is wash your face.
Different Skin Types
Before we get to the good stuff, here’s a quick refresher on exactly what skin types we’re talking about. Most people fall into one of the below five categories:
Oily: Skin that produces an excess amount of sebum (the skin’s natural oil), which can leave your complexion looking greasy or shiny. Prominent pores, blackheads, and breakouts are all also more likely in those with oily skin.
Dry: On the flip side, dry skin lacks oil. It can tend to appear dull and lackluster, may feel tight, and, in extreme situations, start to peel, flake, or crack.
Combination: As the name suggests, combination skin will be oily in some spots—typically the T-zone—but drier in others, such as the cheeks.
Sensitive: Sensitive skin is more likely to be irritated by everything from certain skincare ingredients to environmental factors. Frequent redness, itching, and discomfort are all signs of sensitivity. It also bears mentioning that dryness and sensitivity do go hand-in-hand, so you may have a little bit of both.
Normal: When skin has well-balanced oil levels and no propensity towards sensitivity it’s considered normal. For what it’s worth, not many people *actually* have normal skin.
How to Determine Your Skin Type?
So, how can you determine which of these groups you fall into? All you have to do is wash your face. It’s called the “bare-faced method”, because all it involves is paying extra close attention to your bare skin. Start by washing your face with a basic, mild cleanser. Pat dry and, per the ‘bare’ part of things, don’t apply any skincare products. Set a timer for 30 minutes then take a peek in the mirror and assess how your skin feels. Here’s what you’re looking for:
Oily: If you see lots of shiny spots, you’re likely in the oily category.
Dry: Skin feeling tight and uncomfortable? You’re probably dry.
Combination: If you see some excess sheen and also have some areas that feel tight and dry, you guessed it, you have combination skin.
Sensitive: Irritation, redness, or stinging are all indicative that you may fall on the more sensitive side of the spectrum.
Normal: If you have none of the above and your complexion generally looks and feels good, congratulations. You are somewhat of a unicorn in the skincare world and have normal skin.