Skincare 101

What Is My Skin Type?

What Is My Skin Type?

If you want to look after your skin, you need to know how to tell your skin type and what each of the different skin types means for your skincare routine. Here, we take a look at two different skin type tests and examine how you can identify and treat dry, oily, combination, normal and sensitive skin. 

Skin Type Test – How to Tell Your Skin Type

what is my skin type

Most people will have an intuitive understanding of what skin type they are. We can often feel whether our skin is oily, and we generally know when sensitive skin reacts badly to a particular skincare product, pollution or a lack of care.   

However, taking a skin type test gives you concrete evidence to back up your instinct. It can also help give you an idea of how oily, dry, or sensitive your skin is. 

Blotting paper skin type test

The blotting paper test is one of the best ways to distinguish between different skin types and is particularly useful when it comes to differentiating dry from oily skin.


This test involves three quick and easy steps. They are: 

  1. Gently pat a piece of blotting paper on the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. Use a different part of the paper, or different sheets of paper, for each part of the face 
  2. Hold the sheet(s) up to the light 
  3. Study the results – If there is relatively little oil across all of the parts of the face tested, you have dry skin. If you find more oil on the forehead and nose area, you have either normal or combination skin. If all the tests are saturated in oil, you have oily skin 

Bare-faced skin type test

The bare-faced skin type test is a little more time consuming but generally returns accurate results. Trying both tests can be a good way of ensuring your results are on-target. The bare-faced test involves the following steps: 

  1. Cleanse the face with a mild cleanser and then gently dry. Use no other skincare products, e.g. serums and moisturisers 
  2. Leave for 30 minutes. Once half an hour has passed, look in the mirror. Try and see whether there’s any shine to your nose, forehead, cheeks or chin. 
  3. Leave for another 30 minutes then check against results. If your nose and forehead are shiny, you have normal or combination skin. If there is a shine to your cheeks and chin too, you have oily skin. If, when you smile or move your face, your skin feels taut or tight, you have dry skin 

Skin Type 1: Dry Skin 


skin type

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Characteristics of dry skin

The principal characteristics of dry skin include the following: 

  • Skin that feels tight or stretched, particularly when you smile or make certain expressions 
  • Itchy skin or parts of the face feeling irritated throughout the day 
  • Rough, rugged or flaky skin 
  • Skin that feels sensitive to temperature changes 

Dry skin is caused by a diverse array of factors, including genetics, climate, diet, lifestyle and any hormonal changes you may be experiencing. It’s also important to remember that dehydration is a common cause of dry skin – so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water!  

Dry skin tips

As we’ve mentioned, dry skin is caused by a range of factors. Consequently, you may need to try a few remedies, ruling out causes as you do, before you strike upon the right solution. With this in mind, we’d recommend working through the following five tips. 

  1. Hydrate regularly – hydration is key to healthy skin, so make sure you’ve always got a water bottle to hand 
  2. Look for hydrating ingredients – certain skincare ingredients, such as jojoba beans and almond oil are excellent moisturisers. Try and choose skincare products that include these ingredients 
  3. Moisturising face washes – some face washes can really dry out the skin. Try using a moisturising face wash, like the Moisture Burst Facial Wash to ensure you retain some moisture on the skin 
  4. Hyaluronic Acid – Hyaluronic Acid binds to water molecules and makes your skin look hydrated and dewy. So check out products like the Supercharged Hyaluronic Face and Neck Crème, which include Hyaluronic Acid as an active ingredient 
  5. Moisturise – When you’ve got dry skin, you need to provide it with as much hydration as possible, so moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!

Skin Type 2: Oily Skin 

skin type

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Characteristics of oily skin

Typical characteristics of oily skin include the following: 

  • An oily T-zone. The T-zone is the ‘T’-shaped section made up by your forehead and nose. However, those with oily skin will often feel that other parts of the face are oily, too 
  • Congested and blocked pores 
  • Naturally moist skin and the return of moisture quite soon after having washed the face 

Oily skin tips

If you have oily skin, there are a few things you can do to tackle the problem.  

  1. Exfoliate regularly – This unblocks pores and rebalances the skin. We’d recommend exfoliating with the Complexion Perfecting Radiance Exfoliator – it works wonders on oily skin 
  2. Look for exfoliators with anti-bacterial ingredients – For those who suffer from oily skin and severe acne, it may be worth looking at anti-bacterial exfoliators, as these can help prevent future outbreaks and can encourage healing  

Skin Type 3: Combination Skin

skin type

@saskiatopp via @sanctuaryspa on Instagram

Characteristics of combination skin

The main characteristics of combination skin are a combination of those we see in oily and dry skin types. 


This means that those with combination skin often have both an oily T-zone and dry cheeks and chin. As a result, caring for combination skin is all about striking a balance. 

Combination skin tips

If you’re looking for skincare tips for combination skin, we’d recommend trying the following: 

  1. Tailor your skincare routine – As you have different levels of moisture on different parts of the face, it’s necessary to treat them differently. Use appropriate products on oily areas and alternative products on dry spots 
  2. Try a charcoal mask on oily areas – The 5 Minute Thermal Charcoal Detox Mask is a great option as it draws out impurities and cleans pores, while also removing excess oils  
  3. Try a hydrating mask on dry areas – The Glacial Splash Hydrating Face Mask utilises ice cap water and alpine minerals to deliver a hydrating hit 

Skin Type 4: Normal Skin

skin type

@thelayoverlife_ via @sanctuaryspa on Instagram

Characteristics of normal skin

First things first – normal skin isn’t necessarily the norm and just as many people have dry, oily, sensitive or combination skin as they do “normal” skin. Rather than being normal in the sense that it’s the most common skin type, it’s normal because the skin is well-balanced, being neither too oily nor too dry with overall sebum and moisture balanced. 


Consequently, you’ll find that the main characteristics of normal skin are: 

  • Skin that’s neither particularly oily nor dry 
  • Soft and plump skin 
  • Fine pores that aren’t very visible and don’t produce large amounts of excess oil 
  • Generally unproblematic skin 

Normal skin tips

As normal skin is, by definition, largely unproblematic, there’s little you need to do to improve it. Perhaps your skin is naturally well-balanced, or your skincare routine is already working incredibly well! Either way, you’re on to a winner. Just keep on cleansing, moisturising and using UVA/UVB protection regularly and you’ll be fine. 

Skin Type 5: Sensitive Skin

skin type

@sanctuaryspa on Instagram

Characteristics of sensitive skin

Sensitive skin often responds poorly to certain substances or environmental conditions. Common characteristics of sensitive skin include irritation, redness and irritation, so you should be able to tell quite easily if you suffer from sensitive skin.  

Sensitive skin tips

If you’re looking to care for your skin without irritating it, we’d recommend considering the following tips. 

  1. Dry gently – Once you’ve washed and cleansed your face, dry carefully by dabbing it with a towel 
  2. Be pollution-aware – Understand that pollution, particularly micro dust, can have a significant impact on sensitive skin. Take precautions or try and avoid high-levels of pollution if you can 
  3. Special ingredients – There are a remarkable number of products available to those with sensitive skin. Most utilise ingredients that work wonders for those who struggle with sensitivity. Some experts also argue it’s a good idea to avoid certain ingredients, including parabens, synthetic fragrances and mineral oils, as they can upset sensitive skin 

Skincare science has come on leaps and bounds over the last few decades, giving us greater insight into how different skin types work. In turn, this has allowed us to tailor our skincare routines to meet the needs of any particular skin type. By using products and techniques that treat your specific problems, you get a better result and keep your skin looking healthier and blemish-free. 


Find moisturisers, serums and cleansers to suit every skin type in our skincare range. 

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