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How to Determine Your Skin Type

Dry? Oily? Combination? Not a clue? Here we lay down simple steps on how to determine your basic skin type so you can use the right products for your skin!

Woman washing face with cleanser.

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Not sure what your skin type is?

You've heard you need to be using the right products for your skin type, but what if you're not sure what your skin type is? We're here to help! It's important to determine your skin type correctly so you know which products you need to incorporate into your routine and at what frequency you should use them.

Four Basic Skin Types

There are four basic skin types: normal, dry, combination and oily. Your skin type can change over time due to hormones, aging, etc. For example, the skin becomes drier with age because our natural production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid declines.

Infographic on four main skin types

If you're wondering why 'sensitive skin' isn't listed as a skin type, it's because sensitivity is actually a skin condition (think rosacea, acne-prone skin, etc). Your skin will be sensitive/reactive if your skin barrier is damaged, no matter what skin type you have. The goal in treating all skin types is consistently using products that promote a healthy skin barrier. A healthy, intact skin barrier is the foundation, then you can build on from there to address concerns like acne, dark spots and fine lines.


How do I determine my skin type?

There’s one simple and basic method that we recommend using when looking to determine your skin type.

Step 1: Cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry.

Step 2: Don't apply anything to your face. You literally want to be ~barefaced~. 

Step 3: Wait one hour. 

Step 4: Take a look in the mirror and assess your skin.



If your skin isn’t excessively shiny or red and tight all over, wow! You have normal skin.

If your skin is flaky, rough, dull-looking or feels tight throughout, especially when talking or smiling, you likely have dry skin.

If your skin looks shiny around your T-zone (mainly forehead and nose),but your cheeks feel drier and tight, you likely have combination skin.

If your skin feels and looks shiny all over–on your cheeks, nose and forehead–you likely have oily skin.

If your skin feels irritated, stings, is red or inflamed, you have sensitive skin–which could be from genetics (like rosacea or eczema) or an impaired, damaged skin barrier.


Jordan Harper applying Barefaced Liquid Gold Vitamin C Serum.


Simple Routines Based on Skin Type



sample routine for dry skin

If you consider your skin to be extremely dry, try Gentle Cleansing Lotion in place of Papaya Enzyme Cleanser. You can also incorporate Soothing Facial Rinse in place of Toning Pads.



sample routine for oily skin



sample routine for combination skin

Start with Papaya Enzyme Cleanser and increase to Brightening Facial Wash if your skin feels more oily.



Or if you think your skin barrier may be damaged, try this:

sample routine for sensitive skin



If ever in doubt of where to begin, make sure to check out our Skincare Quiz here or sign up for a customized Skincare Consult by our one of our Skincare Nurse Consultants!





  1. Journal of Dermatological Treatment, November 2020, pages 716-722
  2. Journal of the German Society of Dermatology, October 2005, pages 768-774

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