I fall into the combination skin camp. It’s dehydrated, feels dry in parts and I’m graced with an oily t-zone. In my teenage years I had acne, and since then I’ve just been a bit skincare obsessed (I’ve got a whole category dedicated to skincare if you fancy a read). When your skin is oily, dry, normal and dehydrated all at the same time, navigating skincare is quite honestly a bit of a nightmare. I find my skin gets worse in the colder months, and I’m constantly trying to keep it hydrated without being overloaded with product. I thought I would talk through some of my current staples in my routine to try and combat my combination skin, and get it back to feeling more balanced. Over the past few years I’ve had a solid routine and found products that really work.
For years I used to think I just had oily skin, I didn’t realise it was also completely lacking moisture (basically screaming for it) and I was continually stripping it with clay masks. Doing this only makes it worse, and your skin starts to produce even more oil to overcompensate for being dehydrated.
Definitely avoid harsh soaps, and usually foaming cleansers are bad news (I know some have been formulated to be not so stripping, but they’re few and far between). Try and go for a cleanser that’s gentle and won’t strip the skin, but at the same time you want to make sure you’re cleansing your skin of any makeup/ grime (apologies couldn’t think of a better word) from the day.
For me a good cleanser is key. I’m just about to run out of the Erborian Milk Resurfacing Cleanser* and I’ve absolutely loved using it. One of the main ingredients is Sesame milk which helps improve the quality of the skin texture and hydration. It works well as a second cleanser, leaving my skin nice and hydrated before applying other products.
To remove eye makeup I stick with my trusty Garnier Micellar water, I’ve used this for years and it removes everything easily and doesn’t irritate my eyes at all. I’ve been using these bamboo cotton pads for the past 4 months, so much more sustainable than single use pads and they’ve lasted so well in the wash.
I’ve used quite a few cleansers over the years, and my main tips for oily/ dehydrated skin is to avoid anything that foams. It’s usually the cream textures/ formulas that works best to cleanser the skin and keep it hydrated – without overloading it with product. In the winter months I will sometimes reach for an oil based cleanser, but otherwise, I stick to cream cleaners (and occasionally gel in the summer months).
The best cleansers for dehydrated, yet oily skin
I didn’t realise it at first, but toners and mists are a really important part of my skincare routine. They prep my skin for serums and moisturisers, and everything seems to sink in and work better when I use them. It’s definitely not a step in your routine to skip basically! Our skin is like a sponge, so when we add a mist/ toner before other products, it allows those to work better too.
Every morning and night I use a toner straight after cleansing. One of my favourites that I always repurchase is the Pixi Glow Tonic. It contains 5% glycolic acid, which is a small amount but enough to get you started with using more active skincare. This toner leaves my skin glowy, clear of blemishes and my overall complexion looks clearer without feeling stripped of moisture. It’s affordable but has amazing ingredients that work! Honestly I repurchase this over and over again (I’m also on the Pixi PR list, so they do send me some occasionally). One thing to note with this, I mean you should always wear SPF anyway, but definitely after using an acid based product as the skin is more sensitive to UV rays.
A couple of other toners that are perfect for combination skin are the Pixi Retinol Tonic, and Alpha H liquid gold. Liquid gold is quite pricey, but it’s the ultimate toner and treatment for blemish prone/ oily skin. I always notice a difference in my skins texture, appearance and how it looks overall when I use liquid gold.
Serum is another step I’ve always noticed my combination skin loving. There’s so many different types of serums, but there’s a few I lean to more than others to add hydration and give my skin a glow…
A skincare ingredient that’s perfect for combination skin is Hyluronic acid. It’s another one where I actually see results when I add it into my routine, and it works wonders at keeping my skin hydrated. An affordable one that’s amazing is The Inky List Hyaluronic Acid Serum. The formulation contains 2% hyaluronic acid, which for £5.99 is bloody good. If you’re new to Hyaluronic Acid I definitely recommend trying this first. You apply it before your moisturiser and it amplifies how much moisture you skin will absorb from the product.
Another favourite I’ve just started using is L’Oreal Revitalift Hyluronic Acid Serum* If you have dehydrated but oily skin you need a hyluronic acid based serum in your routine. This is what changed the game for me. This serum is lightweight and absorbs into the skin almost instantly. I’m not sure this is worth the £24.99 full price, but it is often on offer which then I do think it’s worth picking up.
Another serum that is definitely on the pricier side but well worth it if you have the funds is Sunday Riley’s Good Genes Serum. This really is a facial in a bottle. My skin looked the clearest and most refined it’s ever looked using this. I bought it in the run up to my wedding two years ago and I’m so glad I did.
All of these serums I have tried and tested and can vouch work well for dehydrated/ oily skin…
I know for a lot of us with oily skin, the thought of applying oils feels odd, but actually they can be the best thing for oily skin. The Clarins Blue Orchid Treatment Oil* is probably the product I’m most excited about for those of us with combination skin. It’s formulated to help increase hydration and keep skin balanced, which is exactly what it does. I use this in the evenings and have noticed a huge difference since doing so. My skin doesn’t feel tight like it used to and I wake up with clear skin (bar the hormonal breakouts) most days.
Last but not least, a moisturiser is still a staple if you have oily skin. I love Clinique Moisture Surge and I’m just about to run out of my second pot. It’s a gel-cream formula that sinks into the skin without leaving any greasy residue. This combined with the hyluronic serum is amazing to hydrate, plump and add glow without being a product overload. I apply the majority of to the outside of my face and work my way in, just to not overload my t-zone with product.
I hope you’re in the oily/ dehydrated skin camp you’ve found this useful. I’ve had this skin type for a fair few years now and tested so many different types of products but finally feel like I’ve found what works!
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