What is my skin type

What’s My Skin Type?

By Bianca Hazelhurst
26/07/2023 | Read time: 5m

Your skin is as unique as you are, and understanding its specific needs (and let's face it, sometimes its downright demands!) is essential for maintaining a healthy and radiant complexion, what we all want right?

Observing Your Skin

I don’t mean it’s time to put on camouflage, duck down into long grass and pull out your binoculars. No, observing your skin doesn’t require that level of commitment. However, before delving into the different skin types, you do need to take some time for self-assessment. Stand in front of a mirror first thing when you wake up and look closely for these factors:

Texture: Is your skin smooth, rough, or somewhere in between?
Shine: Does your skin have a natural glow, or does it appear shiny and greasy? Or matte and lifeless?
Pores: Are your pores visibly enlarged, especially around the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin)?
Hydration: Does your skin feel tight and uncomfortable, or does it feel moisturized?
Sensitivity: Does your skin often react to new products or environmental factors with redness, itching, or irritation?
Blemishes: Do you experience frequent breakouts or acne?

By taking note of the above, you’ll start to get a clearer picture of your skin type, especially if you do this over the course of a few days.

The 5 Common Skin Types

Oily Skin

Characteristics: Oily skin tends to produce excess sebum, making the complexion appear shiny (a nice way to say greasy). Pores may be visibly enlarged, and blemishes and acne are more of a common occurrence.

Skincare Tips: Use a gentle cleanser, and avoid heavy, pore-clogging products. Double-cleansing could actually be a massive help here. Look for skincare products that contain ingredients like salicylic acid to help control excess oil production, like this amazing cleanser from COSRX or this seriously smoothing toner from ISNTREE.

Dry Skin

Characteristics: Dry skin lacks sufficient moisture, resulting in a rough, flaky texture and a feeling of tightness, especially after hopping out of a shower. It may have fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the eyes and mouth.

Skincare Tips: Use a hydrating and creamy second stage cleanser (like this one) to maintain moisture in the skin. Look for products with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and occulsives to lock in hydration. The range from ETUDE HOUSE is an answer to a dry skin girl’s prayer, read more about them here from our in-house expert Kate.

Combination Skin

Characteristics: Combination skin is a mix of both oily and dry areas. Like, seriously? Why is this even allowed to be an option! Skin is complicated enough without now having a mix of things! But alas, for a combo skinned gal or guy, the T-zone tends to be oily (forehead, nose, and chin), while the cheeks and sometimes the jawline can be dry. Unfair.

Skincare Tips: Choose a gentle, balancing cleanser that addresses both oiliness and dryness (my fave from COSRX here). You can also consider using different products for different areas of your face to meet specific needs. AXIS-Y has a super interesting little product specifically designed for this here.

Sensitive Skin

Characteristics: Sensitive skin is prone to redness, irritation, and reactions to various skincare ingredients. It may feel tight and uncomfortable after using certain products or even have a delayed reaction a day or so later.

Skincare Tips: Opt for fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and gentle skincare products. Here at UNBLEMISH, we have a super useful skincare filter as you browse which can search specific requirements you may have for your skincare.

With all skincare types, always patch test new products and introduce them gradually to avoid potential irritations and days of avoiding seeing people, unless it’s Halloween…

Normal Skin

Characteristics: Lucky you! Normal skin has a balanced level of moisture, small pores, and few blemishes. It has a smooth texture and a healthy, natural glow.

Skincare Tips: Maintain your skin’s natural balance by using a mild, hydrating cleanser and regularly moisturizing with pH neutral ingredients to keep your skin healthy and radiant.

The Blotting Paper Test

A quick and practical way to determine your skin type, especially for oily or combination skin, is the blotting paper test:

  1. Wash your face and wait for about an hour without applying any products.
  2. Pat a blotting paper on different areas of your face.
  3. Observe the translucent spots on the blotting paper.

If the paper shows oil all over, especially on the T-zone, you likely have oily skin. If there’s oil only on the T-zone but not on the cheeks, you likely have combination skin. Minimal oil on the blotting paper indicates normal or dry skin.

Seek Professional Advice

If you still find it challenging to identify your skin type or need personalized skincare recommendations, consider consulting a dermatologist or licensed skincare professional. They can provide a thorough skin analysis and suggest the best products and routines for your specific needs.


Knowing your skin type is the foundation for a successful skincare routine. Once you understand the unique characteristics of your skin, you can select the right products and tailor your regimen to achieve the best results. No point in putting water in a car and oil on flowers, right?

If all of this information isn’t overwhelming enough, remember that our skin type may change over time due to various factors such as weather, age, and hormones, so it’s essential to adjust your skincare routine from time to time. I recommend with each change of season.

Embrace your skin’s uniqueness and embark on a journey of self-care that brings out your skin’s best self. Happy skin, happy you!