Sigh. Combination skin is such a pain in the arse - at least if you have one basic issue it immediately narrows down what's good to use and will hopefully help you to find a solution quickly. But what if you're one of the estimated 70% with a couple of things going on? Like dry cheeks and forehead and a shiny t-zone? Or how about high colouring or a propensity to rosacea on your cheeks but pretty regular skin elsewhere? Sensitive and oily? ARGH - what do you do?
Does this mean that you've got to buy two sets of products to treat all your issues? Not necessarily. For me, through a long process of trial and error, I've found some stuff that keeps my very-dry-but-with-congestion skin in check.
I think getting your cleanser right can often be the key for combo skin and that's true for me - Eve Lom is very expensive, there is no denying it, but by god does it do the trick for my face. The fact it contains oil helps to support the dry bits, and the slightly gritty texture combined with a hot, wet muslin cloth definitely keeps the chin gunk at bay. I can then use the sort of moisturisers my skin likes - ones that generally have to be fought out of the pot they're so thick, and oils, which I religiously use at night.
Paula Cuddihy of Urbana is of the same opinion, and uses Murad products in-salon because its ranges are designed to work around combo skin. "It's like a patchwork," she says, suggesting that you use a basic cleanser and moisturiser - something that'll support and treat your main issue - and then add in a treatment product to take care of the combination element. That could be an exfoliator, a super-hydrating serum, a targeted masque or specific product like something containing salicylic acid.
As an example, lets say you're dry with congestion: I've found a way round it that suits my preferences and pocket (er, sort of), but you could use a cleanser and moisturiser to treat your dry issue, and exfoliate two-to-three times a week with a good gunk-clearing exfoliator to keep the problem at bay.
Or are you oily and blemish-prone on your t-zone but relatively normal elsewhere? Use your basic skincare daily but weekly apply a purifying clay masque to the zitty bits to draw out gudge and keep sebum production down. You could use a cleanser with some gylcolic or salicylic acid in it a couple of times a week either.
The point is, getting the patchwork right for you will be a process of trial and error, and you can of course splash out on two sets of cleansers, moisturisers and whatever else have you, but if you want to save money - not to mention time - this could be a goer for you.
We've loads of skincare recommendations across price-points and brands in our skincare category.
And do leave us a comment to tell us how you manage your particular combination skin issues.
Disclaimer: we can’t diagnose your skintype for you as a) we can’t see you and b) we’re not professional beauty therapists or skin experts. Please take the above advice as general information which may help you to understand your skin a little better, and not the word of the law – everyone is different and what suits you may not suit someone else, and vice versa.