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How To

How To: Diagnose Your Skin Type

Verity Douglas
Writer and expert8 years ago
View Verity Douglas's profile
How To Diagnose Your Skin Type

Many of us still make {skin care} purchasing decisions based on one, over-the-counter consultation we had as a teenager. Yes, your skin was oily... then. But chances are your skin has since 'grown up' somewhat and, just as with belly chains and hair mascara, what worked then probably no longer suits (apologies to those who still have hair mascara). Your face has feelings, so it's probably about time you played 'agony aunt'...

You're going to need a big ol' mirror. If you quake in terror at the thought of getting all 'up close and personal' with your pores, then consider it a hoop to be jumped through en route to complexion perfection. Sure, a date with one of simplehuman's unforgiving {sensor mirrors} feels a bit like going to the dentist, but once you've got over the shock ("is that... a... beard!?") the whole experience is weirdly liberating - not to mention, incredibly insightful.

{Scrutinise your pores}

If pores are noticeable, and your skin has a waxy 'orange peel' texture, then it's oily. If you're struggling to spot them, chances are it's dry - and if they're confined to your t-zone then you're combination. And if you're none of the above and pores are, well, normal - it's probable your skin is 'normal' too (lucky).

{Pinch your cheeks}

If the skin appears plump and smooth (like a baby's bottom), that means it's hydrated so you can rule out dry or combination skin which puts you in camp 'oily'. Conversely, if it creases easily it's thirsty, so you need to feed it with a rehydrating moisturiser.

{Now what?}

Well, congratulations on your dermatological diagnosis...

If the outcome is oily, exfoliation is key. You need to stop the oil from clogging pores and causing blemishes, so cleanse carefully and think about investing in Foreo's {LUNA} to eliminate impurities.

Alpha-H's {Skin Solutions Kit - Normal/Oily} contains a trial-sized line-up of clarifying, shine-controlling products but resist any temptation to be too abrasive. Oil can be a good thing - it keeps skin looking younger, longer - and if you over-strip the sebum you will only end up making more. So yes, adhere to a strict cleansing ritual but follow with a light layers of hydration to establish harmony.

If the outcome is dry, it's likely that your skin is also prone to dullness. An acid toner - such as Alpha-H's {Liquid Gold} - will melt the bonds that trap dead cells to skin, revealing a more even (therefore light-reflective) surface. It's also important to supplement skin's lipid barrier; choose a serum or moisturiser rich in essential fatty acids, to strengthen skin's resilience and keep the 'good stuff' in whilst providing protection from elemental extremes. REN's {Vita Mineral Omega 3 Skin Serum Oil} is an overnight miracle worker.

If you're combination, the key is to correct imbalance. Jojoba oil is one of the best normalisers. With a molecular structure almost identical to skin's own sebum, when applied this 'tricks' your face into believing that its work is done. The result? Cheeks are comfortably hydrated while your t-zone gradually becomes less oily. MV Organic Skincare's {Pure Jojoba} is the dream - just work 2-3 drops into skin every morning.

And if you fall within the 'normal' bracket, combine a combination of all three to maintain your complexion's delicate equilibrium. Avoid anything abrasive or oil-stripping - choose gentle cream or balm cleansers to eliminate grime without stripping the skin and provoking rebellion.

Alpha-H - beloved for their problem solving approach to skin care - have introduced three kits specifically for {Normal/Oily}, {Normal/Dry} and {Dry/Sensitive} complexions. They represent the perfect opportunity to try the range for 'size' and gauge your skin's response to change.



Verity Douglas
Writer and expert
View Verity Douglas's profile
Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...