Our skin can't speak - which is a pity, because if it could, it would probably sue us for slander. We're desperate to give it a label - oily, congested, combination, acneic, dry - but what very few of us realise, is that skin's appearances can be deceptive. 

Some skins are dry - a skin condition which can be controlled - but other skins are simply thirsty; oil-eliminating toning, office air conditioning and too little water all compromise its equilibrium, so what's your dermalogical diagnosis?

{Dry}

Dry skin is a thing - some faces just don't fancy making all the oil and sebum needed to retain much-needed moisture. If left to its own devices, it won't look shiny (hoorah) but will probably appear patchy or dulled, and possibly more lined than that of your oily-skinned friends (boo). It's also more susceptible to sensitivity (oil creates a natural protective barrier), so redness, inflammation and irritation are a gloomy side-effect.

Choose gentle, nourishing cream or oil-rich cleansers - Oskia's {Renaissance Cleansing Gel} and MV Organic Skincare's {Gentle Cream Cleanser} are both beautiful - and exfoliate regularly, to eliminate the dulling, dehydrated surface cells. 

Use acidic or enzymatic formulas (here's a {guide} to which do what) - these will brighten as they help encourage cell renewal and in turn, enhance skin's barrier function. 

Apply hydrators while skin is still damp after cleansing - this will help to seal the precious water into skin (and also mean you use less product). Use thin layers - facial mist, serum and emollient cream (look for shea butter, ceramides, beeswax, sunflower seed or jojoba oils) - and keep a facial spritz in your handbag, to top-up moisture levels on the go. Tata Harper's {Hydrating Floral Essence} is a nutritive cocktail of essential oils - and smells incredible.

{Dehydrated}

Dehydrated skin lacks moisture but can still make oil, which is why it's often utterly bewildered - with shiny bits and flaky bobs; a condition most common amongst those with blemish-prone skin, who strip out all the moisture using harsh astringents. 

It's also a frequent complaint in mid-winter - when the cold outdoors and central heating, combine to cause complexion mayhem. Your face will feel tight and uncomfortable - a bit like its been sun or wind burned.

Choose sulphate-free, balancing cleansers - January Labs' {Pure & Gentle Cleansing Gel} and Omorovicza's {Cleansing Foam} both purge pores without drying - and avoid over-exfoliation. Use Foreo's {LUNA 2 for Combination Skin} to gently polish and promote blood-flow, and choose a lightweight, humectant hydrator - look for either glycerin or hyaluronic acid - to attract and retain moisture, without suffocating or exacerbating oiliness. 

The Ordinary's {Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5} and Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare's {Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion} are featherweight but soothing, to bring immediate relief from dehydration.

SHOP MOISTURISERS >>