How to Figure Out Your Skin Type Once and for All
You look at your skin every day, you touch your skin every day, and when it comes to skin types, there aren't that many categories. Yet somehow, nailing down that one classification is notoriously problematic. If, like so many others, you promised yourself you'd take better care of your complexion in 2016, knowing your skin type is an important first step. So we turned to one woman who really knows skin: celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas. She's the one responsible for the glowing complexions you see going down the red carpet (think Jenna Dewan Tatum and Karlie Kloss, to name a few). As it turns out, figuring out your skin type is remarkably easy—we're talking facepalm easy.
Keep reading to find out how it's done and to finally understand your skin type!
Step 1: Find a mirror. Step 2: Examine your pores. “Large pores and the appearance of an orange peel texture indicates oily skin,” Vargas says. “No visible pores means dry skin. And larger pores in the T-zone and no visible pores on the cheeks is combination.” If none of that sounds like you, and your pores are neither enlarged nor invisible, you probably have that skin type called normal.
To confirm your suspicion, move onto the next test. Step 3: Pinch yourself. “The second thing you need to do is give your skin a tiny pinch on the cheek. If it appears plump and smooth, your skin is nice and hydrated.” That means you can rule out dry and combination skin. “If it wrinkles easily, it’s dehydrated,” Vargas says. That means you probably have dry or combination skin.
And there you have it. It’s as simple as that. Who knew pores and pinched cheeks were the clues we’d been missing?
Figured out what your skin type is? Keep scrolling for more details and tips from Vargas!
“This skin type tends to look like an orange peel,” Vargas says. “The pores are big and open. They can be seen all over the face, not just on the nose, for example.” Since keeping this type of skin clean is key, her best suggestion for oily skin is to exfoliate regularly (two to three times a week) and get regular facials with extractions (monthly, if possible). “If you do not have active whiteheads or cysts on the face, then a Foreo Cleansing Device ($249) would work great to keep the blackheads at bay in between facials.” She also recommends getting LED light therapy treatments twice a month to minimise the appearance of pores. Or try using your NuFace Trinity device with the red LED–light Wrinkle Reducer Attachment ($220).
While people with dry skin don’t have to worry about visible pores, Vargas notes that dry skin can look a bit dull and even somewhat chalky. “It tends to get a little sensitive and patchy in winter, when there is a lack of moisture in the air,” Vargas says. “My top tip is to eat avocado in a green smoothie every day to help keep the skin hydrated from the inside out. It has omega-3 fatty acids to keep the skin’s lipid layer moist and plump. Greens are also great for dry skin because they’re oxygenating and bring life into the skin.” She also suggests investing in a humidifier, which will help your skin retain moisture, no matter the climate.
With combination skin, as you would expect, part of your face is oily (typically your T-zone), and part of your face is dry (usually the cheeks). With combination skin, the goal is to balance your entire complexion, getting both the oiliness and dryness to meet in the middle. According to Vargas, using jojoba oil is the best way to achieve balance. “It will keep the dry parts hydrated better and keep oil production down,” she says. Both Joanna Vargas’s own Rejuvenating Serum ($144) and Nude Skincare’s ProGenius Treatment Oil ($85) utilise the power of jojoba oil.
Normal skin rarely breaks out, and even though the pores may not be invisible, normal skin doesn’t have much of an issue with large, visible pores. Vargas says to keep up with a thorough skincare routine filled with powerful ingredients. At night, she says it’s especially important to cleanse, use a serum, and apply night cream. “I would wash nightly with a good exfoliating cleanser to keep the pores clean, and follow with both a serum and night cream. A serum will give the skin a nice boost of vitamins, which are easily assimilated into the skin, and the night cream should contain stem cells to stimulate collagen production,” Vargas says. Our favourite exfoliating cleansers are Cosmedix's Purity Clean ($53) and Philosophy’s The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash ($40).
So, what’s the verdict? What’s your skin type? Tell us below in the comments!