Not all of us have complexions that can be categorised into oily or dry. In fact, many of us will have something that sits somewhere in-between. But knowing how to treat this in-betweeny type of skin can be confusing, as there is slightly less insight online and from skincare brands. One of the most common queries is the following: should you moisturise combination skin? I looked into it, checking out what the experts say and suggesting some products to turn to.
So how do you know if you have combination skin? Typically, having a combination skin type simply means some areas of your face may be oily, and some may be dry, or even 'normal'. Oil tends to take hold at the t-zone, while cheeks can often feel dry. Experts at Paula's Choice explain that the cause of combination skin is usually hereditary, but that using certain products can imbalance skin, increasing the likelihood you experience both dryness and oiliness.
Unsurprisingly, and perhaps because of this reason, there has been a clear rise in combination skin, and one that Dr Rebecca Watkinson, Innovation and Research Manager for Aesop, has recognised: “Over the past decade we have observed an increasing prevalence of combination skin among our customers, particularly in warmer climates, and they were finding it increasingly difficult to manage this challenging and often reactive skin type."
So what do the experts recommend regarding moisturising skin? Well, it's obvious that the normal/dry parts of your skin will benefit from moisture, but what about the oily bits?
"Even if it seems counterintuitive, don’t stop moisturizing if you have oily, acne-prone skin," says Dr. Eric Schweiger, founder of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.
"By skipping the moisturizer, your skin will dry out and in turn rebound with more oil production, which can actually cause more breakouts."
In terms of the type of moisturiser you should use, Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale, told Women's Health: “When searching for the best moisturiser for combination skin, you want to find one that doesn’t tilt the skin too far toward one side of the spectrum."
She continued: “Oil-free is the key phrase, and you should always look for lighter hydrators, such as lotions and serums, as opposed to heavier products, like creams, ointments, and oils."
With this in mind, I have rounded up the best lightweight moisturisers that will nourish but are still suitable for combination skin types:
Paula's Choice is a brilliant brand for specific skincare concerns, or to turn to if you want products that suit your skin type perfectly. They have a great range of moisturisers, many of which are suitable for combination skin. This one is oil-free, and has a light, water-like texture that nourishes while targeting things like breakouts and enlarged pores.
This lightweight gel moisturiser is a personal favourite of mine, and it has just been re-formulated to include energising coffee, as well as its OG hero ingredient: ginseng. It sinks into skin beautifully, and leaves a noticeable glow. Oh, and it smells like chocolate oranges.
No7's range of hyaluronic acid moisturisers are designed to boost all skin types. This one is best for oily and/or combination skin, thanks to its super refreshing, lightweight gel formula. It's oil-free, light, and is amazing after being put in the fridge during the hotter summer months.