Men's Grooming Skin Care

What’s Your Skin Type?

So what’s your skin type? Quite a difficult question and one that completely determines which skincare product you should use.

Firstly, there’s a difference between skin concern and skin type. You can have sensitive, spot prone or even dehydrated skin whilst still being either oily or dry; a skin type is based on how oily/dry your skin is and in which areas.

There are 4 main skin types that tend to be used commercially: Very Dry, Dry Combination, Combination Oily and Very Oily. Dermatologically these types go into finer detail and more refined categorization but for purchasing, these are what you should try and group yourself into. So how do you find it out?

Step One: LOOK

How does your skin look, are there areas where it’s shiny? If there is, this is normally due to excess oiliness. If the skin looks dull and has no shine, then this is symptomatic of dryness. It’s very common to see both these symptoms on your skin but in different areas. The most common is dryer cheeks and a shinier forehead, nose and chin (T-Zone).

Step Two: ASK

Firstly you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How does my face feel after I’ve washed it? If your skin feels fine and not tight at all, then your skin is not dry.
  2. Could I happily and comfortably not wear a moisturizer? If your skin feels comfortable without a moisturizer throughout the day, then you aren’t dry.
  3. If my skin is tight after washing and I need a moisturizer for it to feel comfortable, then how does my skin feel by lunchtime? – If your skin feels tight again by lunch time then it’s likely you are quite dry.

Step Three: FEEL

Once you’ve asked yourself the questions, you need to do a surface skin test, this allows you to feel for surface oil and water.

You’ll need all 5 fingers for this and make sure your hands are cleaned and dried:

  • Index Finger: Swipe across the forehead. What can you feel? If you can feel surface oil, you should be able to click your fingers together and feel a wet slick. If there’s dryness, you should feel no wetness and the skin should pull/drag underneath your finger, you might also feel roughness and flakiness. If you feel elevated little bumps, this can be congestion, commonly known as blocked pores, this is a sign of under-exfoliation as dead skin that doesn’t fall free from the face can collapse into pores, blocking, causing blackheads and/or spots.
  • Middle Finger: Pull this down your nose and chin. Again, look for the same as above.
  • Ring Finger: Pull this up the cheek, we’re still checking for the same thing.
  • Little Finger (I hate the word Pinkie): Slide this under the eye area being incredibly gentle checking for that all-important oiliness/dryness.
  • Finally, use the side of your thumb on the palm side and lift your cheek up, if when you look in the mirror you see your skin as having a crepy texture, this normally denotes dehydration.


If you’re finding dryness as well as dehydration all over, then you are likely Very Dry.

If you find that you have one or more areas that are dry as well as one or more areas that feel normal, possible even a little oily, then you’re likely to be Dry Combination.

If you have one or more areas that are normal plus one or more areas that are over oily, then you’re oily/combination.

Finally, if you’re oily all over, then you’re Very Oily.

You can still have any of these skin types whilst being dehydrated I might add. Dryness normally denotes lack of oil, whereas dehydration is lack of water. It is easy to over oil the skin, but fortunately not easy to over hydrate.

Hopefully, this guide will help you determine your skin type, but if you’re still not certain, heading out to a skin care store or counter where you can find trained experts will help massively as it’s not an exact science. Try to make sure you check your skin type every time you need to buy new cosmetics as it can change all the time, annually, seasonally and even daily.