Close up headshot of female with combination skin

Skincare routine for combination skin

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Combination skin type is often the one that confuses people the most. Since both oily and dry skin types have opposing characteristics, it can be hard to know whether you should be hydrating the dry areas or keeping oil at bay. The trick is to find products that are gentle and nourishing whilst also being effective and cleaning out pores. 

The best skincare routine for combination skin would be simplistic and gentle. It should include a gentle double cleanse, followed by a chemical exfoliant once or twice a week and a hydrating moisturiser to finish. Don’t worry about cleansing twice a day and always wear a hydrating and soothing sunscreen reapplied throughout the day.

You might find it helpful to apply your richer products on your dry areas and restrict your oil-reducing products to your t-zone. Treating these areas separately can sometimes be easier than finding a product that works well across both. 

A.M. routine for combination skin

Your morning routine should protect your skin throughout the day. This is where you’ll be exposed to pollution, UV rays and different climates so you’ll want nourishing products that keep your skin barrier strong. 

1. Cleanse

Whether you cleanse once or twice a day will depend on your skin's tendency toward dryer or oilier skin. If your dry patches are more severe, then cleaning just once in the evening might work better for you. If you are unsure however, you could focus your morning cleanse around your T-zone or where you experience more sebum build up without disturbing the dryer parts of your face. 

2. Serum

Vitamin C is an excellent serum to use in the morning. It’s an antioxidant that neutralises damaging free radicals which can be caused by pollution and UV light. It also helps improve the efficacy of your sunscreen as they work together to protect your skin from environmental stress.

3. Moisturise

A lightweight moisturiser for the day will lock in moisture without overbearing your pores. Make sure you choose a product that is non-comedogenic as these are known to clog pores, leading to blemishes. Ingredients that are hydrating but light will help keep your skin balanced. The Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Day cream contains hydrating hyaluronic acid along with Enoxolone are proven to stimulate its production in the skin whilst limiting its degeneration. It also contains SPF 30 to give your skin some extra protection from the sun throughout the day. 

4. SPF

Sunscreen is one of the most important steps to any skincare routine. UV rays can cause the most damage to our skin's moisture barrier. Inadequate protection from the sun can cause skin sensitivity and premature ageing so it is important to pick the right product for this step. 

First and foremost you should reapply SPF throughout the day, so you want to ensure that it is the right sunscreen for your skin. A product that is suitable for blemish-prone and dry skin will help keep combination skin types happy. Opt for a non-greasy, oil control sunscreen that will protect your skin from sun rays but also feel comfortable and effortless. Formulas that contain an antioxidant like Licochalcone A will help the efficacy even more to keep you protected throughout the day. 


P.M. routine for combination skin

Your night time routine is where you can make the most of your activities and exfoliants to clean out your pores and shed any dead skin cells away. These products are great for controlling oil build up, whilst also removing flaky skin from dry patches. 

It is important to do these steps in the evening since they can sensitise your skin, making your moisture barrier more vulnerable to the sun. Many activities shouldn’t be used together so try and stick to just one of these products each evening, and never forget to apply your sunscreen the next day.

1. Double cleanse

Double cleansing is important for effectively cleaning your face and getting all the dirt, makeup and sunscreen from that day off. For this, you’ll want to start with a micellar water or oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser. Choose a cleanser that is gentle yet effective, with oil control benefits. Try to avoid products that feel stripping on your skin or fragrances which can be sensitising over time. 

2. Exfoliate

Using a gentle exfoliant will help clear away any dirt or dead skin cells without irritating dry areas. Lactic acid is a mild AHA which also has hydrating properties, making it the perfect choice for people with combination skin.

3. Moisturise

For your night time moisturiser you can pick a richer product like the Hyaluron Filler Night cream, which will keep you hydrated throughout the night. This is your skin’s best opportunity to heal and hydrate without disruption. Look for a formula with hydrating ingredients and don’t be afraid to layer it again over the dry areas. 

Key actives work together to make skincare formulas that make our skin nourished and protective. There are some key ingredients you can look out for that will be particularly good for combination skin.

Hyaluronic acid

Using products with hyaluronic acid in them will help hydrate your skin without adding oil. It occurs naturally within the skin and is great at holding moisture. It works by drawing water out from the atmosphere into your skin to keep it hydrated. Used within a formulated moisturiser will help lock this added moisture in.


Argan oil

Argan oil is non-comedogenic and good for regulating sebum production. This makes it perfect for combination skin since it can soothe dry patches whilst managing oily parts. Furthermore, its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics help to soothe redness in the skin and protect it from outside stressors. Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler + Elasticity Night Cream contains Argon oil to regenerate and intensely nourish skin overnight.


Similarly to hyaluronic acid, glycerol is a humectant which draws moisture out from the atmosphere and into the skin. It keeps the skin hydrated without adding oil.

Licochalcone A

Licochalcone A is a powerful antioxidant derived from licorice which features in a number of Eucerin products. Like other antioxidants, it neutralises harmful free radicals which lead to ageing and form as a result of pollution and environmental stressors. As an added benefit this innovative ingredient is anti-inflammatory and works to soothe skin and calm irritation.   


Ceramides are fatty molecules that keep our skin’s moisture barrier protected
Ceramides are fatty molecules that keep our skin’s moisture barrier protected

Ceramides work to hold moisture into skin by preventing the evaporation of water from the skin. Skincare products containing ceramides will help to lock in moisture and prevent drying out. They do this by forming a protective layer making them great for anyone with a compromised moisture barrier. 

Ingredients to avoid for combination skin

Whilst there are many ingredients that you want in your skincare products there are some you should lookout for to avoid. Different brands have different standpoints on which ingredients are safe for long term support and it may not be obvious until you read the ingredients list.

  • Stripping Ingredients: The variations in excess oil and dryness with combination skin, is usually caused by dysregulation of sebum production resulting from a damaged moisture barrier. Stripping ingredients can exacerbate this by harming our skin's natural defence barrier. 
  • Fragrance: Fragrances are generally not necessary in skincare but can have sensitising effects when used over long periods. If possible it can be beneficial to avoid these in skincare especially when trying to treat specific skin concerns.
  • Overly greasy products: Whilst you want to hydrate the dry areas of your face you don’t want to overbear the oily parts. When using richer moisturisers make sure you don’t go too heavy on your T-zone and opt for hydrating products that aren’t too heavy.
  • Comedogenic ingredients: Comedogenic ingredients are those which are known to clog pores. Some people might not react badly to these however for people with oilier skin, it’s safest to steer clear of these ingredients.

Variation of combination skincare routines

Different people with combination skin will find they have varying amounts of dryness and oiliness. It is important to personalise your routine to make it right for you as an individual.

Combination skin with acne

Close up image of forehead acne
Combination skin can be associated with acne as pores around the T-zone are prone to clogging.

In addition to an oily T-zone you could experience clogged pores and subsequent blemishes or acne. If you are prone to acne breakouts it is important to avoid comedogenic ingredients and heavy emollients like shea butter. Salicylic acid is a great ingredient for clearing out pores. Use this chemical exfoliant on the areas you experience breakouts to manage blemishes without irritating dry areas.

Sensitive combination skin

Sensitive skin goes hand in hand with dysregulated sebum production so you might find you experience sensitivity if you have combination skin. Opt for ingredients that are good for skin barrier repair such as ceramides and niacinamide. Or anti-inflammatory, soothing ingredients like licochalcone A. Locking your skincare in with an oil can help keep dry areas protected throughout the night. 


Skincare routine for extreme combination skin

With extreme combination skin it is that much more important to avoid a blanket approach to your skincare. Use products for oily skin only on the oily areas and emollients only on the dry parts. 

Use gentle hydrating cleansers that won’t strip the skin and apply a light sunscreen all over the face after applying an emollient only to dry patches. 

Tips for combination skin

Once you’ve chosen your products and know your skincare steps you’ll want to make sure you’re maximising on these. You don’t want to waste your efforts or money by using the wrong techniques so think about these tips throughout your skincare application.

  • Know how to apply skincare: Your application technique can have a big effect on how well your skincare actually works. Use gentle circular motions when you cleanse and press your serums onto your face to help them sink in further. Waiting a minute between steps will also give products a chance to absorb completely before the next step. 
  • Keep your routine consistent: You will never know what works for you unless you keep at it for a while.  Allow a few weeks between adding new products to your routine so you can identify any negative reactions immediately. Switching things up too much can confuse your skin as it tries to adapt.
  • Always wear sunscreen: Without sunscreen in your routine, your other steps don’t matter. UV rays cause more damage than any other stressor and your skincare efforts will be wasted if your moisture barrier is getting damaged by the sun each day. Find one that works for you to soothe the dry areas of your face without overwhelming the oily parts. 

Which makeup is best for combination skin?

Much like your skincare, you’ll want to make sure your makeup doesn’t contain harsh ingredients. You’ll also want to make sure it suits your skin type.  Opt for mattifying primers or mineral foundations to reduce shine on oily parts. Alternatively, you could just use concealer applying it only to problem areas and let the majority of your skin breath.

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