Complete Guide To The Best Skin Care Routine for Combination Skin

Once you determine your skin type to be the combination one ( please, read my extensive post on how to determine your skin type),  the next step in is to establish the best skin care routine that will suit your skin type.

Combination skin is actually the most common skin type.  When people have this skin type, it means that face T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) has many over productive sebaceous glands that produce too much skin oil.  The rest of the face has sebaceous glands that produce less skin oil.

Combination skin type is the most confusing for many people who are trying to establish the right skin care routine for it.

Your T-zone (feels oily, looks shiny, has enlarged pores and often pimples or/and blackheads.  And the rest of the face feels dry and might look red and flaky.

Skin care routine for combination skin

When people have combination skin, it is really important to choose the right products; if you start using products with harsh chemicals, they will dry make your dry skin even drier and, on the other hand, will stimulate sebum glands on the oily part of the skin to produce even more oil, causing greasy and shiny feeling and look.

The best way to care for combination skin is to moisturize it extensively using appropriate products.  Stay away from products that can strip your skin off natural oils.  Alcohol, parabens, and sulfates are the most commonly used ingredients in skin care products that will dry your skin.

Morning Routine For Combination Skin Type

skin care routine for combination skin

1. Cleanse

Cleanse your skin twice a day as with oily skin care routine.  Use gentle cleanser that will moisturize your skin even while cleaning it from all make up, dirt and other impurities.

I would encourage anyone to use double-cleansing method as a regular cleansing routine.

Skin care routine for combination skin

Cleansers for combination skin

Bioderma Sebium Foaming Gel Facial Cleanser for Combination to Oily Skin – gently cleanses the skin and controls sebum production.

Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Revitalizing for Oily/Combination Skin – removes makeup, dirt, dead skin cells and impurities for face and eye without stripping your skin of your natural, perfect moisture balance. Allergy friendly.  Alcohol and parabens free.

Bioré Baking Soda Acne Cleansing Foam for Combination Skin – gentle foam, targets acne and clears pores, clears up acne, blemishes, ph balanced, oil-free.

2. Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation is very important for combination skin.  Exfoliation removes the top layer of dead cells that cause skin to look dull and also clog pores causing whiteheads and blackheads.

Ideally this step should be performed during evening routine.  Chemical exfoliation is usually done using alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA).  Both acids cause photosensitivity and sensitivity to sun damage.   It is extremely important to use sunscreen when you are exfoliating even though you do it in the evening. 

If you must do this step in the morning, apply the strongest sunscreen you have and try to avoid direct sun as much as possible.

There are many types of physical exfoliators available as well.  Physical exfoliator usually contains some sort of grind natural material: fine coffee grinds, sea salt, grinned nut shells or even plastic beads and so on.  The purpose of physical exfoliation is to physically polish the surface of the skin and remove all impurities.

I strongly suggest not to use this type of exfoliation for your face as it is harsh for your skin and strips down natural oils and may contribute to skin dehydration.

Having said that, physical exfoliation is excellent for body treatment.

Skin care routine for combination skin

Exfoliatants suitable for combination skin

Arista Pumpkin Enzyme Mask – Formulated to leave your skin feeling replenished, brightened, and softly renewed. Super star ingredients are pumpkin fruit. Glycolic acid, vitamin E&C, cinnamon, ginger, & nutmeg powder. Pumpkin enzyme peel is loaded with over 100 beneficial nutrients for the skin.

RAYA Glycolic Exfoliating Masque with AHA and BHA – effectively helps to increase the rate of natural dead skin exfoliation, while promoting hydration, by helping to renew native collagen. Use twice weekly.

Cetaphil Extra Gentle Facial Scrub –  gently buffs away dry, dull skin while cleansing to support natural surface cell turnover; The result is improved skin texture to reveal healthy glowing skin

3.  Toner

Toner is a very important step in a skin care routine.  Face toners are applied right after washing the face before any other products.  Face toners rebalance skin after cleansing it, get rid of excess dirt that was not picked up during cleansing, and prepare skin for serums and moisturizers.

When looking for good toner suitable for combine skin, consider products which moisturize, contain humecticant (an ingredient which creates a protective layer on the surface of the skin to prove extra hydration) as well as calming and pore tightening ingredients.

Skin care routine for combination skin

Toners suitable for combination skin

[MIZON] Snail Repair Intensive Toner – parabens and alcohol free.  Suitable for combination skin; promotes skin hydration and has long lasting moisturizing effect.

Paula’s Choice-SKIN BALANCING Pore-Reducing Toner – helps balance skin with antioxidants and hydrating ceramides, making oily areas less noticeable and skin more even, smooth, moisturized, and protected. Niacinamide helps improve the appearance of enlarged pores over time. It’s exceptionally lightweight liquid formula still provides high-quality hydration to diminish dry flaky areas of skin.

Nena Mineral Toner – contains antioxidant-rich natural botanical extracts that help to clarify the complexion.  Serum-like texture, hydrates the skin and helps to restore skin’s elasticity and overall firmness.  Suitable for all skin types.

4.   Essence/Serum/Ampoule

Essence/Serum/Ampoule mean the same thing – “targeted treatments” and present the next step in any skin care routine.

Essentially these treatments are more concentrated than toners and are packed with amazing ingredients that will target specific skin issue.

With combination skin with oily T-zone and normal to dry cheeks it is important to keep hydrating your skin.  If your skin is dehydrated, T-zone will be shining and greasy as oil glands will be overproducing skin oil to compensate for moisture; and skin on your cheeks will become dry and even flaky when your skin is dehydrated.

Consider products containing hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, vitamins and ceramides.

Skin care routine for combination skin

Serum/Essence/Ampoule suitable for combination skin

TruSkin Tea Tree Clear Skin Serum – Brightening serum, that will help to erase age spots, whiten and brighten your skin tone.  It also helps to reduce appearance of fine lines. The age-defying benefits of Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid & Retinol work alongside Niacinamide (B3),

tea tree serum for combination skin hydrating and moisturizing

Aesop Lightweight Facial Hydrating Serum – hydrating facial serum containing  aloe vera and ylang ylang.

MATRIXYL 3000 + ARGIRELINE Peptide + Vitamin C 2 oz Serum – creates smoother and tighter skin, stimulates skin to produce collagen, decreases wrinkles and age spots.

SKINFOOD Premium Avocado Rich Essence – This moisture-rich essence features 25% avocado extract, avocado oil, and essential oils for maximum nutrition and instantly hydrates and locks in moisture for brighter, healthier skin.

5.  Moisturizers and Creams

Moisturizers and Creams are used to lock in all moisture and nutrients from toner and essence/ampoule/serum; they also provide extra hydration and some create a protective barrier on the surface of the skin that will keep moisturize from drying out.

Picking the right moisturizer or a cream for combination (and oily) skin could be a challenge as if you under-moisturize your skin then it will become dehydrated, and if you over moisturize it, it can lead to clogged pores and formation of whiteheads and blackheads.

skin care routine for oily skin

Moisturizers and Creams recommended for combination skin

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Night Cream Treatment with combination of Pro-Vitamins B5, Vitamin E and Special Moisturizers  The formula contains retinol, a pure form of vitamin A, and works deep within skin’s surface where wrinkles develop. Formula with pro vitamin B5, vitamin E, and special moisturizers helps boost moisture levels for softer, smoother skin.

Bioderma Hydrabio Gel Cream Moisturizer – daily face moisturizer that deeply hydrates and boosts your skin’s radiance.

Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Combination Skin – contains deep sea water, 33 types of ocean extracts, over 90 trace minerals, and high in calcium and magnesium.  Excellent source of hydration.

6.  Eye Cream

Eye cream is selected based on targeted issues (anti-aging, moisturizing, lifting and so on) and does not depend on the skin type.

Marcelle Hydra-C Eye Contour Gel-Cream – formulated with a unique mixture of plant extracts, this gentle moisturizer reduces puffiness while erasing those dreaded dark circles. Infused with vitamins C and E, this cream helps hydrate your delicate skin while also preventing fine lines and wrinkles.

Origins Plantscription Anti-Ageing Power Eye Cream – powerful, age-correcting eye treatment enriched with anogeissus;a potent ingredient that penetrates deep within to boost elasticity for a youthful bounce.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Under Eye Cream – Anti-wrinkle formula contains accelerated Retinol SA with a unique combination of ingredients and is clinically proven to leave skin feeling smoother It continuously renews the look of skin, helping to smooth wrinkles fast & diminish the look of dark spots

RoC Retinol Correxion Anti-Aging Eye Cream Treatment – Address the 3 key signs of eye aging—puffiness, dark circles & wrinkles—with one hard-working cream that’s clinically proven to visibly rejuvenate the delicate skin around the eyes.

Skin care routine for combination skin

7.  Sunscreen

This is a very important step in skin care routine and should never be omitted.   If you are planning to spend more than 5 minutes outdoors, you need sunscreen.   Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays and prevents premature aging of the skin and even cancer.

You can select moisturizer with an SPF.  Just remember, applying a skin care product with an SPF once a day is not enough – you need to re-apply SPF every time before sun exposure.

Choose water-base sunscreen when you have combination skin.

Skin care routine for combination skin

Sunscreen for combination skin

PCA SKIN Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum spf 45 – a quick-absorbing, lightweight, broad spectrum sunscreen recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation for daily use that protects the skin from UV rays.

I+Recipe Triple Care Sunscreen Sports Sun Milk SPF 50+PA+++ – porous powder absorbs pores to maintain smooth skin condition.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Face Sunscreen Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 60 – Ultra light sunscreen provides protection from UVA rays. Retains SPF after 40 minutes of activity in the water or perspiring. Water resistant, fragrance free, non-comedogenic, allergy tested and sensitive skin tested.

8.  Lip care

Lips also need hydration and nourishment thus do not forget about them.  Sometimes I cheat and apply my eye cream onto lips and it always works fine for me.

That is it for the morning routine.  It might look overwhelming if you are just starting out developing your own skin care routine, however, once you get a hang of it, you will see that it does not take much time to provide your skin with basic much needed care.

Evening Skin Care Routine For Combination Skin Type

1.  Cleansing

You need to do a thorough cleansing at the end of the day to remove all sebum, day pollution, dirt and product build up.

Double-cleansing is a two-step cleansing technique that removes all accumulated through the day dirt, environmental pollution, sweat and other impurities.

2.  Exfoliation

This is a preferred time of the day to perform chemical exfoliation.  Use products according to instructions and remember to apply sunscreen the following morning.

Use this type of exfoliation 1 or 2 times a week. 

3.  Toner

Use the toner of your choice after cleansing and exfoliation.

4.  Sheet masks

Sheet masks are pre-cut sheets soaked in various types of serums and other amazing ingredients that are so beneficial for the skin.   You can find sheet masks for any skin concern. 

Sheet masks are applied after the toner, left for 15-20 minutes and then removed.  Do not rinse mask residue off, rather pat it into your skin and let it be absorbed.  You do not need to apply serum or essence if you had a sheet mask application.

Use sheet masks as many times a week as you wish, I try to use them daily as a part of my self-care and pampering after a long day.

Korea Cosmetics Skin79 Venetian Carnival Essence Face Mask (ebay) – there are 3 types of masks to choose from; these masks are hydrating, brightening and nourishing.

SNP Pepta Firming Active Seal Mask – firming mask full of peptides.

The SAEM Micro Skin Fit Mask– moisturizing mask.

Dr. Morita Brightening Hydrating Facial Mask – This facial paper mask sheet is rich in algae extract, licorice extract and hydrolyzed collagen that perfectly effect on brightening, moisturizing, refining fine line and providing elasticity.

5.  Essence/Serum/Ampoule

On the evening when you do not use sheet mask, apply serum/essence/ampoule of your choice.

6.  Moisturizers and Creams

Opt to heaver water-based moisturizers and creams.


7.  Overnight sleeping mask/pack

This is a very unique skin care step.  Overnight sleeping masks are packed with a very high concentration of vitamins, minerals and other amazing ingredients.   Theses masks are applied before bedtime and are left on overnight.  It is an exceptional way to boost your skin’s hydration and infuse it with much needed ingredients. 

Overnight sleeping masks are used 1 or 2 times a week, please, do not overuse the as it is will decrease the benefits of these masks and won’t do your skin any good.

combination skin care reduce pores and skin oil, hydrate

COSRX Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight MaskA light-weight, gel type overnight mask feels refreshing and cooling on the skin.  Soothes flared and irritated skin: With propolis extract, this gel mask helps healing stressed skin and reduce redness.

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask – Hydrating Overnight Mask – The Watermelon Glow AHA Sleeping Mask is a bouncy, breathable sleeping mask made with watermelon, hyaluronic acid, and AHA’s to hydrate, smooth and perfect skin.  Amino and vitamin-rich watermelon intensely hydrates, soothes, and fights free radical damage, hyaluronic acid instantly quenches thirsty skin, and AHAs buff away dead skin cells leaving skin soft, smooth, and glowing.

watermelon sleeping mask for combination skin, hydrating and brightening

8.  Eye and Lip care

This step is the same as for the morning routine. 

You could also use overnight sleeping masks for lips to enhance hydration and nourishment.

floral overnight sleeping mask

Mamonde Lip Sleeping Mask Overnight Moisturizer Treatment –  this mask will nourish and hydrate your lips.  It will help with chapped and dry lips.  It contains floral extracts like Rose, Camellia, Lotus, and Pomegranate.  

LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask – A nutritive and moisturizing lip-sleeping mask. Formulated with Berry Mix Complex. rich in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. Helps eliminate dry. flaky dead skin on lips during the night. Blended with Hyaluronic Acid that builds a moisturizing film to seal in active ingredients.  And it smells amazing!!!!

overnight sleeping mask berry flavor

Remember, you do not need to incorporate each and every step listed here into your routine.  It is just a guide.  “Listen” to your skin, feel what it tells you.  Some days I follow all the steps as my skin feels too tired and dehydrated.  And on some days I just use the toner after cleansing follow it by a sunscreen (day time routine) and I feel that my skin does not need anything more.

I really hope that this post will be able to assist you in establishing your own skin care routine.  Use this post as a guide and do not hesitate to add or omit other steps if you find them to be useful for you.  There are many great products for dry skin, choose wisely: do a research, read other people’s reviews, use samples of the products when possible.

If you have any questions, please, leave a comment and I will be very glad to respond.

Thank you.

Stay beautiful!!!!!!

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