30% OFF $40+ PURCHASE!
Inclusive Clinical Skincare
Inclusive Clinical Skincare
FREE SHIPPING on U.S. orders $50+   Learn More

Best Moisturizer for Combination Skin: Exactly What to Look For

woman applying moisturizer on her arms

Combination skin types can be one of the most difficult to find a good skincare regimen for. Your dry-skinned peers need only look up highly moisturizing lotions, and your oily friends can look to ranges meant to dry them out. But products intended to cut down on your skin’s sebum production and reduce oiliness can make the dry spots on your face even drier and irritated. One is too oily, one is too dry—but which moisturizer is just right for you?

While you may have to do a little more research and suffer through a little more trial and error, there’s a moisturizer out there that will meet all of your needs and keep your skin balanced and even. Here are some tips for finding the perfect skincare solution for your unique skin type.

What Causes Combination Skin?

Unfortunately, this isn’t going to be one of those answers followed by ‘and here’s what you can do about it.’ Our skin types are not only determined by our genetics but also our lifestyle and environment.

Hormones can also impact the dryness or oiliness of your skin—so the level of dryness or oiliness in different places may shift around your period or if you start or stop using contraceptives. Your skin can also, of course, be affected by what you eat, how you take care of it, and even the weather, but it’s still going to be combination skin.

But don’t take this to mean your combination skin is some kind of burden or a curse. Although it’s a bit more challenging than having skin that adheres to a single type, every skin type has its drawback and solutions.

Is All Combination Skin the Same?

Definitely not! You’ll need to pay attention to where your skin tends to be dry and where it tends to be oily. This should be fairly obvious. If there are spots on your face that are shiny or prone to blackheads and whiteheads, those are commonly found around the T-zone area.

While some face areas produce more oil for everyone, like your T-zone, not all combination skin follows the same pattern. So it’s important to pay attention to your individual needs before figuring out what kind of moisturizer you’re best suited for. There are a few ways you can gear your skincare routine toward your combination skin to help address all of your problem areas.

Choose Your Cleanser Carefully

Your skin is clean and fresh before you apply any moisturizer to ensure it has its best chance to make you glow. But since so many cleansers are specifically formulated for dry or oily skin, it can be hard to know where to start!

Luckily, our Combination Skin Cleansing Bar was created with you in mind! It’s formulated to cleanse, smooth and hydrate without exacerbating your oiliness. It also helps target other skincare concerns that can crop up when you have problems with acne or dryness by helping to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles and improve the appearance of your skin tone if you’re struggling with dark spots or hyperpigmentation.

Add a Toner to Your Routine

Using a toner is a crucial but often overlooked part of your skincare regimen. Our Witch Hazel Brightening and pH Balancing Toner is full of skin-friendly antioxidants which restore your skin’s pH level to refresh and renew your complexion. Toner is a quick and essential step to help remove any excess oil after cleansing and ensures that your skin is as fresh as it can be when you move on to the next step.

Use Multiple Moisturizers

If you’re struggling to find a moisturizer that suits all of your needs and inspires you to settle down and commit, you’re not alone. Admittedly, it might be complex to find two products that work together. The learning curve for figuring out how to properly apply them is slightly higher than it would be for using a single moisturizer, but this tactic can have great results.

First, you’ll want to figure out which areas of your face lean toward which end of the spectrum. Then, once you know your oily areas from your dry areas, you’ll know where to apply different products so as not to make any of your skin concerns worse.

For your dry areas, your keyword is going to be emollients. An emollient fills the dry, top layer of your skin with lipids. This results in softer, smoother, well-hydrated skin. Emollients include ointments, creams and lotions—so basically everything you already associate with locking moisture in. You’ll want a super lush, reliable moisturizer to keep any and all redness or flakiness away.

Our Radiant & Bright Glowing Moisturizer is a great option for your dry areas. It’s creamy, luxurious and packed with vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, peptides and collagen—all great to provide intense day-and-night hydration and give you a healthy-looking glow. It’s also non-pore clogging, so if you get a little bit on your oily spots, it isn’t going to be a problem.

For your oily areas, you’ll want something lightweight and water-based. Products that claim to be oil-absorbing may also suit these areas of your skin, and you’ll want something with a more matte finish—steer clear of things that promise to make you dewy. Of course, that’s the opposite of what we’re going for here!

The Urban Skin Rx® HydraBalance Brightening Moisture Infusion brings your skin lightweight hydration that is non-pore clogging, making it perfect for anyone with oily areas. This product gets the job done with hyaluronic acid, peptides and squalane to effectively moisturize your skin without making any issues with oil worse.

Don’t Forget Your SPF!

While the moisturizers we’ve recommended tend to include SPF in their formula, this is an important step you should never leave off! Especially if you have dry areas, it’s important to make sure you don’t further dry out and irritate your skin by getting sunburn.

You’ll want something lightweight and sheer, like our SheerGlow™ Even Tone Daily Defense Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30. It’s 100 percent mineral-active sun protection which, if you have a darker complexion, may give you pause because mineral sunscreens often aren’t properly formulated for every shade of skin and can end up making you look chalky. Luckily, SheerGlow™ is made with diverse skin tones in mind, so there’s nothing to worry about.

In addition, Our ShineBlock™ Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30 is formulated for the oily, blemish-prone areas of your skin. It absorbs extra oil and gives you a smooth, matte finish, so you don’t have to worry about shining—in a bad way—in every photo.

What About Makeup?

While we definitely think it’s more important to treat and pamper your skin type, whatever it is, rather than try to cover up any problem areas or blemishes, we realize that deciding what kind of makeup to wear can be just as difficult a decision as choosing your moisturizer when you have combination skin.

Much like skincare products, makeup tends to be geared toward one extreme or the other—super moisturizing! Oil-resistant!—so you may have to test out a few products before you find one that works perfectly for you. In general, you’ll want to look for lightweight products. You’ll mainly want to ensure that whatever foundation and concealer you use, both formulas are oil-free.

Is There Anything You Should Avoid?

As with anything, where there are products that will help you improve your skin, there are others that will hinder your progress.

You’ll want to avoid skincare (or makeup) products with harsh ingredients—namely, strong fragrances or excessive amounts of alcohol. Scent-free moisturizers are usually best, especially if you have sensitive skin — but if you open a product and worry you might confuse it with your mother’s perfume, it’s perhaps best to give it a pass, as strong fragrances can often irritate your skin.

You should also avoid comedogenic products. Comedogenic just means products that are likely to clog your pores. When you’re already dealing with a slightly more complicated skincare regimen than somebody with a single skin type, and one of your skin types involves an excess of oil, it’s crucial to do everything you can to keep your pores clear.

There are many ingredients that may clog your pores, and most of them are difficult to pronounce or remember. But in short, you’ll want to avoid words like isopropyl, propylene glycol-2, and any kind of lanolin, like acetylated and ethoxylated…yeah, you might want to write these down. Red Dyes D and C can also cause problems for oily skin.

Any additional irritation caused to your skin can exacerbate both dry and oily skin, making the divide between the different sections of your face even more challenging to manage.

Tips & Tricks

There are a few little things you can keep in mind if you have combination skin that will help you to work with your skin type rather than against it.

Overall, for the oily sections of your skin, you’ll want to apply as little product as possible. This is because the more you layer onto these areas, the more the product may add to the excess oil your skin already produces and lead to breakouts.

This doesn’t mean, of course, you can’t or shouldn’t use moisturizer, serum or other products on the oily areas of your face—it just means that you should be mindful of the amount you’re using. And bonus, these products will last longer!

It also goes without saying, but staying hydrated can work wonders for your complexion! It’s not going to change your skin type, but it can help keep things a bit more even and hydrated.

In Conclusion

Targeting your skincare routine toward evening out your combination skin can feel daunting at first. But with a little bit of trial and error and research, we’re sure that every one can find the moisturizer that will make her feel just right.