When it comes to skin types, not everybody has the easy to define oily, normal, or dry skin. For instance, some have inherited a combination them.

This is known as 'combination skin'. Read on to discover the best products for combination skin, as well as tips for managing this unique skin type.

What Is Combination Skin?

Combination skin means having oily skin in some areas of your face and dry skin in other areas.

Generally, there will be a mix of oily and dry areas on different parts of your face.

Notably the very oily areas of combination skin are the forehead, nose, and chin.

What Causes Combination Skin?

The main cause of the combination skin type is actually genetics.

However, it can also impacted by:

  • the environment
  • stress
  • hormones

Additionally, the problems that come with combination skin can be exacerbated by irritating products and ingredients. Therefore making it essential to use the right skincare products.

How to Choose the Right Products

Choosing the right product is essential in managing this tricky skin type. 

Here are some simple tips to follow:

  • Avoid heavily fragranced products, as these may irritate the skin
  • Avoid products that contain alcohol, as alcohol is severely drying
  • Use a gentle face wash to remove debris without stripping the skin (which can trigger oil production)
  • Choose a gel or lotion based moisturizer, as they tend to be less greasy

Best Products for Combination Skin

Fortunately, you do not have to spend a fortune to take care of your combination skin. Also, there is a myriad of affordable products available at any drugstore.

Expensive products do not necessarily deliver better results, so do not discount the many value-driven offerings when experimenting with your skincare routine.

1. Best Face Wash: Paula’s Choice Resist Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser

Best Face Wash: Paula’s Choice Resist Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser

Best Face Wash for Combination Skin

This gentle cleanser is ideal for those with combination skin, as it helps balance moisture levels while still removing debris and excess oil from the skin. The cream-to-foam formula has replenishing ingredients, and effectively cleanses without disturbing the skin’s barrier.

How to Use: Wet your face. Massage 1-2 pumps of the cleanser into the skin, using gentle, circular motions. Rinse thoroughly. Use both morning and night.

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2. Best Toner: Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion

Best Toner: Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion

Best Toner for Combination Skin

Hada Labo’s toner contains ingredients that lock in moisture, including five types of hyaluronic acid and urea. The formula – which is free of fragrances, alcohol, and mineral oils – is perfect for combination skin, as it hydrates without leaving behind an oily residue.

How to Use: Dispense the product into your hands. Gently pat the formula into dry, clean skin until it is completely absorbed.

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3. Best Exfoliator (Acne-Prone): Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid

Best Exfoliator (Acne-Prone): Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid

Best Exfoliator for Combination Skin (Acne-Prone)

BHAs are great for those with acne-prone skin, as they are oil-soluble and able to penetrate deep into the pores to clear up debris. Additionally, it helps to shed dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. The 2% concentration in this treatment is effective, but still gentle enough for drier areas of the skin.

How to Use: Cleanse and dry the skin. Saturate a cotton pad with the product, and then sweep all over the face. This formula may be used daily.

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4. Best Exfoliator (Anti-Aging): Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel

Best Exfoliator (Anti-Aging): Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel

Best Exfoliator for Combination Skin (Anti-Aging & Wrinkles)

Those treating wrinkles and signs of aging should use AHAs, which are water-soluble and exfoliate the surface of the skin. This gel contains glycolic acid, an AHA that sheds layers of dead skin cells to reveal radiant and smooth skin. The formula is gentle, and also contains natural ingredients that replenish the skin.

How to Use: Cleanse and dry the skin. Apply a dime-size amount all over the face. This formula may be used daily.

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5. Best Serum: Timeless Skin Care 20% Vitamin C

Best Serum: Timeless Skin Care 20% Vitamin C

Best Serum for Combination Skin

Vitamin C serums are great for all skin types, as they fight free radicals, build collagen, and even out skin tone. This 20% vitamin C serum doesn’t leave a greasy finish, and is fragrance, color, and paraben free.

How to Use: Apply two to three drops of the product to clean, dry skin. The formula may be used daily.

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6. Best Sunscreen: Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF 50

Best Sunscreen: Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF 50

Best Sunscreen for Combination Skin

This sunscreen is non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores), which makes it ideal for those with combination and acne-prone skin. It also contains hydrating ingredients that help moisturize dry spots, including hyaluronic acid and royal jelly extract. The lightweight, watery formula absorbs quickly into the skin, and doesn’t leave a greasy finish.

How to Use: After moisturizing, apply a nickel-sized amount of the formula to the face and neck.

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7. Best Moisturizer: Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion

Best Moisturizer: Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion

Best Moisturizer for Combination Skin

This moisturizer contains vitamins and antioxidants that calm, soothe, and hydrate the skin. It is oil-free and has a lightweight consistency, but still effectively hydrates the skin. This makes it ideal for skin that is both oily and dry.

How to Use: Gently massage the product into the skin after cleansing and applying serums or treatments.

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8. Best Face Mask: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

Best Face Mask: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

Best Face Mask for Combination Skin

This mask is excellent for treating oily and acne-prone areas of the skin. The bentonite clay gets deep into the pores to cleanse and draw out impurities, helping to reduce breakouts and oil production.

How to Use: Mix the dry clay with equal parts water or apple cider vinegar. Apply the mask to clean, dry skin. Avoid dry patches, and instead focus on oily areas of the skin. Leave on for up to 20 minutes, and then thoroughly rinse. Use weekly.

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Skincare Routine for Combination Skin

Here are five critical steps for proper skincare of combination skin.

1. Regularly Cleanse Your Skin

Those with combination skin may not need to cleanse twice per day. 

Here are the simple tips to follow:

  • Be careful to clean gently to prevent the skin from becoming too dry or irritated.
  • Using lukewarm water and a gentle facial cleanser will help to maintain the necessary hydration.
  • Your fingers and a dry towel are enough to clean the skin. 

Additionally, you should only need to cleanse nightly. However, always make sure to remove makeup and sunscreen.

2. Integrate an Exfoliation Routine

Proper exfoliation will slough off the dead skin cells and reveal younger looking skin in its place.

The two main groups are beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) or alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs).

  • BHAs contain the gold standard salicylic acid. This acid is superior for people with acne-prone skin because of its ability to penetrate deep into the pore to remove excess sebum and dirt.
  • AHAs are noted for their ability to boost collagen and elastin production, making them superior for anti-aging and wrinkles.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your skincare goals and concerns.

3. Treatment Options (optional step)

Although cleansing and exfoliation are considered necessary steps in the quest for beautiful skin, there are also a variety of optional treatments to consider if looking to prevent premature aging of the skin:

Vitamin C (Wrinkles or Discoloration)

As a topical agent, vitamin C possesses a great number of antioxidant properties.  This acid works to improve hydration in the skin, protect the skin from harmful irritants, brighten the complexion, even out skin tone, and more.

Retinol (Wrinkles)

As the technical name for vitamin A, retinol has shown tremendous benefits in the fight against skin aging.

Products containing retinol work by:

  • visibly reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • evening skin tone
  • smoothing the surface of the skin
  • improve the effects of environmental stressors

Retinol comes in a variety of forms, making it easy to choose a product that is right for you.

Benzoyl Peroxide (Acne)

Consider a treatment containing benzoyl peroxide if you have acne-prone skin.

  • Benzoyl peroxide is found in OTC products (between 2.5% and 10%).
  • It works by clearing dead skin cells from follicles, thereby reducing the possibility of blockages.

By preventing blocked pores and targeting the bacteria that cause acne, it will help prevent new breakouts.

4. Use a Moisturizer

An effective moisturizing routine can deliver immense results to people with combination skin if the right product is selected.

Additionally, it is fine to only apply the product to the dry areas of the skin and avoid the oilier sections.

Properly formulated moisturizers will not lead to additional breakouts for those with acne-prone skin.

5. Sunscreen for Anti-Aging

No skincare routine is complete without the inclusion of consistent sunscreen use. It is important to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Therefore ensuring the sunscreen is engineered to filter out both UVA and UVB rays. For maximum protection, sunscreen should also have at least 30 SPF. Getting into the habit of liberal sunscreen use will help you avoid premature aging of the skin.

Other Recommended Products for Combination Skin

Looking to complete your skincare routine? Consider these favorites:


How do I know if I have combination skin?

It will become obvious that you have combination skin if it is dry in some areas and oily in other parts. For example, the forehead, chin, and nose are the areas that are most likely to be oily. Additionally, those with combination skin often face forehead acne and nose whiteheads.

Does combination skin ever go away?

Because skin can change as you age, it is possible for combination skin to change with time. Regardless of how your skin evolves over time, an effective skin care routine will ensure that it is always taken care of properly.

How do I know if a product is good for combination skin?

It can be a bit of a challenge finding effective products for combination skin because you will need to balance out all of the tricky issues. Finding products that are labeled as non-comedogenic will ensure that they will not irritate your skin. Take care to make sure that your skin is not overly tight or dry after the cleansing process. Properly moisturizing the dry areas of the skin will help to keep the skin from flaking. In short, with a little research and experimentation, you can find the best routine for your particular skin type.

Summary: Best Products for Combination Skin

The Bottom Line

Combination skin can be tricky, however, once you find the right products your skin will see a radical difference. It is key to find a product that balances excess oil, without stripping away essential oil. Therefore, look for products that are non-irritating (fragrance and alcohol free), and do not leave your skin feeling overly tight or dry. In short, any of the recommended products above are great for those with combination skin.