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It can feel like you are going in circles when figuring out the best skin care routine. When your skin decides to be oily and dry, what happens?

There is no need to worry. It is possible to find a routine that combats shininess and also helps with dry patches. The approach is the same regardless of whether your skin is dry or oily.

Beauty is personal, whether it is a tried and true skin care regimen, how often you wash your hair, or the cosmetics you are curious about.

We rely on a diverse group of writers, educators, and other experts to share their tips on everything from the way product application varies to the best sheet mask for your individual needs.

If you see a shop link to a specific product or brand, it has been thoroughly researched by our team, so it is a recommendation.

Kavita Mariwalla, MD, FAAD, a board certified dermatologist and aesthetic expert, says that combination skin is common.

The combination skin is oily in some places and dry in others. Mariwalla notes that it is common to have oily T-zone and dry cheeks.

The skin can change with hormones and seasonal shifts.

As we age, our skin may become less oily and more dry. Periods and contraceptives can cause changes in skin.

Signs of combination skin

There are different ways in which a combination of oily and dry skin can appear.

There is no hard and fast rule to how it looks or feels, and it may change with the weather, lifestyle factors, and stress.

You can figure out how your skin presents itself with some observation.

Oiliness may include:

  • shiny skin
  • The larger-looking pores are large.
  • There is a problem with the skin

There are signs of dry weather.

  • It was flaky.
  • redness
  • Feelings of being tight or rough.

It is a good idea to think conservatively when figuring out your skin care routine.

If you want to apply treatments to the areas that are needed, go for gentle products that can help dry areas without creating more oiliness.

A.M. routine

Use products in the order you want them to be used.

  1. Cleanser. It’s important to remove any buildup that occurs overnight.
  2. Toner. Toner removes any oil that your cleanser didn’t and balances your skin’s pH levels. Make sure to grab an alcohol-free toner.
  3. Serum. Serums hydrate and protect your skin. It’s best to opt for a serum with hyaluronic acid.
  4. Moisturizer. With combination skin, you’ll want two moisturizers. For dry areas, choose a creamy formula. For oily parts, choose a lightweight, water-based formula.
  5. Sunscreen. Choose a lightweight formula with at least SPF 30.
  6. Makeup. If desired, use lightweight products. Foundation and concealer should have oil-free formulas.

P.M. routine

Try applying products in this order.

  1. Makeup remover. If you wear makeup, makeup remover helps keep pores unclogged and gives your skin a chance to breathe. Micellar water is one of the gentlest products to use for this.
  2. Cleanser. Cleanse day and night. A nighttime cleanser should remove any makeup remnants in addition to natural buildup.
  3. Exfoliant. Once per week, exfoliants are great for removing dead skin cells, which keeps pores clear and relieves dry areas.
  4. Facial mask. Once per week, try multi-masking, which is when you apply different masks to different areas of the face.
  5. Serum, treatment, or moisturizer. Evenings are best for stronger products, so choose an emollient-rich moisturizer for dry areas.

Ingredients to consider:

  • It is possible to get oiliness on your face by using Hyaluronic acid.
  • Salicylic acid may regulate oil production and help keep pores unclogged.
  • Lactic acid acts as a mild exfoliant that removes dead skin cells from dry areas and gently clears pores.
  • Shea butter and coconut oils are emollients.
  • Antioxidants protect you from environmental damage. Make sure to choose a product with vitamin C for general skin health. Be sure to wear sunscreen or use products with vitamin C at night to protect your skin from UV rays.
person with combination skin presses hands to cheeks against a beige swirly background
Photo by Ohlamour Studio, Design by Alexis Lira

If you are working with combination skin and frequent breakouts, try the extra steps below.

When it comes to treating combination skin, you may find plenty of home remedies in your fridge and kitchen cupboards.

Coconut oil

Virgin coconut oil may be a good choice for dry patches of skin. Research shows it has moisturizing qualities. It’s anti-inflammatory too.

However, coconut oil is comedogenic, which means it clogs pores. It’s best not to use on areas prone to There is a problem with the skin.


Honey is another option. It’s a humectant so it hydrates the skin by drawing moisture from the air. It also works as a natural antibacterial and antiseptic, which may help support clear skin.

homemade masks have honey in them.


For excess oil, oatmeal can work well as it absorbs oil and calms irritation. It’s also great for sloughing off dead skin.

Try an oatmeal mask.

  1. Combine oats with warm water to make a paste.
  2. For a few minutes, apply the paste to a clean face.
  3. Rub the skin with water and dry it.

“Good news! You don’t have to spend a fortune to treat combination skin.”

“Look for products with key ingredients like niacinamide, which are known to work on combination skin,” advises Anny Choudhry, aesthetic physician at Aventus Clinic.

Another trick?

Multi-purpose ingredients can help reduce the cost of buying multiple products.

The same skin care routine is used for men and women.

The only difference between the two?

“Men’s skin is thicker and has a rougher texture, so sometimes using a toner in your cleansing step can help clear away impurities further and soothe combination skin.”

It is best to avoid the skin faux-pas below.

Don’t skip moisturizer

Every skin type needs hydration. It is best to find formulas for your skin type. You may want to use less on oily areas.

Don’t forget to exfoliate

Healthy skin has dead skin cells removed via exfoliation. Use a gentle exfoliant once per week.

If your dry areas are causing sensitivity issues, you can only use a cleanser in the needed areas.

Don’t get stuck in one routine

Make sure your routine is up to date. You should switch up your products.

The balance between good skin hygiene and not overdoing it is important when it comes to safety.

“Over-cleaning on a dry area could result in exacerbation of dryness It was flaky. and broken skin, while not cleansing properly on very oily areas can result in breakouts and dead skin build-up,” she explains.

We looked for solutions that contained the most effective ingredients to choose the best products.

We consulted the reviews and asked Healthline staff if they had any recommendations.

Each product has been vetted by our team for medical and business standards. Learn more here.

Best cleansers for combination skin

Laurel Skin Deep Clarity Oil Cleanser

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 1.7 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: sesame oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil

Great at getting all the gunk out of your pores while being gentle enough to not irritate or trigger excess oil production, this deep-cleaning cleanser contains three powerhouse oils: sesame, safflower, and sunflower.

“safflower is an ingredient that helps the skin, and sesame oil is an ingredient that helps the skin. All three are non-comedogenic so they won’t cause problems.”

The cleanser can be used with facial tools or massage to stimulate lymphatic drainage and circulation. It may help to reveal a brighter, smoother, and clearer complexion. However, it also contains essential oils, which some people may find irritating.

Glytone Mild Gel Cleanser

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 6.7 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: glycolic acid

If you’re looking for a cleanser with There is a problem with the skin-fighting benefits, this gel-based face wash may be a solid choice.

It’s formulated with glycolic acid which exfoliates dead skin cells and helps prevent clogged pores that lead to breakouts. The cleanser has a resurfacing effect that evens skin tone and reveals a brighter complexion.

It is mild enough to deeply clean the skin without causing any irritation or extra dry skin.

Reviewers liked the cleanser. It made the skin feel soft and glowy, and most people found it gentle and non-drying.

Some reviewers say a little goes a long way.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

  • Price: $
  • Size: 9.1 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: 2 percent salicylic acid

Combination skin can be tricky to manage, especially if you’re also prone to There is a problem with the skin breakouts. You’ll need something strong enough to effectively target blemishes without causing irritation.

Enter this oil-free There is a problem with the skin wash from Neutrogena. It’s formulated with salicylic acid, a powerful There is a problem with the skin-fighting ingredient that sloughs off dead skin cells and prevents the formation of new breakouts.

The cleanser leaves no oily mess. Fans of this cleanser say they have seen a reduction in their breakouts since they started using it.

This cleanser has a budget price point.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 13.52 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: niacinamide, glycerin, ceramides

If you have dry skin, you need a hydrating cleanser.

This cleanser from La Roche-Posay may be a good choice for you as it contains ceramides.

It’s noncomedogenic, so it won’t clog pores and contribute to excess oil production. The cleanser is also oil-free and paraben-free and has a non-irritating formula.

The powerhouse ingredient in this cleanser is niacinamide, which is also known as vitamin B3. It has lots of benefits, from helping to regulate oil and repair the skin’s lipid barrier to protecting the skin from oxidative stress.

However, as this cleanser contains sodium chloride, some users may find it strips moisture from the skin.

Best toners for combination skin

Pixi Glow Tonic

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 8.5 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: glycolic acid, aloe vera, ginseng

If you want to regulate excess oil production, look no further than Pixi Glow Tonic.

This is a cult product in the world of skin care. It has 5 percent glycolic acid, an exfoliant that removes dead skin cells and oil.

This product also contains aloe to soothe and hydrate the skin as well as ginseng to improve circulation and boost collagen production.

Reviewers say this is a great addition to their skin care routines. Users say it improves skin texture, makes the complexion look better, and helps to clear up breakouts.

Fenty Skin Fat Water Pore-Refining Toner Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 5 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: niacinamide, cactus flower, green tea

This is a great choice for people with combination skin with enlarged pores.

A toner and serum in one, it contains niacinamide which can be helpful in treating There is a problem with the skin and protecting the skin against environmental factors.

It is made with green tea and cactus flower which have healing and hydrating benefits.

The formula delivers several benefits including reducing redness, hydration, and a toning and brightening effect.

Reviewers say this product gave them a healthy glow and a more even skin tone.

Best serums for combination skin

Glow Recipe Avocado Ceramide Redness Relief Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 1 fluid ounce (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: avocado butter, avocado extract, ceramides

The goal of this serum is to restore skin to its natural state.

It is made with butter and extract from theavocado The ingredients are packed with acids that help dry skin.

It has a blend of five ceramides. They support skin barrier health. They also have a lock on the humidity.

If your skin is sensitive, this may be a good choice.

Reviewers say the serum made their skin feel hydrated and soft. It clears redness and helps with breakouts.

Tata Harper Resurfacing AHA + BHA Serum

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 1 fluid ounce (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: AHA, BHA, Vitamin C

AHAs and BHAs are great at removing dead skin cells and revealing a brighter, smoother skin.

This is a serum made with a variety of acids. The skin has a rejuvenation effect.

This product contains the vitamins C and Thiamin.

“The cost of this product is certainly high, but some reviewers say it is worth it as it gives the skin a great glow. The scent is not everyone’s cup of tea.”

Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 1 fluid ounce {fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: Ceramides, omega fatty acids, hyaluronic acid

The most benefit from this is for skin that has more dry spots.

It has a lightweight formula and is packed with hydrating ingredients.

The ingredients strengthen and repair the skin. The serum helps to reduce fine lines and is formulated to nourish very dry skin.

The product has mostly positive reviews. Reviewers love the formula.

Some users say it caused their skin to purge.

Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Hyaluronate Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 1 fluid ounce (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: Lipids, peony root extract

A lack of water and over production of oil are two of the main concerns of combination skin. This is a serum that works on both fronts.

“It won’t contribute to excess oil production and won’t cause your pores to be clog. Its hydrating formula is good for the skin.”

The peony root extract is used to improve areas that are excessively dry or oily, and the serum contains lipids, which support natural fatty acids in the skin.

Reviewers say this product is good with other skin care products. Many people found it to be lightweight and some say the texture of their skin has improved since they started using it.

“Some say it doesn’t last long enough.”

Best moisturizers for combination skin

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

  • Price: $
  • Size: 19 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: glycerin, ceramides, hyaluronic acid

The National Eczema Association recognized this cream as a good choice for those with very dry skin.

The humectant in the cream helps the skin retain its hydration. It is made with ceramides, which help to restore the skin barrier.

This deeply hydrating cream has a hydrating ingredient called hyaluronic acid.

Reviewers have said that this product is a holy grail for skin care. Many people found it hydrating and some say it improved their skin condition.

Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 2 fluid ounces.
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, superfoods blend, vitamins C, E, and K

The ingredients in this lightweight moisturizer are rich in vitamins and minerals, making it a great smoothie for the skin.

“The three ingredients are used to improve the skin’s condition and hydration.”

The skin is protected with vitamins C, E, and K.

According to reviews, it works well on oily skin, is fast-absorbing, and is effective at treating and preventing There is a problem with the skin breakouts. Many also loved the light, clean scent.

Not everyone was happy with the higher price point.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream

  • Price: $
  • Size: 1.7 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, glycerin

If you want to treat combination skin on a budget, this is a good choice.

This gel cream is great for hydration for oily skin, but it is also great for hydration for dry skin.

It combines two powerful active ingredients: hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Together, these two ingredients quench the skin and keep it hydrated for up to 24 hours.

“It won’t cause problems with your skin.”

“Reviewers say it left them with a soft, supple skin. Some weren’t fond of the texture.”

Best face masks for combination skin.

Cetaphil Derma Control Purifying Clay Mask

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 3 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: kaolin clay, bentonite clay

“This mask is great for soaking up excess oil and removing dead skin cells from your skin, it’s great on oily parts of the skin.”

It should be applied to the oiliest parts of your skin and left for 10 minutes before rinsing off.

The mask is made with kaolin clay and bentonite clay. According to research, clay can be especially useful for skin toning. Kaolin clay in particular is used as a drying agent and is known for being gentle on the skin.

This mask also contains apple seed and cucumber which protect your skin from excessive dryness and irritation.

La Mer Treatment Lotion Hydrating Mask

  • Price: $$$$
  • Size: A pack of six
  • Key ingredients: algae extract, squalane

This mask is a great choice for anyone looking for a little extra help with their skin.

While it’s certainly on the pricier side, you will find premium ingredients in this sheet mask, such as algae extract and squalane.

squalane has anti- inflammatory qualities and is a goodemulsifier for the skin barrier.

The sheet mask is placed on the skin for around 5 minutes and requires no rinsing after it is removed.

You may notice that your skin is plumper, brighter, and healthier after using it.

Best natural products for combination skin

Crude Cleanse

  • Price: $
  • Size: 1 fluid ounce (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: sunflower and safflower seed oils, grapefruit oil, ylang ylang flower oil, bergamot oil

If you want to avoid stripping the skin of hydration, non-foaming oil cleansers are a good choice.

The oil cleanser from Crude is made with certified organic ingredients. It contains a rich source of oil that can help with hydration and can help with the appearance of skin problems.

This product can be used as a cleanser.

Most reviewers agree that it is great for removing makeup, giving the skin a deep down clean, and adding hydration.

Be warned though: if you’re new to oil cleansing, it may take your skin a little while to adjust.

Versed Sunday Morning Antioxidant Oil-Serum

  • Price: $
  • Size: 1 fluid ounce (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: sea buckthorn extract, camellia oil, vitamin E, chamomile flower extract, jojoba oil

The oil-serum hybrid will suit combination skin types.

Vitamin E offers the skin protection and hydration, while jojoba oil is great for healing dry, chapped skin thanks to its hydrating and antibacterial qualities.

Meanwhile, camellia oil, sea buckthorn, and chamomile extract calm, nourish, and hydrate the skin.

The product has mostly positive reviews. Reviewers say it improves skin texture and is lightweight. Many people say it gave them a glowing appearance.

They liked the price point.

100% Pure Fermented Rice Water Toner

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 4 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: shiitake mushrooms, bearberry, niacinamide, licorice, sake

The key ingredient in this toner is rice water, also known as sake, which is used for oily, dry, and combination skin.

The skin is nourished by the rich contents of sake, which include vitamins, minerals, and a wide range of acids.

Meanwhile, white mulberry, shiitake mushroom, licorice, and citrus balance skin tone, lessen the appearance of dark spots and brighten.

The skin benefits from the use of the toner and the hydrating ingredient, hyaluronic acid.

It improves skin texture, giving it a soft and supple feel. Reviewers say it minimized the appearance of the pores.

Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 2 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid and evening primrose oil

“Paula’s Choice is a great choice for those rough, dry patches of skin.”

It contains some substances. The two ingredients calm, repair, and hydration the skin.

The moisturizer also features primrose oil, which may help improve the appearance of mature skin.

The product is a cult favorite, and it has plenty of rave reviews. Reviewers say it gave them a smooth texture and a brighter appearance.

Some found the texture too heavy, but most found it to be deeply hydrating.

cocokind Daily SPF, SPF 32

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 1.7 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Key ingredients: zinc oxide, blue phytoplankton, microalgae, rice starch

Sun protection is a must in every skin care routine.

This sunscreen from cocokind is vegan and cruelty-free. It protects against the harmful rays of the sun.

It is a mineral-based sunscreen that protects the skin from the sun.

Add to that the product contains blue phytoplankton and microalgae, which shield the skin from the effects of blue light and pollution.

Reviewers say this sunscreen is lightweight and easy to use. They say it gave the skin a healthy appearance. Some reviewers noted that the zinc oxide leaves a white cast.

It can be hard to follow a consistent skin care regimen and not see the results you were hoping for.

If you are having difficulty with combination skin, you should see a dermatologist sooner rather than later.

“For combination skin, I recommend keeping a diary and seeing a dermatologist or an aesthetic physician for a skin mapping service,” she says. “This type of skin can be very difficult to manage and skin mapping can help you formulate two skin care routines depending on the needs of the different areas.”

More questions about combo skin? Get the facts below.

Can I use products formulated for dry skin or oily skin, or will these only irritate my skin?

It is a good idea to take a targeted approach.

There are special needs for combination skin. She says that you can use products for oily and dry skin.

If in doubt, you can use ingredients that work well on combination skin like pure rosehip oil or dry argan oil, she advises.

What’s the best anti-aging skin care routine for combination skin?

When creating a skin care routine for mature looking skin, you want to plump fine lines, remove dark spots, and lift sagging skin. There are a few tips.

  • “Don’t forget about your neck when you use sunscreen, cleanse, treat, or use a neck pillow.”
  • Your skin may be more sensitive, so choose a gentle exfoliant.

How can I treat an oily t-zone without drying out the drier parts of my skin, like my cheeks?

Your cheeks feel dry and your t-zone is greasy. It is a common tale for combination skin types.

To manage excess oil without making your dry skin worse, use a dry oil like argan oil. It can help as a barrier and a moisturizer.

Can I improve combination skin through diet? If so, what foods might help?

“The client’s opinion is very subjective. There are reports that spicy foods, oily foods and chocolate can cause an increase in sebum production.”

A 2018 study found that dark chocolate consumption increased the presence of dead skin cells on the skin in young men, though the study was small and only conducted on men.

The above study and a 2021 review noted that a high glycemic diet including foods that may affect blood sugar levels has been shown to contribute to There is a problem with the skin.

These include:

  • white flour.
  • white rice
  • Like watermelon, these are very sweet fruits.
  • refined sugar
  • Like potatoes.

Should I use different types of moisturizers—one rich, one lightweight—for combination skin?

It can be difficult to determine if you have dry or oily areas.

If you need two separate routines, a dermatologist can help.

Finding the right skin care routine can be difficult. It may take a while to find the right combination.

The best products for your skin should be in the right areas.

If you have any questions, you should always consult a dermatologist.

Ashley Hubbard is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee, focusing on sustainability, travel, veganism, mental health, social justice, and more. Passionate about animal rights, sustainable travel, and social impact, she seeks out ethical experiences whether at home or on the road. Visit her website.