The Importance of Knowing Your Skin Type

A GA Glow 15 product and RX Correcting pads.

You may have noticed that Mint & Needle always specifies which skin types our cleansers, creams, serums, and all other products are best for. We do this because skin type is central to knowing how to care best for your skin!
Each skin type has different needs, so in order to fulfill those needs, it’s very important to know which type of skin you have. Skincare specialists have identified 5 main categories for skin types: oily, dry, combination, normal, and sensitive.

If you don’t already know your skin type, don’t worry! We’ll outline a couple of tests you can use to identify which of the 5 is truest to your unique skin. Then we’ll introduce some treatments and routines that would be best for each of them.

Identifying Your Skin Type

One popular way to identify skin type is the cleansing method:

  1. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, like our aptly named Gentle Cleanser.
  2. Do not apply any products or cosmetics after cleansing. Wait 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, examine your face and note where you see oiliness, dryness, or neither.

If the skin feels and looks dry or tight, that is a sign of dry skin. Your biggest goal for your skincare is to make sure your skin’s moisture barrier is maintained. Your best friends will be Intense Hydrating Cream, B3 Hydrate, and an occasional Hydrating Pumpkin Mask. Also check out our Glycolic Cleanser, which will give you the anti-aging benefits of a very gentle exfoliation that won’t dry your skin out.

If you notice oil on your skin in all locations, you likely have oily skin. Oily skin is also prone to acne, so you want to emphasize cleansers like our Clarifying Cleanser, lightweight moisturizers like B3 Hydrate, and regular exfoliation from our Exfoliating Scrub in your skincare routine. Our Acne Control Serum is also a major player in our clients’ successful oily skin regimens.

Oil on only certain areas—usually the nose and forehead—but normal or dry skin in other areas indicates combination skin. This skin type is very common! It is also the most different from person-to-person, which means you’ll need to do some trial and error to figure out what routine works best for you. Start with our Combination Regimen and see how your skin feels after a week or two: Seeing dryness? Bump up your moisturizer to Intense Hydrating Cream. Seeing oiliness? Consider adding in a Clarifying Mask or switching to the Clarifying Cleanser.

If there is no notable oil or dryness in any location, that can mean you have normal skin. This means you get to experiment with a range of products! If you’re starting from scratch, we recommend cleansing morning and evening with the Age Defense Cleanser and following with the Youth Serum, then applying H.A. Hydrator and SPF during the day and Retinol & CE Complex at night.

And, finally, if your skin exhibits redness or irritation, that is a sign of sensitive skin. We’ll talk more about that in just a minute.

A second way to test for your skin type is the blotting method:

  1. Pick what you would consider a normal day for this day. Cleanse as usual but avoid applying other products or much makeup.
  2. In the late afternoon or evening, pull out some tissues or blotting papers. Blot each area of your face one at a time: forehead, eyebrow area, nose, cheeks, chin, etc. Note how much oil comes off on the tissue or paper for each area

Note: Make sure to complete step 2 during a part of the day when you have not recently exercised, been outside in harsh weather, or otherwise exposed your skin to situations that would change its oiliness or dryness.

This test can be particularly helpful for identifying combination skin, because you’ll be able to tell right where your skin is oily and where it is dry or normal. For oily skin, you should find that your tissues are oily for all parts of the face. For dry skin, there would be basically no oil on the papers and, again, some evidence that the skin is tight or flaking. And as before, evidence of normal skin is basically that your results are neutral: there may be a bit of oil on your tissues, but not more in one area than another, and the skin doesn’t seem dry even if there is little oil.

A Note on Sensitive Skin

What actually makes skin fall into the sensitive category is that it responds with irritation to some outside source, like makeup, wind, sun, skincare products, or perfumes. Any of the other skin types—dry, oily, combination, and normal—can also be sensitive skin types at the same time.

In contrast to the above two tests, a perhaps better indicator of sensitive skin is if a product ever causes your skin to turn red, become itchy or swollen, sting, or otherwise display discomfort, you may have sensitive skin. Examine the ingredients for that product and try to identify which one might be causing this reaction: are there any other products that have the same effect, and if so, do they share any ingredients? You can also get tested by a dermatologist or allergist to discover irritants.

A very common irritant for sensitive skin is parabens, which is why Mint & Needle never uses parabens in any of its products. Many of our products are also fragrance free for the same reason—many people with sensitive skin react to perfumes and fragrance ingredients with irritation and redness. (And for the rest of us, we find that most people like having fragrance-free products rather than having to pray that they love a product’s fragrance enough that they’re willing to wear it every day!)

If you learn that you have sensitive skin, you can—and should—still develop a skincare routine to keep it healthy and looking great! Just make sure to always test products on a patch of skin first, like on the jaw or neck, before applying to the full face, in order to avoid major irritation.

So there you have it—there are several ways to identify your skin type, and lots of ways to take good care of it once you’ve identified it! If you have further questions about your skin type, feel free to book an appointment today, and our Mint & Needle experts will be happy to help you figure out what’s best for your unique skin!