The Foundation Files: Skin Types


Women are obsessed with diagnosing their skin type, and these days there are so many products out there that use this as a marketing strategy for beauty products. But there is some truth to it, especially for everyday use and wear when it comes to foundation.

In this weeks installment of the Foundation Files, I’ll outline some of the major skin types and give you some tips on the kind of product you should be looking for.

Ultimately skin changes all the time, due to age, climate, temperature, genetics and various other factors. Skin tends to be oilier during puberty, and as we age it tends to lean towards dry. Here they are broken down for you. Try identify your skin type.

  • Dry – Dry skin tends to feel tight after washing, and often in extreme cases can have areas of flakiness. More mature women tend to find that their skin dries out as they get older, partly due to a lack in oil production and petering hormones.
  • Normal – Normal skin is generally considered well balanced. Skin produces enough oil to keep skin supple without being overly oily. Generally this skin type doesn’t have major issues with acne or other blemishes.
  • Combination – Combination skin generally is dry on the cheek area, but tends to get oilier along the T-zone (i.e. the forehead, nose and chin). This skin type may find that they will get blemishes and and blackheads or whiteheads in the areas that are oilier.
  • Oily – Oily skin is one that over-produces oil, it is prone to shining and often leads to problem skin such as acne and clogged pores. More often than not this skin type is genetic but sometimes it can be as a result of improper skin care routines.
  • Acne prone – Acne prone skin often is oily, and this excess of sebum creates blocked pores. Cystic acne and large painful pimples are more often than not a genetic trait, but a great skin care routine can help normalise sebum production to an extent.

What has this got to do with foundation? Well to be honest, quite a lot. Dry skins are often screaming for hydration and wearing a suitable foundation can really help to moisturise and condition skin. Conversely acne prone skins benefit from using an oil-free foundation, as adding any more oil can really flare up any pre-existing problems.

Now that you’ve found your skin type, here are some key words to look for on the bottles of foundation.

If you’re…

Dry look for…

moisturising, emolient, hydrating, dewy, glowy, radiant.

Normal look for…

just about anything! Depending on the effect you want, if you like the dewy look it will add glow, if you prefer a more matte base look for words like matte, semi-matte, natural etc.

Combination look for…

natural, semi-matte, oil-free.

Oily look for…

oil-free, non-comedogenic, matte, semi-matte, shine free.

Acne prone look for…

oil-free, non-comedogenic, matte, semi-matte, shine free, treatment foundation.

Beware of the words…

Dermatologist tested or dermatology tested

This means nothing! All it means is that a dermatologist tested it – it doesn’t mean that the dermatologist like it, or approved of it. It just means it was tested.

Now that you have some idea of what to look for it’s important that you prepare your skin correctly. This means cleansing, toning (if you normally do) and moisturising (a moisturiser with an SPF is the way to go!). Even if you have oily or acne prone skin it is so important to moisturise. Often women with oily skin tend to skip moisturiser feeling that it only makes their skin even more oily, but skin will over compensate for the lack of moisture by producing even more oil. Remember skin regulates itself, so if it feels like it’s too dry because you skipped moisturiser it’s sebum producing glands are going to kick into overdrive!

Moisturiser needs to be matched to your skin type too. If you have dry skin go for a hydrating one, if you’re oily get a mattifying one, or something very light and natural.

For oily skinned ladies – if you feel you need a mattifying primer beware more often than not these products contain silicones in them which feel great on the skin and leave a silky texture but can often clog pores. Test products thoroughly so you don’t cause yourself an unnecessary break-out!

Next week I’ll be dealing with different textures of foundation and colour matching, so you don’t walk around with the wrong shade on your face.

Hope that helps, keep sending your thoughts and questions.




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