Expert Advice

How to Know Your Skin Type

Dry, oily, combination, sensitive, and normal skin can all benefit from a healthy skincare routine, but each skin type has its own unique needs. As such, the best way to care for your skin is to understand your skin type.

Wondering “what is my skin type”? Take the below skin type test to determine whether your skin is dry, oily, combination, sensitive, or normal, then explore No7’s range of products to build the perfect routine for you.

Skin type tests

The easiest way to determine your skin type is to take a skin type test.

The Bare Face Method

This method assesses the state of your skin without any skincare products.

  1. Cleanse the face with a mild cleanser, like No7 Radiant Results Foaming Cleanser
  2. Gently pat face dry with a clean towel
  3. Don’t apply any moisturizer, serum, or treatments
  4. Wait 30 minutes then examine the T-zone, cheeks and forehead for any oiliness, redness, shine, or dry patches. Your skin’s reaction will determine your skin type.

If the skin feels tight or uncomfortable, this indicates a dry skin type. If your face looks shiny, you likely have oily skin. If your cheeks feel tight but your T-zone appears oily, then you’re dealing with combination skin. Redness and irritation indicate a sensitive skin type.


Blotting paper skin type test

The blotting paper test is one of the best ways to determine your skin type.

  1. Using a different sheet for each part of the face, gently pat a piece of blotting paper on the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin
  2. Hold the sheets up to the light
  3. Observe the results

If there is minimal oil across all the parts of the face tested, you have dry skin. If the forehead and nose area are oilier, you have normal or combination skin. If all the sheets have some oil, you have oily skin.


The 5 basic skin types

Skin types are determined by genetics but can be affected by a variety of factors, including the climate, hormones, stress, allergic reactions, and diet.

Dry skin

Dry skin is characterized by a lack of moisture and small cracks in the outer layer, as it naturally produces less sebum than other skin types and struggles to adequately maintain hydration. It’s caused by genetics, cold or dry weather, sun damage, harsh soaps, hormones, and overbathing.

The dry skin type typically feels rough, flaky or itchy and looks dull, with exacerbated fine lines and wrinkles. Makeup, including foundation and concealer, often clings to dry patches and appears scaly.

The best skincare for dry skin includes gentle products infused with hydrating and protecting ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, shea butter, and ceramides.

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Oily skin

Oily skin is characterized by overactive sebaceous glands that produce excess sebum, typically causing an oily T-zone and enlarged pores.

This skin type often looks shiny and is prone to blackheads and breakouts but feels more supple due to the natural moisture. The best skincare for oily skin is oil-free and mattifying but should still hydrate the skin. Look for purifying cleansers and exfoliators that clarify the skin without being too harsh, and oil-free moisturizers that hydrate without exacerbating sebum production.

Combination skin 

A hybrid between dry and oily skin, combination skin is recognized by an oily T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin), and either dry or normal skin on the cheeks, jaw area, and hairline.

The best skincare for combination skin is lightweight and hydrating, working to balance oily areas while hydrating, soothing and nourishing dry patches. Look for rebalancing cleansers infused with mattifying clays, and deeply hydrating oil-free moisturizers

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Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin is particularly prone to inflammation, redness and irritation, as it’s more reactive than normal skin. Triggered by environmental stressors and damage, tell-tale signs include itching, stinging, burning, and a feeling of tightness.

The best skincare for sensitive skin is free of harsh ingredients, including fragrance, alcohol and sulfates, that strip away essential moisture and cause irritation. Opt for gentle products that are hydrating, soothing and protecting.

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Normal skin

Normal skin is typically low maintenance and easy to take care of. It’s balanced, feels neither dry nor oily, and isn’t prone to breakouts, flakiness, or tightness. Pores are generally small, skin texture is smooth, and sensitivity or blemishes are rare.

Since there aren’t any major skin type characteristics to target, priorities should be to maintain skin’s natural balance, hydration levels and luminosity.

Discover No7 skincare for all skin types



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No7 Beauty

No7 Beauty

Writer and expert