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Last Updated on by Carly

Choosing the correct products can be a bit of a nightmare for some people. There’s cleansers, toners, moisturisers, eye creams, foundation, concealer etc. It can be difficult to know where to start. One of the most common questions I got asked in the salon was ‘what products should I use on my face?’. I loved it because skincare was an area I specialised in and helping people is a real passion of mine. When someone uses the wrong product it can have an adverse effect, but getting it right can literally change lives! It’s all about looking after your skin’s health by choosing the correct products for you. Not only will your skin reap the benefits of all the lovely ingredients, but you’ll be creating the perfect base for makeup too. But first thing’s first – you need to diagnose your skin type. If you would like to know how then read on….

How to Diagnose Your Skin Type

Rose-Gold Makeup Bag: Next | Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation: Chanel | Lasting Perfection Concealer: Collection


There’s two ways of diagnosing your skin type. You can try and do it yourself or you can get a skincare therapist to do it for you. Here’s some important points:

Using a beautician/skincare therapist

Any beauty salon that offers facials will be able to help you, but you’ll probably need to book a facial of some sort as they will want to look at your skin, makeup free and underneath a magnifying light. I used to offer ‘prescription facials’. This is a great place to start as you’ll be given a prescription at the end. Mine used to tell the client all the products I recommended, how to use them and lots of other information as discussed during the facial. If your beauty salon doesn’t offer prescription facials, tell them you would like to have your skin type diagnosed.

Things to consider:

~ A trained professional is more likely to diagnose your skin type correctly.

~ Your skincare therapist will be able to recommend products for your skin type and it’s exact needs at that time. Your skin will change throughout your life depending on many factors. For example, I have combination skin, but as I get older it’s drying out.

~ Skincare therapists and beauticians are often highly trained in the products that they’re using and recommending. Personally I was trained in Dermalogica, GM Collin and Susan Molyneux and all 3 brands gave me intense, ongoing training and support. I knew the products inside out, upside-down and back to front!

~ Your therapist will probably only recommend the products they are trained in, which more often than not will be one brand. This is because they may not have knowledge of other brands, especially those sold on the high-street. They’ll also have a lot of faith in the products they are using and selling, especially if they’re the salon owner. I can only speak for myself here, but I choose the brands I did because I genuinely believed they were the best. I never dipped into the world of high-street brands until I became a blogger so I had no knowledge of them at all (other than when I was a teenager of course – but I started in the beauty industry aged 15!).

~ Although your therapist will probably give you a prescription, don’t feel like you have to purchase the products then and there. I used to tell my clients to go home and think about it, after-all, salon exclusive products don’t come cheap. These days you can pick up amazing bargains online from sites such as Feelunique, Lookfantastic and Cult Beauty etc too.

~ Skincare therapists are looking at skin day in, day out, so they really are the experts in their field. You’ll probably struggle to get a better skin diagnosis elsewhere.

Diagnosing your own skin type

I need to be honest here and say that I really don’t think this is the best way. I’ve come across so many people that have got it wrong over the years and created an adverse effect. However, I have to be realistic and except that not everyone is in a position to go and see a beautician.

Things to consider:

~ The cost involved when spending lots of money on products that may not work for you.

~ Could an adverse effect be caused by using the wrong products?

~ You will need to educate yourself, including all the different skin types and classic signs of each one.

If you still feel like you would like to diagnose your skin type yourself, here’s a few of the basic skin types I’m aware of:


I’ve always struggled with this terminology because what on earth is normal? Honestly? That aside, in the world of beauty this means your skin has no problems at all. It’s not oily. It’s not dry. It’s balanced. (I think balanced would be a better name actually!).


Dry skin is characterised by lovely tight pores, which you can hardly see. It’s sometimes flaky and may feel itchy or tight. In my opinion it’s the nicest looking skin when you’re young, but be careful if you have this because it’s prone to ageing.


This skin type can look greasy and shiny with enlarged pores. Your skin needs to be oily all over to be diagnosed as this skin type, otherwise it could be combination.


Combination skin is usually oily on the forehead, nose or chin and balanced or dry on the other areas of the face. The oily areas may have enlarged pores and the balanced or dryer areas will have much smaller pores.


Sometimes skin is diagnosed as being sensitive, meaning it reacts to products easily. I believe that sensitive skin is a condition rather than a type. For example I have had many clients that have a combination skin type, but it’s also sensitive. Some people will have sensitive skin their whole lives and others might be going through a stage of sensitivity. It’s just a case of using the appropriate products that suit the skin’s needs at the time.

So here it is – the answer to the question of ‘what products should I use on my face?’. Once you know your skin type you can start trying out products to suit your individual needs. Just to complicate matters though, there are no rules here. It’s all a case of using your own (or your therapists) initiative. I have combination skin but constantly mix my routine up depending on what my skin is doing at the time. Don’t forget, knowing your skin type extends to when you choose makeup as well as skincare products, especially when it comes to choosing foundation and concealer. If that’s something you’re interested in then you might like this post – Skin Tone | Am I Warm or Cool?

I hope you’ve found this post useful. I would love to hear any skincare beliefs you have of your own. It doesn’t matter if they’re different to what I’ve written here, I just love to learn other people’s concepts or ideas. 

Do you know what your skin type is?

Carly x


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Other skincare posts you might like:

How to Get Rid of Acne

Acne | The Problems Only people With Spots Understand

My Acne Story


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