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Makeup Tips for Combination Skin

Find out how to bring combination skin back into balance.

| September 23rd, 2011

If your skin had its own Facebook page, its relationship status would be “It’s complicated.” Your Jekyll-and-Hyde complexion—a duo of oily and dry skin—can be challenging to handle. You risk overdrying the parched side when treating the oily sections and chance clogging pores by slathering on a heavy moisturizer to hydrate your dry skin. But by choosing your skincare products wisely and knowing the best way to apply them, you can bring your face back into balance.

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Makeup Tips for Combination Skin

The challenge Covering blemishes and cutting down T-zone shine while keeping dryer areas like your cheeks and temples smooth and hydrated. “A lot of my clients have a ‘split complexion’ with dry and oily areas and think this means their skin is really complicated,” says New York City makeup artist Sara Glick. “But you don’t have to use two sets of product—just a sheer tinted moisturizer, followed by some well-placed concealer.”

The science Your skin can be oily in some areas (usually the forehead, nose and chin) and dry around the cheeks because you have more sebaceous glands in your T-zone than the rest of your face. When these microscopic oil factories pump out too much sebum (thanks to genetics, stress, your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, certain medications including birth control pills and cosmetics—even smoking and diet), your skin becomes shiny and can break out. Dry, flaky cheeks and temples, on the other hand, can be genetic, a sign of dehydration or the result of a damaged protective barrier caused by harsh cleansers and scrubs or exposure to cold, dry air.

Perfect your complexion

1. Prep your skin Apply an oil-free moisturizer like Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base right after you get out of the shower to lock in moisture. Or start with a hydrating spritz, like Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist, and then follow with cream. Wait a few minutes to let the cream absorb.

2. Add some sheen “My favorite trick for a really convincing, hydrated glow is applying a pearly highlighter underneath foundation,” says Glick. Dab it high on cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose and lightly across the forehead and blend. Glick swears by Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Crème.

3. Get even Using your fingers or a concealer brush, spot-apply a creamy concealer like Urban Decay Surreal Skin Creamy Concealer under your eyes, along the corners of your nose and over any blemishes. Next, apply an oil-free foundation like Cover Girl Natureluxe Silk Foundation. Use your fingers and start at the middle of your face and blend outward. Set with a light dusting of clear powder like Tarte Smooth Operator Micronized Clay Finishing Powder.

4. Warm up Pick a powder bronzer with a tiny bit of shimmer like Lancome Star Bronzer Natural Glow Long-Lasting Bronzer, advises Glick. Using a large, fluffy brush, sweep it where the sun would naturally kiss your face: your forehead, the bridge of your nose, cheekbones and chin. Dust what’s left on the brush over your neck so it all blends in.

5. Go rosy Your most natural shade of blush is the color that you, well, blush naturally. (It’ll be in the pink family—nobody blushes tangerine or eggplant, notes Glick.) No matter your skin type, powder is easiest to apply and lasts the longest. Load up a blush brush, shake off the excess and sweep it over the apples of your cheeks. Soften and blend the color with a clean powder brush.

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