This guide is approximately a 4-minute read.
You use one soap and end up with pimples on your forehead, nose, and chin. Switch to another and you've got dry, flaky cheeks.
Does it seem like your skin just can't make up its mind about whether it's dry or oily?
There's a name for that type of indecisive skin - it's called a “combination” complexion, and it's one of the main types of skin that men can have.
Caring for a combination complexion can be tricky, but if you know how to choose grooming products for combination skin, it becomes a whole lot easier.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What combination skin is
- How to identify if you have combination skin
- How to choose face & skincare products for combination skin
- How to choose shaving products for combination skin
- Other tips for guys with combination skin
Let’s get started.
How to Choose: Grooming Products for Men with Combination Skin
What Is Combination Skin?
Every guy's skin makes oily stuff called sebum. This oil is produced by sebaceous glands at the bottoms of your pores and is kind of like motor oil in that it keeps your skin tissue nice and lubricated.
Ideally, your glands should all make the same about of oil - but in men with combination skin, the glands produce differing amounts of oil.
In the forehead, nose, and chin area - also known as the “T-zone” - oil production is often excessive, leading to oiliness. On the rest of the face, oil production may occur at a normal pace or too slowly.
This means that products that are good for the T-zone may over-dry the cheeks, and formulas that moisturize those dry spots can end up leaving the nose, forehead, and chin greasy.
Do You Have Combination Skin?
Here are some common signs of combination skin to look for:
- You have visible pores only in the T-zone area
- You're breakout-prone with blemishes developing in the T-zone
- Your cheeks sometimes feel tight or rough after you wash your face
- Your skin shines along the T-zone
- You have blackheads or dark pores only in the T-zone area
- You rarely or never suffer from sensitivity due to skin care products
If visible pores, breakouts, and shine are a widespread problem - and you don't feel tightness in your cheeks, you likely have oily skin and should check out our guide on how to choose grooming products for men with oily skin.
If you do suffer from sensitivity reactions, this guide on how to choose grooming products for men with sensitive skin is for you.
How to Choose Face & Skincare Products for Men with Combination Skin
To care for combination skin on a daily basis, use a regimen that includes the following:
Balancing Face Wash
As already mentioned, cleansing a combination complexion can be very tricky.
Products that do a good job of cleaning the nose, forehead, and chin can over-dry the cheeks - and products that leave your cheeks well hydrated usually miss some of the oil in the T-zone.
That's why it's important that you seek out a balancing face wash made especially for combination skin. These products are optimized to meet your skin's unique needs and often contain ingredients that help to promote proper oil production across the face to lessen combination skin symptoms.
Toners are one of the most important products for combination skin, as they help to regulate the skin's pH levels to encourage proper oil production across the entire complexion.
Make sure the toner you use is free of alcohol, which will dehydrate your cheeks. Non-comedogenic products that won't clog your pores are a great choice.
An example of an alcohol-free men’s face toner is the Willow Toner with Black Willow Bark from Portland General Store:
An oil-free moisturizing balm or lotion will be good for daily hydration.
Products with hyaluronic acid or glycerin are especially beneficial because they help moisture from the air bind to your skin without adding excess oil to your complexion.
During the winter months when your cheeks are most likely to become parched, you may want to use a moisturizing cream in addition to the balm only on dry patches.
A men’s face moisturizer for you to check out is the Gameface Moisturizer from Triumph & Disaster:
In addition to the products above, you may also want to add the following products to your regimen:
Exfoliating Face Scrub
Exfoliating regularly with a facial scrub can help to keep your cheeks from becoming flaky and your pores from becoming clogged. You can use the scrub once or twice per week in place of your face wash during your AM or PM regimen.
An example of a men’s face scrub is the Bamboo Face Scrub from Kale Naturals:
Moisturizing Face Serum
When your cheeks become dry, try using a moisturizing serum only on dry spots before you apply your moisturizer. This will give your troubled skin an extra drink.
How to Choose Shaving Products for Men with Combination Skin
For shaving, the following products are good options for combination skin:
Pre-Shave Lotion or Noncomedogenic Oil
Pre-shave products can dramatically reduce the risk of razor burn and help you get a closer shave.
To avoid making your T-zone oilier, select an oil-free pre-shave lotion or a noncomedogenic pre-shave oil. Just make sure the product you choose is free of alcohol for the sake of your cheeks.
A shaving gel is the perfect solution for combination skin, as it won't congest your T-zone with oils and will provide plenty of protection for the drier spots on your cheeks.
If you prefer a lather shaving product, a noncomedogenic shaving cream with an astringent like witch hazel is a great option.
An example of a men’s shaving gel is Another Close Shave Gel from Fieldworks Supply:
A cooling, soothing aftershave gel will treat your entire complexion to anti-inflammatory benefits after a shave.
Without added oils, these products won't congest the T-zone nor do they contain ingredients that can dehydrate the skin along the cheeks.
Other Tips for Caring for Combination Skin
To keep your combination skin healthy and balanced, consider these tips:
- You may need to adjust your skin care regimen seasonally, as skin tends to be oilier in the summer and drier in the winter.
- Because finding products for combination skin can be challenging, you may want to start off with trial or travel-size products. This way, you can see what works before you commit to a full-size bottle.