Saturday Suggestions: Combination/Oily Skin Hacks

Your skin is the first aspect of, well, you, that people notice. If you have combination/oily skin like me, knowing this truth can breed self-consciousness when you’re having a particularly horrifying skin day.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for my ability to tan easily (which I will get to later) and for my dark features and thick hair, but with these genes also come unruly waves, quickly overgrown eyebrows…and shiny skin. 

I’ve spent countless hours and dollars over the last, say, ten years testing a variety of products and I believe I am one step closer to combating my love/hate relationship with my genetics, and I’d like to share with you what seems to work best for me. At least for now. Ha!


Everyone knows (should know) that the biggest disservice you can do to your skin is to sleep with makeup on and/or be lax in washing your face in general. I have found two products work best on my skin: Clearasil for twice-daily washing and Lush Dark Angels scrub for exfoliating every few days.

Often, Cetaphil is recommended to combination/oily skinned folks, but I found it does not work for me. I’m not certain why – I’m sure I’m an anomaly – but I mentioned this fact to my dermatologist and he looked at me like I had two heads. So, my point is, Cetaphil is a great option for most, as well. It just doesn’t seem to mesh well with me.

Also, many beauty professionals advise against exfoliating as often as I do, but I found it truly does help to cut down on how quickly my face turns into a melted makeup mess if I’m consistently exfoliating. 


As counterintuitive as it seems for oily skin, moisturizing is key. If your skin becomes too dry (even if it doesn’t appear dry), it will work 10x harder to produce oil, which obviously is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to combat! 

I start with a toner. My favorite is Botanical Kinetics Skin Firming/Toning Agent by Aveda. I spray this on my skin after my face is cleaned and dried. 

Next, are you ready for it – I use Pond’s Dry Skin Cream for my moisturizer. It is a bit thick, but once it seeps into your skin, it is fabulous. Again, the “dry skin” label may throw you off, but with combination skin, this is the best option. If you have truly, strictly oily skin, I recommend the general facial cream. 


Ah, makeup application with combination/oily skin – what a treat! If you’re not trying to conceal a random zit, you’re trying to remove excess oil. 

I have found that first and foremost, I must use a primer. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer is liquid gold to me. I don’t know if it is because it is not oil based or what, but it works better at dulling the shine than even MAC Matte Primer – which is made for oily skin.

As for foundation, I am currently using Makeup Forever Mat Velvet + Mattifying Foundation. This seems to hold up well throughout the day. I don’t have to blot as much.

Now, foundation clearly isn’t the only makeup I do, but foundation is the, er, foundation on which you apply the rest of your face. I’ll save my other makeup picks for another time.


Above, I gave you a snapshot of my daily products/routine. Aside from my daily regimen, I try to get a facial twice a year and use masks at home at the minimum of once a month. Maintaining the health of your skin is the first step in combating genetics.

As I mentioned before, I tan easily. This sounds great, but too much sun is horrendous for your skin. It ages you faster and not to mention, puts you at high risk for skin cancer. Neither of which are appealing. I am guilty of being a sun-lover – both real and fake – but I have made exceptional effort to reduce my sun intake and I have cut tanning beds out of my life entirely. If you want to keep your skin looking nice for years to come, ditch the fake and bake and wear sunscreen! 

It is never too late to develop good skin habits. Start today!


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