How to Determine Your Skin Type

skin type

So, you’ve made the decision to dip your toes into the marvellous and exciting world of Korean Beauty. “But where do I start”, I hear you cry? Have no fear, here at GlowTime we’re here to hold your hand and break a few things down, helping you along every step of your skincare journey to real ultimate skin goals!


The ethos vibrating through every Korean beauty regimen is truly listening to and understanding your skin’s needs and responding to it. By caring for your skin in this way, skin will look and feel at its best. Skin is your body’s largest organ and it is just as important and intelligent as the other organs.


Skin is skin and it functions in the same way regardless of race, gender, ethnicity and culture. While skin may change according to seasonality, weather and circumstances your specific skin’s tendencies are very much driven by your skin type. By using products specifically formulated for your skin type, you can customise a skincare regimen which will work for you, giving yourself the best chance of getting the results you want.


While there are many ways to determine your skin type, we’re going to detail the easiest and the simplest one that you can do from the comfort of your own home. We like to call it The Bare-Faced Method.


  1. Wash your face

Remove dirt, makeup and sunscreen so that bare skin can be examined in its most natural state.


  1. Wait 1 hour

Do not apply any products to your skin. Allow your skin to rest.


  1. Observe your skin

Have a look at your skin’s characteristics and follow the guide below to determine your skin type.


Skin looks and feels the same as it did before washing. It is smooth, well-nourished and supple.  Pores are minimal and no signs of irritation, flakiness or roughness. There is a glow to your skin which is not due to oiliness.

Tip: Look for lightweight formulated products which are not too heavy.


Skin feels tight and parched especially when you smile or make facial movements. Skin is flaky, irritated or rough. There may be cracks or fine lines where skin has pinched together due to dehydration and there are zero traces of oil. Pores are almost invisible. Overall skin has a papery appearance and seems dull and sallow.

Tip: Look for rich nourishing creams with a velvety texture. Avoid irritating ingredients.


Skin looks and feels shinier and oilier. It may even feel greasy to the touch. Pores are visibly enlarged and may be congested. Clogged pores, blackheads and blemishes may be present due to sebaceous glands’ oil production going into overdrive.

Tip: Look for products with a lightweight, liquid, thin or gel texture. Avoid harsh products which strip skin of its natural oils as well as thicker heavier textures which may risk clogging pores.


Skin which has elements of dry, oily or normal skin is more likely to be combination. Combination means some parts of the face may be one skin type and others another. In truth combination can mean any permutation of the above skin types but the most common is oily on the forehead and nose (the T-zone) and dry on the cheeks. Combination can also be normal/dry or normal/oily. If pores are prominent on the T-zone but minimal on the cheeks, then your skin type is most likely combination.

Tip: The name of the game is balance. Using products which provide intense moisture for the cheeks maybe too occlusive for the T-zone. Instead target oily areas with gels and light emulsions whilst dry areas can be treated with lighter essences and lotions to restore skin’s balance.


We can determine if skin is sensitive based on history rather than pure observation. If skin has reacted to new products in the past or is consistently red, irritated, itchy, stinging, burning or inflamed then chances are your skin is sensitive. You may find incorporating a new product into your skincare routine difficult due to your skin’s negative reaction. Your skin simply doesn’t like it. After washing your face, if skin feels dry and/or flaky and irritated it’s likely you have sensitive skin. Skin which reacts particularly to dry air or windy conditions also point towards sensitivity.

Tip: Skin is a barrier between the external environment and moisture from within. If skin is sensitive, the barrier’s function is compromised and weak, unable to function as it should. This can lead to breakouts and rough, dry spots. Focus on soothing ingredients which strengthen skin’s barrier function such as ceramides, aloe and hyaluronic acid, making a note to avoid harsh chemicals.

Always do a patch test first before introducing a new product into your routine. This applies to cosmetics too. Test on a small area on your inner forearm. If there is no reaction, proceed to testing a small area behind your ear before using it on your face. Patch testing is your friend when it come to sensitive skin and it’s an excellent method in minimising potential flare-ups with introducing new formulae into your regimen.

Broadly speaking the above categories are skin types in a nutshell. There will always be slight nuances and variations within one skin type. Skin changes and adapts daily, as we age, with lifestyle, environment, diet and the weather. Just because you have characteristics of one skin type today doesn’t mean that your skin won’t change with time.

Understanding your skin’s typical characteristics allows you to select and customise the right products for your skin’s needs, empowering you to build a solid foundation for your beauty regimen. Beautiful, healthy skin is truly within your reach.

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