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Our best cleanser recommendations for combination skin

Combination skin is the worst. Or the trickiest. You have some parts of your face that are oily and some parts that are dry. In different seasons they decide to act differently. Finding the right cleanser that doesn’t leave half of your face peeling off and the other half so shiny that you can see it from an airplane is not the most fun task.

Though it is the most common skin type, it’s not the most wanted. Having to constantly watch your T-zone isn’t your idea of the best time. Your skin is always dry and acne-filled at the same time. you need to look at the cleanser before you buy it to see if it will help or hinder your skin. Let’s look at some of the best cleansers for combination skin.

Woman applying moisturizer to her face

The cleansers

  • Philosophy Purity

This facial cleanser is great for stubborn combination skin. It’s paraben-free, so it won’t upset your skin. It will help remove dirt and makeup and calm your pores down. It’s also made with natural oils, which is great for combination skin. It’s a liquid-gel-style facewash that will lather up in use.

  • Cetaphil PRO

If for whatever reason you like the feeling of a foaming face wash, then try this one. Not only is it super affordable, but you can find it almost anywhere. It’s good for sensitive skin, so it’ll be nice on your combination skin, as well.

  • Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

If you don’t like the whole process of washing your face every night, or you just want to be really lazy, then you should have this in your bathroom. It will still get out the day’s dirt and oil from your pores without the sometimes result of water magically splashing all over your floor.

  • Neutrogena Acne Face Wash Daily Scrub

You’ve probably seen the commercial a few hundred times, so maybe you should give it a try. The salicylic acid in this face wash will really target that acne and blackhead situation you have. You can use this in the morning and night if you are really having issues.

  • CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser

This cleanser will get your T-zone taken care of without making the rest of your face peely and dry. The benzoyl peroxide is good for the acne-prone portion of your skin without being too harsh on the rest.

Don’t think that only having the best face wash for combination skin will take care of it on its own. You really should also have a good toner, too. Toners will catch anything your cleanser missed. The best part is that toners will help your pores stay free from dirt and oil, as well. They won’t dry out your skin, either, and they actually help hydrate it.

What else you can do

Your combination skin will need constant love and attention. It sucks, but it’s the way it is. You’ll have to do things like make personalized face masks where you have one kind of mud mask on your T-zone and another kind on the rest of your face.

You should also stay away from any soap or toner where fragrance is an ingredient. This will irritate your dry zones and not be a cute look. It will only irritate your skin more, make it overproduce oils to try to correct itself, and make things even worse. So stay away from them.

Do you remember those blotting papers? They were popular awhile ago and then kind of went away. For people with combination skin, those should be on your person at all times. Your T-zone doesn’t care about the time or place, it will get oily anywhere. Blotting papers are a great way to try to tame that zone in a pinch.

Woman holding a plastic bottle of liquid soap
Sofie Delauw/Getty Images

Whatever you do, leave your face alone

We know. it’s hard. Your combination skin makes your pores huge and tempting to pick at. But did you wash your hands before you touched your face? Probably not. Now you added more dirt and oil to your already-overflowing face. Ugh. Now it hates you even more.

Try with all your might to stop touching your face. At any time, not only bedtime. Touching your face throughout the day will add gross dirt to your oily face. Your face is acne-prone enough without you helping by rubbing half of the office germs on it.

A hard one to get right is to tone down your stress. Your stress already went up reading that. We know, it’s a horrible thing to ask. But stress triggers breakouts, which, as you know, your skin already does a lovely enough job of providing for you free of charge.

Remember, your combination skin is genetic and is always changing. You’re going to have to rotate cleansers depending on what your skin is doing that month. Be sure to have a toner on hand. Stop touching your face. Stress less. Got all of that? Good.

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