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Post in Combination Skin

New Skin Routine

I need advice in skin routine for combination skin, Please suggest. There is so many products out there, it is hard to make right choice.

Re: New Skin Routine

@Manu1998  A good way to start: identify your skincare goals and/or skin-related issues you want to resolve. For instance, my main skincare goals are consistently hydrated skin (I have mostly-dry combo skin) and fewer inflammation flare-ups; my issues to address are hyperpigmentation and occasional acne. 


Once you know your goals and/or issues, learn which ingredients can address them. Then look for products that contain those ingredients. This can help you avoid buying lots of random products and, instead, narrow the field. 


Meanwhile, you could begin a very simple routine that needn't be expensive:


  1. Gentle cleanser - At night during my shower, I use CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar which is the bar version of the liquid CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser many people love. Also consider cleansers by Vanicream, Cetaphil, and Paula's Choice. (Sephora does carry a very small selection of Paula's Choice now, but you'll find more of their cleansers at their own site. My morning cleanser is Paula's Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser, and some mornings I don't need it; I just gently wipe my face down with a wet plush microfiber cloth.) Even The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser 1.7 oz/ 50 mL could be a good choice. 

  2. Moisturizer - I use Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer day and night. A similar product is CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion. Also consider other CeraVe moisturizers, or Paula's Choice moisturizers. If your skin's okay with fragrance, you could try Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid 2 oz/ 60 mL : I loved this moisturizer until YTTP added several bad-for-me fragrance components to it. 

  3. Broad spectrum sunscreen that's at least SPF 30, worn all year long, regardless of weather - A popular and reliable option is Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++ 1.7 oz/ 50 mL . But there are plenty of other good ones out there. Which one's right for you depends on your personal preferences: chemical vs. mineral vs. hybrid sunscreen (all 3 types are safe and effective), matte vs. natural/radiant vs. glowy/dewy/"glass skin" finish, tinted vs. invisible vs. "eh, I don't mind a white/grey/purple cast." I currently rotate 4 sunscreens in my routine: Saie Sunvisor Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 35 , Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen, and 2 Japanese sunscreens (OMI Verdio UV Moisture Essence SPF 50 and Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel UV SPF 50). 


Do you know your skincare goals or issues? 

Re: New Skin Routine

Hello! I'm happy to start you off with the basics and some cautions taken from my years of exploring this. I'll frame my advice as Commandments because I'm Extra like that.


Commandment The First: Thou Shalt Patch Test.

I know, I know, your new stuff is finally here and you can't wait to get started, but after you've opened everything up there's one thing you must do before you start slathering it on your face. Patch Testing. Good news: You can do it right away after getting your products. Bad News: Then you have to wait. The purpose of patch testing is to test for skin reactions to new products.


Even if your skin is generally non-sensitive you may have an unknown allergy to something that will cause you weeks of pain, irritation and confusion. I know this because I've done it. Turns out, I'm allergic to propylene glycol so even my "bring on the 25% AHA peels I laugh in the face of chemical burns" skin turned into a "water hurts me" mess. If I'd patch tested I would have been able to pinpoint the source of my reaction right away rather than muddle through a week of breaking out, skin cracking, and general suffering.


To patch test you want to take a small amount of the product and apply it to an area of thinner skin. You could patch test on your face, but the idea is to avoid a face full of irritation, so the underside of your chin is a great place to use instead. You can patch test multiple products at the same time, just remember what you put where so if there's irritation you know which is the cause. You're looking for redness, flaking, itching, stinging, or any difference in your skin.


Commandment The Second: Study Closely Thine Holy List Of Ingredients.

Products are made of things, and those things are legally required to be listed on the packaging. They will always be in descending order so the first ingredient makes up the most of the product (it's usually water, and that's totally fine). Now the exact amounts are a bit funky, and anything past the first five or six ingredients isn't going to make up more than 1% of the product. This is important because some places will try to tell you that any amount of alcohol in a product will dry your skin out when it generally isn't enough to be even noticeable to you (it's to kill bacteria and mold usually). Other products will tout "key ingredients" that make up less than 1% of the product.


My 20% vitamin C serum's ingredient list goes like this: "Deionized Aqua (Water), Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf,Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide (plant-derived hyaluronic acid,11%)...". That's 6 ingredients and the third one down is 20% of the item, so even if the water and aloe are 22% and 21% respectively and the MSM is say 15% those six ingredients make up 89% of the product. The water is almost certainly actually at least 40% and anything below these on the list will be highly unlikely to be above 2%. Now, this is not to say that 1% concentrations are definitely worse than higher. Some ingredients like retinol and salicylic acid are fine at 1% or lower concentrations. Others like niacinimide and vitamin C do their best work at 5-15%.


Luckily, some brands sell themselves on being backed by research and transparent about the purpose of their ingredients, so we have things like Paula's Choice's Ingredient Dictionary:  I use this to look up anything I'm unfamiliar with to see if it's actually useful.


Commandment The Third: Be Thou Wary Of Vaugeries And Fearmongering.

When you can't sell your products with facts, you try to scare consumers away from the competition. terms like "Clean" and "Natural" have no regulated or even consistent definition.  "Toxins" are literally meaningless and even specific claims (particularly about endocrine disruption or cancer-causing) are usually based on studies where researchers fed the substance to rats in quantities higher than you would ever encounter in real life. If there was any demonstrated risk of harm to humans it would not be in a product you put on your face. Websites like EWG are particularly bad for this. EWG's Skin Deep database literally lists every product as "Data limited" with at least a scary 3 or 4 on their safety scale unless that brand pays them to "asses" the products and give them a good grade. It also does not account for the amount of the ingredient in a product and lists them instead in order of scariest claim first.


Beware also of claims like "helps to" and "reduces the look of". These are weasely words that companies use to say the product does things that it simply cannot do. A product that "reduces the appearance of fine lines" usually does this by covering the fine lines with a layer of silicone, giving a smooth appearance rather than actually making your skin smoother. Antioxidants is a similarly vague category that stretches "reduces oxidative stress on the skin that causes premature aging" into "helps prevent and reduce/reverse skin aging". This doesn't mean either of those products are bad, mind you, it just means that you need to be aware of what the ingredients actually do more than the claims made by products.


Commandment The Fourth: Thou Shalt Begin Simply.

Have I made your head spin yet? Does it all sound a lot like the worst parts of chemistry class but the grade is shown on your face? Don't worry, most of the previous two Commandments is a base so that you don't get swept in by excessive or misleading marketing jargon. You don't actually need to know any of the names and effects of any products right now. You're going to begin with the basics and build from there. These basics are only three products: Cleanser, Moisturizer, and Sunscreen. If you are prone to acne you can get a spot-treatment too, but if it's not a regular problem for you then you don't need to worry about it. Everything else: toners, serums, eye creams, night creams, even exfoliants come second to these three key pillars.


There's three reasons for this. Firstly, diving into a massive extensive routine is expensive, and you'll be doing a lot of experimentation. Secondly, massive routines take tons of time, and that makes you less likely to stick with the routine. You're also less likely to enjoy the process and that's in important part of it! This should be self care, not self-flagellation. Thirdly, the fewer products you start with, the less likely you are to irritate your skin with a new product.


Commandment The Fifth: Thou Shalt Keep It Simple.

Once you have your three pillars established you can expand your routine to fit your needs. When you're focusing on specific things it's a lot easier to find the ingredients and types of products that will best suit you. Doing your own research and exploring products through samples and the like will be really helpful for keeping the price down too. I find the work of Michelle at Lab Muffin Beauty Science (Chemistry PhD and skincare nerd Blog:  to be great for learning what the science actually supports. I also like Gio at Beautiful with Brains:  as she is similarly focused on skincare based in actual results rather than marketing. She even offers sample routines, like this one for combination skin: / I find her recommendations lean a bit more expensive but the base of knowledge is solid.


That was...a lot of information and no product recommendations, but I suspect other people will have made those while I've been composing this thesis.

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