Over the past year or two, my decidedly normal skin became very “combination.”
Maybe it was my cross-country move from NYC to the Bay Area, or maybe it’s just that I’m in my 30s now, but I’m constantly looking for the right products for my sensitive, combination skin.
Here are some things I’ve been testing:
I don’t like heavy skin products, especially now that it’s consistently over 85 degrees every day, so I’ve been trying out all kinds of different things, from setting sprays and toners, to SPF and skincare boosters.
First up is Erborian Bamboo Matte Lotion (available at Sephora for $34). It’s the product I’ve been using the longest of this bunch, and for good reason. I love it! It’s definitely earned a place in my skincare routine.
It’s actually a toner, and I picked it up randomly one day at Sephora because I’d been curious about it for a while. As you can see in the photo above, a powder settles at the bottom of the bottle. I just give it a quick shake and apply directly to my face.
Since my skin is classic combination right now — dry on my cheeks and shiny along my T-zone — I can’t really get down with strong toners because they just make my skin feel too tight, but this Bamboo Matte Lotion manages to work well wherever I use it.
The water is infused with moisturizing bamboo, but the powder helps soak up oil.
I love applying this after I wash my face. It just balances my skin so perfectly.
It’s a moisturizer with SPF, and I definitely like the convenience of having one product that does both. It does a great job preventing shine, but at the end of the day, my cheeks feel a bit tight when I use it. I don’t think that translates into visual dryness, but I can feel it!
Also, I feel like SPF 15 is pretty low for a sunscreen, and I like to wear SPF 30 at least. My uncle was diagnosed with skin cancer when I was in junior high, and even though he was able to get treatment in time and is doing just great now, that experience alerted me to the danger of not protecting myself from the sun.
I’m gonna get off my soapbox now, but outside of the low SPF, I think this Murad does a good job at keeping my skin matte.
Since I wasn’t wowed by the Murad Oil-Control Mattifier, I’ve also been testin boscia White Charcoal Mattifying MakeUp Setting Spray (also available at Sephora, and it’s $38).
It’s a spray infused with white charcoal, and it’s meant to be mattifying and moisturizing. You can also use it hroughout the day to mattify your skin without messing up your makeup.
So, it took me a little while to get the hang of this spray because it’s not a super charged mattifier. Like, it says on sephora.com that it “gently mattifies.”
So this is not the spray you’d use to look 100% matte (which is actually fine by me, since I’m all about that glow), but it is the spray you’d use when you want to avoid high intensity shine and make your makeup last longer.
I really like using this because it takes the edge off the shine but doesn’t make my skin feel tight at all. I like to spray my makeup brush or sponge with it before applying my makeup, and then I’ll spray it all all over my face after I finish my base. I learned that this will make my mascara run, though, so I make sure to spray it before I apply mascara.
Overall, I like this spray. If you have very oily skin, then it may not be strong enough, but if you have combination skin, it might work really well for you.
Lastly, here’s something very new to me: the Sephora Clarifying Skincare Booster (for some reason I can’t find it online) is meant to be added to your skincare. The key ingredient is zinc, and while the main objective is to reduce the appearance of pores, it’s also supposed to mattify your skin too.
You can use it day and night, and while I’ve only used it for about a week, I like it so far. I haven’t had any bad reactions to it, and when I add a couple of drops to my moisturizer, my skin is left with a nice matte canvas for my makeup.
Of these four products, my favorites are the Erborian toner and the boscia setting spray, and I’d love to hear any recommendations you have!