What's Your Skin State? Our Holistic Esthetician Helps You Find Out

I totally get it, figuring out your skin type can be tough – especially with the state of your skin ever-evolving and changing with seasons, stress and lifestyle shifts. And it can be even tougher to navigate the world of natural beauty and know which products and practices and routines are best for your skin.

Our team works so hard to provide suggestions + solutions for every customer request, but it can be tricky to put together a personalized plan of action without seeing your skin in person or understanding what’s happening beneath the surface. I wish you could all come to our holistic spa in Southern California for an in-person pure-scription (aka skincare consultation!), so instead, I’m bringing the spa to you.

Today, I’m going to teach you a few tips to help you discover your current skin state. My goal as a Holistic Esthetician? To help you learn how to listen to what your skin is saying and to let it be your guide. Here we go!


Notice: not skin type, but skin state. Your skin’s way of being and behaving.

While it’s important to pinpoint your skin’s natural tendencies (prone to dry patches or to producing oil or to pigmentation) to help you create the most effective skincare routine, the reality is, skin is ever-evolving.

Both nature and nurture play a significant role in how your skin reveals itself. Certain characteristics such as overall well-being, biology, genetics, ethnicity and other inherited factors can contribute to specific skin conditions. So categorizing your skin as a certain type can sometimes be limiting and even misleading.

Skin states can also shift depending on:

  • seasons
  • climate
  • stress levels
  • medication
  • hormonal imbalances
  • diet changes
  • age
  • work/home environment
  • sleep time/quality
  • the list goes on and on…

It may take some time to determine what your skin is communicating, but building a relationship with your skin in this way will help you trust your skin’s messages – rather than deceptive marketing messages on product packaging.

When learning to listen to your skin, here are 3 T’s to guide you:

TONE: Take note of the coloring of your complexion. Such as discoloration, pigmentation, fair skin that burns easily, broken capillaries, even skin tone, excess melanin, dark spots, glowing skin, acne scarring, redness, etc…

TEXTURE: Closing your eyes helps to heighten your sense of touch and allows your hands to really focus on what they’re feeling. Notice any changes in texture such as rough/dry patches, bumps or deeper cystic acne, soft/smooth areas, depressions or divets, and excess oil production.

TEMPERATURE: Gently rest your fingers on your skin and feel the temperature in different areas on your face. This can indicate areas of slow, stagnant circulation (cooler temps), inflammation and sensitivities (excess heat) or healthy, supported skin (warm to the touch).

Start with a freshly cleansed face (don’t forget to smile at your sweet self in the mirror!) and look closely at what you’re observing on the surface of your skin and start to reflect on what you’re seeing:

Larger, more visible pores?
Red, inflamed areas?
Specific spots of hyperpigmentation?
Healthy glow?
Smile lines?
Worry lines?

Next, close your eyes and feel your skin to find out even more about what your skin is trying to tell you.

Cystic acne or bumps?
Dry, rough patches?
Sensitive to the touch?
Smooth, soft texture?
Temperature warm or cool?

Now that you’ve gotten to know your skin and gathered messages from what it’s showing you, regardless of what you observed, I suggest (ahem, *strongly* suggest) moving into your skincare routine with GRATITUDE for your brilliant, beautiful skin. Rather than trying to erase any unwanted signs of aging or acne with topical skincare, the purpose of these products is to work with the skin to bring about balance, strength and healing.

I like to call it, compassionate skincare.

Based on what you’ve seen, felt and experienced, trust yourself and your skin to choose the specific topical products and techniques to support your skin health.

Are you well past graduation day but treating your skin like it’s still in high school? Take note if your skin tone, texture or temperature has actually shifted since your oil-blotting teenage years. The truth is, many of us may still be categorizing our skin as oily (or sensitive or acne-prone or fill-in-the-blank) when in reality, the natural aging process has led to new, unique needs and requires completely different skincare products + approaches to support your new skin state. See why learning to listen to your skin is so important? 🙂


Because the skin is brilliant at revealing imbalances within the body and is also impacted by external factors, I want to encourage you to learn to love your skin, no matter its state. Start to view skin conditions as its way of communicating needs – as well as an invitation to do some deeper healing. Skin doesn’t lie, so let it lead you in determining the topical products and holistic approaches to bring your complexion + current skin state back into balance.

After determining what your skin is saying from above, here are 4 descriptions below to help you discover your sskin state:

    • OIL-RICH: Your skin is more prone to breakouts + inflammation, tends to produce excess oil and pore size is visibly larger on forehead, nose, chin and cheeks.
      You often reach for oil-blotting sheets by noon, you’ve simply accepted the fact that blackheads are now a part of your complexion and finding a cure for chronic acne + minimizing scarring has become your mission in life. The best part about having oil-rich skin? Your skin is naturally hydrated and is slow to show signs of aging. Oil-rich skin = Naturally youthful appearance.


    • COMBINATION: Your skin is more balanced or combination (areas more prone to producing oil along with drier patches) with more visible pores around the nose or forehead/chin.
      Balance is a top priority as your combination skin can sometimes be in flux, you’re content with the state of your skin but still concerned about premature aging, and people consistently ask what skincare products you use to get that healthy glow.


    • SENSITIVE: Your skin tends to feel reactive, dry, sensitive or appear red + inflamed along with visible pore size varying across the face.
      Your skin feels easily irritated + fragile and you swear by fragrance-free products, redness has become your regular look and you long for a complexion that’s calm and stress-free. Your delicate skin deserves some serious TLC and support from products that promote a peaceful complexion.


    • DRY/DEHYDRATED: Your skin tends to feel more tight, dry, sensitive or with signs of aging such as fine lines + hyperpigmentation along with less visible pores all over the face.
      You’re consistently reaching for another layer of lotion, searching for products to promote a youthful glow + even skin tone and you’ve got reminders of the years you’ve lived along your lips as smile lines. Dry, mature skin types are beautiful but often times just need a bit of a boost.


Note: there’s no “normal” skin state listed above. Why? Because I don’t believe normal skin exists.

If anything, it creates an almost impossible ideal that leaves most of us feeling like something is wrong with our skin. Let’s define a “new normal” for ourselves by simply loving the skin we’re in. And that, sweet friends, is the most beautiful kind of skin state.

What did you take away from our skin state lesson today? Let me know below and be sure to check out this blog series to learn how to care for specific skin needs! XO, Courtney


Instead of your skin type, our Holistic Esthetician is helping you discover your unique skin state. This post is a must-read! | Primally Pure Skincare

Leave a Comment

Courtney O’Connor

Courtney Joy O’Connor is Primally Pure’s In-House Holistic Esthetician and Content Curator. Being in the beauty industry for over a decade, her experience + expertise with pure products, the healing power of touch and holistic skincare rituals are at the core of all she creates. She has trained extensively with industry experts across the country to offer her community the most educational content and transformative treatments. Courtney lives at the beach with her plant babies and loves road tripping, blending superfood bliss balls and exploring our big, beautiful world.