Q.I’ve read your advice to use two cleansers for combination skin – but how does that work?  I have an oily T-zone so am I supposed to use a cleanser for oily skin, and an astringent for oily skin? Is astringent too drying for me – and what do you recommend me to use for my combination skin?
A.Basically, you should use a moisture-rich cleanser on the cheeks, and one targeted at oily skin on the T-Zone. Apply them separately, but remove together. If this is too much faffing around, then use a gentle cleanser that suits all skintypes, all over – something like Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser, or Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, which is actually the highest-scoring product ever in our Tried & Testeds.

Where most oily/combo skin sufferers go wrong is desperately trying to strip oil away. In fact, if skin is treated gently, it does start to rebalance itself. Instead of astringent, we’d recommend something really gentle, like rosewater. Most astringents are over-drying, which just sends the oil glands into overdrive as they try and replenish that oil. Far, far better to adopt the kind of mild regime we talk about here, and allow skin to settle down.

We would also suggest you try one of the new ‘Micellar’ cleansing waters, which are pretty darned miraculous at cleansing – they work a bit like an ‘e-cloth’, attracting particles of dirt to the cotton wool you use to swipe them away with.  A particular favourite is Melvita Fresh Micellar Water, which is infused with rose essence and has an especially divine smell.   

Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser, £17.50 at www.boots.com – buy here

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, £14.25 for 100ml pump with 2 muslin cloths at www.johnlewis.com – buy here

•  Melvita Fresh Micellar Water, £15 for 200 ml at www.melvita.com – buy here


Q.Please could you advise me of a good moisturiser for oily skin?  I’m 38 and have been using Liz Earle’s range for 2 years.  I love Cleanse & Polish for cleansing but the moisturisers do not seem ‘right’ for my skin; I just end up looking shiny within a very short time. I saw a beauty therapist recently who thought my skin was dehydrated.  I’m not sure if I should be looking at anti-ageing products as well.  Can you suggest a good moisturiser for me to try, please?

A.Well, you sound like one of the many Beauty Bible subscribers out there with combination skin.  First things first:  at your age, yes, you should be thinking about anti-ageing, but we actually suggest a two-stage programme, because so many anti-ageing products are rich and creamy.  (It’s a simple fact:  most maturing skins become drier, and that’s the market skincare companies tend to target.)  So:  under your moisturiser, layer a ‘serum’ product with age-defying ingredients;  serums are lightweight, sink in fast and tend to be oil-free, so shouldn’t up the shine levels. We recommend Caudalie Vinexpert Lifting SerumArk Age Aware Skincare Antioxidant Skin Response Serum or Neal’s Yard Rejuvenating Frankincense Serum.

Now for moisture.  If you’ve already tried Liz Earle Naturally Active Skin Repair Light (which is our ‘default’ recommendation for shiny/oily skins), then we suggest this shortlist of moisturisers from other brands which are targeted at skins like yours.  (NB  There’s an important distinction between oiliness and moisture:  even oily skins can be thirsty.) Clarins Ultra-Matte Rebalancing Lotion, should (as the name suggests) do the trick, while Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief is good for all skintypes – even yours – with its gel-like, sinks-in-fast texture.

At the more accessibly-priced end, try the 100% oil-free Olay Complete Care Daily UV Fluid, at www.chemistdirect.co.uk.  You should find the solutions to your problems here, but – for shine emergencies – do pack some blotting sheets, such as Le Papier Poudre, at www.victoriahealth.com; click here to find them.

Caudalie Vinexpert Lifting Serum, £44 for 30 ml at www.beautyexpert.co.uk – buy here

Ark Age Aware Skincare Antioxidant SkinResponse Serum, £39 for 30 ml at www.arkskincare.com – buy here

Neal’s Yard Rejuvenating Frankincense Serum, £40.50 for 30 ml from www.boots.com – buy here

Liz Earle Naturally Active Skin Repair Light, £18.75 for a 50 ml pump at www.johnlewis.com – buy here

Clarins Ultra-Matte Rebalancing Lotion, £24 for 50 ml on-line at www.boots.com – buy here

Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, £32 for 50 ml from www.boots.com – buy here

Olay Complete Care Daily UV Fluid, £6.15 for 100 ml, at www.chemistdirect.co.uk – buy here

Le Papier Poudre, £2.30 for 65 sheets at www.victoriahealth.com; buy here (NB you’ll also get an exclusive 5% discount as a visitor from our site)