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How to Balance Skin for a Happy, Healthy Complexion

“Balance” is a term that gets thrown around all the time in the skin-care industry, but what exactly does it mean? In short: Balanced skin is skin that’s happy and healthy, though that may look different depending on the person and their definition of balance. For instance, someone with super-oily skin may prefer a completely matte complexion and associate that with being balanced, while another on the drier side might feel best and “most balanced” when their skin is dewy and glowing like a disco ball. In other words, it’s totally subjective. 

“You can interpret balanced skin in several ways,” says board-certified dermatologist Robert Finney. “I’m sure some people talk about pH balance, but I think it best stands for healthy skin, which means your skin barrier is intact, breakouts and inflammation are under control, and oil production is at a normal level.” Sounds pretty nice, right? Well, it’s achievable. Here, we’re breaking down the different factors that can throw skin out of balance — along with how to help rebalance skin and what that looks like in your routine. 

What causes imbalanced skin?

Unfortunately, there’s no cut-and-dry answer to this question. As Dr. Finney explains, “There are innumerable intrinsic and extrinsic factors that can lead to imbalance of the skin barrier — we see a lot of external causes in patients who physically and chemically exfoliate too much and use comedogenic products, stuff like that.” Additionally, environmental aggressors like pollution, sun exposure, and water quality can play a role, as well as weather, lifestyle habits (i.e. smoking, drinking, diet, etc.), and of course, stress and quality of sleep. The bottom line, according to Finney? “If your skin is not looking fresh and healthy, then I would say there is an imbalance happening, whether it be dry and irritated, or oily and pimply, for example.”

It’s also worth noting that skin balance can switch up on a dime. That’s why we came up with our Take It Day by Day, Skin by Skin™ approach, as it acknowledges that our complexions are constantly changing due to aspects of our lives that are both in and out of our control – things like stress, sleep, hormones, and so on. As a result, our skin has different needs every single day — Monday it might be more hydration, and Friday it could be a good old detox. (If you’re in the market for the latter, don’t miss our Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial.) The best thing you can do is simply listen to your skin and pay attention to how it feels when you wake up, as well as what it’s craving at the end of the day. Not sure where to start? We can help you with that.

In some cases, imbalances may manifest themselves on a regular basis — eczema or atopic dermatitis is a prime example of this. “In patients with eczema, inflammatory cytokines internally cause the skin barrier to be weak and inefficient, resulting in itchy, red, dry, and flaky skin,” explains Dr. Finney. In this instance, you should see a board-certified dermatologist to help you determine a treatment plan, as the solution may be more complex. 

How can you restore balance to the skin in your routine? 

First and foremost, Dr. Finney recommends getting familiar with your skin type if you’re not already, as this will help you not only recognize when your skin is feeling imbalanced, but how to properly care for it. “Get a good baseline skin-care routine that is best suited for your respective skin type and don’t add too many new products at once,” advises Dr. Finney. “And listen to your skin because the first sign of irritation is usually felt, not seen,” he adds. For instance, typically unhappy skin will start to burn when you apply lotion as a first clue that something is wrong.

In addition to a gentle cleanser like Glow Recipe’s Blueberry Bounce and a vitamin C treatment like Guava Dark Spot Serum, it’s super crucial to have a solid moisturizer in your arsenal. For folks with super-dry skin, the Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream is a foolproof rich option, while those with greasier complexions will get the best results from an oil-free formula like Watermelon Pink Juice. Then there’s the brand-new Plump Plump Hyaluronic Cream, which falls somewhere between the two, making it perfect for just about all skin types, aside from really oily and aggressively dry. Packed with a whopping five weights of hyaluronic acid, three types of antioxidant-rich plum, and polyglutamic acid (a peptide that boosts the efficacy of HA), this highly innovative formula works to plump and hydrate skin while protecting from damage caused by free radicals. On top of those hero ingredients, it also contains the ice willowherb extract — a unique plant derivative that helps to balance and support the skin barrier. 

Plump Plump is an MVP option for those with dry, combination, normal, and sensitive skin types, as it provides skin with all the essential nutrients and hydration it needs to thrive. With that said, even those with complexions on the oily side of the spectrum can try Plump Plump to see how their skin responds to it — because it’s free of pore-clogging mineral oils, you don’t have to worry about this formula breaking you out. At the end of the day, it all comes back to listening to your skin and what it needs in order to remain balanced and healthy. 

Keep reading about how to bring skin into balance:


Glow Recipe

Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream


Glow Recipe

Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser


Glow Recipe

Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream


Glow Recipe

Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer


Glow Recipe

Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum


Glow Recipe

Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial


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