How do you minimize the appearance of pores?

A good setting/finishing powder really does it for me, something like Guerlain Les Voilettes or Urban Decay Naked Loose Powder. I have normal-to-dry skin, and I don’t think my pores are particularly large/noticeable, so that’s enough for me.

— Christine


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Katherine T. Avatar

I don’t have large pores, but I still try to minimize them as much as possible -using a cleanser with salicylic acid 2x a week, a moisturizer with glycolic acid at least once a week, then retinol creams 4-5x per week. The regimen really helps, because if I slack off, my cheeks get that gross “orange peel” look (yuck!). Then whatever pores are left, I cover up with primer and Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able Full Coverage Foundation Concentrate – 1 drop magically covers up a multitude of flaws and sins -redness, splotchiness, most dark spots, and pores. The key is finding the right color match because it is full coverage, although you can sheer it down

Maria Avatar

Interesting! What SA cleanser do you use? I’ve been wanting to change my usual SA cleanser and could use some suggestions 🙂 And I imagine the moisturizer with glycolic acid and retinol cream are from Paula’s Choice? haha I’ve heard they are great.

Katherine T. Avatar

Believe it or not, the SA cleanser is Neutrogena Clear Body Wash in Pink Grapefruit –it’s meant to clear body acne (and it does) but it works great on deep cleaning pores, been using it for years. It’s cheap and smells great. I wet my face to water down the formula, spot apply to any large pore areas, leave on a as a mask or paste for a few minutes, then rinse. My pores shrink and tighten instantly, like someone vacuumed them out. If I want to use on my entire face, I just apply more water to dilute the cleanser. I also use Peter Thomas Roth 10% Glycolic Hydrating Gel – I leave on overnight. It’s not very hydrating but it’s great for exfoliating and tightening pores, and you can put it over a moisturizer. And yes, Paula’s Choice Resist Line of Retinols –awesome results, total game changers for me, and I’m no spring chicken either LOL Hope this helps!

Nancy T Avatar

My having an olive complexion has also meant my having LARGE pores. And they have been giving me a game of hide ‘n seek forever! Me trying to hide them, and them seeking a way to make themselves shown. Primer, a well-formulated foundation, preferably a matte or satin finish, and definitely an HD type setting powder or using a finely milled subtly luminous powder all help me keep them under wraps better than just foundation alone. Using toner before applying my makeup would help, but I tend to forget that crucial step!

IRockFaces Avatar

I use fix+ to prime and moisturize to start. Then to blurr I love a good powder like nars pressed crystal. I can set my whole face with minimal effort and it lasts all day. And by all day I mean summer sweat ain’t nobody got time for that proof. Lol

Gillian Avatar

I like to use a smoothing primer such as the Innisfree No-Sebum Blur Primer or the Dior Pore MInimizing Primer. I prefer the Innisfree one since it’s a slightly thicker texture but they are similar. Then I like to use a finishing powder to set eveything like the Guerlain Meteorites. 🙂

Natalie Avatar

The only thing that really works for me is a good mask (my favorite is Burt’s Bees clay mask, which unfortunately has been discontinued!) to get the gunk out. I use Benefit’s Porefessional sometimes in the meantime but ultimately they just need a good cleaning once in a while.

pePear Avatar

Face Primer really help with my pores problem. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer,Too Faced Primed&Poreless Primer,Nars Pro-Prime Pore Refining Primer. only these three that work for me on the pores problem but the only down side for my combination skin(normal to dry but get easy to oily on T-zone) these three and many pore refining primer always come with oil control/oil free options which it don’t help on my dry skin.

Nicole Avatar

I a smoothing primer on my tzone by MUFE . I powder on my tzone as well. Seems to wok out ok for me. I also like to use a clay mak once or twice a week only on my tzone. My skin is combo- dry.. So,I can’t use those things on the rest of my face.

Jen Avatar

I always use a setting powder… It doesn’t need to be an expensive one, either. NYX makes a setting powder that’s about $10 that I like. I’ve used higher end powders, but I can’t justify the price for quality ratio there. Also, I just decided to try a drugstore foundation for the first time in awhile and I went with Fit Me by Maybelline “Matte + Poreless.” I need to use it a bit longer to make sure it’s having no ill effects on my acne prone skin, but I HAVE noticed my pores look less noticeable with this makeup. And I was a bit surprised (and impressed).

Amy Avatar

My pores are pretty large, and the only thing that really works even a little is a smoothing primer (I am currently finishing up Benefit’s porefessional), letting that set, and then gently buffing foundation over in multiple directions. Then I pat a powder over that. I can still see my pores but my goal is never to get rid of them completely because that just makes me look weird.

Codename Duchess Avatar

I’ve yet to find anything that really works. I have so many enlarged pores on my nose and cheeks that my skin in those areas looks like an orange peel. Foundation, primers, pore fillers and powders help a little, but the effect is very fleeting. Haven’t found anything skincare wise that really helps either.

seldomseenkid Avatar

Have you ever tried the Kiehl’s Micro-Blur Skin Perfector? I swatched it on the back of my hand in store and it smoothed out everything, I was so impressed that I bought it straight away lol. The packaging says that it can be used as a skincare product (dimethicone is the 1st ingredient though) or as a primer. The SA also said that the Hydro-plumping Re-texturizing Serum Concentrate does the same thing. Maybe you can try those out? Kiehl’s is usually good with giving samples. 🙂

xamyx Avatar

Since adopting a “natural”, organic skincare routine, my pores have become noticeably less visible. I also do a clay mask regularly.

As for makeup, I find matte foundations emphasize my pores, so I opt for sheer, luminous formulas. I also have drier skin, so a moisturizing formula is the best option, but if I can’t find a suitable shade, a drop of oil mixed in helps. Because my skin is dry, any bit of fluid from my foundation gets absorbed, leaving pigment to pool in my pores, but a primer also helps prevent this.

Finally, I avoid talc-based powders. Silicone-based powders not only blur my pores, they also don’t look cakey if I need to touch up (this is typically in warmer weather, and I don’t really use any powders in Winter). Again, I do have drier skin, so I don’t know how well this would work for oily skin.

Eileen Avatar

I have dry, mature skin and pores really aren’t a problem except on the sides of my nose where the pores have enlarged due to age. I use my Tom Ford cream foundation brush to work the foundation into the skin around my nose and the pores vanish. A light layer of Méréorites evens everything out and keeps the foundation from settling into the pores as the day progresses.

Makeup Monster Avatar

My pores are awful on my nose and for me a good primer like Hourglass Mineral Veil topped with a more satin finish foundation and a powder like the Chanel loose powder works for me. Then I can add a little radiance with Guerlain and a spritz of Urban Decay setting spray so my look isn’t too flat!

Mary Avatar

Love this questions as I have large pores on my nose and haven’t found a good fix. Right now, I mix Guerlain’s Baby Glow with Kevyn Aucion’s serum foundation, followed by a light dusting of Guerlain’s Meterorites. I do follow a good skin care routine including salic acid on my nose, but maybe I should add more frequent masks.

Connie Avatar

I use a mud mask the night before to clear out my pores, use a pore minimizing moisturizer, the following morning I cleanse my skin and use a silicone sunscreen and pore-filling foundation. For some reason silicone primers haven’t worked that well in minimizing my pores

Sue Avatar

I have large pores. Retinol has helped. I have had some success with BHA exfoliation as well. In the last few years I have been using rosehip oil and sea buckthorn berry oil.
I do use a primer (Mally) before my foundation and that helps disguise what’s left.

Irene Avatar

I have noticeable pores around my t zone, and a silicone blur primer + Nars Light reflecting loose powder works fairly well for me. The best primer I’ve tried is the Innisfree no sebum blur primer, but unfortunately it made me break out in cystic acne 🙁

sally walker Avatar

I wish I could find something that works every time. I have oily skin with large open pores over most of my face. some times Bare Minerals powder foundation works , sometimes it does’nt. I hav’nt found a primer or liquid or cream foundation that works at all. I have tried at least 20 primers and even more foundations. When I go to makeup counters for advice, I end up walking away with an expensive product that when I try them at home they don’t work. Any advice anyone? Pleeeease.

Sue Avatar

Sally – I’d really recommend going to Makeup Artist’s Choice’s website because tackling this with skincare AND makeup has worked for me.
One of their retinol products has helped me, and exfoliation with their BHA product really helps me as well.
I am NOT affiliated with them in any way.
For makeup – I use a primer and I do think POREfessional by Benefit works pretty well. Lots of times you can get a sample in one of their gift sets.
Hope this helps.

Boobie Avatar

I am fortunate enough to have small pores, but I still use AHA and BHA exfoliants to keep pores clean and minimized. I try to keep up with a decent skincare routine for good base. Also use Tarte Amazonian Clay powder lightly (do not love it in the winter).

Laura Avatar

After a lot of experimentation, I’ve found the best results come when a heavy duty silicone primer product is applied to the problem areas after the foundation. Then apply a light dusting of powder. My favorite is Tarte Smoothing Primer. Second place is DHC Velvet Skin Primer. Then I follow with a light dusting of MUFE HD Microfinishing powder.

Sandra Avatar

This is the best question EVER. I have always had large pores and the struggle is real. It seems like certain products work for me for a little bit but then they stop working. Mallys primer was my holy grail for a while but now it doesn’t do much. All other primers fell short and I finally found the POREFESSIONAL.It works but it’s too drying. I have also tried the Angel Veil but that leaves a white cast. I am turning 40 soon and my pores keep getting bigger. I keep reading about the meteorites powder helping but I never used it for that. I could not get past the type of “glow” they give, I don’t like glitter particles on my face. I tried these back in2012 so maybe they were reformulated? How do they blur? I have a pretty elaborate routine for making them disappear but it’s exhausting, it takes a village people. I use mallys primer then her b.b. Cream and on top I use tarte amazonian clay powder foundation. The combination is awesome, the tarte powder works like an eraser on top of the b.b. Cream. If it’s date night I top it off with my mood hourglass powder but the final step is mallys face defender,no matter what. The hourglass is unnecessary because the tarte foundation has a beautiful halo effect but I want more. If I need to touch up I use the face defender,not powder.I want to try the MUFE smoothing primer but I’m worried it might be the same as the POREFESSIONAL, just as drying or worse…..too hydrating. I have combo to normal skin in the summer. In the winter I have a less oily tzone with dry patches on my cheeks. My pores remain the same year round….hooray. Any other product recommendations for winter?

Beth Lincoln Avatar

I use Paulas Choice 2% BHA lotion every day as part of my skincare routine (her entire line is fabulous) and follow up with Philosophy’s The Present primer under my Georgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation. I set with It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores setting powder in my T- zone. That powder is so finely milled, and applied in a swirling motion it fills in any visible pores nicely.

Stacy Avatar

I have over-50 skin that was always oily and breakout prone, so pores are a big issue for me. The thing is, multiple layers of various products that are supposed to minimize them usually just end up creeping into them, and making them look even worse within a few hours. So I’ve been relying almost exclusively on Resist Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense, by Paula’s Choice. Considering it’s supposed to be primarily an SPF moisturizer, it does an amazing job of minimizing pores (as well as mattifying). That, with a light dusting of sheer powder in my T-Zone, has taken the place of primer and foundation for me most days. I’ve learned that I have to be willing to sacrifice some coverage to start with, in exchange for not looking like a blotchy, bumpy mess by the end of the day.

Donya Avatar

I have been trying a lot of the silicone primers and all feel very thick and heavy – I live in Arizona where it is very hot. I just recently bought Benefit’s Dr. Feelgood, which I had used in the early 90s. A primer before primer was trendy. It is vitamins C and E and doesn’t feel as heavy. You can also use it to de-matte, OVER your makeup later in the day. I don’t know why I ever quit using it.

Lindsay Avatar

Exfoliating, deep cleansing face washes/masks i.e. Queen Helene…and using olive oil regularly in the evening to cleanse removes all dirt,makeup and gunk from pores and deeply moisturizes!!

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