No one wants to have large, visible pores. While many products claim that they will shrink pores, it's difficult to alter the size of one's pores. What you can do, however, is use the right makeup products and techniques to conceal visible pores and create the illusion of a pore-free face.
Why Do I Have Large Pores?
Behind acne and wrinkles, large pores are the top skin gripe of most women. While large pores might not be as visually unappealing as a blemish or a fine line, they create an uneven appearance and cause many women to feel self-conscious.
Contrary to what you might have heard, if you have large pores, it's not the result of something "bad" you did to your skin. Rather, it can be attributed to a few factors.
First and foremost, large pores are clogged pores, although they're dissimilar to a blackhead. A blackhead is the result of a pore that's been clogged with oil and debris. Blackheads can typically be remedied with clay masks or exfoliating treatments.
Large pores are clogged pores, but they aren't filled with oil or debris. Rather, they're filled with dead skin cells, causing the pore itself to appear bigger. Board certified dermatologist Dr. Loretta Ciraldo explains how this works in the clip below.
While it's advisable to use an AHA or BHA acid-based product to try to exfoliate the skin gently, it's not possible to dramatically shrink enlarged pores.
Steer clear of tips such as submerging the face in ice water; the idea that pores open and close like windows is an old wives' tale. Instead, if you hate the appearance of your large pores, your best bet is usually smart makeup techniques that reduce their appearance.
Reducing The Appearance Of Large Pores
While large pores can often not be permanently reduced, they can be concealed with makeup. The first step in any pore-minimizing makeup routine should be to use a good primer.
The principal here isn't all that dissimilar from using a primer before painting a piece of furniture. When you spray a furniture piece with primer, it works to smooth out all of the ridges and irregularities, creating a smooth base for paint.
A face primer is essentially the same thing; it fills and smooths large pores, creating a smooth canvas on which foundation, concealer, and powder can be applied. Makeup artist Nikkia Joy talks about the importance of primer for large pores here.
While the type of foundation you use matters, the technique is just as important. The goal here is to create a flawless finish where the pores can't be seen. Follow Nikkia's advice and start your foundation application by focusing on the areas where the pores are the largest.
In this tutorial, Nikkia uses a stiff brush and a circular motion to press the foundation into the area and smooth everything out. You could also use a makeup sponge and a dabbing motion to create the same effect.
After you've applied foundation directly to your trouble areas, you can begin building coverage on the rest of the face, working to blend in the areas where you concentrated the product.
Mistakes To Avoid
In your grandmother's day, "less is more" were words to live by when it came to cosmetics. Indeed, the women of 50 years ago would probably be a tad appalled at the makeup trends of today.
Thanks to Instagram and YouTube makeup gurus, it's never been more acceptable to wear an extremely heavy foundation look, complete with heavy contouring and baking.
While these extreme looks can be fun every once in a while, they're a bit much for daily wear. Industry expert Wayne Goss highlights some of the most common makeup blunders that are popular on Instagram below.
Somehow, it's recently become a popular notion that you can disguise large pores with a heavy application of foundation, concealer, and powder.
While you might look alright immediately after the application, remember that products can sink into the pores and make them look larger as the day or night progresses. When you shellac on a lot of product, you often end up highlighting the very large pores that you were trying to conceal.
The best course of action isn't to apply a heavy amount of product, but rather to use the right product. The following five foundations are all a stellar choice for anyone who wants to reduce the appearance of their large pores for a more flawless and even finish.
Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte Plus Poreless Foundation
This foundation is specifically designed for those dealing with large pores. It creates a matte finish, making it perfect for anyone who struggles with shine throughout the day, a common complexion concern of those with visible pores.
Although it's a liquid formula, the Fit Me Matte foundation contains micro-powders that are designed to absorb shine, oil, and grease as the day progresses.
Maybelline offers this foundation in a wide array of hues and shades, ensuring that just about every skin tone will be able to find a match. It's relatively inexpensive and quite easy to find.
- Designed to smooth skin and create a pore-free finish
- Micro-powders absorb oil throughout the day
- A myriad of color options ensures that just about everyone will be able to find a match
- Inexpensive and easily accessible
- Anyone with dry skin might find that this foundation "cakes," highlighting dry or flaky areas
- It has a thin consistency, which means you'll have to apply multiple layers for full coverage
- Due to its thin consistency, applies better with a brush than with a sponge
Max Factor Facefinity SPF 15 Compact Foundation
Compact foundations are cream products that are meant to be applied with a sponge. While liquids have a thin texture that can often do little to conceal the appearance of large pores, cream foundations provide a heavier application which tends to fill pores and minimize their appearance.
The Max Factor Facefinity SPF 15 Compact Foundation is creamy and provides full coverage, but that doesn't mean that you'll look like a mannequin. This foundation finishes surprisingly dewy and blends beautifully, creating a finish that's flawless, but natural.
Its thicker formula also ensures that it will stay in place and won't move around throughout the day, which can be an issue for anyone struggling with oily skin.
- Provides full coverage
- Its creamy texture helps to minimize the appearance of large pores easily
- Has a dewy finish and blends quite easily
- Although this foundation has a lighter finish, compact foundations can be a bit much for those who prefer a lighter look
- Feels somewhat heavier on the face than traditional liquid foundations or BB creams
- Has a perfumed scent that some with sensitive skin may react badly to
Sally Hansen Pore Minimizing Makeup
We normally associate Sally Hansen with nail polish and manicure tools, but this foundation has quickly become somewhat of a cult classic. This thick liquid foundation is specifically designed to minimize the appearance of pores.
It's best applied with the included brush, which helps to create that flawless finish. It's oil-free, which makes it a great choice for oily or acne prone skin types.
It's also fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, which means that it won't exacerbate any redness or irritation that might have. While nothing can permanently shrink the appearance of pores, Sally Hansen claims that this product will help pores to look smaller over time permanently.
- Cult classic product
- Really fills and reduces the appearance of large pores, creating a smooth finish
- Comes with a brush that makes application simple
- Minimizes shine and reduces oil throughout the day
- Small shade range, which means that not every skin tone might be able to find a match
- Retro packaging might be attractive to some, but tacky to others
- Doesn't blend well with a sponge
Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation
If you're pale, don't let the "cocoa" part scare you off. That doesn't refer to this foundation's color, but rather the Cocoa Complex that Too Faced has infused into this product, which works to absorb oil, infuse the skin with antioxidants and most importantly, minimize the appearance of pores.
This is a powder foundation, but it provides a full coverage finish without looking chalky. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which ensures that the product is hydrating despite being a powder formula.
Be warned that this is not a mineral foundation, but rather a talc-based product, which may irritate some particularly sensitive skin types.
- Powder formula helps to absorb oil and create a pore-free finish
- Light cocoa smell is utterly delectable
- Perfect for anyone who enjoys light coverage and a quick morning makeup routine
- Doesn't provide full coverage
- The inclusion of talc in the product's ingredients may irritate some skin types
- Those who are sensitive to scents might find this cocoa-based product to be a bit much
Laneige Pore Control BB Cushion
Cushion foundations and BB creams are yet another of the many beauty trends currently sweeping the West that originated in Korea. Laneige is one of the more popular "K-Beauty" brands, and their BB cushions might just change the way you look at the foundation.
This product is a small compact with a sponge applicator that you press against a cushiony sponge that's saturated in product. This foundation easily glides over the skin or can be applied in a pressing motion for heavier coverage.
Like so many K-Beauty foundations, it includes a high SPF, which is perfect for protecting the skin during the day. This produce reduces the appearance of pores and minimizes shine without being too drying or matte.
- Creates a soft and velvety finish
- High SPF to protect the skin from harsh UV rays
- Its unique formula allows it to control shine without drying out the skin
- Simple application that allows you to get out the door quicker
- Unfamiliar texture for those who've never used cushion foundations before
- Doesn't provide as full of coverage as traditional Western foundations
- High SPF formula can create a "flashback" effect in photos
One of the things that might have surprised you about this list was that we didn't stick to one type of foundation. You might have heard people say that those with large pores should only stick to powders or liquids.
This simply isn't true. When it comes to minimizing the appearance of large pores, it's less about the type of foundation and more about the ingredients and how you apply it. Remember, beginning with a primer and using a smart application technique is key in reducing the appearance of pores.
At the end of the day, all of these foundations will help you to conceal your pores and control shine. However, if we had to choose one, we'd say that the Max Factor Facefinity SPF 15 Compact Foundation stands out as the clear winner. Although it's a cream formula, it blends like a liquid. While it provides full coverage, the finish is still dewy and natural.
Always finish your foundation application with a swipe of loose powder or setting spray. If you begin with a primer, use the right product and technique and then follow up with something to lock it all in, you can achieve a pore-free finish that will last.