It’s been a glorious past four months for our pores. Not only have they been sheltered from excessive amounts of makeup and pollution, we’ve also had the option to blur each and every pore with the swipe of a finger thanks to filters and FaceTune. Yet with lockdown easing and socialising, albeit from a distance, becoming more common, these pore-perfecting digital tools are fast becoming redundant. In real life, disguising the pores requires a little more effort. And, unsurprisingly it all starts with pore-refining skincare, but don’t worry we have some quick fixes to help too…
Play The Long Game With Salicylic Acid
We’re not going to beat about the bush, no amount of skincare will physically shrink the size of your pores. However, there are plenty of formulas that can help reduce their visibility over time. The trick is to keep your oil production in-check and ensure your pores are as clean as possible. “As we get older the process of shedding old skin cells slows down, which means that skin can become duller, rougher and dryer,” explains cosmetic expert, Dr. Sarah Shotter. “Pores also appear larger as dead skin can get lodged in them and they expand.”
Dr. Shotter recommends gently exfoliating your skin regularly to help get rid of dead skin cells and unclog pores: “This will help keep your pores tight,” adds Dr. Shotter. Choosing the right exfoliator to rebalance your skin without drying it out is key.
Swap your face scrub for a liquid exfoliator and look for formulas that contain salicylic acid, such as Paula’s Choice Resist Pore Treatment 2% BHA. Infused with 2% salicylic acid, this liquid lotion helps to loosen blocked pores, reduce blackheads and lift away dead skin. While those with oily to combination skin can use this every day after cleansing, we recommend introducing it into your routine once or twice a week to begin with. You can follow with your usual serums, although we recommend avoiding retinol based products until your skin acclimatises.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, look to Kiehl’s NEW Daily Refining Milk-Peel Toner. Don’t let the word ‘peel’ scare you off. While this formula contains lipo-hydroxy acid (a derivative of salicylic acid), it is also packed full of soothing milks and emollients to help calm and restore your skin barrier without clogging pores. After two weeks or so, you’ll notice the difference in your skin.
Finding The Right Primer Can Be Game-Changing
If your pores become even more obvious after applying tinted moisturiser or foundation, then it’s worth slipping in a primer in between. “Not only do primers offer added protection from the environment and pollution, they also help to smooth out your skin and reduce the appearance of any skin texture, such as fine lines and pores,” says Space NK’s pro-makeup artist Arif Khan.
Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer Blurring is a mattifying, water-based formula that works perfectly for combination to oily skin types, while Becca Skin Love Brighten & Blur Primer is infused with hyaluronic acid and natural butters to help nourish drier skin.
How you apply your primer also counts. “The best way to apply these is massage them into the skin and finish by patting the primer over areas where pores are most visible,” advises Arif.
The Insider’s Quick Pore Fix
“If you’re in a pinch, after moisturiser and primer, press loose powder into your skin with a powder puff,” says celebrity makeup artist Lucky Smyler. “It will fill in your pores before you apply foundation. It’s as if you are spackling the pores first.”
This nifty trick can be employed by all skin types, including drier skin. “The moisturiser and primer underneath keeps the powder hydrated, so it will melt into the pores like a second skin,” adds Lucky. All you have to do after this is follow with your favourite foundation.
“Just be aware that the process looks scary at first, but the results are flawless,” says Lucky. To avoid the ghost-like phase, opt for a translucent loose powder – we love Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder, which can be used on all skin tones.