Makeup Oily Skin

The Best Primers for Large Pores (and for your skin type!)


The Best Primers for Large Pores — When people with large pores or acne scars do their makeup, they tend to apply layers of foundation to give the illusion of refined skin. (I know I did!)

Pushing makeup into your pores however, results in an unnatural texture and can eventually lead to breakouts.

Foundation just simply isn’t built to go deep into the skin.

What you can do instead is use the same techniques that professional makeup artists do to cover large pores–target and correct imperfections using a primer, apply a thin blanket of foundation, and mattify with a mineral powder.

This creates a flawless canvas without having the need to cake on foundation.

Using minimal foundation helps you create a more natural and healthier looking finish.

To help create the effect of refined skin, here are two basic types of primers you can use:

  1. Silicone-based – have a thick consistency that works well smoothen out pores, acne scars, wrinkles, and fine lines. Silicone molecules fill out indentations on the skin and prevent makeup from sinking in. This type of primer works well with silicone-based foundations.
  2. Water-based – are more lightweight and generally blends better with liquid, water-based foundations.

Primers are applied after moisturizers and before foundation.

They can be applied with a sponge or brush, but it is best to use to your fingers to help meld the product into your skin.

Video: How to Apply Primer | Makeup Tricks


It’s one thing to have the perfect primer, but it won’t be as effective if it’s not used properly.

Here are a few tips and tricks in buying and using primers:

  • Before applying, make sure your skin is completely clean. If you have oily skin, use the right face wash to avoid early build-up of sebum.
  • It’s very important for people with large pores to always keep the oils at bay because they reflect light and tend to exaggerate the skin’s uneven texture. A face that is mattified however, can give your skin an airbrushed finish. If you have issues with excessive oily skin, I recommend a highly acclaimed program called The Oily Skin Solution by Patricia Everson. Our skin is very dynamic and the causes for oily skin can be one or ten things at once. This guide can help you get to the root causes of your oily skin and help you get rid of it.
  • Moisturize well beneath your primer and wait for 5 minutes or so to let it absorb fully. If you apply your primer on a skin that has traces of moisturizer, your foundation will break up into patches pretty easily. If you have acne-prone skin, use a non-comedogenic moisturizer underneath. Something with a matte finish like La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Mat Oil-Free Facial Moisturizer is a great choice for oily skin.
  • Primers not only makes your skin look smoother, but they also help make your foundation stick to your skin for hours on end. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but you should always try to combine products that have the same base. If you apply a water-based foundation to a silicon primer, the silicone primer will tend to repel the foundation and prevent it from thoroughly blending to your skin. This can cause unevenness and will not make your make-up last as long as it could. You should always try to combine makeup based from the same ingredients–silicone-based primers works best with silicone foundations and water-based primers with water-based foundations.
  • Do not rub your primer. Rubbing will ball up the product instead of setting into your pores. Just press and pat gently with your fingers until you’ve filled all your pores. The heat from your fingers will lead to better application.
  • Try not to over apply your primer. Overdoing it will cause your concealer or foundation to slide sooner than later. Just use a small drop and apply a thin layer on your skin.
  • Remember, not every product will work for every person. You may need to try and observe which combination of products will work best for your skin.

Our recommendations for the best primers for large pores are based on our comprehensive analysis of the product’s formulation, claims, value for money, and consumer reviews. We make an effort to be as objective as possible and give advice in good faith; however, our reviews may still contain conjectures and opinions based on our research and personal experiences.

It’s important to know that as with any product (especially cosmetics), what may be perfect for you may not be right for the next person. So as much as we want to guarantee that these will be everyone’s next holy grail, results can still be affected by individual factors like your current skin condition, the environment you’re in, use of the product, reaction to your other skincare, and so on. For best results, make sure to choose a product that is suited for your skin type and skin issues.

This website is for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Product or service details are collected directly from the manufacturer and other reputable sources during the time of this review, and cited in the Resources section. We try to keep on top of new formulations when we can, and update our data accordingly.

At the end of every review, there will be a link for you to check current discounts and other customer reviews on Amazon. These, along with some other links that redirect you to third party sites, are affiliate links where we earn a small commission if you do decide to make a purchase. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you and will help in maintaining the quality of the site.

This website is our passion project, and our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. The choices we make take extensive research (which we actually enjoy because we’re weird and nerdy like that), including data from credible academic papers and user sources available.

Bottom Line: We objectively review a laundry list of top performing products, pick the best ones based on our results, and present them to you with all the key info so you can choose the most suitable one for your skin. If you decide to buy something, we earn a commission that helps cover site costs like hosting, design, research materials, etc. You don’t have to of course, thank you for visiting us nonetheless. 🙂

Editor’s Choice: The Best Primers for Large Pores

These are our choices for the best primers based on formulation, claims, value for money, and consumer reviews.

Make sure to choose a product that is best suited for your skin type and skin issues.



Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming PerfectorBecca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

Though Becca is well-known for their Skin Perfector luminizers, they’re proving to be just as great in controlling shine. Unlike most primers, Becca’s Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector is water-based so it is truly lightweight. This should match perfectly with water-based liquid concealers and foundations and to keep oils at bay.

The down side is it can flake like crazy on dry skin, so make sure your skin is moisturized and exfoliated well. Also remember to make sure your moisturizer is absorbed thoroughly before patting it (not rubbing!) into your problem areas. The end result can be an impressive matte finish that will last for hours.

Base: Water-based primer

Best for: Oily skin with open and large pores on cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon






Best-Primers-for-Large-Pores---Hourglass-Veil-Mineral-Makeup-Primer-SPF-15Hourglass Veil Mineral Makeup Primer SPF 15

A popular product, and with good reason. It’s lightweight and colorless, with a mattifying effect and a beautiful silk-like texture that sinks into the skin. It is worn under foundation to improve its longevity and does not clog pores unlike most primers.

It also has zinc oxide among other anti-oxidants that provide sun protection AND is beneficial for the skin. It’s also one of the best known primers for dry skin, sensitive skin and acne-prone skin because it conceals redness, even rosacea, to help even out skin tone.

With all its benefits, it comes up a bit pricier that most primers. If you do want to indulge and try the primer that does more, I recommend giving this a try.

Base: Silicone-based primer

Best for: All skin types, especially dry skin, sensitive and acne-prone skin with large pores

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon






Smashbox-Photo-Finish-Oil-Free-Foundation-Primer-Pore-MinimizingSmashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer – Pore Minimizing

Smashbox has an entire line of primers that are cult favorites. This product in particular is to target large and open pores so it is silicone-heavy and has a thicker consistency than the rest. It also sets to a powdery finish for a smoother skin texture.

It’s quite impressive when blended with liquid foundations but doesn’t blend as well with cream or powder foundations. It also works best over makeup, which can be a bit tricky! Just make sure to dab the product instead of rubbing it in so it doesn’t wipe off your foundation.

It also claims that the pore reducing effect can last for eight hours but from my experience, it only stayed for a couple of hours with my oily skin. It’s not so bad though, that’s more or less the time it takes for a touch up, any way. It should last longer on normal skin.

Base: Silicone-based primer

Best for: Normal to Oily skin with open and large pores on cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon






Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer

This primer can fill large pores and can work for both dry and oily zones, so it’s perfect for combination skin. The texture is thick and comes in one shade, but disappears on skin once applied. It also helps your foundation stay throughout the day. The original line contains ivy, which can be irritating for some, so if you have sensitive skin, best to go with the version that is non-irritating and fragrance-free.

As mentioned, only apply a thin layer to avoid patchy foundation and make your makeup last throughout the day.

Base: Silicone-based primer

Best for: Combination skin with large pores

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon






Primed & Poreless Pure Skin Smoothing Pure Face Primer for Sensitive Skin

A lighter, clear gel version of the Too Faced primer line that’s aimed for more sensitive skin. It also helps soothes and brightens inflamed skin.

It’s perfect to go with less coverage foundations, tinted moisturizers, or BB creams.

Base: Silicone-based primer

Best for: Sensitive and combination skin with large pores

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon






Benefit’s the POREfessional Face Primer

Another popular primer, Benefit’s POREfessional can glide into the skin and melt very quickly. It’s a lightweight balm that can be used over and under makeup. It also has a bonus vitamin E, which is an anti-aging ingredient and helps fight free radicals.

The product has a slight tint but should complement all skin tones. The finish also gives a natural matte look and can be used to shrink pores to even out the texture on your face. Some reviews claim it makes their skin look airbrushed!

The only down side is it doesn’t really combat oiliness so if you have oily skin, best to steer clear of this one. This product works best for normal to combination skin.

Base: Silicone-based primer

Best for: Normal to combination skin with open and large pores on cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon






NYX Cosmetics Pore Filler

Quite similar to Benefit’s the Porefessional and L’Oreal’s Magic Base in that it’s mattifying and dries to an almost powdery finish. The consistency is thick (I’d say it’s similar to royal icing) so you can use this to zero-in on your problem areas. After applying moisturizer (don’t forget to wait until it’s fully absorbed!) squeeze a pea sized amount on your fingers and gently pat it in. It’s weightless on the skin and the initial peachy tint fades out so you can wear it underneath your concealer or foundation without it clashing with any shade.

The tube is pretty small but it’s very affordable and you’ll only use it in small amounts so it should last for a long time. Keep away if you have dry skin because it has a tendency to cause makeup to look cakey.

Base: Silicone-based primer

Best for: Normal to combination skin with open and large pores on cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon








christian-dior-pore-minimizer-skin-refining-matte-primerChristian Dior Pore Minimizer Skin Refining Matte Primer

Sticks to your makeup flawlessly and creates a very matte, airbrushed finish. This one is especially good for oily skin.

The downside–it gets incredibly flakey and can roll off pretty easily on dry skin. Make sure you’re well exfoliated and moisturized so it won’t stick on top of your makeup.

Base: Silicone-based primer

Best for: Normal to oily skin with noticeable pores

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon






Vallo, Lana. Make-up For Beginners: Learn Doing Make-up Like A Pro.

Davis, G. and Hall, M. (2008). The Makeup Artist Handbook: Techniques for Film, Television, Photography, and Theatre. Amsterdam: Focal Press/Elsevier.

Minskey, S. (2011). The Ultimate DIY Bridal Beauty Book. [S.l.]: Lulu Com.

Backe, J. (n.d.). Milady Standard Cosmetology (Milady’s Standard Cosmetology).

McDermott, A. and Kennedy, L. (n.d.). About Face — The Smart Woman’s Guide to Beauty: Your Essential Skincare and Make-Up Bible for the Changing face of Beauty.

Fields, K., Williams, V. and Rodan, K. (2014). Unblemished: Stop Breakouts! Fight Acne! Transform Your Life! Reclaim Your Self-Esteem with the Proven 3-Step Program Using Over-the-Counter Medications. New York: Atria Books.

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