Top 13 Best Primers for Large Pores: Makeup Artist’s Choice

Create flawless skin with this award-winning selection of the best primers for large pores. The highest-rated and best-selling in the industry, formulated for different skin types.

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Ask the Expert: How to Refine Your Skin Texture Using the Right Primer

by Samantha Welch, Esthetician & Make-up Artist

When you have large pores or acne scars, your first instinct is to apply layers of foundation to refine your skin. I know I did when I started having breakouts.

But pushing makeup into your pores results in an unnatural texture and can eventually exacerbate your acne. Foundation just isn’t built for this purpose.

What you can do instead is use the same techniques that professional makeup artists do to cover large pores:

  1. Use a specialized primer to even out your skin's texture. The best primer for large pores have pore-minimizing properties that regular primers lack.
  2. Apply a thin layer of foundation.
  3. Spot-conceal with concealer.
  4. Seal with a setting spray (dry skin) or powder (oily skin).

This creates a flawless canvas without needing to cake on foundation and helps you create a more natural and healthier-looking finish.

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

  • Silicone-based – have a thick consistency that works well to smoothen out pores, acne scars, wrinkles, and fine lines. Silicones fill out indentations on the skin and prevent makeup from sinking in. Medically, silicones are also used in scar healing.[1] This type of primer works well with silicone-based foundations. They are the best primers for large pores and acne scars.
  • Water-based – are more lightweight and generally blend better with liquid, water-based foundations.

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

To learn more, you can jump to:

Buying Cheat Sheet: Our Makeup Artist's Top Choices

Dermablend – Poresaver™ Matte Makeup Primer

Instantly minimizes the appearance of pores. Mattifies oily skin to extend makeup wear for up to 24 hours. A lightweight gel that never clogs pores & gives you a soft-to-touch skin feel.

Colorescience – Mattifying Face Primer SPF 20

Our esthetician's choice for the #1 non-comedogenic primer. Corrective, perfecting, & protective all in one.

Murad – Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | PA+++

A 3-in-1 powerhouse makeup primer backed by science: protects, blurs, and primes for 12 hours. 30% instant reduction in pore appearance.

Hourglass – Veil Mineral Primer – Broad Spectrum SPF 15

An award-winning revolutionary primer that keeps oil at bay while concealing redness & minimizing pores.

jane iredale – Smooth Affair® Mattifying Face Primer

From the brand that pioneered clean beauty. A primer that helps balance oil, delivers antioxidants, supports skin elasticity, & instantly mattifies for a soft matte finish.

MILK – Pore Eclipse Mattifying + Blurring Primer

Shine control, filtered finish, & clean ingredients. Locks your makeup for up to 12 hours. A lightweight water cream primer that's 90% natural & has pore-minimizing skincare benefits.

Dr. Brandt – pores no more® Pore Refiner Primer

An award-winning lightweight velvety cream. Absorbs excess oil, mattifies shine, & instantly minimizes the appearance of pores, lines & imperfections.

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer – Pore Minimizing
Smashbox – Photo Finish Minimize Pores Primer

An award-winning matte primer that minimizes pores & controls shine for up to 8 hours. Oil-free, water-resistant.

tarte – Poreless Mattifying Primer

A waterproof primer with optical matte-blur technology to minimize large pores & improve makeup wear for 12 hours. Ideal for oily & combination skin.

Too Faced – Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer

A nourishing makeup primer that creates a soft-focus filter. Visibly hides pores & smooth skin texture.

Tatcha – THE SILK CANVAS Filter Finish Protective Primer

A multi-tasking primer for the face, eyes, and lips. Non-sensitizing & dermatologist-tested for all skin types. Skin-protecting, makeup-perfecting, & anti-aging.

Benefit’s the POREfessional Face Primer
Benefit – the POREfessional Face Primer

An iconic bestseller. Instantly blurs skin & minimizes large pores. Silky-smooth with a translucent finish.

NYX Cosmetics Pore Filler
NYX Cosmetics – Pore Filler Primer

A fan-favorite & NYX's #1 primer. Skin-soothing & pore-minimizing giving your a real-life filter for your face.

Makeup Artist's Choice:
The Best Primers for Large Pores

We've curated the best primers for large pores.

This award-winning selection is the best-selling and highest-rated in the beauty industry.

Make sure to choose the primer that’s best suited for your skin type and skin issues.

Dermablend – Poresaver™ Matte Makeup Primer

BEST FOR: All skin types, Normal to Oily skin with large pores, Acne-prone skin

Our Review

This brand-new release from Dermablend is one of the best mattifying, non comedogenic primers for large pores and oily skin.

It instantly reduces the appearance of large pores and gives the skin a matte finish.

This lightweight gel has been formulated with only 6 ingredients to avoid any major irritants. It absorbs excess oil as well without drying the skin.

The Dermablend Poresaver Primer also extends makeup for up to 24 hours, leaving the skin smooth to the touch.

You can apply this the ways: under makeup as usual, alone, or mixed with your favorite foundation.


Safety Testing: Non-comedogenic primer that doesn't clog pores. Dermatologist-tested. 

Clean Beauty: Formulated without Tricosans, Phthalates, Fragrance, Parabens, or Sodium Laurel Sulfate.

Green & Cruelty-free: Vegan formula, no animal byproducts or derived ingredients from it were used.

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: White/transparent gel
Consistency & Finish: Smooth and light, Creamy

Key Benefits + Cons

Video: Poresaver™ Matte Makeup Primer | Makeup Tutorial | Dermablend Professional

Key Benefits:

  • Pore minimizing primer
  • Absorbs oil and mattifies the skin without drying it out
  • Extends makeup wear for up to 24 hours
  • Can be applied three ways: mixed with foundation, alone, or under makeup
    Formulated with only 6 ingredients

Cons: Can be drying to dehydrated or flaky skin

Makeup Artist Tips

Make-up Artist Tips: 

  • After applying, allow the primer to settle into the skin for at least 30 seconds.
  • Make sure to exfoliate before applying to avoid the primer clinging to dry flakes on the skin. You can use a gentle AHA toner regularly to avoid build-up.

Video Review


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Colorescience – Mattifying Face Primer SPF 20

BEST FOR: Oily, Sensitive, & Acne-Prone Skin

Our Review

This new and improved formula from Colorscience performs above and beyond for oily, blemish-prone skin.

Outstanding Results for Oily & Acne-Prone Skin

This makeup primer is skin-perfecting upon application. It instantly reduces the appearance of large pores, evens out your skin tone, and leaves a silky finish.

It controls shine with its mattifying base and works gently to correct blemishes. Plant extracts provide antioxidants to soothe and calm your skin.

Gives a Flawless Finish

The Colorescience Mattifying Face Primer has a whipped texture that glides on like a dream. It comes in a universal nude shade that melts into your skin for a seamless finish.

Makeup & Skincare in One

This pore reducing primer also has a laundry list of skincare benefits that improve your skin the longer you use it.

  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 — helps improve texture and skin firmness[6]
  • Hydrolized Rice Protein — improves moisture and smooths skin
  • Salicyclic Acid — helps remove excess oil
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract — calms your skin and protects it against harmful pollutants
  • Jojoba Seed Oil & Esters — conditions and hydrates the skin, locks in moisture
  • Oat Kernel Protein — smoothens and softens your skin’s texture
  • Green Tea Leaf Extract — is an antioxidant that soothes the skin and protects it from environmental aggressors

Anti-aging UV Protection

The Colorescience Mattifying Face Primer also protects your skin from the harmful, photoaging rays of the sun.

Their new formula boosts its non-nano titanium dioxide from 2.8% to 5% for additional protection. The non-nano zinc oxide is also adjusted from 5.3% to 4.5% to improve previous issues with white casting.

Its improved UVA/UVB defense rating of PA+++ broad-spectrum 20 SPF has made the shortlist of recommended sunscreens by the Skin Cancer Foundation. All the brand's primers carry the daily-use seal.

All-Day Defense

The Colorescience Mattifying Face Primer is also water-resistant and sweat-resistant for up to 40 minutes.

You can stay out without worrying about sun damage, oil production, or sweat as you go about your day.


This pore minimizing primer is corrective, perfecting, and protective all in one.


Safety Testing: Hypoallergenic. Non-comedogenic. Fragrance-free. Dermatologist-tested.

Clean Beauty: All-mineral (free of chemical-active ingredients). Talc-free (unlike other mattifying primers). Paraben-free.

Green & Cruelty-free: Vegan. Cruelty-free. Reef-safe.

Formulation Base:  Silicone-based primer
Universal nude shade to even out skin tone
Consistency & Finish: 
Lightweight, whipped texture that melts and leaves the skin with a smooth and even finish

Key Benefits + Cons

Video: Skin Mattifying Primer – How to Use

Key Benefits:

  • Reduces the appearance of large pores, minimizes blemishes, improves skin texture
  • Controls oil, corrects blemishes, soothes skin with antioxidants
  • It has a unique whipped texture that glides on like silk and melts to an even finish
  • Hydrates and nourishes the skin with its hydrolyzed rice protein, oat kernel protein, jojoba seed oil, and esters
  • Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective broad-spectrum sunscreen
  • UVA/UVB PA+++ broad-spectrum 20 SPF
  • 100% mineral protection free from chemical-active ingredients.
  • Hypoallergenic. Non-comedogenic. Fragrance-free. Paraben-free.
  • Reef-safe. Vegan. Cruelty-free.
  • Sweat- and Water-resistant (40 minutes)


  • It does not offer color coverage; you still need concealer for spots
  • It does not match skin tones despite its universal nude shade

Makeup Artist Tips

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Use just half a pump (instead of a while pump) into your fingertips. Dot around the face and blend for even coverage.
  • You can wear this alone or under makeup.
  • As this has a lot of moisturizing properties, you can replace your moisturizer with this primer except in cases where you have dry or fragile skin.
  • As with all SPF products, wait 15 minutes before sun exposure for complete protection.

Video Review


Video: Colorescience Face Shield Matte Review & Swatching All Colorescience Face Shields (except bronze)

Murad – Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | PA+++

BEST FOR: All skin types, including Sensitive Skin

Our Review

A 3-in-1 powerhouse makeup primer that’s backed by science: it protects, blurs, and primes for 12 hours.

This face primer gives an instant 30% reduction in the appearance of pores*. It goes on the skin to seal fine lines for a smooth finish.

The Murad – Invisiblur Perfecting Shield is a non pore clogging primer has a gel-like texture and applies like velvet. One drop goes a long way. Perfect for those no-makeup days.

That’s not to say it doesn’t compliment your color cosmetics. Blush and eyeshadows wear longer and stay true for 12 hours.

It also has an innovative blend of skin benefits:

  • Soft-Focus Complex — blurs imperfections to improve texture and even out skin tone.
  • Extracts from Sunflower, Barley, and Cucumber — improve your skin’s ability to preserve hydration.
  • Mushroom Peptides — help repair your skin’s resilience and combat visible signs of skin aging.

An invisible SPF technology provides you with sun protection without giving you that infamous white cast.

Video: Invisiblur Perfecting Shield – Murad


Safety Testing: A non-comedogenic primer that doesn’t clog pores.  Safe for sensitive skin.

Clean Beauty: Formulated without Formaldehyde, Petrolatum/Petroleum, Sulfates, Mineral Oil, Parabens, Animal-Derived Ingredients, Oxybenzone, Gluten

Green & Cruelty-free: Cruelty-free.

Formulation Base: Silicon-based primer
Color: Transparent gel
Consistency & Finish: Velvety smooth, lightweight feel

Key Benefits + Cons

Video: Murad Invisiblur Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30.1 oz on QVC

Key Benefits:

  • 3-in-1 multi-purpose face primer that has skincare properties
  • Invisible SPF sun protection that doesn’t leave a white cast
  • Blurs skin pores and fine lines, as well as evens out skin tone
  • One of the best pore reducing primers
  • Improve the skin’s ability to preserve moisture
  • Help rebuild skin firmness and elasticity.
  • Great for all skin types, even sensitive skin
  • Murad is a cruelty-free brand.


  • On the higher end of the makeup primer scale
  • Tendency to pill on flaky skin

Makeup Artist Tips

Video: Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Pro Tips: Make Your Own CC Cream | Sephora

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Make sure you have exfoliated well, as it tends to pill when put on dry, flaky skin. Use exfoliants regularly and before application to avoid any build-up of dead skin.
  • Don’t rub it in—just pat gently. As mentioned, a little goes a long way.

Video Review

Video: Review: MURAD Age Reform Invisiblur Perfecting Shield SPF 30

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer – Broad Spectrum SPF 15

BEST FOR: All skin types especially Sensitive & Acne-prone skin; Redness / Rosacea


Winner: InStyle's Best Beauty Buy Award for Best Primer for 3 years.

Our Review

Did you know?

One Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is sold every minute around the world.

The reason it’s one of the world’s top-selling makeup (not just primer!) is because it locks the foundation in place by making it water-resistant and non-transferable.

This is a unique and crucial quality in keeping a flawless canvas all day. No one wants a melted face under the afternoon sun!

The Hourglass Veil also has a unique formulation that conceals redness, even rosacea, on top of minimizing large pores. This makes it one of the go-to primers for sensitive and acne-prone skin.

It also has mineral-derived sunscreens Titanium and Zinc Oxide that delivers broad-spectrum protection without the greasiness or tackiness of traditional sunscreens.

Despite this, it’s still incredibly lightweight and is worn under foundation to improve its longevity.

It has a mattifying effect that minimizes fine lines and wrinkles. Unlike most, the airy, silk-like texture sinks into the skin without causing congestion.

All in all, a powerhouse pore primer that’s so well-formulated it sits on a very much elevated level among its peers.

Best for all skin types, especially Sensitive & Acne-prone skin with enlarged pores on cheeks, nose, forehead, & chin; Redness / Rosacea; Sun exposure


Clean Beauty: Formulated without Parabens, Fragrance, Sulfates, Nanoparticles, Phthalates, Gluten, Synthetic Dyes.

Green & Cruelty-free: Vegan-friendly. Not tested on animals, Hourglass is proud to be a cruelty free brand.

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: White from the pump, blends out invisibly into the skin
Consistency & Finish: Unique airy, silky cloud-like texture; buildable without the added weight or greasy feel; Lightweight matte finish

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Repels water and helps the foundation be transfer-resistant, perfect for hot and humid days to lock your foundation in place all-day
  • Conceals redness (even rosacea) to help even out skin tone
  • Minimizes the appearance of pores, fine lines, and other imperfections
  • Creates a smooth, even surface for a flawless canvass
  • Delivers broad-spectrum mineral SPF 15 physical sunscreen that protects against skin-damaging UVA and UVB without irritating your skin (Don’t forget, sun damage is the #1 cause of skin aging)
  • Extends wear of foundation
  • Oil-free formula
  • Best primer for erythema or redness


  • While it helps to mattify the skin and conceals pores, it doesn’t do much in the way of oil control. If you have excessive sebum production, I’d recommend Dr. Brandt's pores no more® PORE REFINER PRIMER instead.
  • It’s not a concrete “matte” but a luminous playdoh-like matte (I know that sounds weird but that’s how it finishes.)

Video Review

Video: Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer + Foundation Demo and Review

jane iredale – Smooth Affair® Mattifying Face Primer

BEST FOR: Oily & Acneic skin; Mature skin

Our Review

The newly reformulated Smooth Affair® Mattifying Face Primer is specially formulated for oily and acne-prone skin.

It helps balance oil production, mattifies your skin, and reduces the visibility of pores and fine wrinkles for a smooth, flawless base.

The Skincare Makeup

Best known as “the skincare makeup,” Jane Iredale was the first to supply the beauty industry with high-performance makeup infused with topical skincare.

They work with leading plastic surgeons and dermatologists to create skin-loving formulas for all skin tones, skin conditions, and types.

Clean Beauty

The brand features powerful natural ingredients that are non-comedogenic, anti-inflammatory, calming, and soothing for the skin.

The Smooth Affair® Mattifying Face Primer has botanicals that focus on creating a balance of oil and water on your skin to prevent sebum overproduction.

It also has anti-aging properties that promote skin elasticity and antioxidants that protect against UV damage.

Key Ingredients:

  • Red Algae Extract – helps regulate sebum production and supports the skin's natural oil-moisture ratio; it gives a smooth and visibly matte appearance.
  • Hibiscus Back Extract – Prevents water loss; Promotes skin elasticity and your skin's repair process for a lifted, youthful appearance.
  • Rose Geranium Leaf Extract – A powerful antioxidant that protects and repairs UV damage

All in all, it’s an outstanding primer and one of the best non-comedogenic primers under clean beauty for oily and acne-prone skin.

Alternatives: Same product, reformulated for different skin types and conditions


Video: Prime Time: Clean Beauty Masterclass

Safety Testing: Noncomedogenic, does not clog pores. Dermatologist-tested. Sensitivity- and Allergy- tested.

Clean Beauty: Vegan & wheat-free. All Jane Iredale products are formulated without talc, mineral oil, synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates, and artificial dyes.

Green & Cruelty-free: Cruelty-free through its Leaping Bunny Program & PETA.

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: Slightly pink tint
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight formula with a smooth, lotion feel; Soft matte finish

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Instantly smooths and mattifies skin for even makeup application
  • Helps balance oil production through the day and with long-term use
  • Minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines
  • Anchors makeup for improved, extended wear
  • More youthful appearance by supporting skin elasticity
  • Gives antioxidant protection and repairs UV damage
  • A non pore clogging primer that won't leave your skin greasy


  • Some of the botanicals in this new formula can cause a reaction in sensitized skin. It might be best to strengthen and balance your skin first if you have a compromised skin barrier.

Makeup Artist Tips

Video: How to Apply Smooth Affair Mattifying Face Primer

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • A pea-sized amount is all you need. Apply with your fingers for easier absorption.
  • It dries very quickly, so there is no need to set it, unlike some primers. You can immediately apply foundation after.
  • You can mix this with any liquid foundation for sheer coverage.
  • The primer penetrates on contact, the advantage of a lightweight formula.
  • It also works great on the eyelids and can be used as an eyeshadow primer.
  • You can also use this as a hand and body moisturizer.

Video Review

MILK – Pore Eclipse Mattifying + Blurring Primer

BEST FOR: Normal, Combination, & Oily skin

Our Review

MILK Makeup is a cruelty-free, clean brand that made waves on social media with their award-winning Hydro Grip Primer.

Their latest release controls shine, hydrates, locks your makeup for up to 12 hours, and blurs pores.

The Pore Eclipse Mattifying + Blurring Primer is a 90% natural water cream primer that is a makeup-skincare hybrid.

It’s formulated with ingredients that have long-term skincare benefits.

This is great for oily skin and anyone who wants to achieve more even-looking skin in the long run.


Key Ingredients:

  • Niacinamide – a hero ingredient that helps minimize the appearance of pores, provides additional moisture and helps improve skin texture.
  • Bakuchiol – a popular natural alternative to retinol, a topical vitamin A that helps smooth skin texture, treat acne, and minimize fine lines
  • Lentil extract – helps control shine and acts like microfine particles that soak up oil all day long.
  • Moonstone – helps calm the skin.
  • Blurring microspheres – gives a natural soft-focus, matte finish throughout the day without causing a harsh drying effect.

Additionally, this can smooth out any healing blemishes or dry patches and fill in pores without clogging them.

This silicone-free makeup primer uses a formula that feels incredibly breathable, light, and refreshingly cool when applied.

It’s infused with natural orange blossom and chamomile for a subtle, soothing scent.

There are two primers in their current line. They all grip makeup and smoothen the skin at their core but are reformulated to address different skin concerns.

  1. MILK Hydro Grip Primer – Award-winning hydrating primer for normal to dry skin.
  2. MILK Pore Eclipse Mattifying + Blurring Primer – For normal, combination, and oily skin


Clean Beauty: All MILK products are free from Talc, Mineral Oil or Petrolatum, Resorcinol, Urea, Hydroquinone, Synthetic fragrances, Alcohol Denat, and Retinyl Palmitate. Non-comedogenic.

Green & Cruelty-free: 100% Vegan and Cruelty-free Leaping Bunny Certified. No animal testing and no animal-derived ingredients, including fats, oils, or musk.

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: Translucent, leaving an invisible finish on all skin tones
Consistency & Finish: Water cream formulation to a soft-focus, matte finish

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Keeps makeup in place for up to 12 hours
  • Blurred pores thanks to a soft-focus filter
  • Help minimize the slide and cracking of your foundation due to sebum and oils
  • Reduce the appearance of pores over time
  • Skin-calming properties
  • It improves skin texture and keeps you looking fresh for hours
  • Maintain a natural matte finish


  • It may not work for excessively oily skin on its own
  • It has fragrance, which can bother those who prefer scent-free products.

Makeup Artist Tips

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Before applying your makeup, wait one minute for it to dry to a translucent finish.
  • Works well in the T-zone areas for combination skin
  • It blends well with liquid, powder, cream, and stick foundations.
  • It doesn't leave your skin looking chalky. Using it with highlighters, creams, and glowy makeup will give you that controlled, dewy finish.

Video Review



Dr. Brandt – Pores No More® Pore Refiner Primer

BEST FOR: All skin types, including Sensitive skin; Oily skin; Minimizing large pores, fine lines, and imperfections


Winner: Bride's Magazine Beauty Award Winner – Best Shine Stopper

Our Review

“Dr. Brandt’s pores no more pore refiner primer is my secret to having close-up-ready skin. It shrinks the size of pores and refines the skin. It is brilliant!”

Rising to cult status, Dr. Brandt’s celebrity-famous Pore Refiner Primer is sold once every 3 minutes worldwide.

It minimizes pores, diffuses fine lines with other imperfections, and boasts of an instant fix that would rival any photoshop filter.

It has a silky-smooth formula with oil-absorbing spheres that are proven to free you from shine. You can use it as a makeup base or over makeup during the day for touch-ups.

It dries to a matte finish that leaves your skin flawless and ready for makeup.

The formula also has skincare ingredients like red clover flower extracts that shrink the appearance of your pores over time. It also re-balances skin conditions that are causing pore enlargement.

A derivative of salicylic acid is also incorporated. This gently removes oil-build within pores and lightly exfoliates, smoothening the skin’s surface.

With its long-term benefits, this is the best primer for large pores.

Video: Pore Refiner Primer: dr. Brandt Skincare


Clean Beauty: No Synthetic Fragrance. Paraben-Free. Phthalates-Free. Sulfates-Free. GMO-Free.

Green & Cruelty-free: Cruelty-free.

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Nude
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight, velvety cream

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Decreases pore size instantly and improves pore appearance over time
  • Has Oil-absorbing Spheres that diffuse light to instantly diminish the appearance of lines, pores, and wrinkles.
  • Leaves a matte finish
  • Red Clover Flower Extract assists in rebalancing the skin, which causes the enlargement of pores.
  • Salicylic Acid Derivative gradually exfoliates the skin and releases any oil build-up to smoothen the skin's surface. Also helps soothe irritation.
  • It can be used over and under makeup to instantly absorbs any excess oil during the day.


  • The smell of tea tree oil comes through a little bit, but not exceedingly so.
  • Tends to pill on dry, flaky skin

Makeup Artist Tips

Video: Pore Refiner Primer: dr. Brandt Skincare

Makeup Artist Tips: Make sure to exfoliate and moisturize well before application, or it can accentuate the area.

Video Review

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer – Pore Minimizing

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer – Pore Minimizing

BEST FOR: Normal to Oily skin


Winner: Allure Best of Beauty Award

Our Review

Smashbox has an entire line of primers that are cult favorites. This product, in particular, is to formulated for 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.

The Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer 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, anyway. It should last longer on normal skin, especially with its sweat- and humidity-resistant formula.

Water-resistant, Oil-free.


Clean Beauty: Free from Parabens & Phthalates.

Green & Cruelty-free: Vegan & Cruelty-free.

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Sheer-tinted (the color is barely noticeable once on)
Consistency & Finish: smooth-glide texture, Silicone-heavy but completely silky, Soft & even powdery finish, Very quick to set

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Reduces the look of pores
  • Controls oil & mattifies shine for up to 8 hours*
  • Smoothes and preps skin for foundation
  • Water-resistant

Cons: *Claims to have pore-reducing results for up to eight hours—unfortunately, this is not the case for me personally. My oiler areas started to shine after a few hours, which in turn diminished its pore-minimizing effect.

Makeup Artist Tips

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Warm with fingers before applying and let it set for 15 seconds.
  • Temporarily blurs out the appearance of pores but is more effective, in my opinion, if you apply it over makeup. This can be a bit tricky because you run the risk of rubbing off your makeup. However, if you gently dab and blend, the results can be great.
  • You’ll need to mix and match foundations with this one. Because of its unique finish, some foundations tend to pill and be a bit streaky.
  • Don’t apply after sunscreen, the pore-filling effect is reduced. (Although sunscreen should be applied after moisturizer and before primer in any case.) You can also opt for a foundation with broad-spectrum SPF as well.

Video Review

tarte – Poreless Mattifying Primer

BEST FOR: Combination to Oily skin; Dry patches


Winner: Allure Best of Beauty

Our Review

One of only two in this list that boasts a waterproof formulation. This, along with tarte’s 12-hour power™, will help make your makeup stay longer amidst the summer heat.

This invisible gel mattifies shine as well as retexturizes skin. This is perfect for acne scars, dry patches, big pores, and fine lines. The end result is an ultra-smooth canvas that stays flawless the whole day.

Although the tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer is marketed towards oily skin, this also works well for normal to dry skin. It’s infused with an abundance of botanical extracts that moisturize, protect, and soothes the skin.

  • T5 Super Fruit Complex™ – a proprietary blend of the five most active antioxidant-rich superfruits (maracuja, goji, açaí, acerola & pomegranate) to deliver nourishing & replenishing benefits to your skin
  • Avocado extract – a natural oil rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, D, E & known for its skin-soothing properties
  • Echinacea root, Hibiscus flower & Rosemary leaf extracts – rich in antioxidants to help neutralize free radicals & improve skin tone & elasticity, while diffusing imperfections
  • Safflower seed – emollient with beneficial fatty acids to help hydrate dry skin

This gives the skin a fantastic boost before applying any makeup. This is also one of the few primers that address dry patches (instead of making them look worse, as most primers tend to do).

Tarte is known for their clean, high-performance formulations free from parabens and synthetic fragrances. The brand is certified cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.

One of the best primer for acne scars.


Safety Testing: Dermatologist-tested.

Clean Beauty: Always formulated without Parabens, Mineral Oil, Phthalates, Triclosan, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Gluten.

Green & Cruelty-free: Vegan. Cruelty-free.

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Translucent white
Consistency & Finish: Silky, invisible gel

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Optical matte-blur technology to filter imperfections
  • Waterproof, mattifying, & texturizing face primer for up to 12 hours
  • Helps erase pores & resurfaces uneven skin texture
  • Nutrient-rich formula infused with botanical extracts that immediately boosts skin before makeup

Cons: Botanical extracts may irritate sensitive skin. Make sure to spot-check on a small area before using it on your whole face.

Makeup Artist Tips

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Prior to makeup, apply a thin layer to hydrated skin, focusing on oily and areas with texture.
  • Doubles as an undereye primer or over the eyelids for a smoother surface

Video Review

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Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer

BEST FOR: All skin types, especially Combination skin with Pores & Texture Issues

Our Review

This silicone primer can work for dry and oily zones, making it perfect for combination skin.

The texture is thick and comes in a neutral shade, which disappears on the skin once applied.

The Too Faced Primed & Poreless Face Primer also helps your foundation stay throughout the day as it’s specifically formulated to be worn under makeup.

It also has several vitamins (A & C), mulberry extract, and a dose of retinol. This gradually helps banish pores while leaving the skin firmer, hydrated, and detoxified.

  • Vitamins A & C, Mulberry extract – brightens the skin and leaves it hydrated, firmer, and detoxified
  • Ivy extract – helps smoothen skin texture with regular use
  • Retinyl Palmitate – helps retain skin elasticity and suppleness

Make sure to pair it with a good non-comedogenic sunscreen, as retinol can be photosensitizing.

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


Safety Testing: Gluten-free.

Clean Beauty: Paraben-free.

Green & Cruelty-free: Vegan & Cruelty-free.

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Light beige, disappears once blended
Consistency & Finish: Silicone-rich, Thick with a dry-finish

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Virtually erases pores and imperfections
  • Creates a smooth, airbrushed surface for flawless makeup application
  • Brightens the skin, improves skin texture and minimizes fine lines over time
  • Improves makeup wearability


  • There’s only one shade (light beige). Whilst it disappears into the skin once blended, it can look ashen on deeper skin tones.
  • It has a small dose of ivy extract, which can be irritating to sensitive skin.
  • Also has a dose of retinol which can be photosensitizing. Make sure to use a good non-comedogenic sunscreen to avoid any redness or sensitivities.
  • There’s really no mechanism for oil control, so if that’s something you’re looking for in particular for a primer, some of the earlier ones mentioned might be more suited to your needs.

Makeup Artist Tips

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Apply a nickel-sized amount alone or before bronzers, powders, or foundation for an airbrushed finish
  • Careful to overdo the application as it has a tendency to pill.

Video Review


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Tatcha – THE SILK CANVAS Filter Finish Protective Primer

BEST FOR: All skin types, Uneven texture, Pores, Fine lines, and Wrinkles

Our Review

Another incredible multi-tasker with myriad benefits to your skin and makeup application.

True to its namesake, the Tatcha Silk Canvas has silk extracts that instantly reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines to create an impeccable makeup base.

  • Gold and pink pearls give you a healthy and even-toned complexion.
  • Silk powder goes on evenly, lessens shine, and gives the skin a soft-focus finish. This also helps with the longevity of your makeup.
  • An array of botanicals helps protect your skin by acting as a shield from pollution and environmental stress. This mechanism also assists in preventing clogged pores and breakouts.
  • It also has natural active ingredients and supports the skin’s barrier to support it against future aggressors. This helps prevent wrinkles and damaged skin.

Tatcha is known for its proprietary anti-aging blend of Japanese superfoods called Hadasei-3™. Sure enough, it’s also included in their primer. It’s a mix of green tea, algae, and rice that helps visibly repair skin.

Suitable for the face, lips, and eyes.


Safety Testing: Dermatologist tested, ideal for all skin types. Non-comedogenic. Non-irritating. Non-sensitizing.

Clean Beauty: Formulated without Synthetic fragrances, Parabens, Urea, Mineral oil, Sulfate detergents, Phthalates, DEA, or TEA.

Green & Cruelty-free: Cruelty-free.

Formulation Base: Water-based primer
Color: Nude balm
Consistency & Finish: Velvety balm with a silky-smooth feel

Key Benefits + Cons

Video: TATCHA Silk Canvas Pre-Makeup Balm Auto-Delivery on QVC

Key Benefits:

  • Silk extracts blur the skin and reduce the appearance of pores, wrinkles, and other imperfections.
  • Silk powder helps makeup adhere longer, lessens excess oil, and smoothens makeup application. It also provides a soft-focus finish.
  • An anti-pollution barrier made from botanicals protects against environmental aggressors that can damage the skin. This also helps with preventing acne and clogged pores.
  • Gold and pink pearls give a healthy glow and even out skin tone.
  • The anti-aging trinity of Tatcha, Hadasei-3™, is integrated into the formulation. Rice, green tea, and algae are superfoods that help rebuild young skin.
  • Suitable not just for the face but for the eyes and lips as well.


  • The consistency is too heavy for oily skin and not hydrating enough. The Liquid Silk Canvas is a better alternative, in my opinion.

Makeup Artist Tips

Video: The Silk Canvas: How to Use | Tatcha

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Don’t be tempted to use your fingers to get the product from the compact. This can foster bacteria and ruin the entire batch. Always use the spatula it comes with.
  • Only use a rice-sized amount for the whole face. (Yes, it takes small to a new level. But it’s also very expensive, so this is great for extending usage.)
  • If you use moisturizer and sunscreen prior, make sure to wait until your skincare is settled before applying your primer.

Video Review


Benefit’s the POREfessional Face Primer

Benefit’s the POREfessional Face Primer

BEST FOR: Normal to Combination skin


Awards: #1 best-selling Prestige Face Primer in the US by the U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Department Specialty

Our Review

This is a cult classic, pore minimizing primer that can be found in almost every makeup kit. It’s a lightweight balm that glides and sinks into the skin.

The Benefit POREfessional Face Primer also has vitamin E, which is an anti-aging ingredient that helps fight free radicals to keep your skin young.

This pore filling primer has a slight tint but should complement all skin tones. It can be used over and under makeup. This is also one of best primers for acne scars.

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!

This product works best for normal to combination skin.


Safety Testing: Non-comedogenic. Oil-free.

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Translucent, complements all skin tones
Consistency & Finish: Silky, lightweight balm for an airbrushed finish

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • Minimizes the appearance of pores & fine lines
  • Creates a smooth canvas & helps makeup stay put throughout the day
  • Mattifies shine and touches up problem areas

Cons: From experience, doesn’t combat oily skin and can be greasy after long hours of use. Also pills if you use too much before foundation.

Makeup Artist Tips

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • To prime, apply a thin layer on moisturized skin from the center of the face. Allow to set for a few seconds before applying makeup.
  • For touch-ups, pat softly on problem areas and blend. A little goes a long way.
  • Apply alone, under, or over your foundation.
  • For photo-ready looks, apply before AND after makeup.
NYX Cosmetics Pore Filler

NYX Cosmetics Pore Filler

BEST FOR: Normal to Combination skin

Our Review

Hailed as one of the best drugstore primer for large pores.

This pore filling primer is quite similar to the Benefit’s the Porefessional above 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 a non-comedogenic moisturizer (don’t forget to wait until it’s fully absorbed!) squeeze a pea-sized amount on your fingers and gently pat it in.

The NYX Cosmetics Pore Filler is weightless on the skin. 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.

If you want more affordable choices, you can check our list of the best drugstore primer for large pores.


Clean Beauty: Oil-free, Talc-free.

Green & Cruelty-free: Vegan.

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer
Color: Translucent peachy tint that sheers out when applied
Consistency & Finish: Mattifying, thick & dries to a powdery finish

Key Benefits + Cons

Key Benefits:

  • One of the best pore fillers for enlarged pores and acne scars
  • Helps minimize the appearance of pores
  • Preps your complexion for smoother makeup application
  • Drugstore dupe of Benefit’s Porefessional

Cons: For comparison’s sake, this version is a bit tackier than the Porefessional. This can also leave you patchy if you’ve peeling or dry areas.

Makeup Artist Tips

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Set for a few minutes so it won’t pill. Make sure to exfoliate and moisturize well because it can give you dry patches if you have any peeling or dry spots.

Video Review

The Benefit of Makeup Primers for Large Pores

  1. It helps conceal pores, wrinkles, and fine lines. – Primers should not just fill out uneven textures but blend them out like magic. Some primers have blurring complexes and soft-focus features that can deceive the eye. You can create a flawless and airbrushed finish with the right blend of primer and foundation.
  2. It keeps your makeup in place for hours. – A primer is the first layer you put on between your skin and your makeup. It not only smoothens out any texture in your skin but also acts as a grip for your foundation. If your foundation doesn’t move, the rest that goes on top won’t. This is especially important if you’re using concealers to cover marks.
  3. For oily skin, it can control shine and leave a matte finish. – Oily skin can break down the foundation as the day goes on. Primers are made exactly for this—as a barrier to prevent excess oil from messing with your makeup.
  4. Extends the wear of your makeup. – Longevity is the game when it comes to base makeup. And this is one of the core purposes of primers—extend wear to avoid reapplication throughout the day.
  5. It can brighten your skin and color cosmetics. – Primers that can correct uneven skin tone can neutralize any redness or uneven patches, giving you a neutral color base. This gives blushes and highlights a long-lasting and vibrant tint.

Video: How To Hide Enlarged Pores & Make Them Disappear! By Nikkia Joy

Recommended Acne Programs

If you're suffering from severe acne, it's best to undergo a program that will help you get to the root of the problem and address the causes. 

Buying Guide:
How to Find the Best Makeup Primer for You

  1. Compatibility: Skin Type, Other Makeup – Most primers are formulated to be compatible with certain skin types. Primers for oily skin tend to have a matte finish, while those for dry skin tend to have hydrating ingredients. For best results, look for products that is most suited for your skin type.
  1. Your Skin Issues – Large pores, oiliness, or skin texture—the list can be endless. The best pore filling primers need to be hefty enough to conceal pores but lightweight enough not to add so much weight. A good balance is what we’re aiming for.

    Ingredients that absorb oil and visibly reduce shine are a must-have feature for those with oily skin. The best primer for big pores should blur wrinkles and fine lines, as well as soft focuses light for a smooth finish.
  1. Formulation: Base, Color, Consistency, and Finish – Ideally you want something that would make a great base for your foundation. The best face primer for pores should also help extend the wear of your makeup.

    For colors, a nude cast or something with a universal tint that’s flattering on your skin is best.

    It’s also very important that you like the consistency and finish of the product on your skin. If you don’t like it, why would you wear it? Matte or powdery is the best practice for uneven texture, but this still boils down to your preference.

    The best primer to hide pores is on the thicker side, has a tackier texture, and is mostly silicone-based. If you’re worried about breakouts, you can use non-comedogenic face primers.
  1. Key & Additional Benefits – Cosmetics can be loaded with beneficial ingredients that can act as a boost to your skincare. Antioxidants, moisturizers, botanical extracts—the list is endless. If it doesn’t irritate your skin, all’s good.
  2. Cons: Setting Your Expectations – While the best primer for pores can give you a host of benefits, it is still considered a cosmetic—not a drug. All of these are complementary to your makeup and skincare, not a long-standing solution. As long as we set our expectations within its capabilities and its price range, it’ll be easier for us to find our holy grails.

Tips & Tricks:
How to Use Makeup Primers for Large Pores

It’s one thing to have the best pore minimizing primer, but it won’t be as effective if it’s not used properly.
Here are a few tips and tricks for buying and using primers.

  1. Clear out any build-up of (sometimes invisible) dead skin. – This will prevent uneven application and that sketchy-looking surface you get when you apply foundation on dry skin. You can use physical exfoliation during cleansing or chemical exfoliation through AHA toners or AHA serums. The right face wash or cleanser can also do the job, as well as avoid early production of oil.
  2. Unclog sebum build-up with bi-weekly clay masks – If you have big pores, they will likely be filled with sebum.  Clay masks will help dissolve deep-seated dirt and oil that’s accumulated on your skin. You can seal those blackheads out with primers, but that’s not good for your skin in the long run.
  3. Moisturize well beneath your primer and wait for 5 minutes or so to let it absorb fully. – Nothing beats healthy skin. And healthy, well-balanced skin is a hydrated one. Making sure your skin is well moisturized before putting on makeup can make a world of difference. It’s very important, however, that your moisturizer is fully absorbed before you put any makeup on. If you apply your primer on 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.
  4. For large pores or acne scarring, keep the area matte. – It’s very important 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. Our skin is very dynamic and the causes of 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.
  5. For acne-prone skin, use a non-comedogenic primer. – Prevention is better than cure, especially for your skin, because it’s VERY hard to turn back the hands of time. Non comedogenic makeup primers are designed especially for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
  6. Try to combine like with like: a water-based primer with a water-based foundation and a silicone primer with a silicone foundation. – The best pore primer should not only make your skin look smoother, but 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 silicone primer, the silicone primer will tend to repel the foundation and prevent it from thoroughly blending into your skin. This can cause unevenness and will not make your makeup lasts as long as it could. You should always try to combine makeup based on the same ingredients–silicone-based primers works best with silicone foundations and water-based primers with water-based foundations.
  7. Do not rub your primer. – Rubbing will ball up the product instead of setting it 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. The best pore concealer primer should be able to do the job without difficulty in application.
  8. 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. The best pore reducing primers can do an exceptional job even with just a tiny amount.
  9. Blend your primer to perfection. – If not, it will ruin your foundation with streaks and patches. That’s just counterproductive, and the most annoying thing in the morning is running late because of it. Even the best poreless primer will stick out like a sore thumb if it isn’t blended well.
  10. Use your fingers instead of a beauty blender or brush. – Completely up to you, but the warmth of your fingers can make the primer more malleable and your skin more susceptible to the product.
  11. 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. Results can still vary depending on a person’s skin condition.


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  7. L. (2015). The Use of Silicone Adhesives for Scar Reduction. Advances in wound care4(7), 422–430.
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Samantha Welch
Samantha Welch is an esthetician and professional makeup artist. She co-founded Healthy Beautiful to create a space where she can share her experiences and channel her love for all things beauty. Samantha believes that through education and resources, everyone can make informed choices that can change their lives.