Top 19 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 people with large pores or acne scars do their makeup, they tend to apply layer after layer of foundation to give the illusion of refined skin.

However, pushing makeup into your pores results in an unnatural texture and can eventually lead to breakouts. Foundation just isn’t built for this purpose.

Instead, you can 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 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 you can use:

  • Silicone-based – have a thick consistency that works well to smoothen out pores, acne scars, wrinkles, and fine lines. Silicone molecules 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.
  • Water-based – are more lightweight and generally blend better with liquid, water-based foundations.

Primers are used after moisturizers and before foundation.

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.

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


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

These are based on experience, formulation, claims, value for money, and consumer reviews.
Make sure to choose the best primer that’s best suited for your skin type and skin issues.

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

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

Best for: All skin types, including Sensitive skin; Uneven texture, Large pores, Fine lines, No-makeup days

Our Review

Murad’s 3-in-1 Invisiblur Perfecting Shield primer-sunscreen is a multi-tasker that’s hard to beat.

It’s velvety smooth and glides on the skin effortlessly. This makeup primer fills out any textured imperfections to give you a flawless canvas. It also primes the skin for longer makeup wear, so your cosmetics stay true to color for up to 12 hours.

One of this makeup primer’s claims to fame is its Soft-focus Complex which instantly diminishes the appearance of pores by 30%.* It also improves overall skin tone and texture.

Advanced skin benefits have also been incorporated in the form of Mushroom Peptides and Cucumber, Sunflower, and Barley extracts. These science-backed ingredients are optimized for skin wellness to visibly fight the signs of aging and improve the skin’s ability to preserve moisture.

Additional skin protection comes in a broad-spectrum SPF 30 PA+++. This comes in an invisible gel form which assures that it won’t give you that notorious sunblock white cast. This primer is perfect for day use.

A non comedogenic primer formulated without Parabens, Sulfates, Gluten, or Animal-derived ingredients.

Best for: All skin types, including Sensitive skin, Uneven texture, Big pores, Fine lines, No-makeup days

*In-vitro results after 1 minute on skin model. †In a 3-day clinical study.

Formulation + Key Benefits

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

Key Benefits:

  • Soft-focus Complex diminishes the look of large pores, uneven texture, and fine lines
  • Extends wear of makeup for up to 12 hours
  • Invisible SPF technology for sun protection without any white cast
  • Skin beneficial ingredients that improve skin moisture retention, firmness, resilience, and elasticity
  • Non-comedogenic primer, this does not clog pores
  • Ideal for all skin types: Normal, Oil, Combination, Sensitive, and Dry skin

Cons + Makeup Artist Tips

Cons:

  • On the higher end of the makeup primer scale with all its additional benefits
  • Tendency to pill on flakey skin

Makeup Artist Tips: As it clings to dry skin, make sure to exfoliate well. You can use an AHA toner regularly to avoid this issue.

Video Review


Dermablend Poresaver™ Matte Makeup Primer

Dermablend Poresaver™ Matte Makeup Primer

Best for: All skin types, Normal to Oily & 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 enlarged 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 Matte Makeup Primer also extends cosmetics for up to 24 hours and leaves the skin smooth to the touch.

You can apply this pore primer 3 the ways: under makeup as usual, alone, or mixed with your favorite foundation.

Formulated without: Tricosans, Phthalates, Fragrance, Parabens, Sodium Laurel Sulfate. Vegan formula: no animal byproducts or derived ingredients from it were used.

Dermatologist-tested. Non-comedogenic.

Best for: Normal to combination skin with large pores

Formulation + Key Benefits + Cons

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer

Color: White/transparent gel

Consistency & Finish: Smooth and light, Creamy

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

Additional Benefits & Makeup Artist Tips

Cons: Can be drying to dehydrated or flakey skin

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • After applying, allow the primer at least 30 seconds to settle into the skin.
  • 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.

Colorescience – Mattifying Face Primer SPF 20

Best for: Oily skin, Sensitive & Acne-prone skin

Our Review

This new and improved formula from Colorscience jumps to our best-of list as they deliver an extraordinary primer that goes above and beyond for oily, blemish-prone skin.

It is skin-perfecting upon application, instantly reducing the appearance of large pores, blemishes, and other imperfections.

It glides on like a dream with its whipped texture in a universal nude shade that melts into your skin for a smoother finish.

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

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

  • (New!) Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 — helps improve texture and skin firmness[6]
  • (New!) Hydrolized Rice Protein — improves moisture and smooths skin
  • Salicyclic Acid — helps remove excess oil
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extractcalms your skin and protects it against harmful pollutants
  • Jojoba Seed Oil & Estersconditions 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

It also protects your skin from the harmful, photoaging rays of the sun.

The new formula ups its Non-nano Titanium Dioxide from 2.8% to 5% and adjust its white-casting Non-nano Zinc Oxide from 5.3% to 4.5%.

Its improved UVA/UVB defense rating of PA+++ broad-spectrum 20 SPF has made it a sunscreen recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Lastly, this primer is exceptional because it is water-resistant and sweat-resistant for 40 minutes.

You can stay out without worrying about your oil, pores, sun damaging your skin, and sweat aggravating your blemishes as you go about your day.

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

Dermatologist-tested hypoallergenic, non comedogenic primer.

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

Reef-safe. Cruelty-free. Vegan.

Fragrance-free. Paraben-free.

Best for: Suitable for all skin types, including oily, sensitive, and acne-prone skin

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

Key Benefits + Cons

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)

Cons: 

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

Formulation + Makeup Artist Tips

Formulation Base:  Silicone-based primer
Color: 
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

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 silicone 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.

jane iredale Smooth Affair for Oily Skin Facial Primer & Brightener

jane iredale Smooth Affair for Oily Skin Facial Primer & Brightener

Best for: Oily skin; Mature skin; Pores, fine lines, & wrinkles

Winner: ALLURE Best of Beauty Award

Our Review

If you struggle with oily skin changing the color of your foundation, dry skin looking worse for wear under foundation, and makeup not lasting all day–this primer can be your solution.

This 2-in-1 brightening & pore minimizing primer is specifically formulated for oil control while working to visibly reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines. It preps and smooths the surface so everything is blended with ease.

The Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer reduces shine to create a matte, photo finish with its revolutionary PoreAway™ technology. This can be used as a mattifying gel as well over foundation, for easy touch-ups.

This vegan primer also has skin-quenching fruit extracts that provide a wide array of skincare benefits.

Green tea and white tea extracts soothe and calm the skin, in addition to providing bacterial protection that fights blemishes.

Apple extract works as a skin-smoothing antioxidant that maintains the skin’s elasticity. Grapefruit extract promotes radiance and luminosity.

All these and more work in synergy to nourish and brighten your skin while visibly reducing the appearance of pores and wrinkles.

Best for: Mature skin with fine lines and wrinkles, Oily skin, Big pores

Formulation + Key Benefits + Cons

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer

Color: Skin tone, color-adjusts with its advanced mineral technology

Consistency & Finish: Smooth, lightweight, silky, matte finish

Key Benefits:

  • Revolutionary PoreAway™ technology with state-of-the-art mineral science that works to visibly reduce shine
  • Noticeably reduces the appearance of pores to create a smooth, matte finish
  • Employs an advanced mineral technology that color-adjusts for an even skin tone
  • Has a wide array of anti-aging vitamins and antioxidants

Cons: Has quite a lot of fruit and herbal extracts that may be irritating to those with sensitive skin.

Additional Benefits & Makeup Artist Tips

Additional Benefits:

  • Can be used as a mattifying gel over foundation for easy touch-ups
  • Vitamin C –brightens and improves skin tone
  • Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract – an antioxidant that soothes and calms the skin, in addition to providing bacterial protection that fights blemishes
  • Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Pectin –works as a smoothing antioxidant that helps maintain the skin’s elasticity
  • Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract –promotes radiance and luminosity
  • Botanical extracts to nourish the skin as it prepares it for makeup –Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Root Extract, Chlorella Vulgaris/Lupinus Albus Protein Ferment, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Fruit Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract
  • Gluten-free. Paraben-Free.
  • Vegan & Certified cruelty-free by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) and PETA.
  • Winner: ALLURE Best of Beauty Award in 2014

Make-up Artist Tips: Apply a pea-sized amount at a time, using fingers and blend until fully absorbed (otherwise you’ll run the risk of pilling).


Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch

Best for: All skin types

Our Review

This non-comedogenic foundation primer has an award-winning formula that combines makeup and skincare benefits.

The Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch has a very light texture that melts on your skin and creates an invisible veil that seamlessly fills out deep wrinkles, pores, and fine lines.

Vitamin E is incorporated to help nourish and hydrate the skin. Acacia micro-pearls smoothen, leaving your skin perfect for makeup application.

You can use it prior or mix it with your foundation.

One of the classic pore-minimizing primers used in the industry.

Best for: All Skin Types

Formulation + Key Benefits

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer

Color: Pinkish-white

Consistency & Finish: Lightweight, creamy, soft texture

Key Benefits:

  • Creates a smooth canvas on your skin
  • Fills out pores, deep wrinkles, and fine lines
  • Prepares the skin for makeup application
  • Non comedogenic primer.
  • No overpowering scent.

Cons + Makeup Artist Tips

Cons:

  • Comes in a pot and a spatula, which can be a little inconvenient (I always lose the spatula!)
  • Pricey for the quantity

Make-up Artist Tips: Warm the product on your fingers to ease application.


Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer - Broad Spectrum SPF 15

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

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 that it locks foundation in place by making it water-resistant and non-transferable.

This is a unique and crucial quality in keeping a flawless canvass 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’s crucial to minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. The airy, silk-like texture sinks into the skin without causing congestion, unlike most.

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

Formulation + Key Benefits + Cons

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:

  • 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)

Cons:

  • 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 the Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector above instead.
  • It’s not a concrete “matte” but a luminous playdoh-like matte (I know that sounds weird but that’s how it finishes.)

Additional Benefits & Makeup Artist Tips

  • Extends wear of foundation
  • Oil-free formula
  • Free of potentially irritating ingredients: Parabens, Fragrance, Sulfates, Nanoparticles, Oil, Phthalates, Gluten, Synthetic Dyes
  • Vegan-friendly. HOURGLASS is a cruelty-free brand.
  • Best primer for erythema or redness
  • Winner of the InStyle Best Beauty Buy Award for Best Primer: 2014, 2015 & 2016.

Video Review


Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer
image beauty awards

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer

Best for: All skin types with texture issues

Winner: IMAGE Beauty Awards

Our Review

A product that you’ll find in most professional make-up artists’ arsenal–and with very good reason.

This pore-minimizing primer features a triple-blurring complex with light-diffusing technology that immediately blurs pores and fine lines to create an immaculate canvas for the rest of your makeup. From experience, this one makes you Insta-ready in a flash.

The formulation also contains longwear polymers which are a balance of emollients to keep your skin moisturized and give you a radiant glow. Its unique time-released skin-balancing technology helps control shine while locking in moisture throughout the day.

The Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer is silky, lightweight, oil-free, and non-comedogenic; all essential in keeping any potential breakouts at bay.

All the above combined can give you an even-toned, retouched appearance in an instant.

Best for: All skin types especially Mature skin, Enlarged pores, Fine lines; Issues with skin texture

Formulation + Key Benefits + Cons

Formulation Base: Silicon-based

Color: Nude

Consistency & Finish: Silky, lightweight, universal-tint primer

Key Benefits:

  • Triple-Blurring Complex – light-diffusing, soft-focus ingredients to instantly perfect your skin’s texture and minimize the appearance of pores, wrinkles, and fine lines.
  • Time-Release Skin Balancing Technology – a unique formulation of hyaluronic acid and botanical extracts to hydrate and plump lines, while hollow silica beads help absorb oil throughout the day
  • Longwear Polymers – a balance of emollients that adhere to the skin and extend the wear of your foundation

Cons: For those with oily skin, you’ll need to blot after around two hours. From experience, it’s not as oil-controlling as the other primers on this list.

Additional Benefits & Makeup Artist Tips

Additional Benefits:

  • Instant retouch look, very useful for those with skin texture issues
  • Winner IMAGE Beauty Awards 2016

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Apply a thin layer throughout your face and under the jaw. The blurring effect should be instantaneous.
  • Allow primer to set for at least 10 seconds before applying your foundation.
  • It’s quite thick before its set, so a little goes a long way

Dr brandt pores no more® PORE REFINER PRIMER

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: BRIDES 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!”

– GWYNETH PALTROW

Rising to cult status this, Dr. Brandt’s celebrity-famous pore refiner primer boasts of an instant fix* that would rival any photoshop filter. It minimizes pores, fine lines, and other imperfections.

It has a silky-smooth formula with oil-absorbing spheres that are proven to keep you free 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 make-up.

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, resulting in smoothening of the skin’s surface.

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

Non-comedogenic. Dermatologist-tested. Hypoallergenic. Fragrance-free.

Individual results may vary. AFTER ONE APPLICATION:

  • Skin oiliness is significantly decreased by 40%
  • 100% showed a decrease in the appearance of pore size*
  • 90% reported that the skin complexion looks more even**
  • 87% reported that the skin is perfectly shine-free**

AFTER 2 WEEKS OF USE:

  • 100% reported that the product visibly reduces the appearance of pores
  • 100% reported that the product absorbs excess oil
  • 93% reported that the product blurs the look of imperfections and linesInstrumental evaluation conducted on 30 volunteers
  • Self-assessment conducted on 30 volunteers

Best for: All skin types including especially Oily skin; Minimizing open pores, fine lines, and imperfections

Formulation + Key Benefits

Color: Nude
Consistency & Finish: Lightweight, velvety cream

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 enlargement of pores.

Cons + Makeup Artist Tips

Cons:

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

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


tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer

tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer

Best for: Combination to Oily skin; Dry patches

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.

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.

Best for: Combination to Oily skin with Large pores, Acne scars, Uneven skin texture, Fine lines, Dry patches; looking for dual purpose/extra vitamins in their makeup

Formulation + Key Benefits + Cons

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer

Consistency & Finish: Silky, invisible gel

Key Benefits:

  • Optical matte-blur technology to filter imperfections
  • Waterproof, mattifying, & texturizing face primer
  • tarte 12-hour power™
  • 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.

Additional Benefits & Makeup Artist Tips

Additional Benefits:

  • 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
  • Formulated without: parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfates, & gluten.
  • Dermatologist-tested.
  • Vegan-friendly & Certified Cruelty-free.
  • Best primer for pores with dry patches and uneven texture

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


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.
Free from: Parabens & Phthalates. Vegan & Cruelty-free.

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

Formulation + Key Benefits + Cons

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:

  • 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.

Additional Benefits & Makeup Artist Tips

Additional Benefits:

  • Oil-free formulation, won’t clog or cause breakouts
  • Free from: Parabens & Phthalates
  • Vegan & Cruelty-free.
  • Winner: Allure Best of Beauty Award

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


Too Faced – Primed & Poreless + Pore Banishing & Blurring Face Primer

Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer

Best for: Combination skin

Our Review

This poreless primer can work for both dry and oily zones, so it’s 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.

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

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

Best for: Combination skin with large pores & fine lines

Formulation + Key Benefits + Cons

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer

Color: Light beige, disappears once blended

Consistency & Finish: Silicone-rich, Thick with a dry-finish

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

Cons:

  • 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.

Additional Benefits & Makeup Artist Tips

Additional Benefits:

  • 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
  • Gluten-free, Paraben-free.
  • Vegan & Cruelty-free.

Make-up Artist Tips:

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

Video Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBcFiRurGOI

Video: TOO FACED PRIMED AND PORELESS PRIMER | First Impressions


theBalm TimeBalm Face Primer

theBalm TimeBalm Face Primer

Best for: All skin types especially Oily skin

Our Review

This smoothing balm has a milky consistency that’s a bit lighter than the Too Faced primer. (It looks like clear gel in the photo, but that’s only because of the white background. It comes off like a smooth, milky gel when placed against the skin.)

This pore primer is fortified with Vitamins A, C, and E to help repair and even out skin texture and tone.

Also blended in are anti-inflammatory ingredients allantoin and bioflavonoid to soothe stressed skin.

It’s quite thin and sinks instantly to minimize pores, wrinkles, and fine lines.

We find this works especially well under the eyes to get rid of that cakey line you get with concealers.

The TimeBalm Face Primer is also great under foundation and solidly keeps your makeup in place throughout the day.

I have oily skin in the summer which turns combination in the winter. This holds up pretty well except on really dry patches where it can get cakey after a time.

You just need to make sure your skin is well exfoliated and hydrated/moisturized prior if you have dry skin and you’re good to go.

Best for: All skin types especially Oily skin with large pores, wrinkles, and fine lines

Formulation + Key Benefits

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer

Color: Milky, clear gel

Consistency & Finish: lightweight, silky

Key Benefits:

  • Minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines
  • Evens out skin tone and improves texture
  • Infused with Vitamins A, C & E – helps protect against free radicals
  • Allantoin & Bioflavonoid – anti-inflammatory to soothe stressed skin

Cons + Makeup Artist Tips

Cons: From experience, has a tendency to look cakey if you have dehydrated skin. Make sure your skin is well exfoliated and moisturized prior.

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Instead of a brush, warm the product in your fingers and apply it before your foundation.
  • Works alone or as a makeup base.

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.

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.

Best for: Normal to combination skin with large pores

Formulation + Key Benefits + Cons

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer

Color: Translucent, complements all skin tones

Consistency & Finish: Silky, lightweight balm for an airbrushed finish

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.

Additional Benefits & Makeup Artist Tips

Additional Benefits:

  • Vitamin E – protects skin from free radicals
  • Oil-free.
  • AWARDS: #1 best-selling Prestige Face Primer in the US by the U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Department Specialty

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.

Best for: Normal to combination skin with large pores

Formulation + Key Benefits + Cons

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:

  • Helps minimize the appearance of pores
  • Preps your complexion for smoother makeup application

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.

Additional Benefits & Makeup Artist Tips

Additional Benefits:

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.

bareMinerals Good Hydrations Silky Face Primer

bareMinerals Good Hydrations Silky Face Primer

Best for: All skin types especially Dry skin, Sensitive & Acne-prone skin; Redness / Rosacea

Our Review

This hydrating, non comedogenic face primer is formulated specifically for dry skin. It has powerful skin-plumping ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and coconut alkanes that give instant and lasting hydration. Perfect for winter use.

It also improves the application and wears time of your foundation. It smooths over flaky skin and fine lines and prevents any makeup from setting into creases.

The bareMinerals Good Hydrations Face Primer’s rich, silky texture dries to a smooth, glowing finish with a soft-focus effect. A blend of minerals also gives a hint of opalescent luminosity.

One of the best pore minimizing primers for dry skin.

Non-comedogenic, will not clog pores or cause breakouts.
Oil-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, and fragrance-free.
Contains antioxidant ingredients.

Best for: Dry skin, Winter use

In a consumer test: 100% of women agreed this primer improved their makeup application. 97% of women felt their makeup lasted longer throughout the day. 93% of women felt their skin was more comfortable throughout the day.

For Combination Skin:
An alternative for combination skin is the COMBO CONTROL™ MILKY FACE PRIMER. This is a lightweight version that keeps the skin’s moisture balanced while absorbing any excess oil. It has a milky feel that dries to a powdery texture for a soft, natural finish.

Formulation + Key Benefits

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer

Color: Skin tone to transparent

Consistency & Finish: Rich, Silky

Key Benefits:

  • Instant and lasting hydration for dry skin
  • Minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
  • Improves application and longevity of makeup
  • Non-comedogenic: will not clog or contribute to breakouts
  • Oil-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free and fragrance-free
  • Contains antioxidant ingredients
  • Contains hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and coconut alkanes

Cons + Makeup Artist Tips

Cons: It’s rich and thick, you might need to work it in some instances.

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • Apply a pea-sized amount after your moisturizer and before foundation.
  • Don’t rub it in—use the heat of your fingers and pat on your skin. Wait for it to absorb before applying makeup to avoid any pilling.

Video Review


Tatcha The Silk Canvas

Tatcha The Silk Canvas

Best for: All skin types especially Pores, Uneven texture, Fine lines and wrinkles

Our Review

Tatcha’s Silk Canvas is wildly popular for its ability to marry makeup and skin across seemingly every kind of foundation. When it first launched, it was always perpetually sold out!

Faithful to its name, it has silk extracts and silk powder that perfects your skin for makeup.

Silk extracts immediately reduce the appearance of pores, fine lines, and any imperfections to create a flawless canvas. It also feels nourishing on the skin.

The Silk powder helps the primer glide on like silk (pun intended) and makes your foundation go evenly. This helps with your makeup’s longevity, minimizes excess oil, and gives your skin a soft glow finish.

Gold and pink pearls also improve your skin tone for a healthier appearance.

Natural botanical actives act as a barrier to protect the skin from environmental aggressors. This helps prevent any congestion that induces acne, supports the skin’s barrier function, and reduces the appearance of dullness and wrinkles.

This goes hand in hand with Tatcha’s signature Hadasei-3™–the trio of Japanese anti-aging superfoods. Algae, rice, and green tea visibly recondition your skin’s youthful glow.

Dermatologist-tested. Non-comedogenic primer, will not clog pores. Non-irritating, non-sensitizing.

Cruelty-free.

Formulated without: DEA or TEA, parabens, mineral oil, synthetic fragrances, phthalates, sulfate detergents, urea.

Instant results: 100% of subjects agreed that their skin felt smoother immediately after application
After 2 weeks:
– 100% of subjects agreed after using the primer that their skin felt soft, fresh, and natural, more even-toned, younger, and healthier, and their makeup applied more smoothly
– 95% of subjects agreed after using the primer that their skin had a healthy glow, a soft “filter finish” look even without makeup, their skin had a satin finish, and their foundation had better coverage
– 90% of subjects agreed after using the primer that their makeup did not crease and that they would wear the primer alone without makeup
*Based on a consumer study of 20 women. Individual results may vary.
Best for: All skin types.

Best for: All skin types, especially Pores, Uneven texture, Fine lines, and wrinkles

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

Formulation + Key Benefits

Formulation Base: Water-based

Color: Skin tone

Consistency & Finish: Luxurious, velvety balm

Key Benefits:

  • Silk extracts blur the look of pores, fine lines, and deep wrinkles for a soft-focus finish
  • Silk powder primes the skin for perfect makeup application adds to longevity throughout the day and helps with minimizing excess shine
  • Protects the skin from environmental aggressors by acting as a barrier to the skin
  • Enhances skin tone with gold and pink pearls
  • Contains Tatcha’s signature Hadasei-3™ is an anti-aging trio of Japanese superfoods
  • Non-comedogenic.

Additional Benefits + Cons + Makeup Artist Tips

Additional Benefits:

  • Can be used not just on your face, but also on the eye area and lips.
  • You only need a little to cover the entire face.

Cons: On the higher end of the primer spectrum 

Make-up Artist Tips:

  • A little goes a long way. A rice-grain size should be enough for the whole face.
  • Use the spatula and transfer it to your fingertips, then massage it into your skin.
  • Can be used as-is or with makeup.

Video Review

Video: The Silk Canvas: How to Use | Tatcha


L’Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer

L’Oreal Paris Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer

Best for: All skin types

Our Review

A hugely popular drugstore primer that can serve as a dupe for the higher-end Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch.

This has a similar texture to the pore-blurring primer–silky and lightweight. It instantly helps minimize pores and fills in fine lines. Skin feels smooth to the touch and is left with an even, matte finish.

The L’Oreal Magic Perfecting Base Face Primer is one of the best pore fillers. It has a medium thickness, so you’ll only need to use a small amount for the face.

Dermatologist-tested. Non-comedogenic, non-pore-clogging primer.

Best for: All skin types

Formulation + Key Benefits

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer

Color: Very light pink that disappears on application

Consistency & Finish: Silky, lightweight, spreadable balm

Key Benefits:

Cons + Makeup Artist Tips

Cons: Not quite moisturizing and doesn’t hold well on very oily skin. A good dupe to higher-end products but not an exact replacement.

Make-up Artist Tips: Apply a thin layer–don’t pile it on even though it seems like a good idea, especially with the thickness. It can move your makeup instead of latching on to it if you put too much.


Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

Best for: All skin types

Our Review

A gen-z popular, very affordable drugstore primer that moisturizes and mattifies all day.

Makeup applies nicely after application, giving the foundation a soft and smooth look. The Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser can be used to fill out any noticeable pores.

You also only need to use a pea-sized amount for the entire face.

The downside is it can be slippery, so those with oily or combination skin might find this a tad too greasy.

All in all, it does what a pore filler primer sets out to do on a baseline that you expect from this price point.

Best for: All skin types

Formulation + Key Benefits

Formulation Base: Silicone-based primer

Color: White from the pump, blends out invisibly into the skin

Consistency & Finish: Soft, velvety texture

Key Benefits:

  • Very affordable drugstore primer
  • Improves makeup application
  • Helps minimize the appearance of pores

Cons + Makeup Artist Tips

Cons: Can feel greasy on oily skin.

Make-up Artist Tips: Don’t use too much or it will clump up. Just push the product in gently.

Buying Cheat Sheet:

Product Comparison Chart:
A Quick Overview of Key Benefits & Skin Compatibility

Brand / Product Name:Product Image:Formulation Base:Key Benefits:Best for (Skin Type & Condition):
Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector1. Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming PerfectorWater-basedMattifies skin. Instantly blurs the look of large pores and helps regulate sebum production.

Long hours of oil control (Acts like a liquid blotting paper). Cruelty-free.
Oily skin with open and large pores on cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin; Combination skin with oily T-zonesRead Review
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 15Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer - Broad Spectrum SPF 15Silicone-basedMakes foundation repel water & be transfer-resistant, locks makeup in place all day.

Conceals redness (even rosacea) to help even out skin tone. Minimizes the appearance of pores, fine lines, & other imperfections.

Broad-spectrum mineral SPF 15 sunscreen. Vegan, Cruelty-free.

Winner: InStyle Best Beauty Buy Award for Best Primer
All skin types especially Sensitive and Acne-prone skin with pores on cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin; Redness / Rosacea; Sun exposureRead Review
jane iredale Smooth Affair for Oily Skin Facial Primer & Brightenerjane iredale Smooth Affair for Oily Skin Facial Primer & BrightenerSilicone-basedRevolutionary PoreAway™ technology to visibly reduce shine. Advanced mineral technology that color-adjusts for an even skin tone.

Noticeably reduces the appearance of pores to create a smooth, matte finish. A wide array of anti-aging vitamins and antioxidants. Vegan & Certified cruelty-free. Gluten-free. Paraben-Free.

Winner: ALLURE Best of Beauty Award.
Oily Skin with large pores, Aging skin with fine lines & wrinklesRead Review
Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primerelizabeth arden flawless start instant perfecting primerSilicone-basedTriple-Blurring Complex – light-diffusing, soft-focus effect to instantly perfect skin’s texture & minimize the appearance of pores, wrinkles, & fine lines.

Time-Release Skin Balancing Technology – a unique formulation of hyaluronic acid & botanical extracts to hydrate & plump lines, while hollow silica beads help absorb oil throughout the day.

Longwear Polymers – emollients to extend the wear of your foundation.

Winner: IMAGE Beauty Awards
All skin types especially Enlarged pores, Fine lines, Aging skin; Issues with skin textureRead Review
tarte Poreless Mattifying Primertarte Poreless Mattifying PrimerSilicone-basedOptical matte-blur technology to filter imperfections. Waterproof, mattifying, & texturizing face primer. Tarte 12-hour power™. Helps erase pores & resurface uneven skin texture.

Nutrient-rich formula infused with botanical extracts that immediately boost skin before makeup. Vegan-friendly & Certified Cruelty-free.
Combination to Oily skin with Large pores, Acne scars, Uneven skin texture, Fine lines, Dry patchesRead Review
Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer – Pore MinimizingSmashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer – Pore MinimizingSilicone-basedReduces the look of pores. Controls oil & mattifies shine. Smoothes and preps skin for foundation. Water-resistant, Oil-free. Vegan & Cruelty-free.

Winner: Allure Best of Beauty Award
Normal to Oily skin with open and large pores on cheeks, nose, forehead, and chinRead Review
Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face PrimerToo Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face PrimerSilicone-basedVirtually erases pores & imperfections.
Creates a smooth, airbrushed surface for flawless makeup application.

Brightens the skin, improves skin texture, & minimizes fine lines over time. Improves makeup wearability. Vegan & Cruelty-free.
Combination skin with large pores and fine linesRead Review
theBalm TimeBalm Face PrimertheBalm TimeBalm Face PrimerSilicone-basedMinimizes the appearance of pores & fine lines. Evens out skin tone & improves texture.

Infused with Vitamins A, C & E – helps protect against free radicals. Allantoin & Bioflavonoid – anti-inflammatory to soothe stressed skin.
All skin types especially Oily skin with large pores, wrinkles, and fine linesRead Review
Benefit’s the POREfessional Face PrimerBenefit’s the POREfessional Face PrimerSilicone-basedMinimizes the appearance of pores & fine lines. Creates a smooth canvas & helps makeup stay put throughout the day.

Mattifies shine and touches up problem areas. Vitamin E – protects skin from free radicals.

Awards: #1 best-selling Prestige Face Primer in the US
Normal to combination skin with large poresRead Review
NYX Cosmetics Pore FillerNYX Cosmetics Pore FillerSilicone-basedHelps minimize the appearance of pores. Preps your complexion for smoother makeup application.

Infused with Vitamin E. Oil-free, talc-free. Drugstore dupe of Benefit’s POREfessional.
Normal to combination skin with large poresRead Review
Dermablend Poresaver™ Matte Makeup PrimerDermablend Poresaver™ Matte Makeup PrimerSilicone-basedAbsorbs oil and mattifies the skin without drying it out.

Can be applied three ways: mixed with foundation, alone, or under makeup.

Formulated with only 6 ingredients to avoid irritants.
All skin types, Normal to Oily skin with large pores, Acne-prone skinRead Review
Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | PA+++Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | PA+++Silicone-basedSoft-focus Complex diminishes the look of large pores, uneven texture, and fine lines.

Invisible SPF technology for sun protection without any white cast.

Skin beneficial ingredients that improve skin moisture retention, firmness, resilience, and elasticity.

Non-comedogenic, this primer does not clog pores.
All skin types including Sensitive skin; Uneven texture, Large pores, Fine lines, No-makeup daysRead Review
Dr brandt pores no more® PORE REFINER PRIMERDr brandt pores no more® PORE REFINER PRIMER
Decreases pore size instantly, and improves pore appearance over time.

Red Clover Flower Extract assists in rebalancing the skin, which causes enlargement of pores.

Salicylic Acid Derivative gradually exfoliates the skin and releases any oil build-up to smoothen the skin's surface.

Non-comedogenic.

Winner: BRIDES MAGAZINE BEAUTY AWARD WINNER – Best Shine Stopper
All skin types including Sensitive skin; Oily skin; Minimizing large pores, fine lines, and imperfectionsRead Review

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

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 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.

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.

References:

  1. Benjamin Bleasdale, Simon Finnegan, Kathyryn Murray, Sean Kelly, and Steven L. Percival.Advances in Wound Care.Jul 2015.422-430.http://doi.org/10.1089/wound.2015.0625
  2. Arbuckle, R., Atkinson, M., Clark, M., Abetz, L., Lohs, J., & Kuhagen, I. et al. (2008). Patient experiences with oily skin: The qualitative development of content for two new patient reported outcome questionnaires. Health And Quality Of Life Outcomes6(1), 80. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-6-80
  3. Backe, J. (n.d.). Milady Standard Cosmetology (Milady’s Standard Cosmetology). 
  4. BECCA Cosmetics. (2020). BECCA Cosmetics | Official Store | Home Page.
  5. Benefitcosmetics.com. (2020). Benefit Cosmetics > Official Site and Online Store | Benefit Cosmetics.
  6. Bleasdale, B., Finnegan, S., Murray, K., Kelly, S., & Percival, S.
  7. L. (2015). The Use of Silicone Adhesives for Scar Reduction. Advances in wound care4(7), 422–430. https://doi.org/10.1089/wound.2015.0625
  8. Davis, G. and Hall, M. (2008). The Makeup Artist Handbook: Techniques for Film, Television, Photography, and Theatre. Amsterdam: Focal Press/Elsevier. 
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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.