First, Understand What Pores Actually Are
You’ll find pores all over your body – not just on your face. They’re actually tiny hair follicles that contain a sebaceous gland and these glands produce sebum (oil) on the surface of the skin, which protects it from external aggressors. But they can also become clogged with too much oil, which can lead to pores becoming more visible. Sometimes, how they look comes down to genetics, but open pores tend to be the result of several other factors: diet, hormonal imbalance or a history of skin damage can all play a part. It’s also been reported that, between the ages of 25 and 50, pores can double in size due to environmental factors and further UV exposure.
Build A Great Routine
Though you can’t physically change the size of your pores, a good skincare routine can help minimise their appearance. “First, it’s really important to cleanse your skin thoroughly, especially after wearing make-up, as this can settle in pores if not cleansed properly and can lead to clogged and congested skin,” explains professional make-up artist Nilofar Mussa. “It’s also crucial to exfoliate a couple of times a week to remove any dead skin cells, sebum and debris that collects on the surface of the skin to keep the pores clean and prevent them from getting any larger. My favourites are the Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser and Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant.”
Just beware the common mistake of using peels that contain ingredients like retinol or exfoliants on a daily basis. This will only increase the sebum flow, resulting in the skin producing even more oil to defend itself. Instead, focus on a low GI diet, avoid as much stress as possible, and stick to a simple skincare regime.
Give Steaming A Go
If your pores are easily blocked and often turn in blackheads, an at-home steamer might be the answer. “A lot of people think steaming your face is a skincare myth, but it really does help loosen the blackheads and flush out your pores,” says Amanda Bell, skincare expert and global director of education at Pixi. “That said, for best results, let a professional show you the best way to do it first so you can then replicate the treatment at home. Book an extraction facial too – the therapist will steam your face first before using the correct, sterilised tools for the safest results.”
Focus On Pore Minimisers
If you really want to minimise the appearance of pores, the pros will tell you to focus on the types of products you use. “Use pore minimising products in your daily skincare routine both in the evening and the morning,” says professional make-up artist Jessica Kell. “Try the hydrating foaming cleanser from Indeed Labs, which leaves behind a perfect base. A great glycolic toner will also lessen their appearance – I love the Beauty Pie Dr Glycolic Pore Purifying Glow Toner which uses glycolic acid and niacinamide to leave skin looking glowing. A great clay mask is an essential too. The Beauty Pie Super Pore Detox Purifying Black Clay Mask works to deep clean your pores and uses glycolic and salicylic acid to exfoliate at the same time.” Nilofar agrees: “Opt for chemical exfoliants – AHAs, BHAs, glycolic acids, salicylic acids – while retinoids are also fantastic to strengthen the collagen in the skin, resulting in a stronger skin barrier that is less likely to stretch.”
Go Easy On The Moisturiser & Primer
“Don’t overload the skin with heavy moisturisers, primers or drying foundations,” says Jess. “All of these things will enhance your pores and skin texture, which is never the desired effect. Instead, focus on products that reduce pore texture but also keep your skin hydrated, like the Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner, which keeps skin matte but still creates a great surface for your make-up to sit on.” Still not sure? Just stick to lightweight formulas without silicones and oil-free formulas.
Prep Your Complexion For Make-Up
There are a few ways you can blur the appearance of pores before you get into make-up. “Try a lightweight blurring primer to really smooth out the skin's surface,” advises Jess. “Hylamide HA Blur is perfect for this because it uses hyaluronic acid to even out texture, so your skin is hydrated but never oily.”
Choose Your Foundation Wisely
According to beauty insiders, it’s important to ensure your foundation is hydrating and not too heavy, otherwise it can sit in the pores and make them look more enlarged or even cakey. “Try going for a foundation with good coverage but one which is still light in texture,” says Jess. “Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation is great to even out your skin tone, while staying luminous and fresh.” While finding the right product is paramount, technique is also key. “It’s just as important to look at the way you are applying the foundation,” explains Jess. “If you’re trying to get a really smooth finish, use a round buffing brush and apply the product in a circular motion. This will ensure you completely cover the pores without letting it gather or sit on top of the skin.”
Try A Blurring Effect
Once your foundation has settled, there are a few more make-up tricks Nilofar recommends those with larger pores try. “Texture loves shine, so apply a very light layer of translucent powder over the top of your make-up where open pores are visible,” she says. “This will take down any excess shine on the surface of the skin and diffuse the light, thus creating a blurred effect. Open pores tend to be more prominent on the inner cheek area close to the nose, so keep this part of your face matte. Also, direct your highlighter to the highest part of the cheekbone – below the outer corners of the eyes – to balance the overall texture of the skin and bring back some glow.”