You can't get rid of this beauty problem but Zoe can help you hide it.



Zoe, how do I get rid of my big pores? No matter what I do, they seem to look huge after a few hours after applying my makeup!


Karen, first, let me reveal a terrible truth: you cannot get rid of your big pores, or change their size. What you CAN do, though, is ride bikes and eat ice cream, so it all evens out.

Sorry, that was a truly pore response. I can do better. (Zzzzing!)

Karen, while you can’t change your pore size (it’s genetic) or stop them producing more oil than necessary, or creating pimples or blackheads, you can certainly minimise their appearance and sheen, by using a skilful artillery of pore-minimising products, designed by clever people who understand that while bigger, oilier pores generally mean your skin will age slower and wrinkle less (WIN!), it’s frustrating having them glaring out from your skin every day (um, lose…)

Skin care:

–       Cleanse. Properly. The key to keeping pores in check is making sure they’re clean. The dirtier they are, the more visible they are. Use something gentle, so as to thoroughly clean but not to overstimulate

–       Exfoliate at least 2-3 times a week. Too much can aggravate the pores and make them produce more oil. Cute! Something with light amounts of AHAs or salicylic acid is good, (although can be drying – see what suits your skin best), or a gentle cleanser/scrub combo might be the way to go. Olay’s Deep Cleansing Pore Minimising Cleanser and Scrub at night is a good option.

–       After cleansing, TONE. Definitely tone. So important. This “closes” the pore and tightens it without drying it out (and if it is drying it out, switch products). Lancôme Pure Focus is popular, as is Biore’s Triple Action Toner.

–       Use a serum that is tailored to the business of pores (remember: always choose a serum that targets whatever your biggest and most pressing skin concern is… or you can layer a couple) – Clinique does a great one in their Pore Refining range


–       Moisturise and use sun protection; UV damage can further enlarge pores. And you, know cause cancer and stuff.

–       Masks that draw out impurities (things like sunscreen, makeup and grime can clog pores and make them more visible) should be a weekly routine – something like the St Ives Mineral Clay Mask or the much lauded SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Mask is perfect. Clay is the way, in other words. Clay is the way.


–       Don’t even THINK about thinking about makeup until you have applied a skin refining, pore-reducing primer. This will do all the heavy lifting, and which foundation you use next becomes less crucial. The right primer will effectively ‘seal’ up your pores and create a lovely, smooth canvas for your foundation…  which is better than it going straight onto your skin and slipping around and into pores, making them more visible. There are loads of great pore-minimising primers around: try Benefit’s POREfessional, Estee Lauder’s Idealist Pore Minimising Skin Refinisher or Smashbox Photo Finish Targeted Pore & Line Primer.

–       Use a foundation that is mattifying (or even pore-minimising, as some are touted.) Something that will adequately conceal the appearance of larger pores and keep oil under control is best. Revlon Colorstay and Maybelline Dream Matte Mouse are great, and the bareminerals matte powder is ideal to finish/set with.

–       Keep blotting papers on hand (or a powder compact of mineral powder, something lightweight like) to touch up throughout the day.

I know that sounds like a lot of work, Karen, but that’s only because it is.

If it’s too daunting, then at least do the exfoliating, the toning and use the primer.

….I now open the floor to anyone with similar skin who has some great solutions!

(And then I will close it, and make it a dance floor again.)

Zoe Foster is an author, columnist and porridge fan. Her books include the beauty bible Amazing Face, dating and relationship guide Textbook Romance, and three novels, Air KissesPlaying The Field and The Younger Man. Find more info on Zoe Foster here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.

Please understand that Zoë Foster cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask.