Despite what beauty market might imply, there’s no way to permanently shrink the size of your pores, but there are ways to minimize their appearance while quelling shine. For an immediate solution, applying a light layer of one of the best pore-filling primers for oily skin will prep your skin for a smoother makeup application (or create a blurred, matte finish if you’re going makeup-free).
Almost universally, the best pore-filling primers for oily skin contain silicones, like dimethicone, which both curb excess oil production and fill out inconsistencies in your skin’s surface. Silicones also deposit a silky film, which creates a smooth but grippable canvas for your makeup.
Before you protest, I know that silicone gets a bad rep as a comedogenic ingredient — but scientific research has come up with zero proof that silicone clogs or suffocates your pores. So if you’re concerned about your primer causing breakouts or irritation, look for a lightweight, oil-free primer that contains blemish-fighting ingredients like witch hazel, rather than nixing silicone completely. (Of course, you should steer clear of silicones if you have a known allergy to them.)
Ahead, take a look at three of the best pore-filling primers for oily skin. They’ll suit a range of formula preferences, skin care concerns, and budgets, but they’ll all help you achieve Instagram-worthy makeup with just one swipe.
1. The Overall Best Pore-Filling Primer For Oily Skin
You may know Japanese beauty brand DHC for Velvet Skin Coat, their cult-favorite primer that leaves oily skin silky-smooth to the touch. But if you’re after a pore-shrinking effect specifically, go for the DHC Clarifying Pore Cover Base. It packs the same mattifying punch as Velvet Skin Coat, but this formula doubles down on the pore-minimizing effects with the addition of artichoke leaf extract, which boosts collagen production to tighten enlarged pores. Hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E step in to provide oil-free moisture, while olive leaf extract dries up excess oil in your pores.
"Soaks up all the oil without feeling heavy or weird on the skin," wrote one reviewer. "Great at minimizing pores! I have incredibly sensitive skin that is acne prone. Did not cause a breakout after three weeks of use," reported another.
1. The Best Budget Primer For Blurring & Mattifying Oily Skin
For a less expensive alternative, the Maybelline Master Prime Blur + Pore Minimize Primer + Base beautifully blurs enlarged pores, curbs shine, and provides a smooth base for even, long-lasting makeup. Lightweight and oil-free, this formula is ideal for both oily and combination skin, since its water-based formula won’t exacerbate dry areas. At just about $8, this is the most effective and budget-friendly pore-filling primer out there.
"If you've never worn primer your life is about to change...pores....what pores?? They disappear and gives you an AMAZING canvas for your makeup or to just go fresh faced," commented one reviewer.
3. The Best Pore-Filling Primer For Irritation-Prone Skin
The Boscia Porefecting White Charcoal Mattifying Treatment Primer is actually a skin care/makeup hybrid: In addition to soaking up excess oil and minimizing pores to prep skin for makeup, the formula contains natural ingredients that gently balance and protect sensitive skin. Witch hazel, a natural antiseptic, clears pores of acne-causing dirt and oil, while white charcoal powder reduces the appearance of enlarged pores by absorbing excess oil, but it won't compromise your skin’s moisture content. Like DHC’s primer, artichoke leaf extract is also at work here for its pore-minimizing effects, as well as evening out discoloration.
Boscia’s primer is free of artificial fragrance, color, and preservatives. But the formula does contain propylene glycol, a potentially irritating alcohol. So people with very sensitive or allergy-prone skin might want to check with their dermatologists before using this one.
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