No matter who you are, if you have skin, you also have pores. Every model who’s ever walked a runway has pores, as does every celebrity posing on a red carpet and every influencer posting on social media (even if they’ve been edited away). And while you can’t actually shrink your pores, pores that are clogged can appear more enlarged than they normally are — which is where certain foundations come into play. The best foundations for large pores contain ingredients like dimethicone and silica to blur their appearance and absorb the excess oil that can contribute to the appearance of enlarged, congested pores. Other ingredients that are helpful when it comes to keeping your pores clear include retinol, niacinamide, BHAs, and AHAs. Niacinamide in particular is great for more sensitive skin types, as it doesn’t cause irritation or dryness and actually helps to calm inflammation.
It’s important to note that foundation alone won’t give you the pore-minimizing effects you’re after — your skin care routine and your makeup prep are equally important parts of the process. When applying moisturizer in the morning and at night, make sure that you’re using lightweight gel-creams and lotions that are noncomedogenic and oil-free. For maintenance, you can also try a serum that contains some of those pore-clearing ingredients mentioned earlier (i.e. BHAs, AHAs, retinol, and niacinamide).
Lastly, a makeup primer can help create a smooth canvas for your foundation to sit on, and lots of primers — specifically those designed for oily skin — have pore-blurring capabilities. You can look for primers with extra oil control or hydration depending on your skin type, but in general, try to stay away from anything too shimmery, as shimmer can highlight enlarged pores. Dusting a light layer of translucent powder over your foundation will give your skin a smooth, blurred finish, too.
Shop The Best Foundations For Large Pores
In a hurry? Here are the best foundations for large pores:
- Best Drugstore Foundation For Large Pores: Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation
- Best Drugstore Foundation For Large Pores & Acne: Almay Clear Complexion Makeup
- Best Moisturizing Foundation For Large Pores: IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare
- Best Serum-Foundation For Large Pores: ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation
- Best Powder Foundation For Large Pores: PUR Cosmetics 4-In-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup
1. Best Drugstore Foundation For Large Pores
This drugstore foundation is a huge hit on Amazon, with more than 75,000 five-star ratings and thousands of rave reviews that highlight everything from its ability to blur pores to its comprehensive shade range. Maybelline’s Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation uses micro-powders to minimize the appearance of large pores while also helping to absorb excess oil for a long-lasting matte finish. Great for oily and combination skin, the foundation is fragrance-free free, oil-free, and noncomedogenic. Plus, it’s a buildable formula that can be layered on for a more full-coverage finish.
Finish: Matte Available Shades: 40 Cruelty-Free: No
Relevant Review: “I normally purchase high end foundation but not anymore! I have oily skin with large pores and this foundation works beautifully and blurs out my pores and last all day. [...] I will definitely be purchasing this from now on.”
2. Best Drugstore Foundation For Large Pores & Acne-Prone Skin
Another drugstore liquid foundation, Almay’s Clear Complexion Makeup contains 1% salicylic acid to help clear pores of debris that can contribute to an enlarged appearance and acne. To help minimize any dryness that can occur from using salicylic acid, the formula also contains probiotics and aloe vera to support the skin barrier and calm irritation. Those with acne-prone skin that’s sensitive will also like that the foundation is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free in addition to being noncomedogenic. Lastly, it has a soft matte finish to prevent your skin from looking dry or cakey.
Finish: Soft Matte Available Shades: 19 Cruelty-Free: Yes
Relevant Review: “This looks so smooth on my skin! And it lasts over 12 hours when I wear to it work. Makes my skin look flawless without looking heavy, but still had great coverage and doesn’t break me out! This may be my wedding foundation.”
3. Best Moisturizing Foundation For Large Pores
If your skin is too dry (or becomes too dry) because of matte-finish formulas or stronger active ingredients like retinol and salicylic acid, there are moisturizing foundations to choose from that can still keep your pores in check. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation + Skincare uses dimethicone and silica to minimize the look of enlarged pores, as well as a gentle exfoliating acid. The rest of the ingredients in this medium-coverage foundation — like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, vitamin E, and panthenol — focus on hydrating and soothing skin.
Finish: Natural Available Shades: 39 Cruelty-Free: Yes
Relevant Review: “I am 60, have combo skin, and large pores. This worked well for minimizing pores and has a natural finish. I also have sensitive skin and it didn’t cause any issues. It felt very light [on] the skin. I wear alone, and also wore it over IT CC cream for more coverage. It’s a keeper.”
4. Best Serum-Foundation For Large Pores
Another skin care-focused foundation, ILIA’s True Skin Serum Foundation contains niacinamide to help reduce the look of large pores and give you smoother skin. To keep skin looking and feeling its best, the serum-foundation also includes plenty of moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, jojoba seed oil, squalene, and vitamin E. The weightless formula is suitable for all skin types, from acne-prone to dry. And it’s even safe for those with sensitive skin, as the foundation is noncomedogenic, fragrance-free, and infused with skin-soothing ingredients like aloe vera, allantoin, and bisabolol.
Finish: Natural Available Shades: 29 Cruelty-Free: Yes
Relevant Review: “The prettiest, most natural, smoothing foundation that I’ve ever used. This looks so much like skin with a bit of a glow, not dewy really. Much better than any other clean foundation that I’ve found. Gorgeous, clean and cruelty free too.”
5. Best Powder Foundation For Large Pores
If you prefer a powder foundation, the PUR Cosmetics 4-In-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup is infused with good-for-skin ingredients to not only reduce the look of enlarged pores, but to help with promoting plumper, more even-looking skin, too. The brand’s proprietary blend of encapsulated retinol, lactic acid, shea butter, and ceramides is what helps to keep your pores clear and your skin moisturized. The pressed powder can be layered on for medium coverage, and it even gives you additional sun protection with mineral SPF 15 (something that’s especially helpful during those mid-day touch-ups).
Finish: Natural Available Shades: 22 Cruelty-Free: Yes
Relevant Review: “This is my favourite brand of compact powder. It gives good coverage without sitting in my pores (I have large pores on nose and cheeks) and without looking heavy. It doesn't dry the skin so the effect is a completion still quite well hydrated.”
About The Author
Marissa DeSantis has worked as a beauty writer and editor for nearly 10 years. Her pieces can be found across print and digital publications like Bustle, Evening Standard, Teen Vogue, and InStyle.