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Best pore minimiser 2023: Achieve an airbrushed look, whatever your budget

Blur and smooth the look of skin with the best pore minimiser products

Spoiler alert: you can’t actually erase pores. They are part and parcel of being human and having skin. However, you can minimise their appearance with the best pore minimisers, which come in several forms including serums, creams and primers. Though the size of your pores is usually down to to genetics, they can end up looking larger if the collagen around them weakens via sun exposure, ageing, forgoing moisturiser, or if your pores become clogged with dirt and oil, which can also lead to pore-size-increasing blackheads and acne.

Luckily, there are plenty of different types of products that are designed to leave your complexion baby smooth, including scrubs and toners, which slough away dead skin cells and dirt, or face creams that help tighten skin and modulate oil production. Then of course, you have smoothing primers, which will help to mattify the skin and mask the appearance of pores.

To help you on your way, we’ve rounded up our favourite pore minimisers, including our favourite budget pore minimiser that won’t break the bank. We’ve also put together a short buying guide to help you choose the best pore product for your skin.

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Best pore minimiser: At a glance

How to choose the best pore minimiser for you

Choosing the right method for minimising your pores can be a tricky task, as there is a plethora of products up to the job. The best one for you depends on your current routine, budget, amount of time you have to spare and overall preference.

If you’re strapped for time and looking for instant results, a primer is a great way to achieve silky-smooth skin in seconds. A specialised gadget is a great option if your pores are especially large or clogged and a daily moisturiser is an easy skincare swap to reap the benefits of continual use.

What are pores?

Put simply, pores are little openings of the outer layer of your skin where natural oils from the body come out to help moisturise the skin. Everyone has pores, but on some people they are more noticeable than others.

What types of pore minimisers are available?

You can slot in a pore minimising product pretty much anywhere in your routine, as there are plenty of lotions, potions and gizmos all dedicated to this precise cause. These include:

Cleansers, toners and exfoliators: These usually contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and/or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to remove dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria on the face and leave skin bright and glowy.

Serums and moisturisers: From mattifying to tightening, serums and moisturisers are a great way to control excess oil which can enlarge the appearance of pores.

Primers: Packed with blurring and mattifying agents, a primer can minimise the appearance of large pores in seconds. Primers are designed to wear under makeup but can also be worn without.

Face masks: Clay masks are great for drawing out the dirt and grime from your face, as well as reestablishing a healthy oil balance and minimising the look of pores.

Gadgets: From pore scrapers and pore vacuums to steamers, you can play dermatologist with at-home extraction tools to help to remove dirt and dead skin cells from pores.

How we test pore minimisers

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on delivers the most complete information about a product. For pore minimisers, we test every product we review, applying the different formulas and, trying out the different types of pore minimisers and determining the level of success each product offers. Where pore minimisers are recommended for a particular skin type type or usage, we tested the pore minimiser on that type to be sure we are making an accurate recommendation.

When testing, we closely followed the instructions of each product and evaluated the overall ease of use, ingredient quality and the results after using. We also note how well gadgets can work. Finally, we confirm the quantity of the product.

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The best pore minimisers to buy in 2023

1. Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Pore-Refining Treatment 2% BHA: The best pore minimiser overall

Price: £33 | Buy now from Feel Unique

Get to the root of the problem with Paula’s Choice’s dedicated pore-refining treatment; a product that uses a blend of 2% BHA (salicylic acid) to unclog pores and refine skin texture. It also contains skin-healing antioxidants to ensure your skin barrier isn’t compromised. It’s a great option for fine lines and wrinkles, as the formula is brimming with peptides and antioxidants which is mature skin’s BFF.

Simply apply the treatment after cleansing and toning with a cotton pad, then finish with a simple moisturiser. Customers loved how it helped their skin feel clear and glowy, while evening out skin texture. It’s a little more pricey than some other pore minimisers out there, but it really does work.

Key details – Star ingredient: Salicylic acid; Cruelty-free: Yes; Fragrance-free: Yes

Buy now from Feel Unique

2. Maybelline Baby Skin Primer: The best pore minimiser on a budget

Price: £8 | Buy now from Look Fantastic

If you grew up in the early noughties, you will remember the chokehold Maybelline Baby Skin primer had us in due to it delivering, quite-literally, skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom. It has stood the test of time for creating a smooth base for applying foundation, while keeping the skin looking poreless and matte.

The effects are instantly noticeable, making this the ultimate pore minimiser for anyone (a) in a rush, (b) on a budget, and (c) a combination of the above. We love how well it makes your makeup look but you can wear it on its own for a more natural finish. As with any primer, make sure to cleanse properly after wear or risk making your pores worse.

Key details – Star ingredients: Blurring technology with a mixture of emulsifiers and emollients; Cruelty-free: Yes, vegan; Fragrance-free: Yes

Buy now from Look Fantastic

3. Carbon Theory Purifying Tonic: The best pore minimising toner

Price: £14 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

The cult-favourite Purifying Tonic by Carbon Theory comprises tea tree oil and pink grapefruit extract, which expertly tightens pores, removes shine and leaves skin clear, fresh and bright. Although some felt the smell was a little like antiseptic, it’s definitely worth it and a holy grail for acne-prone skin.

You only need to use this toner two to three times a week after cleansing and we recommend paring back any other actives in your routine to ensure a healthy skin barrier. Remember to add a good moisturiser afterwards too.

Key details – Star ingredients: Tea tree oil and pink grapefruit extract; Cruelty-free: Yes; Fragrance-free: No

Buy now from Cult Beauty

4. La Roche-Posay Effaclar MAT+: The best pore minimising moisturiser

Price: £19 | Buy now from Look Fantastic

La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar range is seriously good for minimising pores and combating shine. The cooling, oil-free moisturiser contains Lipo Hydroxy Acid (LHA — a more gentle exfoliant than salicylic acid), zinc pidolate to neutralise skin and antioxidants for a calm complexion.

You can apply this pore minimising product up to twice a day in place of your regular moisturiser for maximum impact. Although it’s designed for mattifying excess oil, it’s still suitable to use on sensitive or eczema-prone skin.

Key details – Star ingredient: LHA; Cruelty-free: Yes; Fragrance-free: No (minimal)

Buy now from Look Fantastic

5. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Glycolic Acid Serum: The best pore minimising serum

Price: £21 | Buy now from Boots

Say bye-bye to large pores with IT Cosmetic’s dedicated pore-blitzing serum, which features 10% glycolic acid, leaving you with ultra-smooth skin. It also contains hydrating hyaluronic acid, making it a sure winner for dry and sensitive skin.

It’s gentle enough to use daily: simply apply four to five drops to skin after cleansing and then follow with a moisturiser and sun protection in the AM. Reviewers said they were complimented on their skin all the time after use, but added it needs to be used continuously to see the best results.

Key details – Star ingredient: Glycolic acid; Cruelty-free: Vegan formula; Fragrance-free: Yes

Buy now from Boots

6. Benefit Porefessional Face Primer: The best pore minimising primer

Price: £30 | Buy now from Look Fantastic

If baby smooth skin is your love language and you’re short on time, you will love the five-star rated Porefessional primer. It’s lightweight, silky and leaves your skin with an airbrush finish. We’re big fans of the Vitamin E-rich formula that keeps skin healthy and hydrated.

Its superior oil control means you can wear makeup confidently throughout the day and without it melting off before your 10am meeting. Customers have also pointed out that it’s so effective and versatile, it also doubles up as an eyelid primer. Win-win,

Key details – Star ingredient: Vitamin E; Cruelty-free: Yes; Fragrance-free: No (minimal)

Buy now from Look Fantastic

7. Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask: The best pore minimising face mask

Price: £21 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

A clay mask is a must when it comes to minimising the look of large pores and Fresh’s Umbrian Purifying Mask is the crème de la crème. The mineral-rich mask contains Umbrian clay, which helps to balance, purify and clarify, as well as a whole host of natural, hydrating ingredients, including sandalwood, chamomile flower and lavender water, to help soothe irritated skin. The results? A clean and balanced complexion that looks close to poreless.

For best results, apply to clean, damp skin and leave on for five minutes – the trick is not to let the mask dry fully on your face – before rinsing off with warm water and a flannel. You can also use it as a face wash by massaging the product into the skin for 30 seconds before washing off, or even use it as a spot treatment.

Key details – Star ingredient: Umbrian clay; Cruelty-free: No; Fragrance-free: No (minimal)

Buy now from Cult Beauty

8. Magnitone London Scrub Up Ultrasonic Pore Scrubber: The best pore minimising gadget

Price: £50 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re looking for a really good exfoliator to help unclog pores, Magnitone’s Ultrasonic Pore Scrubber is here to save the day. The highly-rated device uses ultrasonic vibration to lift away dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria.

It has three modes – cleanse, moisturise and lift – and customers love the added bonus of it helping to temporarily tighten skin. It’s the ideal accompaniment to a steamer, so you can really clear out blocked pores quickly. While the high price tag means it’s more of an investment than a quick-fix pore primer, it will truly become the MVP of your self-care days.

Key details – Power: USB rechargeable; Modes: 3 (cleanse, moisturise and lift)

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