Do you ever catch yourself staring at your face in the mirror… and then fall inside those large pores?????

If this is you, I feel your pain!

I am constantly searching how to minimize, shrink, get rid of and delete my pores … Large pores on my nose, forehead and cheeks are an everyday struggle and stressor.

I have combination oily skin so large pores is something I will probably always deal with. I’m forever researching ways to shrink my pores and delete them out of existence. The reality is, we have to live with our forever residents. YET!, there are A LOT of temporary fixes and daily routines you can practice for smaller pores and the work is worth it!

Deleting pores is a skill I have yet to master but I have definitely found a routine that works and that I am very happy with. Here are 5-7 steps/tips you need to say “bye-bye pores” and “hello plump, yummy face!”
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1. Cleanse, Cleanse Cleanse!

(and sometimes exfoliate)

Day and Night. Never forget to remove makeup and cleanse your face. Since we have oily skin/large pores, not cleaning your face on a regular basis calls for dirt buildup and breakouts. Buildup will make your pores look even bigger! yikes! There have been numerous times when I fall asleep without washing my face…the following morning is painfully dreadful and filled with at least a pimple or two. Now, no matter how tired I am, I at least use a wipe on my face (Or make my bestie to do it for me when I’m crashing out at her place and I’m too lazy – but it must be done!) Below are cleansing/exfoliants favorites of mine. I only exfoliate about once a week, I’ll do 2-3 if I feel like it’s necessary but remember, don’t over exfoliate or it can be damaging.

  • Tatcha The Deep Cleanse $38 (lifts dirt, unclogs pores) This cleanser feels and smells so good. It does have some exfoliant type texture but not much. I’ve been using it day and night and don’t feel stripped from the exfoliants. After using this cleanser you will probably notice smaller pores instantly. I was so surprised that it was instant. But I also fell in love. I highly recommend this cleanser and if your skin type is different from mine, I suggest you check out their site because they have product for all skin types.
  • Mario Badescu Keratoplast Cream Soap $12 (unclogs pores) This is what I used as a daily cleanser before I upgraded. It’s meant for combination, dry and sensitive skin. I love that its not foamy, feels good and really pulls out the dirt. For the price, this is a great cleanser and budget friendly. Ulta carries most if not all Mario Badescu products.
  • NYX Stripped Off Whipped Charcoal Cleanser $12 This is another affordable cleanser that you feel then dirt pulling out of your skin. The only downside for me was that daily use was too harsh on my skin so I only used it once a week.
  • Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator $59 (pores, dullness, uneven texture) All I’ll say about this is that if you can fit it in your budget, HIGHLY recommended. If not, no worries! There are plenty of great exfoliators out there. Travel sizes are always available on Sephora online. If you want to try for $15.
  • Clinique Pep-Start 2-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser $19.50 Depending on your skin type, you can use this as a daily cleanser or just as an exfoliator to minimize your pores. I really like the Clinique Pep-Start line and also love their prices.
  • KYLIESKIN Walnut Scrub $22 If you’ve seen my previous post, I put a halt in my normal skincare routine and have been using strictly KYLIESKIN just for honest review purposes. I think this scrub is a good addition in your skincare cabinet. It’s natural and fragrance free. There are no claims to minimized pores but there are anti-inflammatory ingredients to target those areas where you may have enlarged pores.

2. Toner.

Toners help remove excess dirt or any other makeup that your wipes and cleanser may have missed. Even if it might not feel like it’s doing anything, it’s crucial to clean and shrink the appearance of your pores! Steer away from toners containing alcohol especially if you have sensitive skin.

  • Witch Hazel (any drug store)
  • Laneige Fresh Calming Toner $27
  • Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion $18
  • Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner $45
  • Sephora Clean Skin Gel – Cleanse + Tone $10

3. Essence.

I love having an essence in my routine. Essences give you all that extra goodness of what you need for your skin, hydration, brightening, vitamins…etc. In our case, we want a product that’s specific to pores / skin texture. I only have one recommendation because it has done wonders for me.

I’ve been using it for over a year now and it is a staple in my routine.

HolikaHolika Black Sea Cucumber Essence $25-$35 (depending where you find it online. I purchased 4 bottles from Korea on a 2+2 special so I got 4 bottles for $40 (A SUPER STEAL!!!). Not only is my skin supple and soft, my shrunken pores are pretty much ready for makeup with a super smooth finish.

4. Pore-Minimizing Moisturizers.

Before I got more interested in skincare; I just used anything that was specific for acne with salicylic acid being the main and most active ingredient. It was my main concern since high school and my drying and dying skin didn’t matter as long as I didn’t have any pimples/zits. After finally being able to revive my skin, and figure out the things I need to deal with, I now use moisturizers specific for sensitive skin and pore minimizing or non-clogging. I won’t go into detail about the below creams because they are all specific to pores.

  • Tatcha Water Cream $68 (Best Choice)
  • Saturday Skin Glacier Water Cream $39 (Great Choice)
  • Mario Badescu Control Moisturizer for Oily Skin $18 (Good Affordable Choice)

5. Sunscreen ALWAYS.

I used to never wear sunscreen. I didn’t like the greasiness on my face and even though I bought [drugstore] products that said ‘for face’, ‘oil free’, they still clogged my pores. I knew I needed sun protection but I hated the feeling of it. So I hardly ever wore it. About 4 years ago I started to notice spots on my face and knew I needed to take better care. I started with Shisheido and went back and forth with the Dr. Jart+ just because I like to switch up after I use up the whole bottle. Right now [since I’m doing the KYLIESKIN 30 days] I’m using the SunBum.

  • Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day Sun Fluid $30-$40: This is not specific for minimizing pores but it is meant for oily skin and goes on lightweight. It dries clear but still feels a hint of white. Which I don’t mind if I’m wearing makeup over it. I have yet to see it at Sephora in over a year but there are random online shops that carry this specific sunscreen. Not sure why Sephora doesn’t carry it anymore.
  • Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 PA+++ $65 If you haven’t noticed already, Tatcha is always my number choice when my wallet provides that option. Ha! But this is the best for appearance of no pores while getting that protection from the sun.
  • Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum Face Sunscreen SPF 42 $35 Specific to prevent clogged pores and more affordable than Tatcha.
  • SunBum Original SPF 50 Clear Zinc $9.99: This one also doesn’t have any pore minimizing claims but it dries clear and feels lightweight. I haven’t had any problems with it clogging my pores or causing breakouts that A LOT of drug store brands do. If you are on a budget, I highly recommend this one.

*When it’s a no-makeup day, I like to finish with a setting powder or mattifying setting spray for a clean matte look.

**So those were your 5 steps & tips for minimizing and shrinking your pores! Keep reading for tips and recommendations for continuing to minimize the appearance of pores with makeup!

6. Don’t use expired/old makeup.

Do you check your makeup expiration? The bottom of all your product should have this symbol ^ with the suggested amount of months of use. If it doesn’t have this picture, there should be and actual date or month/year labeled. I don’t throw away exactly that’s recommended but if you feel or notice something off about your makeup, toss it! It DOES expire and makes a difference on your face.

Here are some of my favorite makeup products that work great at minimizing the appearance of pores.

  • Tatcha Silk Canvas Protective Primer $22 – $52 prevents clogged pores and breakouts
  • Tarte Foundcealer $39
  • Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (Oil Free) $46
  • Jeffree Star Concealer
  • Tarte Shape Tape Concealer $10 – $27
  • Laura Mercier Setting Powder Translucent $23 – $39
  • Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray $15 – $32
  • CoverFX 24 Hour Setting Spray $15 – $31
  • CoverFX Mattifying Setting Spray $15 – $31

7. Clean your brushes!

I know it’s a drag to regularly clean ALL the brushes & blenders we use. But keeping clean brushes keep dirt out of your pores. Otherwise, you’re just undoing/wasting the minimizing skincare process your just did on your beautiful face. I clean my beauty blender everyday now. [I had a traumatic incident with (what I assume was) a moldy blender]. So gross and depressing time for my skin. Anything I use for foundation I clean every day too. Everything else I think once a week or every other week is okay.

  • BeautyCleansers by BeautyBlender $13 – $45
  • Sephora Collection Cleansers $8 – $18
  • DIY: Found this home product DIY on Instagram and works just as great too!
    • 1 part Olive Oil
    • 1 part Dish Soap
      • mix mix mix!
    • Clean brushes & blenders
    • Rinse with water… Voila!

Let me know which of these steps/tips/products worked or didn’t work for you! Anything you think would be better and minimizing and shrinking the appearance of pores? I’m always looking for better products and new tips. COMMENT BELOW!


  1. Hi, thank you for the useful tips. I also struggle with big pores especially on my nose. I will follow these tips and see what works. I must admit I am guilty of not checking my makeup expiry…but I did not know that it is actually also impacting my pores. Oops.

    Also, I know that cleaning your brushes etc works as well. At first I was very lazy in doing this, but after I started cleaning my brushes I did see a bit of a difference in the appearance of my pores.

    One more thing…I don’t use wipes. I feel that wipes are quite bad because it doesn’t clean your skin effectively. Instead, it actually pushes the dirt etc deeper into your pores, clogging them up more. I used to use wipes, but then I found out that it’s not always a good idea. After I stopped using wipes, I did see and even feel an improvement.

    1. Hello! I hope some of my tips and suggestions work for you!
      I also agree about the wipes. I don’t use them on a daily basis but more during situations where I’m very sleepy and too lazy. I try to get off as much on my face quickly. I agree it doesn’t feel clean rather more clogged. I also do get irritation so I try to only use them in some cases and have them on hand. Usually I will use micellar waters or a cleansing balm (Related Post on the way!)
      Thanks love!

  2. Thank you for such an indepth post on pores. My skin is dry as well as sensitive, so I’ll take your advice of avoiding products with alcohol. I am guilty of hoarding old make up and have the occasional throw away session! I do make a point of claning brushes though, which you mentioned.

    The Keratoplast Cream Soap sounds ideal for my skin type, and witch hazel, which you mentioned I use, but never thought of it as a toner. Sunscreen is very important and glad you’re using it now 🙂

    1. I feel like witch hazel is a hidden gem, and so affordable and available everywhere. It’s combats inflammation/irritation so I love using it to calm my skin.

      Let me know if you try to Keratoplast Soap!

  3. Hi,
    As a man, one would think that pores are not an issue but men have the same skin issues as women. I read your great article in-depth and learned quite a few things that I can use to address the problem of large pores. Your information is detailed, precise and extremely helpful. Thank you!

    1. Hi Ronald,
      I agree with you completely. Everyone has different facial struggles and that’s men included! Even though I didn’t post and specific men-care products, if you have the same concerns I hope some of my tips and suggestions can work for you!

  4. Thanks for the tips. I must admit being guilty of not following a daily cleansing routine. Sometimes I just quickly rinse of my face before going to bed. Part from eyeliner and sometimes a lipgloss, I do not use any makeup. But still, I should clean the city pollution out of the pores!

    1. Hello! Even if you don’t wear makeup, I do suggest a regular routine like you said because of city pollution and just to get the whole day off. You don’t have to buy expensive products but just take consideration into your skin type and have something to use regularly or in the shower.

  5. Open pores can be a pain to deal with I have a few customers who come in for cleanses often because they get so backed up you can’t help but see the blackheads. I’m glad you found a source of help I can’t wait to try the rose water hydrating toner.

    Thanks for sharing
    Shannon Kamal

  6. Thanks for your tips. Although I’m not a women I also have a problem with pores. I run a lot which is associated with intensive sweating. As a result I struggle with big pores especially on my nose. I need to follow these tips and see what works..

  7. As a guy who works in a dirty environment, I suffer from blocked/greasy pores a hell of a lot!

    I can however safely say I won’t fall foul to the makeup issues mentioned here, but I am guilty of not cleansing enough and not using sunscreen anywhere near as much as I should. Thanks for the advice and I’ll be checking the missus’ makeup for outdated products from here on in!

  8. I have the same skin type as you! I haven’t heard of the Nyx cleanser before but I’m definitely going to see if I can get my hands on it soon!

  9. I agree with you. I used to always carry large pores and it was embarrassing and hard to look in the mirror. But someone gave me the save advice. They told me to find daily cleanser and exfoliator, and also clean my brushes. And I’ll tell you that now, I prefer my face without foundation. It looks and it feels clean and healthy.

    1. Yes! As much as I do enjoy makeup, my main focus is skincare so that I don’t have to wear any foundation. Thats the goal in life!! So glad you’re at that point!

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