Pores – can you really minimise them with skincare?

Pores has been a skin concern for me for a long time. I had teenage acne which enlarged the pores around my nose. I’ve been more concerned about them of late probably because they look a bit saggy (this occurs with age unfortunately) and are a bit more obvious.

Rather that opting to minimise/blur them using makeup which is what I do anyway, I wanted to see if I could use skin care to minimise them. I’ve tried a few skincare products claiming to be “pore reducing”, “pore minimising”, “pore diminishing” etc. I’m sure those of you out there experiencing the same problem has heard all the claims as well so I won’t get into that. I used these products for at least a month to give them a fair chance.

Disclaimer – I know that pores cannot be erased once they sprout, I don’t live in a fantasy world. I know its a lifetime thing which you just need to accept. But it doesn’t stop me from seeking products to minimise them nonetheless.

Feel free to jump directly to a specific product using the links below:

Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum

The claims (from clinique.com.au):

Lightweight, oil-free serum clears out pore-clogging debris and oil. In 2 weeks, you’re looking at 58% smaller pores. You’ll see a tighter, smoother look-guaranteed.

Some of the reviewers on the clinique site said that they saw improvement within a week which is what sparked my curiosity. I bought this when I was very new to skin care and taking note of ingredients was not something I initially did.

Even on the first application, I knew I didn’t like it. It felt globby and thick and didn’t seem to absorb into my skin. It made the area look slightly oily and since I already have combo skin (oily t-zone), it was not a nice thing to see. I applied it in the evenings and each morning after I noticed the area being a bit inflamed and my pores were still as large as ever. My skin does get a bit sensitive but very rarely.  It might be the Alcohol Denat which has a skin irritant level of 5 (from cosdna.com). The globbiness is from the Dimethicone and since its the first ingredient there must be lots of it. There’s actually two types of it in this product. I’m used to seeing pore minimising primers contain Dimethicone but when in a serum it doesn’t feel right. Also the “pore filling” primers, for the most part, actually does an ok job to minimise pores.

My verdict: 

Rating 1/5 (Hated it!) 

This serum, did nada/nothing to improve the look of my pores. It just made my skin a bit inflamed.

Ever since this last experience, I have not purchased anything else from Clinique. The sales ladies are not skin experts but they wear lab coats as if they are. The lady who helped me at Myer pretty much just took my money since I already knew what I wanted, but also gave me zero advice. The cost of this product was $60 AUD, not worth it. 

Skinmiso Pore Corset Serum

The claims (from wishtrend.com)

+ 20 minutes of thorough pore tightening therapy.
+ Optimal hydration balance to regulate sebum.
+ Perfect for people who have 
   enlarged pores or oily looking skin.

Just like the Clinique serum, this product also had rave reviews. I bought this from a reputable seller on Ebay for $32.55 AUD. I had high hopes.

The texture of this serum is watery but has a bit of viscosity. I applied a couple of drops to the base of my thumb first then used my finger to pat it into my pore areas. It absorbed fine into my skin and at times I would feel a tingly sensation. I guess this is the time when the pores get “tightened”. My skin sure felt a bit tight but I didn’t see any difference in the size of my pores. The sensation dissipates after a few minutes and my skin is left feeling kind of tight.

My verdict

Rating 2/5 (Disliked it) 

After using this for over a month, there were no visible signs of my pores being minimised. Since it does not irritate my skin, I will continue to use it a couple of times a week and will update if I see any differences. However, I am not holding my breath.

Caolion Pore Original Pack

The claims (from sephora.com.au):

The original formula contains glacial clay to draw out impurities and to tighten enlarged pores. It’s enriched with 100 percent Alaskan glacial water to maintain skin moisture, while menthol provides a cooling effect to soothe and calm troubled skin. The appearance of reduced pores makes skin look smoother and revitalized.

I read that clay masks can help clean out the pores which in turn will help reduce its size.

Since I was just starting to establish a skin care routine I thought I may was well give this a go since I had never used clay masks before. This was the first k-beauty product I have purchased so I remember it fondly.  I got it from Sephora for $31 AUD.

The mask is thick and can be applied with either fingers or a beauty spatula. I started off using my fingers and it spread nicely considering its texture. There was an immediate cooling sensation which felt quite nice. Would be awesome especially in Summer.

I focused the application on the pore affected areas (around my nose) and spread it outwards to my cheeks and the rest of my face. I usually leave it on for 15 minutes, until its completely dry, then I rinse it off with warm water. My skin is left feeling clean and refreshed. I use the mask for at least once a week.

My verdict

Rating 3/5 (Liked it) 

I have almost used up the whole container (50g). A little goes a long way with this mask. I felt that even though my pores looked a bit smaller immediately after rinsing my face, this did not last. By the time I had finished my skin care routine, they looked their normal saggy size again. I have kept using it because I like how clean my face feels afterwards and it does feel like it is deep cleaning out crap from my skin. Once I’ve used it up, I will be looking to try other clay masks. The Neogen Canadian Clay Mask is hyped up so might try that next.

Final word

None of these products minimised my pores, only the clay mask did temporarily. There is no quick fix to pore minimising if any exists at all. I realise that many companies claim to do it (to rope you in) but after testing these products, I am a believer of just adopting a good skin care routine. I’ve only just started to incorporate aha/bha exfoliants into my k-beauty routine so might see how this has any affect on my pores. Will update if it does.

Has any of these products worked for you? Let me know in the comments 🙂


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