Has anyone else noticed that there is no end to the list of things one can hate about their skin? If I’m not an oily mess, I’m dry and flaky or I have dark puffy circles under my eyes. And for me, acne was a fairly recent trauma. It was only fixed in the last five years through vigorous exfoliation and a whole lotta birth control. Of course, anyone who suffered through high school with anything less than the skin of a porcelain cherub knows that acne scars don’t have to be physical. Every time I get a pimple, I’m 98% sure all my efforts were for naught and I’ve ripped a hole in the space-time continuum by reverting back to my teenage years.
But now that my skin is clear and I’ve found my cleansing and moisturizing routines, a new enemy has been born: pores. THEY’RE SO BIG. They’re just gaping holes and it’s unclear whether one even needs eyes to see them. I recently looked at them in one of those frightening magnifying mirrors and fainted.
Luckily, there are a few products out there that can really help. While no one but the patron saint of dermatology, wherever she is, can shrink your pores, these products do a heck of a job reducing their appearance; and that’s all a girl is asking for.
Nars: Instant Line & Pore Perfector
The perfect product for fine lines and giant pores, Nars’s Instant Line & Pore Perfector is a precision stick primer. I used it under my daytime BB cream as well as foundation on my fancier nights and it helped make the pores around my nose seem smoother and smaller. I loved that this formula was dry and left a matte finish – it didn’t whack my moisture routine out of balance.
Available: NARS Instant Line & Pore Perfector
Peter Thomas Roth: Pore Putty
Ughhh I love this stuff so much it hurts. It has so many functions, and versatility is always a plus. I used it in the three different ways listed on the package: alone, as a primer under makeup, and lastly over makeup. The Peter Thomas Roth Pore Putty is tinted and has a matte finish and left my face one color instead of the 17 different shades it usually is. On top of that, it filled in my pores and got rid of that shiny t-zone that so loves to make an appearance whenever it can. I applied the putty twice daily and, while you’ll have to ask me in 20 years if I see any long-term effects, the short-term were good enough to have me hooked.
Available: PTR Pore Putty
Benefit: The POREfessional Pro Balm
The Pro Balm Primer has a very pleasant smell and makes your skin feel really soft after application. It’s oil-free, which is really important to someone who suffers from acne-relapse fears. It functions much in the same way the Pore Putty does, without any prescribed routine for usage. I wore it alone, underneath my makeup, and on top of my makeup and found that, in all cases, my face felt “silky,” which is their word, not mine, but true nonetheless. It worked best for me as a primer and acted as a really great barrier between my makeup and the giant pores that lie in wake beneath.
Available: Benefit POREfressional Pro Balm
Benefit: The POREfessional Agent Zero Shine
The Agent Zero Shine is a setting powder that works best when used in conjunction with the Pro Balm Primer. I used it on top of my BB cream and it helped with a few problems that I normally have. First, my face did not shine like the top of the Chrysler building. The powder helped stave off the excess oil build up that makes my face look like Danny Zuko’s hair feels. Second, it helped conceal my pores. I used it most vigorously over my t-zone and on my cheeks, next to my nose. I was a little china-faced doll without the Victorian garb and creepy far off stare.
Available: Benefit Agent Zero Shine
Beauty RX by Dr. Schultz: Dermstick for Pores and Peel Bar at the Butterfly Studio Salon in NYC
So while all this pore-concealing is going on during the day, I was using Beauty RX’s Dermstick for Pores at night. It’s a clear gel that’s applied to your problem areas – wherever your pores are largest. Dr. Neal Schultz is a New York City dermatologist who has formulated a number of treatments for common dermatological/beauty woes. He does not claim that he can shrink your pores. In fact, he’s up front about the fact that his product is meant to minimize the look of pores, with the former claim being impossible. But it works differently than a daily topical solution like primers and powders. For the two weeks that I tested the product, Dr. Schultz’s Dermstick made the pores on my nose, those most prone to blackheads, look smaller and less frightening. Thank you Dr. Schultz!
Available: Beauty RX Dermstick for Pores
Beauty Rx Peel Bar
A week after I began my Dermstick treatment, I went to the Beauty RX Peel Bar at the Butterfly Studio Salon in the Flatiron District. I was told the process would be quick and I’d leave photo-ready – no redness, irritation, or uncomfortable glances from strangers on the subway. This was also my first peel. I had no idea what to expect. I thought my face was going to come off like I was Jeff Goldblum in The Fly. Thankfully, I was mistaken. The peel technician gently wiped away my makeup and told me I had lovely skin but maybe one too many tans, which I thought was hilarious because a) I still consider myself a victim of acne (old habits, man) and b) I grew up in eastern Queens where I was the only person who didn’t tan. She then painted on the glycolic peel and left it there for a few minutes, telling me that there would be tingling, maybe a little stinging, but it should not and would not hurt. I definitely felt the tingle. She came back to wash it off and, when it was all gone, she held up a mirror and had me touch my new skin. It was really soft. Let me check my arsenal of pop culture references. It was like Barry White’s voice, smooth. She then put both a shea-butter based moisturizer and a sunscreen on my face and I was off, just as promised, without redness or irritation and in just a few minutes. My skin, my pores—everything— just looked damn good.
Peel Available at Butterfly Studio in the Flatiton District, 149 5th Ave at 21st Street
and Saks 5th Ave, 5th Ave at 49th Street, Rockefeller Center
Related: A Visit to Beauty Rx Peel Bar http://www.beautynewsnyc.com/skin-care/quickie-dr-schultz-will-make-skin-peel-ing/
So what have we learned? Pores are gonna do what pores are gonna do – get big and look weird. But that doesn’t mean you can’t tuck them away like the freshman 15 under a pair of Spanx. Don’t settle for anything less than POREfection.