Blondeshell Beauty Tips

5 Best Pore Minimizing Primers

I swear one day I woke up and my pores were all like, “HEY GIRL! HOW YOU DOIN’?!” Out of absolutely nowhere, I had pores that wanted all the attention. I guess that’s just one more great thing about getting older. (This post is already dripping with sarcasm.) The worst thing was how my foundation suddenly looked awful. All kinds of foundations seemed to give me less coverage, looked heavy and would slide around. So I started searching for a miracle product to permanently shrink my pores, but I came up empty handed. (There are some things you can do minimize your pores temporarily, but that’s another post for another day.) Since there’s no permanent fix, your best bet for an airbrushed look is to use a foundation primer specifically designed to hide your pores.

You all know I’m a product junkie. So of course I’ve tried several pore minimizing primers, and as always, I have to share what I’ve learned with you. So, keep reading for this week’s Blondeshell Beauty Tip highlighting the top 5 best primers for large pores.

tarte Clean Slate Poreless 12 Hour Perfecting Primer


This primer was the #1 pick in my March 2014 Monthly Must-Haves and I still love it. The reason I’m so fond of it is because I have sensitive skin that is prone to break-outs (especially since I switch up my primers and foundations so often) and this primer doesn’t ever seem to break me out. I also love that it conceals my laugh lines and pores better than most others that promise the same thing at a higher price point.

This primer not only keeps foundation in place for 12 hours, it also prevents foundation from creasing in fine lines and sinking into pores. It’s a waterproof formula, so it works great during these miserably hot and humid Georgia summer days.

I can’t say enough great things about this primer. No product is perfect, but this one gets pretty damn close. For the best results, I recommend applying your primer with clean hands using a “packing motion”. Instead of rubbing it in like lotion, gently pat/press it into your skin. Do this as if you were trying to gently push the primer into your skin to fill your pores. Oh, and a little goes a long way. Using too much can cause your foundation to pill. (tarte Clean Slate Poreless 12 Hour Perfecting Primer, $30)

Note: Tarte is also one of my favorite product lines because of their skinvigorating™ ingredients. These ingredients are derived from fruits and plants to nourish skin with their anti-aging and restorative properties. It’s also important to note that these products are formulated without parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfates, and gluten.

Dr. Brandt Pores No More® Pore Refiner

best_primer_large_pores2This primer has had a near cult-like following for more than half a decade, and now that it’s available at most major cosmetic stores, it’s quickly become a best-seller. Specifically formulated for people with oily/combination skin, Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More® Pore Refiner effectively mattifies shine and minimizes the appearance of pores for a flawless foundation application. While it is more expensive than most other primers, the old adage “you get what you pay for” definitely applies here.

This primer is unique because it has cosmetic properties as well as treatment properties. Large pores are a typically found on people with oily skin. This product is great for oily/combination skin types because the key ingredients (microspheres, flaxseed, and tea tree oil) work together to absorb oil, reduce shine, and regulate skin’s oil production.

It can also be used without foundation because of its light diffusing ingredients that work to minimize the appearance of pores. Another interesting thing about this primer is that you can use it throughout the day, on top of your foundation, for a quick touch-up. For those of you in humid climates, you should also know that it is resistant to sweat and humidity, so you don’t have to worry about your face melting off as soon as you step outside. (Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More® Pore Refiner, $45)

Too Faced Primed and Poreless Face Primer

best_pore_minimizing_primerToo Faced Cosmetics makes my all-time favorite eye shadow primer, Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer, so I had to give their face primer a try, and I was impressed. The first thing I noticed about their Primed and Poreless Face Primer is how hydrated my skin felt, without feeling greasy. However, this put me on high alert for a break out. I did break out, but it was right before that time of the month, so… I need to give this another go before I reach a verdict. Note: I did see that Too Faced has come out with another version of this primer that is oil-free for sensitive skin (Too Faced Primed and Poreless Pure, $30) that may work better with my skin type.

As always, I have to give a special shout out to the ingredients in this primer. According to Too Faced’s website, “Vitamins A & C, Mulberry Extract and a powerful dose of Retinol virtually banish pores while tired skin is left hydrated, firmer, and detoxified.”

This primer has a nude color, and can be used alone to minimize pores and brighten your complexion. If you wear mineral or powder foundation, this primer may be the best for you. It was specifically formulated for use with powder foundations and bronzers to create an “airbrushed finish”. I’ve found that as I age, my favorite mineral foundation doesn’t wear as well as it once did. It’s started to crease into my laugh lines and this drives me crazy. I’ve been really pleased with how well Too Faced Primed and Poreless Face Primer works with my bareMinerals foundation. It might just be the best primer for mineral foundation. I will say that it also seems to work well with liquid and mousse foundations as well. (Too Faced Primed and Poreless Face Primer, $30)

Benefit’s The POREfessional


I had to include this primer because I have a handful of friends that absolutely SWEAR by it. I, however, don’t love it, so there isn’t too much I can say.

What I can say is that it is easy to apply, oil-free, and contains a Vitamin E derivative that helps to protect skin from free radicals. You can also use this over your makeup throughout the day. If you notice your pores making a guest appearance, just apply a dab on your problem area and gently blend. Don’t forget that most of the primers mentioned in this post can be used over makeup. So carry your favorite primer with you, and if you find your pores are peeking through mid-day, you’ve got a quick-fix within reach.

Personally, I don’t love this primer because it didn’t do much for my fine lines/wrinkles (and that’s my biggest issue). I will say that it did help my foundation stay put for several hours, but I can’t say it performed as well (for me) as some of the other primers previously mentioned in this post.

One of my friends swears this primer is one of the best, and in her words, “Dude… No joke… My jaw, like, dropped when I used it for the first time. My pores were almost totally unnoticeable.” She continued to tell me how her foundation didn’t look/feel caked on at all, which had been a huge concern of hers.

Another friend that swears by this primer has commented on me how impressed she is with this primer’s ability to conceal her acne scars really well. (Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional, $31)

The Best Budget-Friendly Pore Minimizing Primer…

Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer

For those that may be searching for a more budget-friendly primer, I would recommend Revlon’s PhotoReady Perfecting Primer. The packaging is lacking a bit (when the product gets low, it is more difficult to pump), but it performs really well for the price.

When it comes to things like primers and foundations, I tend to stick to prestige brands, and in my opinion, there is a noticeable difference in quality between the Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer and something like Tarte’s Clean Slate Poreless Primer. It is, however, $20 less and if budget is your main concern, you may want to give this a try first.

What I can say about this primer from my personal experience is that it doesn’t feel heavy and it seemed to keep my oily skin at bay for some time. It’s also important to note that this primer will definitely give you a matte finish, so if you like more of a luminous glow (I definitely do), then you may want to use another primer.

Oh, and just so you know, Revlon’s PhotoReady Perfecting Primer is oil-free, paraben free, talc free, and fragrance free. (Revlon’s PhotoReady Perfecting Primer, $10.99)

So now that you’ve read about my picks for the 5 best primers for large pores, tell me… Have you tried any of these? If so, what did you think? Are there primers you think I should have included? And what’s your main concern when looking for a primer? Tell me in the comment section below!


  • Carrie Dagenhard Rutledge

    I love the Tarte primer! It stays put all day – even in the unrelenting Texas heat. I’m also a fan of Smashbox Photo Finish but, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work as well in the dead of summer. Great post!

    • Thanks, Carrie! Being in the Georgia humidity (as you know) brings so many challenges when it comes to makeup. Luckily, the Tarte primer has held up pretty well. I love Smashbox’s Photo Finish Color Correcting Primer (Adjust) because it really gets rid of my redness. You’re right though… Not so helpful in the dead of the summer. Thanks again for the comment. 🙂

  • Elle Boyer

    I bought Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector after many positive reviews. I find that it makes my skin look pasty and doesn’t last for very long. It works better over my tinted CC cream instead of under.

    • Thanks for the info, Elle! That’s really good to know, and I appreciate you sharing that. Have you since found a pore minimizing primer that you like? Thanks again for sharing!

      • Elle Boyer

        Hi, love your Blog. I am going to try the Tarte Primer when I’m finished with the Clinique.

  • Cassandra

    I got the Dr. Brandt primer in my ipsy bag and it is the best primer I have used! I have very big pores and it makes them nearly invisible! If i add my foundation it gives me that airbrushed look. It keeps my face moisturized without being overly oily or dry. My favorite that I have tried by far and I even like it more than the Smashbox primer.