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Pores: love 'em or hate 'em, we all have 'em. As necessary as they are in keeping our skin healthy, moisturized and "breathing," I still can't help but endlessly stare at them whenever I look into the bathroom mirror. From enlarged pores that interfere with your otherwise Insta-worthy glow to clogged pores and blackheads that never seem to go away, we know how frustrating it can be to rein them in just a little bit. While there's no way to eliminate or permanently "minimize" them completely, there are a lot of products on the market that can help make them less glaring.
As someone who's struggled with the combination of larger pores and somewhat oily skin for most her life, I've done a fair amount of researching and testing over the years in hopes of discovering the most effective products that give my skin a luminous, filter-like texture. I'm here today to share my favorite findings, from TikTok-viral exfoliating powders to wallet-friendly salicylic acid cleansers that can help to decongest clogged pores and minimize the appearance of enlarged pores.
Above all, the focus of these products help to effectively clean, exfoliate and soothe your pores rather than just covering them up (and potentially clogging them further), so you can improve your skin's overall health at the same time. It's a win-win beauty situation, so get ready to add these top-rated picks to your digital shopping cart.
Kiehl's Since 1851 Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Face Mask
This deep-cleansing clay mask is formulated with Fairly Traded Amazonian White Clay (Kaolin Clay) and Bentonite Clay, which help draw out excess oil and impurities from your pores. This can help reduce the appearance of pores refine skin texture for a smooth, refined look.
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Exfoliating Peeling Solution
I swear by this peeling solution, and I use it 1-2 times a week to help exfoliate the outer layers of my skin and the inside of my pores. It includes ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid, which work together to diminish the look of blemishes and smooth out your skin's texture for a more radiant look, according to the brand.
Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Deep Retreat Pore-Clearing Kaolin Clay Mask
I have to admit, I bought this deep-cleansing clay mask on impulse after being influenced by TikTok and the pretty purple color— but it's far exceeded my expectations and is now a staple in my beauty routine. I noticed a positive difference in the appearance of my pores and skin just after one use, and I especially love how it doesn't excessively dry out my skin. Not to mention, it's formulated with skin-loving ingredients like jojoba seed and plum kernel oils, sea fennel extract and mineral-rich Kaolin Clay.
Caudalie Pore Minimizing Instant Detox Mask
This natural clay mask can help improve the look of stressed skin in just 10 minutes by drawing out visible impurities and excess sebum in your pores, according to the brand. I love how gentle yet effective Caudalie products are (the brand emphasizes clean, natural beauty), and this mask is no exception.
COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
COSRX is one of my favorite K-beauty brands; its products contain beneficial, high-quality ingredients, but are affordable at the same time so I don't have to sacrifice an arm and limb just to have flawless skin. This concentrated BHA liquid penetrates deeply into pores, helping to unclog them and gently exfoliate dead skin cells, according to the brand.
Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil
If you haven't yet incorporated double-cleansing (washing your face with an oil-based cleanser and then a water-based cleanser) into your skincare routine, this is your sign to start— especially if you're trying to unclog your pores and/or wear makeup on a daily basis. This Biossance cleansing oil is rich in antioxidants and gently removes long-wear makeup and impurities to leave your skin looking and feeling hydrated.
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque
This salicylic acid facial mask is infused with charcoal and clays to enhance the look of smoothness and clarity while leaving your skin feeling refreshed. The 2% salicyclic acid also helps to gently exfoliate and remove dead cells from the surface of oil and blemish-prone skin for a more radiant glow.
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
Paula's Choice is a popular skincare brand, particularly for those who are struggling with acne and clogged pores. This liquid exfoliant is formualted with a 2% concentration of salicylic acid to help break down complexion-dulling buildup on your skin's surface and in your pores, according to the brand.
REN Clean Skincare Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic
I came across REN Clean Skincare back in high school, when I was just beginning to take my skincare seriously and was looking for brands that used clean, healthy ingredients in their products. This daily AHA toner is one of my favorite finds that I bought, and it's visibly improved the complexion, brightness and smoothness of my skin— I love it so much, I always make sure to order a new one before I run out of my current bottle so I don't have to miss even one day of use.
SKINFOOD Peach Sake Pore Serum
This wallet-friendly pore serum gently hydrates and nourishes skin while reducing the appearance of enlarged pores. According to the brand, the serum combines Japanese sake and peaches to control excessive oil production and promote clear, clean skin.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat Daily Face Moisturizer for Oily Skin
La Roche-Posay always delivers high-quality results with their products, and this daily moisturizer is one of the most perfect skincare products I've come across. It hydrates, minimizes excess oil and improves the look of visible pores while delivering a flawless, matte finish that's 100% Insta filter-worthy.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator
This Dermalogica daily microfliant exfoliator is an investment in your skincare that is absolutely worth every single penny. It's a powder-to-paste formula that gently exfoliates and leaves your skin looking smoother and brighter, and it includes ingredients like papain, salicylic acid and rice, as wlel as green tea and colloidal oatmeal. If you're looking for a value-size that will last you a while, check out the full size here.
OLEHENRIKSEN Cold Plunge Pore Mask
This cooling clay mask is one of my favorite skincare products, not just for its effectiveness in reducing the look of pores and controlling excess oil but also beacuse of the Insta-worthy, turquoise color that makes me feel like I'm at a luxury spa. The other thing that makes this mask unique is the refreshing, cooling sensation that lives up to the "cold plunge" name— if I had to describe it another way, it's like taking a sip of cold water after chewing mint gum, but for your face.
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