How to Apply Makeup for Large Pores

by Amanda Knaebel ; Updated July 18, 2017

Makeup can help reduce the appearance of large pores.

Andersen Ross/Blend Images/Getty Images

Large pores can create an uneven appearance in your complexion and make your makeup appear dull. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to shrink them permanently, explains Richard Glogau, M.D., a professor of dermatology with the University of California at San Francisco. However, certain cosmetics and makeup application techniques can help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, creating a smooth, polished look.

Rub a pea-sized amount of a topical retinoid cream, which contains vitamin A, over your skin before applying your makeup. These creams can help unclog your pores and create a smoother appearance. Allow the cream to dry completely before applying other products.

Smooth a foundation primer that contains dimethicone over your face to create a barrier before applying your foundation. Foundation can sink down into your pores, making them appear larger, explains Ariel Ostad, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center.

Pat on a small amount of foundation with your fingertips or a makeup sponge or brush. Look for products labeled "noncomedogenic," which means they will not clog your pores. Using more foundation will not minimize the appearance of large pores. Too much foundation can draw more attention both to pores and fine lines.

Absorb excess oil throughout the day with oil-blotting papers instead of applying powder. Too many layers of makeup can clog your pores and force them to open wider.


  • Wash your makeup off before you go to bed. Cosmetics can sink into your pores while you sleep, making them appear larger and contributing to blemishes.

    Exfoliate your skin with a facial scrub to loosen dry skin cells that can clog pores, recommends David E. Bank, M.D., a New York dermatologist. Use a scrub with a chemical exfoliator, such as salicylic acid, two to three times a week. This is especially helpful if you have oily skin, as many people with large pores do.

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About the Author

Amanda Knaebel is a self-professed gadget geek and loves all things tech, both new and old. Amanda has been working as a freelance writer for over 10 years on topics including technology, health, fitness, nutrition, gardening and many more. She has also worked with Fortune 50 tech and financial companies, both in technical support and content production.