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Breaking news: You can’t *actually* change the size of your pores. (Oh, and they actually don’t open or close, either.) Larger pores are simply more prominent pores—a result of becoming clogged with dirt, oil, and other gunk and getting stretched out, which in turn makes them look bigger.
To minimize the appearance of pores, a good skincare routine is always going to be your best bet. But in the meantime, using a foundation that smooths and camouflages them (rather than sinking into them and making them even more prominent) can go a long way. Fuller-coverage formulas with soft, matte finishes are your BFF; bonus points if they have a blurring effect.
Ahead, the best foundations for large pores.
Best Overall: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation
Sweat-proof, humidity-proof, and waterproof, this pick wins major points for its long-wearing formula. But the benefits don’t stop there. It’s also super hydrating and contains ingredients that smooth out wrinkles and the look of pores. In a brand-backed consumer study, 95% of participants agreed their pores were less noticeable after eight weeks of use. It’s also innately cooling and refreshing on the skin—a nice unexpected bonus.
Best Drugstore: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation
There’s a good reason why this drugstore staple has legions of devoted fans. Dermatologist-tested and oil-free, it boasts blurring micro-powders that simultaneously erase pores and absorb the excess oil that can make pores look noticeable in the first place. (They also make for a natural matte finish.) And not only is the lineup of 40 shades impressive, but they all also have skin tone-matching technology to make it even easier to find your perfect hue.
Best Shade Range: Uoma Beauty Say What?! Foundation
This totally innovative formula is absolutely noteworthy for offering a whopping 51 shades, for sure. But arguably even more impressive is that the formula has been subtly tweaked to address the unique needs of all skin tones, dividing those 51 hues into six skin color groups and offering individual benefits for each. But no matter which hue you choose, you’re guaranteed full coverage, a weightless feel, and a blurring effect.
Best Oil-Free: Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15
Oily skin and prominent pores go hand in hand. Generally speaking, the oilier your skin is, the more apparent your pores will be. As such, oil-free skincare and makeup products are always a good move, and this one fits the bill. Despite the fact that it is oil-free, it still contains vitamin E to soothe, nourish, and soften skin, all while blurring away the look of imperfections. FYI, try buffing it into the skin with a flat foundation brush for the ultimate airbrushed effect.
Best for Fair Skin: The Ordinary Coverage Foundation
The Ordinary is a team Byrdie favorite when it comes to affordable, effective skincare offerings, but don’t miss out on the brand's makeup, either. More specifically, this formula, which has a unique spreadability system so that the colored pigments stay dispersed evenly across the surface of the skin. It comes in 24 shades, the bulk of which are ideal for those with lighter skin.
Best for Medium Skin: Dr. Jart+ BB Dis-a-Por Broad Spectrum SPF 50+
While technically not a foundation, this pick packs enough coverage that it easily deserves a spot on this list. Its pore-perfecting power can’t be beaten; unique powder particles control oil production on the skin, helping to keep clogged pores at bay, while okra fruit extract helps maintain strength and firmness so the texture of your skin remains nice and smooth. While it only comes in two shades, light/medium and medium/deep, both work surprisingly well on a variety of medium complexions.
Best for Olive Skin: Pat McGrath Skin Fetish Sublime Foundation
In our humble opinion, this makeup tycoon can do no wrong when it comes to her eponymous line, and this foundation is no exception. It touts all kinds of unique features: polymers that make for long-lasting wear and super smooth application, highly-purified pigments for buildable coverage and true color clarity, and diamond power that hides imperfections and enhances radiance. There are 36 shades to choose from, including a nice range of choices for olive skin.
Best for Dark Skin: Flesh Pure Flesh Liquid Foundation
It took more than 70 formula and 160 shade iterations to get to this end result: A medium-coverage, water-based foundation that comes in 40 shades. This is especially noteworthy when it comes to the darker colors available, all of which have different undertones to fit a wide range of complexions. No matter which color you pick, the base feels weightless and offers gorgeous, natural-looking coverage.
Best Full-Coverage: Hourglass Cosmetics Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick
This handy-dandy stick is a staple in our makeup bags. One swipe easily packs on full (yet natural-looking) coverage, so much so that it can easily double as concealer. Credit a unique formula that contains twice the amount of pigments as other foundations and adjusts to your body temperature for seamless blending. Pro tip: Swipe it onto the back of your hand and use a damp Beautyblender to tap it into the skin.
Best Splurge: Clé de Peau Beauté The Foundation SPF 21
Ultra-decadent, this base is equal parts hydrating treatment and foundation. The gel-oil formula melts into the skin beautifully, minimizing the look of pores and fine lines with its soft-focus finish. Plus, the coverage is easily buildable. We just wish it came in a few more shades for darker skin tones.
Best Long-Wearing: Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation
True to its name, this pick lasts up to—wait for it—24 hours, a major win for occasions when touch-ups just aren’t an option. It’s also transfer-resistant, yet the oil-free and non-comedogenic formula still feels incredibly lightweight on the skin. Bonus points for a wide range of 50 shades.
Best Matte Finish: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
Here’s a matte formula for all those who fear matte finishes. It’s not in the least bit chalky or drying—just beautifully velvety with a texture that diffuses the look of pores. Oil-free, it also touts a unique climate-adapting technology that makes it sweat- and humidity-resistant, so you never have to worry about it sliding off your face or clogging your pores inadvertently. And, of course, in true Fenty Beauty fashion, it comes in 50 shades.
While you may not be able to change the size of your pores, choosing the right foundation formula can go a long way towards helping them look smaller and less apparent. Charlotte Tilbury's Airbrush Flawless Foundation (see at Sephora) is a universally foolproof pick, as is the Maybelline Fit Me Matte+ Matte + Poreless Foundation (see at Ulta) if you’re looking for a more wallet-friendly option. And if you’re on the hunt for a base that comes in a wide range of shades, UOMA Beauty's Say What?! Foundation (see at Ulta), Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation (see at Sephora), and Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation (see at Sephora) are great pore-camouflaging choices that come in plenty of different colors to suit all skin tones.