Pores are the Kardashians of the beauty world—they don’t do much except exist, yet everyone is obsessed with them. Unlike the Kardashians, however, most people seem hell-bent on making their pores disappear. Bad news: Your pores can’t disappear (or even get smaller, for that matter). They can, however, look like they’ve disappeared, thanks to a good skincare regimen and a few key makeup techniques. (See? We’re not monsters.) We’re focusing on the latter today, with the help of Dior brand ambassador and celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin.
Martin is responsible for the airbrushed complexions of the likes of Olivia Palermo, Elizabeth Moss, and Jessica Alba—in other words, you should probably start taking copious notes. And as for you, pores—see ya never (or only when we take off our makeup).
Keep scrolling to find out how a celebrity makeup artist makes pores disappear!
The key to making your newly airbrushed complexion actually believable starts before you even apply foundation (trust us—trying to buff foundation into dry, dull, or flaking skin is nobody’s idea of a good time). Make sure your skin is hydrated and prepped for makeup by sweeping a hydrating toner or toning pad across your face beforehand, like Martin does. “If I’m dealing with a client who has large pores, I try to neutralize the skin as much as possible so that whatever foundation I use doesn’t ‘sit’ on the skin after hours of wear,” he says.
His general rule of thumb? No matter what you use on top of your skin to refine your pores, nothing will work unless your skin is properly hydrated first.
Martin swears by the Pore Tightening Cooling Pads ($18) from Korean beauty shop The Face Shop, but any toner, micellar water, or light exfoliating pads will work. We recommend Orlane’s Brightening Micellar Water ($85) or Rodial’s Glamoxy 15% Fruit Acid Exfoliating Pads ($60).
Silicone is the ingredient that gives some of your makeup and skincare products that slippery, smooth-as-silk feel. Primers that contain silicone will “fill in” your pores and create a smooth canvas for your foundation, but make sure you’re applying them correctly—as in tapping, not rubbing. “Silicone can break up with too much rubbing or tugging, which will cause the product to roll and peel off the skin,” Martin says. “Tapping stabilizes the area.” He says you can do this with a small Beautyblender ($20) makeup sponge, or even just your ring finger.
The same goes for concealer—tap, never rub. One thing to note: If you are using a silicone-based primer before foundation each day, make sure you’re cleansing your skin thoroughly each night (we recommend double-cleansing) and exfoliating at least two to three times a week—otherwise, your pores can get clogged.
When it comes to covering pores, the key is to buff your foundation in a circular motion—Martin says this is a great technique to blur the appearance of larger pores. Use a large, fluffy brush with a slightly rounded head for best application; Martin says he swears by It Cosmetics’ Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7 ($48); we also like Sigma’s Flat Kabuki Brush ($24) and Too Faced’s Mr. Right Perfect Powder Brush ($36).
If you’re not one for primers, try to choose a glow-giving foundation that has blurring properties. Martin says he’s been obsessed with Dior’s newly reformulated Dior Diorskin Forever Foundation ($50), which is mattifying without being dulling, and also refines your pores over time. Some Byrdie favorites include Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Youth-Boosting Perfect Foundation ($45), L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Blur Foundation ($14), and CoverFX Custom Cover Drops ($44), which you can mix with your moisturizer or primer.
A sheer wash of powder will finish off your newly poreless complexion—just avoid HD powders if you’re going to be photographed or in a well-lit place. Why? They can reflect light, especially with flash used in a dark room. Stick to translucent formulas, like W3ll People’s Bio Brightener Invisible Powder ($24), which has subtle radiance-boosting properties and gives you a soft-focus finish.
Can’t get enough of pores? Here are seven smart ways to unclog them.