It may be physically impossible to shrink your pores (thanks, genetics!), but you do have more than enough options to make them look smaller and "tighter" than they really are. And don't worry, most of them won't require you to put on a single smidge of makeup. Ready to transform those pores? Keep scrolling!
1. Cleanse not just once, but twice.
The less gunk in your pores, the less visible they will become. And the answer to get all that gunk out is definitely not peel-off masks or pore strips! It's all about having a cleansing routine that gets all the makeup, dirt, and oil out of your skin and leave nothing behind. We say routine because you need two products to achieve that deep cleanse: a makeup remover and a cleanser that suits your skin type. This is called double cleansing, a method that helps you melt off excess oil, makeup, and skincare on the surface of your skin completely.
Another way to amp up your cleansing game is with the 60-second rule, a method that requires you to massage your cleanser onto your skin for a full minute with your fingers before washing it off. The perk of this technique is that it actually gives your cleanser enough time to break down all the excess grime on your face! It helps you make the most out of your cleansing routine, too!
2. Exfoliate with acids.
Sure, scrubs can make your skin soft and smooth, but exfoliating with acids (the safe kind for your face, of course) packs a stronger punch when it comes to pore-minimizing. Salicylic acid is your best bet for regularly unclogging your pores (acne-prone folk, take note!), because it can penetrate deep into your skin's layers (thanks to it being oil-soluble) to remove oil and dead skin.
Meanwhile, glycolic acid is also a dermatologist-favorite because it effectively dissolves the dead skin on the topmost layer, whilst telling your skin to renew itself faster. When used consistently, be it via your regular skincare or chemical peels from your doctor, it'll improve your skin's texture and tone, minimizing the appearance of—you guessed it—pores, as well as fine lines and hyperpigmentation.
MURAD Clarifying Cleanser (1.5% salicyclic acid), P1650, Rustan's; COSRX AHA7 Whitehead Liquid (7% glycolic acid), P900, Beauty Bar
3. Add retinol or retinoid to your skincare regimen.
Retinol and retinoid are both vitamin A derivatives that speed up the cell turnover of your skin. The only difference is that you can get retinol over-the-counter, while retinoids require a prescription from your doctor. Whichever one you decide to use, both will help smooth out your skin texture and give you less visible pores overall. (For a full beginner's guide to using retinol, click here!)
PETER THOMAS ROTH Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum (1.5% retinol), P3500, Zalora
4. Detox with clay and charcoal masks.
Ingredients like clay and charcoal have magnet-like properties that lift impurities right out of your pores, and they work their magic best in face mask form. When choosing your mask, we suggest opting for wash-off formulas rather than peel-off ones so you won't irritate your skin. Always follow the directions on your mask, too, and never leave it on longer than recommended (it won't make your pores any cleaner!) or you'll be left with inflamed skin that's bone dry.
SEPHORA COLLECTION Purifying Mud Mask, P946, Sephora.ph
5. Never forget your SPF.
"UV and pollution cause free radicals that break down the collagen and elastin in skin, making the skin less tight and [making] pores look larger," dermatologist Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse tells Teen Vogue. Wear at least a broad spectrum SPF 30 daily to protect your skin, especially if you'll be exposed to the sun.
If you think regular sunscreens are too shiny, Dr. Shainhouse recommends using makeup primers with SPF instead since these will help shield you from UV rays and refine the appearance of your pores.
ZO Sunscreen + Primer Broad-Spectrum SPF 30, P5200, shop.belomed.com
6. Lower your skin temperature.
Though it's not true that your pores "close" when it's cold, our skin does overall feel better when the temperature is low enough. Keeping your skincare in the fridge, for example, gives you that refreshing cool sensation every time you apply them, helping soothe any type of discomfort and reduce puffiness. While it doesn't necessarily have long-term effects for the appearance of your pores, it does simulate that "tightening" feeling.
Aside from using chilled products, washing your face with cold (but not ice cold) water and patting it with a cold towel can also lower your skin temperature instantly.
7. Be diligent with your facials.
In case you can't be bothered with a complicated skincare routine, you can leave all the pore-tightening work to a professional instead. Getting extractions and exfoliating facials at least once a month from your dermatologist or esthetician is key! That said, coupling these treatments with a simple face regimen will help you maintain the results until your next session!
TRY: BELO Glycopeel Cleaning Treatment, P1800 + consultation fee of P600, S Maison; LUMINISCE Luxury Facial, P2500, Bonifacio High Street