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The 14 Best Foundations for Large Pores, According to Makeup Artists and Editors

Including Rare Beauty, Smashbox and Exa

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If you’ve ever wanted to “shrink” your pores, we have good news and bad news. The bad news is that pores don’t shrink—you can only reduce their appearance. The good news is that with a solid skincare routine and the right foundation, you can blend them away (albeit temporarily). To discover what makes a foundation good for large pores, we consulted two makeup artists about what to look for in a formula, application tips for lasting wear and the brands that they reach for again and again. This includes our best overall pick, the Smashbox Always On Foundation ($45), sustainable MOB Beauty Cream Foundation ($26), splurge-worthy Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation ($66), celeb-fave Exa High Fidelity Foundation ($38) and two-minute wonder Sweed Beauty Miracle Powder ($45). Note: Both makeup artists emphasized that the key to managing the appearance of your pores lies in your skincare routine. Then, you can pick any foundation you want that’s suitable for your skin type, including matte, satin and powder finishes. To help you out, we made sure that all the foundations on this list provide a blurring effect for a soft, natural look. Pores, be (almost) gone!

The Top 10 Best Foundations for Large Pores at a Glance

1

Best Overall

Smashbox Always On Foundation

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2

Most Mattifying

NARS Soft Matte Foundation

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3

Most Extensive Shade Range

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Foundation

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4

The Refillable Pick

MOB Beauty Cream Foundation

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5

Most Splurge-Worthy

Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation

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Meet the Experts

  • Jenny Patinkin is a Chicago-based makeup artist, founder of an eponymous beauty brand and the author of Lazy Perfection: The Art of Looking Great Without Really Trying. Her brand has created an award-winning line of beauty tools loved by the likes of Allure, Cosmopolitan and Better Homes & Gardens. Patinkin has contributed her expertise to outlets such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Rachael Ray Show and Martha Stewart.
  • Lori Taylor Davis is the global pro lead artist at Smashbox Cosmetics. She has over 30 years of industry experience, working events like New York and Paris Fashion Week and the MTV Movie Awards. Davis has also worked with celebrities such as Sandra Bullock and Bruno Mars.

How We Chose the Best Foundation for Large Pores

When choosing the best foundation for large pores, we asked our experts about the products they recommend and considered any features they noted were important, like buildable formulas and avoiding illuminating and radiant products. Additionally, we asked PureWow editors with large pores to share the foundations they use and love. We also looked at search data to see what brands were trending and evaluated buyer reviews.

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The 27 Best Body Lotions for Dry Skin


Best Overall

1. Smashbox Always On Foundation

What We Like

  • oil control
  • 30 shades
  • water, sweat, humidity and transfer resistant

What We Don’t Like

  • a little pricey

Smashbox

Smashbox might be old-school, but there’s a reason it’s stuck around—it’s good stuff. In 2023, the brand launched its new Always On foundation, promising 16-hour wear. PureWow associate SEO editor Marissa Wu (who is always in a battle with her large pores) put it to the test on several humid New York City summer days and found that it lived up to the claims. Nothing moved it—water, sweat, humidity—and it didn’t transfer easily. She liked that the coverage started at medium and layered well. The formula is infused with primer, hyaluronic acid for hydration and adaptogens like sugar kelp to balance oil. It also contains the brand’s Balance Boost Complex, which contain antioxidants to protect the skin from free radicals and blue light.

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 30
  • Coverage: medium to full
  • Finish: natural

Most Mattifying

2. NARS Soft Matte Foundation

What We Like

  • natural matte finish
  • controls sebum
  • color won’t shift over time

What We Don’t Like

  • some buyers note it settles into fine lines

NARS

NARS Soft Matte foundation is one of Patinkin’s favorites. “It still looks like skin and it’s really nice and buildable,” she says. “It’s gorgeous. I feel like you can start light and build to full coverage.” The formula contains NARS’ Anti-Oxidation Complex that prevents color shifting and the Hydramatte Balancing Complex, which controls sebum without dehydrating the skin. It can absorb oil, producing a natural finish and is noncomedogenic. The foundation also promises 16-hour wear, holding up against sweat, humidity and shine.  

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 36
  • Coverage: medium to full
  • Finish: matte

Most Extensive Shade Range

3. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Foundation

What We Like

  • extensive shade range
  • absorbs oil and reduces shine
  • formula is non-drying and noncomedogenic

What We Don’t Like

  • coverage on the heavier side, so apply sparingly to start

Fenty Beauty

Another foundation for large pores that Patinkin recommends is Fenty Beauty’s Pro Filt’r. “It’s got a little bit more opacity to it,” she notes. “It goes on with more coverage, but I think it starts at medium and builds to full.” The foundation comes in a dizzying 58 shades with climate adaptive technology that makes it impervious to heat, sweat and shine. It’s also non-drying and noncomedogenic while absorbing oil.

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 58
  • Coverage: medium to full
  • Finish: matte

The Refillable Pick

4. MOB Beauty Cream Foundation

What We Like

  • biodegradable, refillable compact
  • waterless formulation builds well

What We Don’t Like

  • can become a little cakey at end of day

MOB Beauty

MOB Beauty’s cream foundation with hyaluronic acid and ceramides gives the skin barrier a gentle boost by preventing water loss, while softening and smoothing. The formula also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to protect the skin. Our tester liked the waterless formula and creamy texture, noting that the payoff was solid and that a little went a long way. Because the foundation is waterless, it won’t pill or clash with other oil-based products you may be using, and all the ingredients are ethically sourced and biodegradable.

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 36
  • Coverage: medium to full
  • Finish: natural radiant

Most Splurge-Worthy

5. Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation

What We Like

  • breathable
  • weightless
  • buildable
  • works on all skin types

What We Don’t Like

  • expensive
  • shade range not as extensive

Oxygenetix

Oxygenetix’s Oxygenating foundation has found its way onto the face of celebrities, from Gal Gadot to Kourtney Kardashian. The formula works wells for all skin types notes Wu, who tried it on her combination skin. She appreciated the weightless, breathable formula that was easy to layer (pores begone!). The foundation contains soothing aloe vera and the brand’s patented Ceravitae Complex, which claims to help build collagen and elastin.

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 18
  • Coverage: light but buildable
  • Finish: luminous and sheer

Best Drugstore Foundation

6. Maybelline Fit Me Foundation

What We Like

  • affordable
  • comparable performance to more expensive brands
  • blurring effect minimizes the appearance of pores
  • noncomedogenic

What We Don’t Like

  • doesn’t last as long as other foundations (12 hours)

Maybelline

Here’s proof that money doesn’t always talk. Patinkin raves about Maybelline’s Fit Me foundation, which she says reminds her of the aforementioned NARS. But, instead of forking over $42, you can score Maybelline’s for under $10. The shade range is extensive (40 colors) and the formula promises to render a poreless complexion. It’s noncomedogenic and made for normal to oily skin, containing micro-powders that control shine.

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 40
  • Coverage: medium matte
  • Finish: natural matte

The Powder Superstar

7. Sweed Beauty Miracle Powder

What We Like

  • quick and convenient
  • doesn't look dry
  • layers well with other products
  • provides instant, soft filter
  • breathable

What We Don’t Like

  • only good if you need light coverage

Sweed Beauty

Think that a two-minute makeup routine doesn’t exist? Think again. They don’t call it a miracle powder for nothing. Wu, who is low-maintenance when it comes to her beauty routine, couldn’t believe she had a glowy complexion in a literal two minutes. All it took was a few swipes of Sweed Beauty’s Miracle Powder, and she had a blurred, filtered effect that made her face look like a social media avatar—but in real life (and natural). The powder contains antioxidants, minerals and Vitamin C for a breathable formula that sticks around all day. However, Wu notes that it’s best if you’re looking for light to medium coverage. Pair it with the brand’s Air Blush Cream on your cheeks and eyelids for a complete look.

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 5
  • Coverage: light
  • Finish: matte

Best Satin Finish

8. Exa High Fidelity Foundation

What We Like

  • for all skin types
  • wide range of shades
  • gluten- soy- and cruelty- free
  • satin finish
  • weightless

What We Don’t Like

  • pills occasionally

Exa

If it’s good enough for Olivia Rodrigo, it’s good enough for us. The key to the “Vampire” singer’s glowing but not too dewy look is Exa’s High Fidelity foundation, which produces a semi-matte, satin finish. It’s available in 43 shades and provides sheer to full coverage, so don’t be afraid to build on it. The formula contains ale vera, peach fruit extract, maqui berry and microalgae actives to sooth, protect and plump the skin, while hyaluronic acid provides hydration.

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 43
  • Coverage: sheer to full
  • Finish: semi-satin

The Internet Favorite

9. Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint

What We Like

  • dewy finish
  • packed with skin care ingredients

What We Don’t Like

  • not ideal if you want full coverage

Ilia

As we previously reported, skin tint serum has serious staying power in 2024, and Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint is the leading product. Sure, it’s not *technically* a foundation, but it bills itself as makeup, skin care and SPF, so you can definitely wear it like one. It provides light coverage and is moderately buildable, according to our tester, so it covered her pores well. It also plays nice with blush, bronzer, eyeshadow and anything else you might want to layer over it. The formula is packed with hyaluronic acid to plump and moisturize the skin, while niacinamide smooths texture and reduces redness. Plant-based squalane provides hydration and boosts the skin’s elasticity.

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 30
  • Coverage: light
  • Finish: dewy

The Workhorse

10. Haus Labs Triclone Skin Tech Foundation

What We Like

  • lots of shades
  • medium buildable coverage
  • packed with skincare ingredients
  • reduces redness and evens skin tone
  • works for all skin types

What We Don’t Like

  • some say doesn’t go well on mature skin

Haus Labs

Lady Gaga’s beauty line, Haus Labs, makes a cult-favorite foundation with nearly perfect ratings. (We’re talking an average of 4.5 stars on over 8,300 reviews.) The Triclone Skin Tech foundation is loaded with over 20 skincare ingredients, including the brand’s patent-pending Fermented Arnica and Bio Ferment 7 complexes, which reduce redness, irritation and inflammation while evening the skin tone and protecting it from environmental stressors. The foundation has a serum-like texture that blurs into a luminous finish.

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 51
  • Coverage: medium
  • Finish: natural

Best Oil-Free

11. Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

What We Like

  • oil-free
  • photo-friendly
  • hydrating

What We Don’t Like

  • doesn’t last as long as some other brands (12 hours)

Too Faced

If you’re looking for an oil-free foundation, consider Too Faced’s liquid option. It’s a water-based formula with coconut water, rose and hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin. The big selling point: It’s photo-friendly, meaning there won’t be flashback. The foundation blurs well, perfect for hiding pesky pores, and provides medium to full coverage with a natural finish.

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 3
  • Coverage: medium to full
  • Finish: natural

Most Buildable

12. Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Foundation

What We Like

  • breathable
  • medium coverage
  • easy to blend
  • very pigmented

What We Don’t Like

  • can settle into lines

Rare Beauty

When it comes to the Rare Beauty foundation, a little goes a long way—just a dot, in fact. The serum-like formula is heavily concentrated, so a tiny amount can provide full-face coverage. It’s easy to blend and build if needed, drying to a skin-like finish. The combination of lotus, gardenia and water lily helps calm, soothe and even the skin. It’s best for those with normal and combination skin.

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 48
  • Coverage: medium
  • Finish: natural

The One That Won’t Crease

13. MAC Studio Fix Tech Cream-to-Powder Foundation

What We Like

  • lightweight
  • sweat and humidity resistant
  • buildable
  • doesn’t crease easily

What We Don’t Like

  • some have trouble color matching, so get matched in person

MAC

Nothing kills your morning routine more than seeing your makeup move moments after you’ve applied it. Lucky you, one of the glowing praises of MAC’s Studio Fix foundation is that it doesn’t crease. The powder turns creamy once it hits your skin, thanks to the emollients that help it glide on with a lightweight texture. The result: a blurred finish that looks like your skin. It’s sweat and humidity resistant with light-diffusing tech that softens lines.

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 42
  • Coverage: medium buildable
  • Finish: natural matte

Best Matte

14. L’Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation

What We Like

  • long wear
  • SPF
  • good value
  • resists water and sweat

What We Don’t Like

  • some say scent can be strong

L'Oréal

At $17, L’Oréal’s Infallible Pro-Matte foundation is a good marriage of affordable price and quality. It promises up to 24 hours of coverage and the formula is light, breathable and transfer resistant. The foundation comes in 40 shades with medium to full coverage and has SPF 25. It’s also water- and sweat- resistant.

Fast Facts

  • Shade range: 40
  • Coverage: medium to full
  • Finish: matte

What Are the Best Ways to Disguise Enlarged Pores?

It’s a popular misconception that pores can shrink. That’s actually not true. When people talk about shrinking pores, what they really mean is minimizing their appearance. And while makeup can help, both Davis and Patinkin say that it really starts with your skin care routine.

“Start with knowing your skin type and treating the needs of your skin,” Davis advises. “Large pores aren’t just a condition of oily skin.” However, she cautions against overdoing the skin care routine. Excess product can lead to a cakey, textured finish.

When it comes to minimizing pores’ appearance, Patinkin says that retinol and niacinamide are going to be your friends. “Make sure that [you’re also] exfoliating so that there’s no build up inside your pores because when they build up, they look bigger,” she explains. Glycolic toner pads can also be helpful.

The way to set yourself up for success with foundation is to use a primer, which can, according to Davis, aid with smoothing and blurring, which will soften the appearance of pores and skin texture. Depending on your skin type, a silicone-based primer can be helpful because it binds well with oil. However, Patinkin notes that you don’t necessarily need to put primer on your entire face. “You want to use it only where you produce oil. If you use silicone on dry skin, it’s more likely to pill, so you want to use it where it can bind with oil,” she elaborates.

What Should I Look for in a Foundation for Large Pores?

As both makeup artists explained, a lot of the pore minimization happens in your skincare steps. So, when you’re shopping for a foundation, it’s about catering to your personal preferences, Davis says. Depending on your skin, you can go for matte, powder or satin foundations. Patinkin only advises avoiding illuminating and radiant foundations because they can accentuate the pores.

“I [also] prefer buildable [formulas]. Starting with thin layers and [adding] more as you need is really the way to go,” Patinkin says.

The other thing to keep in mind is the ingredients. Remember, water and oil don’t mix, so if you have a water-based moisturizer, it won’t work with an oil-based foundation. (That’s where primer can come in handy because it adds a barrier between the two layers.) But above all, remember that makeup alone won’t solve all your pore woes, so get that skincare routine down pat first.


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