My Quest for Perfect Skin - Reducing Pores

I'm sure most of you at some point have looked in the mirror, makeup-free for way too long at your pores/blackheads, looking at every single one. On the rare occasion (normally in winter and with pre menstrual angry skin) I opt for my 7 x magnifying mirror, never a good idea. However I convince myself when looking into this mirror, this is actually what other people see too.
Which normally leads me to squeeze a few oil filled pores around my nose and then a few more on my chin and then the odd few on my forehead. Then before I know it my face is red and slightly crater like.

I'm sure alot of you can relate to this process and I'm also positive we all know our pores aren't that unsightly.

Pore free skin is sadly impossible, the best you are going to get is making your pores disabled with abit of botox which I'm sure isn't an option unless you are crazy and also rich.

This is kind of a guide to helping reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and if I am honest NONE of these products will actually shrink your pores. However if your skin is firmer, cleaner and oil-free this can really give the affect that your pores are alot smaller than they are.
Also makeup does wonders with I will talk about at the end.

Here are the products I am currently using to help the appearance of my pores especially around the center of my face;

Primer - M&S Formula Revival Radiance Complexion Balm - £9.50 for 50ml

- Botanics Pore Perfecting Toner - £2.99 for 15oml
Lush Breath of Fresh Air Toner - £3.25 for 100ml

Pore Strips - Dr Harnik Pore Refiner Deep Cleansing Pore Strips -£4.99 for six

Face Mask - Soap & Glory The Fab Pore 15 Minute Facial Peel - £6.00 for 50ml

Marks & Spencer Revival Radiance Complexion Balm
(The product states to - give dull skin a boost, illuminate and enhance your complexion to look radiant.)

The product recommends you use this daily after your moisturiser, but if I am using a primer I skip moisturizing as I have quite an oily T-zone and it's just another layer of product to make my skin blocked and oily.

It is actually the only product I have that helps with concealing pores but has no mention about pores on the packaging - however primer are mainly there to even out the texture of your skin. Which I feel is an important first stage to help hide enlarged pores before applying makeup that will hide them further.

Does it work? Yes and no, if you used this on its own without any other pore treatments or makeup the results would be slight. I do feel that it does give the skin a firmer appearance and slightly masks over any larger pores you may have. It is worth trying out afew primer to see which one works best for your skin type. But if you have pores that you dislike then primer is a must.

Botanics Pore Perfecting Toner for Blemish Prone Skin
(The product states that the gentle toner tightens pores and sweeps away any excess oil to prepare skin for moisturiser. It also will leave the complexion soft and matte.)

For the price the product is quite interesting as it uses clay to absorb oil on the skin, so the mixture is quite an earthy green colour with is a mix of toner and clay that sinks to the bottom of the bottle.

Does it work? If you have really sensitive skin this would be ideal to dab onto the areas you want to target as it is really mild and soft. It does take the shine of your face by removing oil but I would say it's only temporary. I also found it left my skin quite tacky which I didn't like, so I actually poured some of the product into a travel size spray bottle and added water - which obviously weakens it more but it solved the feeling of tackiness and actually was more fresher when I sprayed it onto my face. Overall the product is not quite there on what it says it does.

Lush Breath of Fresh Air Skin Toner
(The product states that is tones with tightness. Softens your skin with aloe; feeds it with vitamins and minerals. Reduces dryness, soreness and redness.)

The worst thing you can do if you have enlarged pores other than squeezing them is thinking a strong toner will really firm the skin and tighten your pores. What it will actually do is make your skin feel tight and your pores with go into overdrive and produce more oil which will make your pores more stretched looking and you will have more blackheads than before.

So a toner that has alot of natural ingredients is a must - I always look out for toners that include Rose and Aloe Vera. Both ingredients are incredibly calming and remove oil perfectly which this toner includes.

Does it work? Yes! I must be on my fourth bottle of this. It is one of the only toners that my skin doesn't get complacent with. It leaves your skin feeling so fresh and awake and really does improve the look of pores especially if you apply this after cleansing in the morning before applying your makeup.
I also use this during the day over my makeup. If my skin is feeling abit oily or clogged up I just use one spritz of this and it really does feel like I have given my skin a breath of fresh air.

Dr. Harnik Pore Refiner Deep Cleansing Pore Strips
(The product claims to lift away dirt, oil and blackheads leaving the skin visibly clean and clear.)

I would say this is more a treatment than anything else really as you do need to set aside 15 minutes and it isn't something you could incorporate into your daily/weekly routine.

Does it work? Again yes and no. If you are going somewhere special and really want your skin to look it's best this would be ideal to use the night before. It literally pulls out the oil from your pores leaving them clear which helps the appearance no end. But I wouldn't recommend to use the strips more than once a week as it just doesn't solve the problem and just makes your pores produce that little bit more oil. Also the result aren't lasting, I would say your pores stay clear for 5-10 hours and then go back to normal really.
I personally use them when I feel like my blackheads are quite noticeable and my skin is feeling clogged up. On a side note the sachets are handy for if you are going on holiday or in your overnight makeup bag.

Soap & Glory The Fab Pore 15-Minute Facial Peel
(The product states through the use of mushroom extract it helps to tighten pores. Also the salicylic acid loosens up the dead cells that contribute to pore clogging and Kaolin - clay to you and me sops up extra oil on your skin.)

With over 44 five star customer reviews on the boots website this has to be a winner. Unlike all the other products above this coming in fun packaging and smells great.

Does it work? Hell yes! Hopefully this will become a cult beauty product in the future. Anything with Salicylic acid is a winner with me, it literally melts away all the rubbish from your skin, without you scrubbing an inch. The product is perfect as it doesn't concentrate on one thing it brilliantly works on all the different aspects of pores. However what I think I love the most about the face mask is that it is a treat to use it and not a chore which means you remember to use it weekly.
I couldn't recommend this more highly.

Ofcourse this is just a few of the hundreds of pore related products on the market, but I hope I have shown you what to consider or look for when picking a product aimed at magically reducing the size of your pores.
I was going to touch upon how makeup can dramatically change the appearance of enlarged pores but seeing as this post is long enough I think I will create a separate post about it at a later date. So I can really go into using primers, foundation and translucent powders to conceal blackheads/pores.

If there is anything you would like me to touch upon in My Quest for Perfect Skin that you suffer from please do not hesitate to leave me a comment.


  1. OMG I can totally related to this process LOL. I know that my pores aren't that noticeable, but they do are stretched because I had really bad acne back in high school.

    Thanks for letting us know which products worked and which didn't! I really have to check out that Soap & Glory peel.

  2. I've always wanted to try the Soap and Glory peel. Thanks for the review! xx

  3. The soap and glory mask sounds great. Is it an exfoliating mask or does it just tighten pores? x

  4. @*Peonies and lilies*

    It does have small beads in that you rub in before you leave it for 5 or 15 minutes, which slightly exfoliate.

    With it including the Salicylic Acid it exfoliates all the dead cells away without you doing anything and the mushroom extracts tighten the pores, so it does both.
    Also you can use it all over your face or just on the areas you feel really need it - in which case I would apply more of the mask.


  5. i swear by that face mask! and i'm definately going to try that lush toner now it sounds perfect for my skin! love the blog :) x

  6. Hey,

    I was just searching the net for products like this and came across your blog. I live in Australia so this one is unavailable (annoying I know) so was just wondering if there are any other brands that are similar to this one.



  7. Brilliant post, I am NOT ALONE! Where can one purchase the Soap & Glory Face peel exactly?

  8. @Cheryl - If you are in the UK - Boots sell this.
    But if you aren't I'm sure they do international shipping.
    It's just

    Fee x

  9. Thanks for sharing this article. I truly appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your next post thanks once again.
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