Back in the day, when I was bemoaning the state of my blackheads, a friend tried to console me by saying ‘They’re not blackheads, they’re probably just big pores.’ At the time, this made me feel better… but now, I’ve realise huge pores are pretty much just as gross as blackheads! Either way, I have a hideous case of strawberry nose (you know, where blackheads look like the seeds dotting a strawberry… the delights of beauty blogger lingo) and nothing seems to make much of a difference, bar regular (and painful!) extraction sessions at facials.
So I was first in line to try Clinique’s new Pore Refining Solutions range. I’m a big fan of Clinique’s skincare anyway (their Anti-Blemish Cleansing Foam is one of my all-time miracle products), so if anyone could whip my pores into shape, it’d be them! So was it a case of pores no more?!
Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum, $380 for 30ml
This translucent silky serum, which you apply every morning and night before moisturiser, aims to lessen the appearance of large pores, with users reporting a 58% reduction in the visible size of their pores in just 2 weeks! Too good to be true? Well… probably.
The science behind this seems valid – ingredients to reduce the production of sebum (which leads to clogged pores) and help your skin shed dead cells (that can block pores, making them appear larger), plus Padina Pavonica Extract that activates a certain skin enzyme which makes your skin cells healthier. Unfortunately, after well over two weeks, I noticed little difference in the size of mine – they were still visible from the moon! I did think it made a difference to some of my smaller pores, which seemed to be less visible after a few weeks of using the serum, but the ones on my nose looked as giant as ever. However, I did think my blackheads seemed a little lighter and less obvious, possibly down to the reduction of sebum.
Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector, $230 for 15ml
This was more like it! If you have ever used Benefit’s Porefessional, this is similar – a white, slightly chalky paste, that you apply to pore problem areas before make-up to reduce their appearance. This works by using silicone polymers and diffusers to smooth over your pores, diffuse light to minimise the look of imperfections and absorb oil, giving a nice matte finish. The Instant Perfector also includes a few ingredients to minimise sebum production too, so it’s not just a purely cosmetic effect.
I noticed an immediate, really visible difference using this – in fact, I was so pleased with the soft airbrushed effect it gave to my problem areas, I had to fight the urge to use it all over my face. Just remember to dab it on and let it absorb properly, or else it can make your make-up look a bit flaky. Photoshop in a bottle!
I’m always worried with products like these that I’ll end up clogging my pores further, but I can happily report that after a month of use, my pores are at least no worse than before! These are oil-free, so shouldn’t exacerbate any T-zone problems you may have plus, as with all Clinique products, they’re 100% fragrance-free, and strictly allergy and dermatologist tested so generally work well for sensitive skin.
It’s worth remembering that pore size itself (as opposed to other factors like how clogged or oily they are, which may make them appear larger) is unalterable so try and keep your expectations realistic! The Correcting Serum was not the instant miracle I was hoping for – but then again, I’m not sure anything ever will be! However, I would definitely re-purchase the Instant Perfector as it really does give a great flawless finish to your make-up and, if you suffer from an oily T-zone, would be an amazing addition to your cosmetics kit!
Clinique Pore Refining Solutions range is available at all Clinique counters now; see the full list of all Clinique locations in Hong Kong here.