Maya wrote to me complaining of enlarged pores on her otherwise relatively healthy skin, and was wondering what I could suggest to combat them. She also suffers from mildly dry patches that seem resistant to manual exfoliation, and look awful when hidden under a heavy foundation (her pale skin also prevents her from finding a suitable, not-so-expensive option).
Well Maya, let’s tackle these issues one-by-one.
- Pores: Assuming that you can’t shell out for my beloved Clarisonic, I’ve got bad news for ya: pores really can’t be shrunk once they’ve been enlarged. Pore size is partially genetic, and may partially be due to stretching (potentially from ripping them with harsh abrasives or tugging on them when attempting manual extractions). Of course, clogged pores will look larger than clear ones, so keeping what you have clean is important. The only way to possibly “shrink” pores is through professional microdermabrasion or laser skin resurfacing, which forces multiple layers of skin to regrow and gives you the hope that they’ll be back with smaller pores. If that’s not an option, check out my discussion of my favorite cheap manual exfoliator, and I’d recommend investing in a product with a low percentage of salicylic acid to provide some chemical backup and keep those skin cells rejuvenating.
- Dryness: Maya relates that she tends to get flakey around her nose, but exfoliation doesn’t seem to help, and she is loathe to use any heavy moisturisers for fear of clogging her pores more. Well, Maya, I bet you haven’t checked out my exfoliator yet! That stuff works wonders for flakey skin that resists all other abrasives. If, however, your face still looks patchy after using it, please, don’t be afraid of moisturiser! Even the oiliest, most breakout-prone skin needs moisture (a common reason for excessive oilyness is not using a moisturiser, as the skin overproduces sebum to make up for the lack of). All you need to do is find one that is light enough not to clog your pores, but still drenches skin with intense hydration. My favorite one of the type is Elizabeth Arden Velva Moisture Film ($43.00). This stuff saved my skin when I was over in Moscow, literally getting rid of the dry, flaking patches that appeared all over after the first day while not making my skin any oilier than it already is. It absorbs within seconds, and leaves skin feeling silky and soft. It may seem expensive, but you only need the tiniest drop to get your whole face, and the large bottle will last you a year at least. I believe you can also purchase it on Amazon if that’s easier for you.
- Foundation: Kind of like me, Maya has very pale skin with yellow undertones and breakout-prone skin. Sucks being beautiful, don’t it? Anywho, I hear you on this issue. Companies automatically assume that if your skin is pale, you must be Irish, as the only really pale foundations have extremely pink undertones… And the pink face/yellow chest look hasn’t even hit runways yet, let alone being workable in the real world. I haven’t had myself matched to MAC colours in a long while (any of you who read my blog know I detest their foundations), but I believe I’m somewhere around NC20-ish. The only non-department store or professional foundation I’ve found that comes even close to my skintone (regardless of weight) is Revlon Colorstay for Combo/Oily Skin in 150 Buff. This is my go-to foundation for daily wear (at least until I pick up my Temptu air…) and looks pretty spot on, even in harsh fluorescent lighting (which we discussed previously). If applied incorrectly, quickly, or with many types of brushes, this foundation can look heavy and masklike, but with a light hand and a quality brush (my favorite of the moment is the Sephora Professionnel Platinum 55), this product looks like real skin while still giving great coverage and not emphasizing flakey areas. Sounds great, huh? Check my YouTube channel tomorrow for a tutorial on how I apply this (I filmed it tonight, but editing is taking a bit longer than normal…)
I hope that helped! Lemme know in the comments if you have any more questions.