August 28 2014

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Beauty Throwdown: Battle Pore Primers


Face primers, like serums, always seemed like an extraneous step in my morning routine—before I hit my mid-thirties, that is, and things like creases, dullness, and large pores became way more noticeable in pretty much any kind of lighting. Needless to say, now I’m all about primers. So when two newcomers arrived—Benefit’s Pore Professional and Tarte’s Clean Slate Poreless 12-Hour Perfecting Primer—my interest was more than piqued. Both promise to blur fine lines and fill in uneven areas to minimize pores while also delivering skin-illuminating ingredients, but the issue of which would do so more effectively, thus providing a truly flawless finish, was still in question. Being the intrepid beauty sleuth that I am, I have devoted the past few weeks to deciphering the ups and downs of pore perfection and am now ready to present my findings below. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.

The Pre-Makeup Balm: Although Benefit’s Pore Professional has a slight, complexion-enhancing tint, it actually applies translucent with a nice silky texture and melts into the skin in seconds. Formulated with vitamin E to soften and fend off free radicals, this oil-free “pro balm” truly did help bounce light off my face so shadows and indentations looked less noticeable. It also left a super-smooth finish, which meant I didn’t have to pile on as much makeup to get that almost pore-less effect. Hours later, my face had a velvety glow and there was nary a blemish in sight.

The Natural Refiner: Designed to extend the wear of your makeup for 12 hours and impart an airbrushed kind of look, Tarte’s Clean Slate primer relies on botanical ingredients (echinacea root, hibiscus, and super fruits like goji berry) to mattify and tone the skin without any parabens. While the texture is a bit gummy at first, it blends into your face with the heat of your fingers. A pea-size drop also works as a waterproof base under makeup to lock it down, minimizing any streaking and deflecting shine, which can magnify the size and shape of pores. As an added bonus, it stayed perfectly intact despite my habit of resting my cheek against my hand and pressing my face up to my daughter’s throughout the day.

The Bottom Line: Those who have skin that’s on the dry side will appreciate Tarte’s richer consistency, whereas I preferred Benefit’s more lightweight finish, especially with New York’s rising humidity levels. But both performed equally well under makeup and helped refined the look of enlarged pores. Obviously, neither was able to eliminate those pin dots entirely (sigh…), but as a quick fix in the morning, it’ll serve you well to keep both of these tubes in rotation.

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