Scoring smaller, or at least less visible, pores is on pretty much every girl’s list of beauty goals. We’ve dabbled in toners that claim to shrink ’em, foundations that vow to hide ’em—and, now, a new breed of makeup that promises smooth, poreless skin.
Pore putty, as it’s being called, is a skin care–makeup hybrid that purports to work on skin the way actual putty works to seal leaky pipes. It’s a weird comparison, sure, but these putty products “fill” open pores and smooth out the surface of the skin with technology similar to blurring products. They leave skin with a natural, semi-matte finish that feels soft to the touch, and they promise both a result that’ll last throughout the day and a formula that plays well with all skin types.
Peter Thomas Roth Pore Putty ($38) even promises long-term skin care benefits—and there may be some truth to that, thanks to the product’s enigmatic mattifying complex, but regardless, the putty itself does do a wonderful job of giving an even, shine-free tone to skin. As a primer, it’s perfect. We also tried Stila Perfectly Poreless Putty Perfector ($39), which makes similar claims of seamless invisible coverage.
The two products differ in texture and in method of application: The Peter Thomas Roth putty can be worn alone, as a primer, or dabbed onto skin over makeup as a finishing mattifier. It has a soft, silicone-y feel like many primers, whereas the Stila option goes on like a powder and is meant to be applied with a brush on its own or over foundation. Despite the powdery look, it has a malleability to it that is, indeed, very putty-like, and it doesn’t emphasize dry spots or wrinkles like most powders tend to. In fact, it does the opposite.
The pore-filling effects may be temporary, yes, but they’re pretty convincing. Both products are only lightly tinted, so there’s no “coverage” but rather a completely even complexion left behind. What both of these formulas have in common is that they’re silicone-based and packed with ingredients that sort of glide over the skin and create a smooth, flawless canvas that feels weightless, like your skin can still breathe. If you’ve had success with silicone-based primers in the past, then these products will work wonderfully for you, but if your skin reacts poorly to them with breakouts or clogged pores, then pore putties probably aren’t for you.
We’ve found our best results by wearing these products alone on makeup-free days. They’re effortless to apply, and they give you the look of perfect skin without the full foundation routine. They really work to reduce the look of pores, and they’re a great shortcut for when you need to look good fast. It’s an appealing concept, especially for low-key makeup lovers. And the pore-minimizing market is huge, so we’re sure to be seeing many more like them in the very near future.