Battle of the Pore Fillers

So in an attempt to stick to my budget and cut down on my collection, I went through my makeup stash only to find an absurd amount of primers/bases that fell into the category of pore fillers, pore refiners, blur creams and the like.

I thought it would be great idea to really try and test them side by side to come out with a clear winner rather than rely on my memory so here we go!

The Contenders:
  • Benefit The Porefessional $53 for 22ml
  • CANMAKE Pore Wrap Gel $14.90 for 6-7ml~
  • Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Adjust $22 for 12ml
  • Essence All about Matt Make-up Base $7.15 for 20ml
  • W7 Prime Magic Camera Ready $4.99 for 30ml 
  • Garnier Perfect Blur Smoothing Base Perfector $16.99 for 22ml
  • The Face Shop Face it Moisture Pore Balm $11.20 for 17g
Bonus Contender

  • Too Faced Primed and Poreless $39 for 28g

First up - my gritty bare skin for reference.  I've included close ups to try and show the effect (if any) that products have.  These photos are edited slightly more than my usual photos, I'm pretty crap with using photo-editing software but I've tried to up the clarity and sharpness to really get those pores to stand out.

Benefit's The Porefessional
Value - kinda sucks to be quite honest, over $50 for a meager 22ml of product.  This product can be obtained for cheaper from the international website but you do need to factor in the shipping cost.  This can be to your advantage as they have been known to offer good deals on shipping when spending over a certain amount.

Product - texture is creamy and soft, reasonable amount of fragrance that may turn off buyers who are sensitive to scented products.  Feels neither particularly moisturising or drying on the skin.  Tends to separate easily, will require a bit of massaging to combine the products back together (otherwise you'll get a fun watery surprise when you open it, like when you open your mustard - yuck!).  This product is not technically a "primer" (supposedly) and is recommended for use on just problem areas.

Effect - One of the best contenders which it really needs to be considering its price point.  Does a fairly reasonable job at blurring the pores on your cheeks, forehead and chin.  Not as effective on the nose however many products fall short on this front.

One trick the Benefit employees like to do is to show you this product on your hands to see how well it blurs the fine creases around your knuckles.  Despite this, it's not directly translatable to how well it works on fine lines on your face or the pores on your face.  On the plus side, Benefit are generally happy to provide samples of this product and demonstrations so you can see if this will work for your skin type.

Where to buy - Myer, Adorebeauty, Benefit's International Website

Additional - Be wary of fakes, Benefit is a brand that has a hefty amount of fakes circulating on websites such as eBay, Aliexpress and Taobao.  Strongly recommended to buy this from one of the suppliers above.

CANMAKE's Pore Wrap Gel
Value - CANMAKE is essentially a Priceline/drugstore brand in Japan so if you're actually in Japan, it's quite a decently valued brand and product (this gel costs somewhere between 500-700yen which equated to about $5-$7 at my time of purchase) however this is a less available brand internationally so online pricing sucks.  Because of this alone, I wouldn't recommend this unless you happen to be in Japan.  I thought I would include it regardless because why the hell not.

Product - Similar to The Porefessional, this has a creamy feeling, it's light when first squeezing out of the tube but quite dense when rubbing onto the face, like a thick moisturiser.  Very little-to-no fragrance.  Slightly hydrating and less drying feeling.  Also prone to separating in the tube so this may need mixing up to re-combine.

Effect - Despite my skin looking a bit redder in this picture (not related to the product), this actually turned out to almost match The Porefessional in terms of effectiveness.  It packs a good punch for being a cute low-profile product.  Was more effective than some others at blurring the pores on my nose which is a plus.

Where to buy - Yesstyle, eBay

Too Faced's Primed and Poreless
Value - One of the more expensive options in this list however less hefty than The Porefessional.  Too Faced is available at Mecca Maxima and is actually one of the brands under the Mecca label that isn't stupidly overpriced and much more reasonable.  I received this mini-sized version in a Christmas set which is more preferable personally as I enjoy being able to nab smaller sized products to really road-test at home first.

Product - Very similar to both The Porefessional and Pore Wrap Gel.  This has a fluffier texture that, when applied, becomes quite tacky so you may want to wait longer for this product to settle before moving onto the next steps of your routine.  Gentle floral fragrance to this product, shouldn't be overbearing to those with scent-sitivity.  When dried, this product feels very invisible and is one of the few that would make for a great whole-face primer as its name suggests.

Effect - Best so far in my opinion.  Did a great job at blurring pores on both my cheek and nose (however my shit photography skills kinda missed my nose there, sorry).  Despite tacking slightly longer to settle, the result is a very soft and smooth base so this hits pretty close to what they're trying to achieve with the product.

Where to buy -  Mecca Maxima, BeautyBay (free shipping)

Smashbox's Photo Finish Color Correcting Primer
Value - On the higher scale for this one at $1.83 per ml for the travel sized and $1.63 for the full sized.  It's not too unreasonable for being a mid-ranged brand that's also stocked in Mecca.  However, in the US, this product is heavily compared to a budget anti-chafing gel by Monistat which costs something around $5USD.  If the products are as comparable as people claim then it's hard to be unbaised and objective about the value of this product.

Product - To be fair, this is more of a general primer however it does claim to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores so I think it deserves to defend its honor in this battle.  It's very similar in texture to Primed and Poreless as it's lightweight and fluffy once dispensed but becomes quite tacky after rubbing it into the skin.  When I test this product on my hand, I find a decent amount of reduction in the redness to my skin yet for some reason this isn't translated well when used on my skin and has a very minimal effect to red areas however it washes out more neutral parts of my skin which is a real bummer.

Effect - This product does a pretty decent job at reducing the effect of my pores despite it not being a main selling factor so I'll give it points for that.  Sadly the colour correcting was pretty garbage for me, although this photo looks a little more neutral than some others, it's really more due to the lighting and my camera than the actual product.  I'd recommend going with the clear coloured version of this product.  My skin was left feeling quite soft and this worked well as a nice non-drying base.

Where to buy - Mecca Cosmetica

Garnier's Perfect Blur Smoothing Base Perfector
Value - A pretty reasonable $17 for 22ml makes this product $36 cheaper than The Porefessional for the same amount of product so that's pretty nifty.

Product - Weird as hell!  This product squeezes out in weird slightly foamy spatters - that sounds gross but it's not too bad, just really different to the others.  The texture is similar to a chocolate mousse but becomes tacky once worked onto the skin.  The combination of the two means you will need to take a bit more care to avoid the product building up and balling up in certain areas, it is prone to gathering around your nose to party.  Dries so softly but neither drying nor particularly moisturising.  Very minimal fragrance.

Effect - Damn, I forgot how good this product was for its price point and feel guilty for neglecting it.  Does a pretty good job at blurring the pores around and on my nose, you can see a little bit of buildup as I mentioned above so you may need to massage this product away from your nose a bit more.

Where to buy - Priceline (skin care section), Target, Coles, Woolworths  

W7's Prime Magic
Value - easily the best in list, for under $5 you get a fat tube of this primer.  However at such a cheap price point we get to the point of whether the product is at all effective so let's find out.

Product - This is supposedly a silicone-based primer which can be hard to find in the lower price ranges.  I'd love to confirm this but I cannot find a damn ingredients list which is a little unsettling.  It certainly feels a bit more like a silicone based primer and is one of the most hydrating of the products in this list if not a little greasy feeling.  Like the Smashbox primer, the pore-reducing claims are less of a selling point and more of a bonus that they claim on the back.

Effect - Pretty average to nil.  This product would be fine to use as a nice cheap primer but its claims of reducing fine lines and pores are very barely fulfilled.

Where to buy - Chemist Warehouse.

Essence's All About Matt
Value - Essence is very much a budget brand that I've featured a few times before in posts.  Despite being so cheap, they really do have some gems amongst the brand.  Whilst not quite as cheap as W7, this base is in the single $ digits so it's very affordable.

Product - This product was more liquid than the others and spread like a serum on the skin.  It's very lightweight to the point of feeling non-existent.  The fragrance is very mellow however a little off-putting.

Effect - Pretty much like splashing water on your face.  Sorry Essence, I like you but this product is just nothing.  It's worth noting that it doesn't really function all that great as a primer or base either, it does not smooth out your skin and product tends to tug on it due to the texture.  Hard pass on this.

Where to buy - Priceline, Target

The Face Shop's Face it Moisture Pore Balm
Value - In physical The Face Shop stores, this tends to go for around $17 which is still not too expensive really if you prefer to buy in person however when buying online it's a pretty cheap deal and oft comes with free/very cheap shipping (I love you Korea).  Product comes in a unique format with a sturdy tin, it includes a little spatula and sponge to pat the product on.

Product - Well it's certainly a balm but I'd describe it as being a little greasy to touch but blends in nicely.  Because of the nature of the product, it's likely you'll need more of this to cover your problem areas than many of the products listed above.  It does have a stronger floral fragrance which may irritate those with a sensitivity to perfumed products.  Whilst it comes with a sponge, I'd recommend using your spatula and just your fingers to work this product in, I found the sponge to be counter productive.

Effect - Dayum!  Pretty good considering the price point of this product.  It's up with Garnier in that balances value with effectiveness.  This product is not as strong as a performer for pores on the nose itself but does a reasonably effective job at minimising the appearance of those on your cheeks, chin and forehead.  I did find this product to snuggle next to your nose a bit and also settle in the pores a bit more than others though so application will take a bit more care.

Best Value - Garnier's Perfect Blur Base & The Face Shop's Face it Moisture Pore Balm
These products are both capable of providing an improved result whilst being within the $10-$20 range.  Too Faced's Primed and Poreless is a runner up for being a good mid-range primer with excellent pore reducing capabilities whilst still being affordable and offering a decent amount of product.

Best Product - The Face Shop's Face it Moisture Pore Balm
Despite it's somewhat greasy feeling initially, I really enjoyed the feel and smell of this product however it's less likely to be an all-round crowd pleaser due to its fragrance and unique texture and my voting on this is very much personal rather than unbiased.  My runner up choice is Too Faced's Primed and Poreless which is more likely to please the general crowd due to it's light texture and non-intrusive fragrance.

Best Effect - Too Faced's Primed and Poreless
I feel this product had the best overall result regarding pore blurring however the added bonus that it's an excellent primer rather than just a spot treatment makes it a very worthy product.  It smells great and feels good on the skin and is all round a great product.
Disclaimer - like all my posts, I try my best to accurately portray each product to how they look in real life.  All these products were purchased or gifted to me and were not provided as press samples from any of the brands.  My photography and photo editing is certainly amateur however despite this, I hope to provide an insightful and truthful post.


  1. Thanks for doing this comparison and review! I was surprised to be able to actually see the differece in your photos -- a lot of people are convinced that primers don't work, haha. I'm definitely considering the Too Faced and Face Shop primers now; maybe the Face Shop because I use their Face It BB Cream line so they might work well together. Definitely following your blog!

    1. Hi Kelley, I'm glad you liked it :D I'm a fan of the Face It BB Cream too, The Face Shop makes some pretty awesome little products and they're so affordable too!

  2. Wow, what a great post! It would have taken so much time and effort to take all these photographs, do the edting as well as wrte out all of this information. I really appreciate the amount of detail that you went into about the effectiveness of each product! I find that the Benefit Porefessional doesn't do much for me but I'd be keen to try the Too Faced one! New follower here :)

    Sarah | Bows & Pleats

    1. Thanks Sarah, glad you found it of some help! I hope the Too Faced Primed and Poreless works out for you :)