For anyone who’s produced even an ounce of oil out of their skin, more than likely you’ve got enlarged pores on your forehead, nose, cheeks and chin, referred to as the ‘t-zone’. If you are currently or were someone who has had oily skin all over, your pores can be larger on the entire face.
I truly believe that having beautiful, younger-looking skin is less about trying to eliminate every line and wrinkle from ever appearing (since visible aging is a natural part of life), but rather a smooth, poreless, even-toned skin. Look at any ad in a magazine and you’ll never see a pore on their skin. You might see a few lines, especially if it’s a celebrity in their mid 40s and beyond, but pores? No way. It’s what I work to achieve both on my own skin and for my clients.
Recently, I had some photos taken for an upcoming feature in Austin Monthly Magazine. Knowing that I want to make my skin look as smooth as possible (and I personally have yet asked for a photo of me to ever be airbrushed), I do this special treatment to my skin the night before and it works like a charm.
Here are the steps that I take the night before having pictures taken to have beautiful and poreless skin:
Step 1: Wash my skin with a gentle cleanser to remove a day’s worth of oil, makeup and bacteria. Rinse well and pat dry.
Step 2: Apply a nickel-size amount of an exfoliating facial scrub to the face and massage in circular motions for 60 seconds. I also use this in the crow’s feet area, but I make sure not to get it into my eyes. Rinse well. (I use Mint Buffing Beads.)
Step 3: Apply a thin coat of an acid-based exfoliating peel to the entire face, including the under eye area. (Look for something with lactic and/or glycolic acid.) I use Triple Berry Smoothing Peel which uses five acids, yet is still very gentle for my sensitive skin. I leave it on for seven minutes and rinse well with cool water and then gently pat my skin dry with a soft towel.
Step 4: I then apply a dime-size amount of an over-the-counter retinol serum. If you have a prescription retinoid, use a pea-size it. (My skin is very sensitive so I use Advanced Resurfacing Serum.)
Step 5: Wait for 15 minutes, I leave it on and apply a tiny amount of night moisturizer—sparingly. (I want it to be barely there.)
Step 6: I go to bed and get my beauty sleep since a good night’s sleep is key to looking fresh in photos.
Here are the three benefits and why this works to make the skin look poreless:
1. Exfoliating the skin using both a scrub and followed with a peel is removing surface dead skin cells that make the skin look dull and make pores appear larger. Out with the old and in with the new!
2. When you remove the top layers of the skin with exfoliating acids, any performance ingredient applied after can work more effectively.
3. A prescription retinoid (Retin-A, Renova, Tretinoin, Differin Avita, Tazorac are some examples) or a non-prescription retinol serum will penetrate deep into the skin to work it’s magic to encourage collagen and cell turnover. However, for those familiar with these ingredients, you know it takes many months to really create visible change in the skin for the better, but where the immediate benefit comes in is how it can dry out the skin when used. (Much less so with retinol.) And dry skin is tight, smooth skin, make sense? (Not as much with retinol, but a prescription retinoid WILL cause the skin to get dry and flakey a few days after but on that first morning after applying the night before, the skin looks really nice and tight.) Applying just a tiny bit of moisturizer after will just keep it slightly hydrated so the skin doesn’t get crepey-looking.
So there you have it. It’s my secret trick that I use to make my skin look super smooth and my pores disappear temporarily. (Of course, long-term use of retinoids or retinol will help tremendously in this effort which is why I use Advanced Resurfacing Serum—faithfully three nights a week.)
For additional poreless skin tricks for photos, using a primer under makeup will make the skin look flawless, too.
Note: Sometimes I will do a chemical peel (nothing too strong) on clients the night before a photo shoot because it will really dry out the skin nicely—in a good way.
Also, I want to mention that it was recently announced that actress, Kate Winslet has a ‘no photoshop’ clause in her contract with a major beauty brand. She says, “It’s a hope that other people might follow suit but it does feel important to me because I do think we have a responsibility to the younger generation of women.” Love this, Kate. Don’t you?
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Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”