How to Shrink Your Pores (Sort Of)

Can you shrink your pores? Technically, no. Pore size is genetically determined, rendering you pretty powerless. If you have dry, light skin, your pores probably don't present a huge problem; they're more visible on darker, oily skin. But whatever your skin type, you can minimise their appearance. If used diligently, over-the-counter serums and natural remedies really can make a big difference. "They help minimise the pore to a certain degree, but they will not close your pores because that's not healthy," says Beverly Hills-based aesthetician Mila Moursi.Though Moursi, who works her magic on clients like Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Biel, doesn't disregard natural remedies like egg white masks or all-natural clay, she says commercial products are a better bet. "They're properly calculated," she says, referring to formulas like Perricone MD's Intensive Pore Minimizer ($55), Dr. Murad's T-Zone Pore Refining Gel ($40), or Clinique's Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum ($43). "Their ingredients work in synergy with each other to give you great exfoliation and good toning."

On top of daily serum use, to really minimise the appearance of your pores, work a clay mask into your routine. Twice a week, after washing and exfoliating your face, put a hot towel on your face for two minutes, pressing it into the skin to help open up your pores. Splash your face with cool water and then apply the mask. "Any clay works--white, red, green--they're all great for cleansing and tightening your pores," Moursi says. We like Kiehl's Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Mask ($23) or Dr. Hauschka's Cleansing Clay Mask ($50), but you can also buy clay from a pharmacy and mix it with aloe vera juice or any floral water for an at-home mask. "Orange water is the best for pore minimising," Moursi says. "Mix one-quarter cup of clay with one-quarter cup of orange blossom water and leave it on your skin for 10 minutes. Splash with cold water and apply your moisturizer."

Finally, splurge on a refining lotion--they're not cheap, but they last forever. Though called lotions, they behave more like toners (something you probably haven't used since your teens). Most formulas, like Moursi's own Refining Lotion ($140) or LaPrairie's Cellular Refining Lotion ($95), exfoliate and balance the skin's sebum levels, stripping pores of dirt and oil while also tightening them. Frequency of application's based on skin type: "Thick or oily skin should use one every night for about a month at a time (then take one month off) while sensitive or dry skin should start with twice a week," Moursi says. So while serums, masks, and lotions might sound like too much work, the goal is to rotate the routine so you're using one or the other on a near daily basis. Stick with this routine for a month and we promise you'll see a difference!

-Britt Aboutaleb