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This clever lather makes me enjoy using toner again





Did you know you have 20,000 pores on your face? Until a few months ago, this was news to me. Twenty thousand sounds like a huge number, although you probably wouldn't think of your pores as separate entities unless you're


looking at your nose in a magnifying glass, or getting a facial with manual extractions that make you feel every little You can pinch it.

When you think about the beauty industry, there are only a handful of brands that sell products specifically for pores. Namely, a brand that launched thirteen years ago with “Pore” in its name: Benefit Cosmetics.


Benefit created POREfessional Primer, a lip balm designed to shrink pores. Although POREfessional was still new at the time, it quickly evolved and developed into a full-fledged collection. It's expanded to include multiple

primer iterations (Lite, Hydrate, Matte Rescue Gel) for various skin concerns, not to mention setting spray. Now, more than a decade later, Benefit has launched a new innovation that targets pores—not in primer or setting, but


in skin care.

But don’t call it skin care. The brand pays special attention to the pore area. “Most skin care products typically have claims about pores, like something that shrinks pores,” explains Kate Helfrich, Benefit’s global head of


product and service innovation. "But no brand is solely focused on pores. At Benefit, we don't offer anti-aging pore care."

So what do people want when it comes to pore care? Benefit customers have been demanding a more skin-conscious approach to everything in recent years, according to Jared Bailey, Benefit's global brow expert. "We're finding that


people are really looking for more targeted pore solutions, not just makeup solutions, but solutions that help them get more benefit from all their other skin care products," Bailey explains.

The benefits of pore data have continued to emerge (pun intended) over the years. "We're actually able to break it down into three categories: skin texture, pore reduction, and congestion relief," Helfrich explains. They then


developed six products that address the three most common pore concerns—two cleansers, a toner, two masks, and a moisturizer—that can be used with other skin care products that serve other purposes or Single point use (Example:

B. Aids in fluid intake).


The collection also reflects Benefit’s commitment to reducing packaging waste. “We’re always trying to do better,” Helfrich said. "For our blushes, for example, we recently ditched brushes, wooden handles and plastic packaging.

But when it comes to pore care, this is really a unique opportunity to do it right from the start." To that end, all six The products are made from infinitely recyclable aluminum and the outer box is FSC certified for recycling.


Since I've noticed my pores - especially blackheads on my nose - I was curious to see how my skin would react to this range. I tested all six pore care products, so scroll to read my reviews.

There are two different cleaning products in this range. The first one is this cleansing oil that cleanses pores and removes makeup. If you're interested in oil cleansers in general, you'll love this one. It comes in an aluminum


bottle with a pump, which is much easier to apply than cleaning balms where you have to stick your finger in. But the principle is the same: a gentle cleanser that melts makeup off your face (this is especially helpful if you

use primer and setting spray to keep your concealer on).


Use it alone or as the first step in a double cleanse, this is my favorite. It's lighter than other oil cleansers I've tried. I love that it doesn't irritate my sensitive eyes and contains grape seed, jojoba seed, and avocado

oils to remove all makeup. There are also ceramides that moisturize my dry skin without drying it out. Will my pores be "free" afterward? I need a beautician to come and check it out. But my face does feel clean.


After cleansing the oil, I apply a foaming cleanser to remove any remaining oil. Benefit Global brow expert and esthetician Jared Bailey says the Good Cleanup Cleanser is his go-to pore pro every day and he keeps it in the

shower. If your skin reacts to sulfates, you'll be happy to know that this cleanser is formulated without sulfates but still lathers to remove residual oil and makeup. The formula contains lemon extract, which gives the lather


a natural citrus scent.

Normally, my face feels sensitive after using foaming cleansers, but not with this one. It's super gentle and doesn't cleanse my skin harshly or harshly. Generally speaking, if you have oily or acne-prone skin, I think you'll


prefer this to a cleansing oil. Instead, use oil if you have dry skin.

If you want to try products from this range, choose this toner. This is a toning foam with AHA and PHA that you may have never heard of and neither have I. AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid) and PHAs (polyhydroxy


acids, such as gluconolactone) are both chemical exfoliants that help gently remove dead skin and leave a smoother surface. PHA in particular is considered gentle on the skin.

In my experience, this toner absorbs everything I love about toners (it leaves my skin refreshed and prepped for my next serum and moisturizer) and is generally less of a hassle. Since it's ventilated, I don't have to use a


Q-tip and there's no liquid running through my fingers. I just pump it into my hands, squeeze the lather onto my face, and let it soak into those 20,000 pores.

If you are oily or prone to acne, this is the mask for you. Maggie Ford Danielson, director of branding at Benefit, says the Deep Retreat Clay Mask is a must-have in her range and considers it a "Sunday detox" mask. "I'm very


sensitive and prone to acne," Ford Danielson explains. "I have clogged pores, acne and blackheads, so I use a mask once a week to really cleanse my pores."

Mineral-rich kaolin clay eliminates excess oil. You can actually see how it works: little white dots show where fat is being pulled out of the skin. I use it as a spot treatment—just on my nose and chin, where I want to fight


blackheads—but you can also use it all over your face if you want a really deep clean. The effects last for 30 minutes, so for me this is more of a weekly treatment, but still a treat. However, I would probably recommend the

mini version, which is only £18, rather than £35.


It's like a foundation mask. Just like an instant facial, it only takes 3-5 minutes. I prefer this formula to Deep Retreat because it works faster and the aluminum tube makes it easy to squeeze the product out without cluttering

my small bathroom.


It applies almost like a moisturizer but turns into clay when it dries. The exfoliating part is made from seaweed and clay, but the formula also contains hyaluronic acid and squalane, so it's not as abrasive as exfoliating pads.

(Plus, it's more environmentally friendly than peel-off pads because it comes in aluminum packaging and doesn't contain disposable pads.) At night, I leave it on while I brush my teeth, then rinse it off.


The final product of the range is a moisturizer. It's a lightweight gel-cream that combines well with all the other products in the range - especially to moisturize skin after using foaming toners and masks. If you're very dry,

you can even apply facial oil directly on top. For example, Bailey uses a hydrating facial oil, like Sunday Riley Juno Oil, layered over her moisturizer to achieve the desired level of hydration. Of course, you also need to


wear sunscreen during the day.

I love that it contains niacinamide and squalane. I use it in the morning or evening after exfoliating and my dry skin absorbs it. I have to say, the moisturizer has a light fragrance, which I like, but you should avoid it if


you are sensitive. I personally had no reaction. Instead, I used this moisturizer when my skin suffered from contact dermatitis and this cream instantly soothed it. Granted, it's a bit pricey, but I'd pay a little more for

aluminum.

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