is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How to Stop Foundation Settling in Pores: 7 Skincare Tips

How to Stop Foundation Settling in Pores

Foundations do a good job of hiding our flaws. Whenever we’re in a rush, one of the first things we grab is a foundation. It perfectly covers those sleepless nights and makes us look, well, less like a zombie. But, it’s not always foolproof.

Sometimes, foundation has a cakey texture to it. At the end of the day, you’ll notice how your pores look a lot bigger and the fine lines around your forehead stand out.

Foundation tends to sit and clogs large pores. Left alone, it may result in acne-prone skin and a dull and tired look. So, how do we prevent this from happening?

Luckily, we found the solution to keep foundation from settling. In this article, we’ll be sharing with you our beauty secrets on how to stop foundation settling in pores. So, be sure to stick around.

Table of Contents

How to Stop Foundation Settling in Pores?

Learning how to stop foundation settling in pores isn’t as quick as you’d think.

There are a couple of steps you have to follow and know by heart to help you maintain your best look:

Step 1: Cleanse Your Skin

Step 1

We can’t stress this enough.

Clean. Your. Skin.

It’s a simple beauty tip  if you want to get rid of pimples and acne, then wash your face.

Applying foundation on dirty skin is a big no-no. Excess oil, dirt, sweat, dead skin, dust, and all sorts of microscopic lints from your bed sheets and pillowcases can linger. Talk about gross!

Remove these first before foundation application. Without proper cleansing, there’s a high chance of a breakout, and nobody wants that.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association advises: wash your face at least twice a day because cleansing can unclog enlarged pores and reduce oiliness.

If you’re a forgetful person, here’s a suggestion: try washing your face in the morning as soon as you wake up, and at night once you take your makeup off.

Step 2: Exfoliate

Step 2

It’s not enough to just cleanse, we also need to exfoliate. Because cleansers don’t fully remove dead skin and oil built up during the week, exfoliators finish the job.

Beauty fact: Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin. It boosts the renewal process to make skin more elastic and more youthful.

Exfoliators come in two kinds: Physical and Chemical

Both will give you softer skin, the only difference is the method. Physical exfoliators slough dead skin using granules, while chemical exfoliators use face acids.

Tip: Gently exfoliate your skin at least once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells and to give it a fresh glow. As we age, exfoliation becomes more important as cell growth slows down.

Step 3: Moisturize Your Skin

Step 3

Cosmetics products often suck up all the moisture and can leave skin dry.

The lack of hydration often causes the foundation powder to settle against your skin harshly. What this means is that aside from looking old, your fine lines and enlarged pores become noticeable.

To keep foundation from settling in, use a moisturizer.

A moisturizer prepares our skin for foundation. It makes the foundation look even and prevents it from clumping in pores.

Step 4: Apply Primer

Step 4

Once the skin is cleansed, exfoliated, and moisturized, it’s time to start the makeup application and put on primer.

Primers help your makeup stay on all day, but it’s more than just that.

It also doubles as a concealer by smoothing over skin, filling in large pores, airbrushing the little fine lines we have, and evening out bumpy textures–all to create a smooth surface for which the foundation can sit on.

In a way, a primer is the final barrier between your skin and the foundation.

Beauty tip: When deciding on a primer, choose what’s best for your skin. It’s also good to know how to correctly apply primer, foundation, and concealer for a good makeup base.

Step 5: Use the Right Tools

Step 5

When it comes to foundation application, having the right tools is essential. It makes all the difference. 

If you want a smooth and even finish on the surface of your skin, then a foundation brush or a beauty blender will help you out.

Remember using only your hands in applying foundation isn’t a good tip to follow.

Why? Because it will only allow the makeup to settle in your pores and lines of your face. It makes everything you’re trying so hard to hide, appear on the surface of your skin.

Step 6: Finish It Off with a Setting Powder

Step 6

To lock everything in place, apply setting powder. It’s designed to hold the foundation and prevent makeup from rubbing off.

Setting powder is an excellent choice to make your face look natural. It sets everything, so you don’t have to worry about looking like a Barbie doll with runny makeup clumping in her pores.

You can either use a loose one or a compressed powder, depending on your need.

Browse the best powder options with our article on the best drugstore setting powders for large pores.

Step 7: Try Out a Lighter Shade of Foundation

Step 7

Applying foundation in excess amount will do more harm than good. Why not try using a lighter shade instead?

A lighter foundation feels lighter on the skin, so it doesn’t easily settle in your pores as much.

However, it does have a downside. It has a lighter coverage foundation compared to darker shades. But, this is nothing a good moisturizer can’t fix.

You can use a moisturizer before applying foundation that way your skin remains hydrated and protected.

5 Mistakes You're Doing with Your Foundation

5 Mistakes

A foundation is a lifesaver.

It’s the go-to makeup, but did you know that if you apply foundation the wrong way, it can damage your skin?

Foundation settles in pores, because of these common mistakes that you might not know you’re doing.

Mistake #1: Sleeping with Your Makeup On

We’ve all been there. We get so busy we hit the sack with our full makeup on. From time to time, we need to be reminded.

So, let’s start with the basics.

It’s fairly obvious, yet many people still forget. You don’t need to wait for your dermatologist to tell you that sleeping with makeup on is bad.

It results in break outs, dryness, wrinkles, fine lines, and even eye irritation.

Imagine layers of foundation sitting on top of your skin the WHOLE DAY. This easily clogs up your pores, forcing the makeup to settle. What’s more, it doesn’t let your skin breathe.

Mistake #2: Using Too Much Foundation

Have you ever tried covering up a nasty pimple?

If so, then you have an idea of how easy it is to get obsessed with hiding an imperfection. While it’s important to use enough foundation, too much can damage your skin.

A cakey and flaky look is the final product of someone who has done too much in their foundation application. Caked makeup settles itself in your pores, causing wrinkles and fine lines.

Mistake #3: Rubbing Your Foundation

Nothing irritates the skin more than rubbing it with your own hands. Beauty gurus and professional makeup artists use different blending tools for a reason.

Although it might look intimidating, here’s a tip: using a good brush or a beauty blender can make your foundation even and lessen caking. Gently press, but DON’T rub!

Mistake #4: You Don't Wait For Your Foundation to Dry

If you’re a night owl who works a 9-5 job, then you understand the struggles of waking up in the morning and rushing to make it on time.

Sometimes, you’ll slap everything on to your face; foundation, sunscreen, blush, and all.

It’s a bad habit. We know.

But you’ll notice that when you do this, foundation settles in your pores. So, you should stop.

When your foundation is still wet and you apply other products right away, it will collect and accumulate. And that’s not great.

It’s harder to gauge your coverage and the makeup will build itself up, giving you a cakey look. Yikes!

Mistake #5: Using the Wrong Foundation for Your Skin

Each person has their own skin type. A foundation might work for you, but not necessarily for others.

In times like these, you should know what your skin type is so you can choose the right product for your pores.

It usually falls among these three: oily, dry, and combination skin.

Beauty tip: For those with dry or aging skin, using a liquid or cream foundation is highly recommended. It has better moisturizing components compared to powder foundation that leaves skin dry most of the time.

For those with eczema: Make sure to use appropriate products for your skin! You can take a look at our review of the best eczema-safe foundations for options.

What Causes Large Pores?


It’s no secret. Those who have large pores have a higher chance of foundation settling in, especially the oily or combination skin types.

But, don’t worry. You’re now equipped with all the information and tips you need on how to stop foundation from settling in pores.

We’ll also be sharing with you more tips and beauty hacks to make your pores smaller.

However, before we do that, let’s find out what makes pores large.

Our skin is composed of oil pores and sweat pores. Pores are actually hair follicles that produce sebum for the body. There are many causes for enlarged pores:

  • Too much oil
  • Age
  • Hygiene
  • Exposure to the sun
  • Hormones
  • Applying excessive amount of cosmetics

This becomes a problem when oil collects in the pores and combines with dirt or makeup.

The result? Pores become blocked. The blockage results in the pores on your face stretching, thus making it look bigger.

How to Treat Large Pores

Large pores can make us feel conscious about ourselves and may affect our self-confidence. Yet, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel to prevent this from happening. There are many ways to treat large pores:

  • A good place to start out is by cleansing your face. We‘ve already said this before and we’ll say it again: wash your face. There’s no better advice than this. A good skincare routine begins by getting rid of all the dirt and oil stuck on our skin. When you do this, it allows for your skin pores to breathe again.
  • Be gentle with your skin. Scrubbing your face harder won’t make it cleaner. Never scrub it, rub it, or squeeze the skin on your face. It will irritate your skin and results in large pores.
  • Treat Acne Right Away. Acne clogs pores, so it’s better to get rid of the problem right away. Use a cleanser with salicylic acid or retinol to do so. Don’t try to force the pimple out yourself. It will do the opposite. 

Home Remedies to Make Your Pores Smaller

Home Remedies

To make skin pores appear smaller, here are 3 home remedies you can do:

#1 Aloe Vera

If you’re a K-drama junkie or fan, then you’re familiar with the many benefits of Aloe Vera.

It’s all the rage among Korean actresses. It has hydrating elements that tighten the pores and the fine lines of our skin. To get the look, you can easily purchase a pack from your local K-beauty store.

#2 Apple Cider Vinegar

This is the best natural skin toner there is. To do this, you’ll need to prepare the apple cider vinegar and water. Mix it together at a ratio of 1:1, then gently dab it on your face using a cotton pad

#3 Baking Soda

Baking soda paste is considered a face miracle. It reduces pores on the face, while also combating acne.

For this, you’ll need two tablespoons of warm water and two tablespoons of baking soda. Mix the water and baking soda together, massage on your face for 20 seconds, and then wash off with cold water. You’ll see results right away.

Should You Abandon Foundation?

People say you shouldn’t use liquid foundation at all…

To answer, it all depends on you, your needs, and the occasion.

If you’re only going out for a quick grocery run, then you don’t really need to apply liquid foundation. A smear of sun protection screen would do.

On the other hand, if you want that extra boost of self-confidence, then apply foundation. It’s as simple as that.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

There are many times that foundation prevents us from having clear skin. It can settle in our pores and make fine lines more noticeable.

Fortunately, there are many ways on how to stop foundation settling in pores.

It starts out by cleansing. Remember to always take good care of your skin and help keep your pores clean by following these tips.

Check out our article on the best foundations to cover large pores for good makeup options.


August 26, 2021 – Improved article formatting, reviewed and updated overall content, rearranged sections for better reader experience

July 15, 2021 – Reviewed and updated article links

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.