Desperately seeking porefection

Do pore-minimizing products live up to their claims?

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This is not a pastime that I would recommend.

For weeks now, I've been peering into a 10X magnifying mirror, morning and night, examining — eek — the pores on my nose and cheeks, chin and forehead.

The reason for this unwelcome, hypervigilance is that I've been testing a type of product that I didn't even know existed to solve a problem I didn't know I had: enlarged pores.

I only found out about the proliferation of pore products when my friend and colleague Brenda Richardson told me about them. She wondered if they actually do shrink pores and make your skin look smoother.

After some research, I found that there's this huge world of pore "refining" and "minimizing" treatments out there. So, I enlisted Brenda to help me try out a variety of them at prices ranging from $8.99 to $55. She even came up with a name for our project: "Desperately seeking porefection."

Here's our take:

THE BOTTOM LINE: No porefection here.

Brenda says: I don't think they live up to their hype at all. I'm not sold. I don't think any of them are worth running out and buying.

Ellen says: My pores are unchanged. I think the whole idea is dumb. I'd rather use the money to buy a new lipstick.

See the photos above; click on "caption" or read below for more information.

Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals Intensive Pore Minimizer

The promise: "Designed to effectively reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. ... The result is skin that appears firmer, less oily, less shiny and remains fresh and smooth throughout the day."

The basics: A lightly scented liquid that smooths nicely over the face.

Details: $55, 4 ounces, Sephora,;

Brenda says: After a few days, pores appeared a bit smaller, skin was smooth. Weird fragrance smelled like a combination of antiseptic and perfume.

Ellen says: Felt good going on, but I saw no change in my skin whatsoever. The smell didn't bother me.

Our advice: Skip it. Not worth the steep price.

Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector

The promise: "Look smooth and virtually flawless with pores that appear more than 50 percent smaller — instantly."

The basics: A pinkish cream — with a nice silky-powdery feel with a matte finish — comes in three shades. Despite the "invisible" claim, it has a whitish cast that doesn't work for darker complexions. The Good Housekeeping Research Institute tested five pore products and declared this the winner.

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