porefessional model

Clogged Pores

5 Tips on How to Clean Pores (From an Expert)

By Ezgi Turna Sadeghi, Benefit National Brow & Beauty Authority, Turkey

Feb 1, 2023

We know, we know. When you think of Benefit Cosmetics, you automatically think of brows, right? Well, while we do love our arches, we also can’t get enough of PORES. Our obsession began in 2010 when we first launched our pore primer, The POREfessional. And with 10+ years of pore experience, product development, and more than 5,000 trained Pore Experts worldwide, we don’t like to gatekeep our beauty secrets. So, we sat down with a bona fide Pore Expert, Benefit Global Brow & Beauty Authority & Licensed Esthetician, Jared Bailey, to get the inside scoop on the best way to clean our pores and achieve healthier-looking, cleaner skin. (You’re totally going to be a POREfessional after this.)

So…You Can’t Get Rid of Your Pores. And That’s a Good Thing!

The first step to clean pores? Learning about what they do and how they work.

Honestly, pores get thrown a lot of shade, but they play a seriously important role in keeping us healthy.

Pores are the tiny holes that surround the hair follicles on your face. They release sebum, a natural oil that our bodies produce, which moisturizes our skin and keeps it soft and resilient. When these tiny holes fill up with dirt, dead skin cells, oil, makeup, bacteria, and more, they can “clog” over time. If you’re noticing imperfections surfacing on your skin, you’re most likely dealing with clogged pores…and it can be super frustrating!

So, while we can’t get rid of our pores (why would we? They do so much for us!), we can minimize their appearance by keeping them clean. With proper care, not only will they look better, but we’ll feel better, too.

So, How Do You Clean Pores? We Asked Our Expert

There’s so much information out there when it comes to how to clean our pores. And if you don’t know where to start, feeling overwhelmed is basically an understatement.

The good news? Benefit’s Global Brow & Beauty Authority, Jared Bailey, is here to help! “Think of pores like 20,000 tiny little openings on your face…almost like gopher holes!” says Bailey. “It’s important to clean pores regularly, just like brushing your teeth. The good news is that there are several ways to keep pores clean and looking their best.”


“Think of pores like 20,000 tiny little openings on your face...almost like gopher holes! It’s important to clean pores regularly, just like brushing your teeth.”

Read on for Jared’s 5 tips on how to clean pores efficiently:

Tip 1: Double Cleansing is Key

You’ve probably heard about double cleansing. You may have even thought to yourself, ‘"Umm...TWO cleansers? That’s too much effort!” We get it. Time is money, bb. But in this case, both cleanses are super effective and work together to clean your pores.

“The first cleanse typically helps remove makeup, surface oil, and all that gunk we pick up throughout our day by just existing,” says Bailey. “Once we sweep that stuff away, the second cleanse is where we can get deeper and wash away dirt.”

Turn To a Toner

To help keep pores on your nose looking their best, I recommend regularly sloughing off dead skin cells with a gentle exfoliant (hey, if those dead skin cells aren’t on your face, they can’t get stuck in your pores, right?). Try The POREfessional Tight ’n Toned toning foam, which uses a balance of AHAs and PHAs (that’s alpha hydroxy acids and polyhydroxy acids) to help visibly tighten and refine pores and improve skin texture.

Use Moisturizer to Lock in the Good Stuff

After double cleansing, the bad stuff is out…but now we need to make sure we keep the good stuff in. And by good stuff, we mean moisture!

Using a moisturizer can help keep your skin balanced and can help increase moisture in the skin over time. Using a lightweight, smoothing moisturizer for pores like The POREfessional Smooth Sip, not only hydrates and helps improve skin texture, but also visibly minimizes pores over time. (I know, right?)

DoubleCleansingIf you want to give your skin (and your pores) a true cleanse, a double cleansing routine is the way to go. That’s why we developed a dynamic duo for double cleansing! The POREfessional Get Unblocked pore-clearing makeup-removing cleansing oil and The POREfessional Good Cleanup pore-purifying foaming cleanser. While both are cleansers (and can be used separately, up to you!), they’re even better together.

Cleansing with The POREfessional Get Unblocked first will help you visibly melt away makeup and oil. Following up with The POREfessional Good Cleanup then helps rinse away leftover impurities (bet that your waterproof mascara and longwearing makeup will *not* be there after using these).

Still Need Some Convincing?

99% of people who have used The POREfessional Good Cleanup said skin looks clearer AND feels smoother over time* and 93% of those who have used The POREfessional Get Unblocked said it visibly melts away dirt, oil and makeup**. PLUS, when you use these cleansers together, they’ll remove waterproof AND longwearing makeup for a more thorough double cleanse.

*Self-evaluation by 116 participants after 1 month.

**Self-evaluation by 107 participants after 1 use

Tip 2: Repeat After Us, Be Gentle

We love to exfoliate, don’t get us wrong...but too much of a good thing can sometimes turn out to be not-so-good, especially if you aren’t using gentle methods or products. Exfoliating too often with harsh products can disrupt the skin barrier, result in stripped skin, lead to an overproduction of oil, and may cause imperfections.

Make sure you are being G-E-N-T-L-E and not overdoing it.

Tip 3: Only Use Ingredients Your Face Will Love

When it comes to pore care, we love ingredients that are gentle, non-comedogenic (won’t block or clog pores), hydrating and/or non-stripping. Our Pore Care from The POREfessional collection was developed specifically with pore cares and concerns in mind, so of course we only used ingredients like bisabolol, AHAs, PHAs, and squalane (just to name a few).

Why We Love Them:

  1. Bisabolol: Bisabolol, which is also known as alpha bisabolol or a-bisabolol, is an ingredient often used in skin products. It’s known to help skin feel soothed and comfortable. It’s used in our pore-purifying foaming cleanser (The POREfessional Good Cleanup), our cleansing oil (The POREfessional Get Unblocked), and our pore-clearing clay mask (The POREfessional Deep Retreat).

  2. AHAs and PHAs: Acids probably already have a place in your current routine already. And, there are different types of acids: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), and Polyhydroxy Acids (PHAs).

    “AHAs can be really helpful for oily or imperfection-prone skin and help to exfoliate and visibly tighten pores,” explains Bailey. “PHAs are very similar to AHAs, yet more gentle, and are great for those with sensitive skin or anyone who finds other acids are a bit too strong for their skin type.”

    A formula balanced with both Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) & Polyhydroxy Acids (PHAs) will help exfoliate and visibly tighten pores—gently. These, combined with lemon extract (which helps pores look smaller) and yuzu extract (which helps skin feel smoother), make The POREfessional Tight & Toned toning foam great for AM and PM routines.  

  3. Squalane: “Squalane is an emollient that is biomimetic, which means it mimics the function of natural substances and is easy for our bodies to recognize,” says Bailey. “It’s moisturizing and it helps keep our skin supple and hydrated.”

    Our lightweight smoothing moisturizer The POREfessional Smooth Sip is hydrating and skin-balancing thanks to being powered by a combination of squalane, niacinamide, celery & flax seed extracts, and aloe leaf juice.


Tip 4: Gettin’ Steamy! Use Steam to Soften Pore Buildup 

An easy way to get a deep clean? Add some steam!

“Using steam helps make it easier...to remove excess dirt, oil, and impurities that can get stuck in our pores,” says Bailey. “Plus, using steam in your skincare routine is just really relaxing and makes you feel the good kind of bougie, ya know?”

A common misunderstanding about steam is that it can “open up pores,” which technically isn’t true. Pores aren’t windows—we can’t open or close them. Their size and their characteristics are often based on genetics, so if your mom has bigger pores, you might have them, too. But hey, we can still clean ’em....and steam ’em! Here are our favorite hacks:

  • Hang out in a steamy shower (with clean skin, of course!).
  • When your skin is warm, it can be more sensitive. Use gentle, nourishing products after your shower, and avoid irritating your skin with a towel.
  • You don’t need to steam every single day…once a week should do it!

Follow up your steam with a pore-clearing clay mask (hiii The POREfessional Deep Retreat) to help pull out dirt, oil, and debris that’s been softened.

And pretty please...don’t forget to moisturize with The POREfessional Smooth Sip!

Tip 5: Make Pore Care a Ritual

Our skin loves consistency (don’t we all), so make sure you have a solid AM and PM Pore Care routine in place…whether that’s 3 steps or 10 steps (we love the energy!). And once a week, you can throw in a few pore “treats” like a mask.

Having a routine can also help you identify changes in your pores and skin, and products and ingredients that work for you (or don’t). It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress! And as with any change to your daily routine, it takes time, so try to be patient.

Taking just a few minutes out of your day to clean pores and give ’em some love will get you on your way to your best skin ever.

Clean Pores are Happy Pores

At Benefit, we know that clean pores lead to healthier-looking skin. With more than 5,000 Pore Experts all over the world, we’re here to advocate for MORE pore education and to help you prioritize caring for your pores.

If you have pore-specific questions or want to learn even more about treating your pores right, cruise through our All About Pores page. Because sure, PORE may be a four-letter word, but every pore deserves 5-star treatment (and we’re here to deliver).

Always and pore-ever,

Ezgi Turna Sadeghi

Learn More


  1. Whelan, Corey. “The Misnomer of Open Pores and How to Treat Them When They’re Clogged.” Healthline. 7, Mar, 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/open-pores
  2. Chertoff, Jane. “5 Ways to Unclog Pores and 2 Methods to Avoid.” Healthline. 11, Aug, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/how-to-unclog-pores#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1
  3. Watson, Kathryn. “How to Close Your Pores.” Healthline. 23, Dec, 2021, https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-close-pores#_noHeaderPrefixedContent
  4. Cherney, Kristeen. “Top 8 Ways to Get Rid of Large Pores.” Healthline. 6, Apr, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/how-to-get-rid-of-large-pores#exfoliate
  5. Higuera, Valencia. “What is Squalane and What Are its Benefits for Skin and Hair?” Healthline. 12, Oct, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/squalane
  6. Ferreira, Mandy and Elizabeth Bennett. “Everything You Need to Know About the Oil Cleansing Method.” Healthline. 28, Jan, 2022, https://www.healthline.com/health/oil-cleansing-method#benefits
  7. De Bellefonds, Colleen. “Brainy Beauty: What Can PHAs Really Do for Your Skin?” Healthline. 8, Dec, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/phas-for-your-skin-the-facts-behind-the-beauty-hype#
  8. “Double Cleansing Method Explained: Should You Try It?” Cleveland Clinic. 21, June, 2022, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/double-cleansing-explained/#
  9. Cherney, Kristeen. “How to Open Your Pores.” Healthline. 7, Aug, 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-open-pores#common-myths
  10. Oleck, Joan. “What Noncomodegenic Means in Skin Care Products.” Healthline. 8, July, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/non-comedogenic#how-can-you-tell
  11. “How to Safely Exfoliate at Home.” American Academy of Dermatology Association. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/routine/safely-exfoliate-at-home
  12. Moseley, Alison. “Chemical vs. Physical Exfoliation: What’s the Difference? Westlake Dermatology. 17, May, 2021, https://www.westlakedermatology.com/blog/chemical-vs-physical-exfoliation/
Pore FAQ Got Questions?

By building a pore-centric routine, you can help keep your nose pores squeaky clean!

One of the best ways to clean face pores is to develop a consistent routine that addresses pore concerns. We recommend double cleansing with products that are gentle with your pores and won’t clog them. You can also use a clay mask to draw out impurities.

For that thorough clean, you’ll want to look for a non-comedogenic cleanser that effectively removes makeup. Try The POREfessional Get Unblocked cleansing oil with The POREfessional Good Cleanup!

Absolutely! Cleaning out your pores can help your skin feel healthy. Clean pores are less likely to lead to pore congestion and imperfections.