February 03, 2014

Benefit POREfessional and POREfessional Agent Zero Shine

I have pores. Everyone does, obviously, but some folks are more "blessed" than others. Mine aren't huge craters worthy of expeditions, but they're certainly more present than I'd like them to be, courtesy of teen acne and oil production that went into overdrive.

Enter Benefit's POREfessional. Once limited to a primer (or balm, as Benefit calls it) that promised to minimize the appearance of said pores, it is now joined by a shine reducing powder, the POREfessional Agent Zero Shine.

Benefit POREfessional and POREfessional Agent Zero Shine

Benefit POREfessional and POREfessional Agent Zero Shine

Like all things Benefit, these guys nail the kitschy-cute factor. (Whether that's an appealing aesthetic is, well, up to you.) What's more impressive is that the design for the POREfessional Agent Zero Shine is as clever and practical as it is adorable.

This is a loose powder packaged in a shaker-like tube, with a cap on the top and a hidden compartment on the bottom for a travel-sized kabuki brush. The top cap comes off to reveal the shaker perforations, which can be opened or closed with a twist.

As someone who prefers loose powder to pressed (less binders and oils being added to your face = less caking), I love the fact that this is a travel-friendly version. I don't have to worry about spills at all. The brush is a nice add-on, though I do find that's both a little small and a bit stiff to be a true replacement for a good powder brush. That said, it's a great thing to have when you need it, far more useful and ergonomic than the vast majority of brushes included with compacts.

Benefit POREfessional and POREfessional Agent Zero Shine

Benefit POREfessional and POREfessional Agent Zero Shine

In terms of performance, the POREfessional Agent Zero Shine takes the the promise of no-shine seriously. I took this powder with me to Barbados during my recent vacation and, let me tell you, I was more than impressed by how well it held up to the heat and humidity. When all the other ladies were forgoing face stuff for fear of the inevitable melt-down, I was gleefully spackle-ing myself like cheap drywall. My skin looked matte for a couple of hours after application, progressively taking on a satin finish as the sultry night went on. My makeup stayed intact throughout.

The texture is fine, lightweight and dry, making it a really great mattifying powder indeed. It doesn't cake up, and because it's a loose powder you can re-apply without it building up. The texture may be a too drying for some skin types, but I didn't notice this calling attention to my fine lines. I used it to set my concealer under my eyes, and it worked perfectly, without emphasizing any creasing.

It comes out as a light yellow powder, but it blends out without any perceptible tint on the skin - at least on my light-to-medium skin tone.

Now...what about those pesky pores? The back of the bottle indicates that this "pore perfecting" but truthfully I didn't notice a major difference in terms of minimizing the look of pores. Unlike some powders that boast a blurring effect, I think this one's strength really lies in its oil-control capacity. (Though presumably pores that aren't producing as much oil will also look less dilated.)

The POREfessional primer, on the other hand, works specifically at smoothing the appearance of pores. A beige-tinted silicone cream with an immediate silky-powdery dry down, it smooths the surface of the skin quite efficiently. I don't personally love it on areas that are showing age (I prefer a more hydrating primer with a lot of slip, designed for mature skin), but in the t-zone it's perfect. It fills in pores and creates a more matte surface, and helps foundation adhere and last better.

Benefit POREfessional and POREfessional Agent Zero Shine

Availability: At Sephora, as well as select Murale and Pharmaprix locations. Price is 36$ CAD for each.

(These items were provided by the brand/PR to be considered for review. This post is not sponsored or compensated. All opinions are my own.)


  1. Thanks so much for this post - over the past couple of months I've been hearing so many things about both of these products. I don't have a good relationship with Benefit in general (the only one of their products that I like is the Dandelion blush), but I'd be willing to give the loose powder a try. I've vowed to stay far away from the primer because a lot of people have said that it's broken them out (I guess because of all the silicone in it).

    1. You're welcome!

      I hadn't heard that about the primer, though I know silicone can be an acne-trigger for some. It's weird, despite my horrible time with acne in my teens and my relatively sensitive skin now, silicones don't really aggregate much for me. Apparently it's not the silicones themselves but other ingredients - which silicones "seal in" as part of their function - that can be what causes the acne?


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