You’re on the couch, watching a movie on that new HDTV, enjoying the clear picture.

Then suddenly, there’s a closeup – you can make each individual pore on the actor’s face, and you think that maybe the picture is a little too clear.

And now, of course, you’re stuck thinking about your own pores. Are they too big? Too clogged? Too dark?

There goes your care-free relaxation.

Acne’s enough to deal with—no one wants to be struggling with pores, too.

Thankfully, skin care companies know this and there are lots of products available to combat large and clogged pores.

One such company is Clinique, who has an entire line of Pore Refining Solutions products.

While it’s easy to find something that says it will do what you want, it’s a lot harder to find a product that actually works.

So, does the Clinique Pore Refining Solutions product line actually hold up, or do these skin care solutions fall a little short?

Below, we’ll be reviewing Clinique Pore Refining Solutions to find out. It is our goal to provide you honest, unbiased information so that you can make a good purchasing decision.

What is Clinique Pore Refining Solutions?

Clinique Pore Refining Solutions is a product line by Clinique that specializes in reducing the appearance of pores and keeping them clean, so that your skin appears as bright, fresh, and even as you’ve ever wanted it to be.

This skin care line contains four products: the Correcting Serum, the Charcoal Mask, the Stay-Matte Hydrator, and the Instant Perfector.

Each of these of course has its own specifications and purposes, and they can be used together.

Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Specifications

Below are a few of the key aspects for each of the products in this line.

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  • Purpose: This is an oil-free serum that is meant to clear out any debris or oil clogging your pores, so you no long have to worry about all those terrible blackheads and oily skin. It is the goal of this product to make your skin tighter and smoother, for a youthful and healthy glow.
  • How to Use: Using this Correcting Serum falls right in with your cleansing routine. Clinique suggests you apply this product twice daily, in the morning and at night. Apply after washing but before applying your moisturizer. Pump the bottle 2-3 times to get enough serum to coat your entire face.
  • Skin Type: All
  • Price: [amazon fields="B007YPQFPS" value="price"]/1 oz

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  • Purpose: Who doesn’t enjoy using a good face mask? This Charcoal Mask is a mattifying mask that aims to absorb oil, impurities, and pollutants from the environment so that your skin is left feeling healthy and refreshed. It also works intimately on your skin, the charcoal drawing out debris and dirt clogging your pores deep-down. Afterward, your skin should feel fresh and smooth, your pores clean and “refined.”
  • How to Use: To use, simply squeeze the mask formula out of its bottle and apply evenly across your face, avoiding the eyes and mouth. Leave it on until it’s dry, roughly ten minutes or so, and then rinse. Clinique recommends using this mask once or twice a week, or as often as necessary.
  • Match with Other Masks: Clinique also recommends mixing and matching the Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask with other masks they offer to achieve particular effects. For a deep cleaning, they suggest applying the Charcoal Mask along the T-zone and chin, pairing it with the Turnaround Revitalizing Instant Facial along the rest of the face. For Pollution Recovery, apply the Charcoal mask the same way and pair it with the Moisturize Surge Overnight Mask all over. Lastly, to Super De-clog, combine it with the Oil-Control Cleansing Mask.
  • Skin Type: Both Dry Combination and Oily Skin
  • Price: $25/3.4 oz

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  • Purpose: This is an oil-free formula that mattifies the skin and hydrates it, while at the same time decreasing the rise of any excess oil or unwanted shine, including on the T-zone. This product works for up to eight hours. It is meant to refine the look of pores through “light scattering optics.” Through continuous use, it will eventually decrease the appearance of pores.
  • How to Use: Clinique suggests applying the Stay-Matte Hydrator twice daily, day and night. It recommends using in tandem with the Clinique 3-step skin care routine, apply the Hydrator after this and any other treatment products.
  • Skin Type: This product is meant to be used with what Clinique designates as skin types 2, 3, and 4.
  • Price: $43/1.7 oz

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  • Purpose: This is another mattifying product that leaves skin oil and shine-free for up to eight hours. The Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector is meant to do just as its name suggests: instantly refine and reduce the look of pores by up to 50%. It is resistant to both sweat and humidity. As this is more of a cover-up product, it is available in two skin tones and an “invisible bright” color.
  • How to Use: Clinique suggests finger-dotting this product and blending it gently over pore-areas only, applying it over their Corrector Serum and make up. They also suggest using it for touch-ups.
  • Skin Type: All
  • Price: [amazon fields="B00AQRLSH6" value="price"]/.5 oz


Clinique takes pride in only using the best ingredients in their products. So, all of their products are free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, fragrance, and mineral oil.

What Users Think

Overall, customers seem to like the line of Clinique Pore Refining Solutions products. Most say that the Correcting Serum and Charcoal Mask do their job in cleansing and gradually shrinking the pores for a healthier look overall, though some with particularly sensitive skin say that the mask burns.

Likewise, those that use the Stay-Matte Hydrator and the Instant Perfector enjoy these products’ abilities to cover up imperfections on the fly.

There are some, however, who assert that the Instant Perfector did not work for their skin, citing that it doesn’t do much to cover up pores that are especially large.


Each of these products is priced differently, and their bottles contain a different amount of product depending on the amount that is relevant for the product’s consistency and intended purpose. Listed below is a quick recap of how the product prices compare amongst each other.

  • Correcting Serum: $46/1 oz
  • Charcoal Mask: $27/3.4 oz
  • Stay-Matte Hydrator: $39/1.7 oz
  • Instant Perfector: $22/.5 oz

How It Compares

We’ve taken a look at all the products Clinique Pore Refining Solutions has to offer, but how does this product line compare to other pore minimizing products on the market?

Below, we’ve compared the Clinique Pore Refining Solutions brand to TATCHA Pore-Perfecting Moisturizer & Cleanser Duo and

But first, here are a few general ratings on this product line to keep in mind as we conduct our comparison.

Clinique Pore Refining Solutions

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  • Ease of Use: 4 stars
  • Ingredients: 4.5 stars
  • Effectiveness: 4 stars

TATCHA Pore-Perfecting Moisturizer & Cleanser Duo

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  • Ease of Use: 4 stars
  • Ingredients: 4.5 stars
  • Effectiveness: 3.5 stars

TATCHA is a Japanese brand of skin care that can be found at Sephora. They offer Pore-Perfecting products, including the Moisturizer & Cleanser Duo. These are both cleaning treatments that focus on pores, comparable to Clinique’s Correcting Serum and Charcoal Mask. They do not offer the same instant pore cover up options as Clinique’s Stay-Matte Hydrator and Instant Perfector. In addition to cleaning pores, these TATCHA products aim to reduce oiliness and improve dull and uneven skin.

The cleanser is a Deep Cleanse gel that you lather into your skin to remove dirt and oils without fear of drying out. It uses amino acids found in silk and extract from luffa fruit to both lock in natural moisture and exfoliate, cleansing the pores. They recommend using this product in the mornings to freshen up the day.

The moisturizer is referred to as a Water Cream that possesses anti-aging capabilities. Its nutrient-rich and moisturizing nature aim to produce a poreless look. It contains extracts from wild roses and leopard lilies. They suggest using this product twice daily, morning and night, for a bright, healthy look free from pores.

Users of this product all in all seem to like them, stating that they saw improvement with skin clarity and pore size. The Deep Cleanse gel received most of the praise in the reviews, as a few people complain that the Water Cream does not provide the desired amount of hydration for their skin.

These products are most directly comparable with Clinique’s Correcting Serum and Charcoal Mask. While different in nature, both products lines aim to cleanse the skin and reduce pore size, and it seems both have been successful. The TATCHA set is more cost friendly, both products available together for only $25.

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  • Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
  • Ingredients: 4.5 stars
  • Effectiveness: 4 stars

Lancôme’s 1-Minute Blur Instant Perfector is a primer that is most directly compatible Clinique’s own Instant Perfector. This product works to smooth lines and blur pores, so that you have clear-looking skin that you can be proud of. It has a lightweight and smooth texture that you don’t have to worry about clogging your pores throughout the day. Reviews of this product are all pretty positive, users enjoying the ease of application and the visible results.

The Advanced Skin Corrector Serum, on the other hand, is most comparable to the Clinique Correcting Serum. Both serums aim to clean and reduce the size of pores and overall brighten skin tone.

The Lancôme product also aims to smooth wrinkles and other fine lines. Lancôme claims that this product with smoothen skin after just one application, with pores less visible after three days and wrinkles smoothed over after four weeks. While most reviews of this product are pretty positive, there are few who claim the serum made their skin break out, so keep this in mind if you have sensitive skin.

Overall, the Lancôme products seem to do a pretty good job of what they set out to do, clearing skin and reducing pore size, while also covering them up.

It should be noted, though, that Lancôme only offers two products to Clinique Pore Refining Solutions’ four, so they don’t have quite the same range. Also, the Lancôme products are significantly more expensive.

Pros and Cons

Now that we’ve seen how the Clinique Pore Refining Solutions products compare to the competition, let’s look over some of the most important pros and cons when it comes to this product line before we draw our conclusions.


  • Wide range of products
  • Good prices
  • Customizability


  • Not the cheapest product you can get for the same effect
  • Reports of irritability with some products

The main edge that Clinique Pore Refining Solutions has over both the other brands listed above is its wider range of products. This allows you to pick and choose as many or as few products as you desire based on a refined needs list, as they offer both cleansing and cover up options. Customers of their products like them, saying that the products work and they few have complaints. Most of the items are decently priced, too, at least compared to the Lancôme products.

There are some who have had complaints about the Charcoal Mask burning, and others who say the products do more work evening skin than refining pores. Despite their affordability compared to Lancôme, there are cheaper products available that are also effective. The TATCHA moisturizer and cleanser duo, for instance, are available together for just $25, the price of roughly one of the cheaper items available from Clinique.


So, what’s our verdict?

Should you rush to the store as quickly as possible to pick these items up, or should you save your time and money and give them the pass?

All in all, we think these products are worth looking into.

They have pretty positive customer satisfaction ratings overall, and their products seem to do their jobs in most cases.

While there are cheaper brands available, Clinique’s selection of products is pretty hard to beat.

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