My greatest skin nemesis is enlarged, open pores. And with it comes a host of skin issues such as clogged pores, ugly (and smelly) blackheads, stubborn whiteheads, coarse texture and oily skin. Trust me, since my 20s, I have visited one too many beauty salons and tried one too many products from cleansers, skincare tools and gadgets and clay masks in a bid to eradicate this skin woe, but the results proved short-lived. The annoying clogged pore situation will improve three to seven days after the beautician squeezes them out, leaving angry-looking red and inflamed skin as the aftermath. But even then, the pores will start getting clogged again in a week. Ugh.
Upon consultations with dermatologists, I have accepted open pores as my skin type and learnt to take steps to address them. Recently when a makeup artist recommended the Sephora exclusive Glow Recipe Strawberry BHA Pore-Smooth Blur Drops serum as a solution to large pores, I approached it cautiously since most products I have tried previously only provided subpar results.
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Outstanding packaging and well-thought-out design
Glow recipe does an excellent job in its packaging and product design, and the Strawberry BHA Pore-Smooth Blur Drops (cute name!) is no different. Housed in a handy pink box with two juicy-looking strawberries alluding to its main ingredient, the 100% recyclable box clearly states the product's mission statement – "pore refining" and "blurring". That's not all; inside the box are details of the brand's sustainability efforts and a "How to recycle" QR code. Talk about responsible manufacturing and consumption.
The 30ml silicone-free product comes in a pleasant pink-coloured roundish container with an easy-to-twist cap. The flat cap feature allows it to stand on the sink or vanity table during application. It is also convenient and lightweight, making bringing it out for touch-ups easy. Wait, it's a serum; what touch-up am I talking about?
Duo identity: Pore refining treatment AND Primer
Products with dual purposes either confuse consumers or add convenience to our lives. In this case, I hesitated to use the product because I feared misusing it. Is it a serum or makeup base or is it more for touch-ups? How do I even use it?
Braced by the makeup artist’s strong recommendation, especially with our recent unbearable heat, which interfered with skincare and makeup application, I decided to try the silicone-free product. After reading the directions to use, I found its usage very simple. Use it as a serum or, AFTER your skincare routine, as a primer. The product may be used for both mornings and evenings.
Putting it to the test
As a treatment serum
First and foremost, I usually like to give my products a smell test. As expected, it comes with a slight tinge of strawberry flavour but is not too strong. However, I find that it was a tad sweet for my liking. The white liquid formulation was extremely lightweight, easy to apply and absorbed fast onto my skin. And true enough, in 30 seconds, I visibly witnessed my skin 'blurring' into smoothness. The large pores had calmed down. Applying my usual moisturiser was easy, and it didn't feel cakey or uncomfortable at all.
When I checked my skin a few hours later, the usual T-zone shine had yet to set in. However, my skin did feel a little tight or drier than usual. That’s when I went back to read the directions. I was supposed to apply a pea-sized amount of the product but was over-zealous and applied double (or maybe triple) the amount. Subsequent proper product usage did not lead to any tight feeling in the skin.
The product description was on point, stating how it "instantly blurs and balances oil for a natural, soft-focus satin finish." My skin not only appeared smoother, with the open pores 'blurred', but it also felt smooth, and the oiliness was kept at bay for longer than other products I have tried. Most importantly, I felt more confident about heading out bare-faced with this product.
As a makeup primer
A good primer can make or break your makeup, especially if you are out and about the entire day. This time, I used the Strawberry BHA Pore-Smooth Blur Drops as a primer – after my skincare routine – before my makeup. The liquid formulation makes application a cinch. I was careful not to overuse the product; a little goes a long way. My foundation went on smoothly. After six hours, my T-zone area produced a significantly lesser amount of oil and could easily be dabbed with one piece of tissue. I also did not see the need to reapply my makeup. My prone to oily skin usually demands a touch-up after a mere three to four hours, but this time round, thanks to the Strawberry BHA Pore-Smooth Blur Drops, I did not need to reach out for touch-ups.
The product is also meant to be a touch-up for long days out, bringing me to the container's rounded shape that makes it very easy to hold in one's hand and add to my on-the-go makeup stash.
Who is it for, and what does it do?
Suitable for a wide range of skin types from the combination dry, normal, and oily, the Strawberry BHA Pore-Smooth Blur Drops is targeted to address dryness, dullness, oiliness, uneven skin texture and open pores. According to its product description, the product contains Pore Blurring Tapioca & Rice, which immediately reduces pore size without clogging pores, allowing for smooth makeup application. Encapsulated BHA & Strawberry Enzyme smoothens uneven texture over time, while plant-derived Pore Minimizer & Strawberry Leaf Extract help absorbs excess oil to minimise and blur pores instantly.
Yay, or nay?
As someone who has been battling with open pores since my teenage years, Glow Recipe’s Strawberry BHA Pore-Smooth Blur Drops is a definite yay for me, even though the smell, though not overwhelming, was a little sweet for my preference. The convenience of not worrying about keeping my makeup intact, especially for long days out, is a huge plus for me. Moreover, the brand's firm stand on Clean Beauty and sustainability makes it a clear winner in the beauty industry. Now I understand the TikTok hype over Glow Recipes' range of skincare products.
If there is anything to mention, perhaps Glow Recipe can develop more gender-neutral products in the future. I know many males with enlarged pores and other skin woes would appreciate it!
Glow Recipe Strawberry BHA Pore-Smooth Blur Drops
The new Strawberry Smooth BHA + AHA Salicylic Serum
For those prone to acne and blemishes, try the new Strawberry Smooth BHA + AHA Salicylic Serum, also available exclusively at Sephora. This serum contains 10% Clarity Acid Complex - 4% Strawberry, 1.5% Azelaic Acid Derivative, and 1.5% Succinic Acid and antioxidants like Vitamin C and gentle exfoliating enzymes, thanks to its main strawberry ingredient. Clinically-tested, this product is for you if you are battling fine lines, wrinkles, pore size, and those stubborn breakouts exacerbated by our climate.
Shop other products to target large pores
Ole Henriksen Balance It All Oil Control & Pore-Refining Set - Sephora Exclusive
Fenty Skin Fat Water Pore-Refining Toner Serum - Sephora Exclusive
Biossance Squalane + BHA Pore Minimizing Toner - Sephora Exclusive
Allies of Skin Prebiotics Niacinamide Pore Refining Booster - Sephora Exclusive
Tatcha The Clarifying Clay Mask - Sephora Exclusive
Dermalogica Clear Start Micro-Pore Mist