Girl applying powder makeup

Does makeup powder clog pores?

Sometimes, it seems like wearing makeup can be a vicious cycle. You wash your face and think you’re making the right moves and then, BAM! Here comes a big ol’ zit just in time for that date with the hottie from the coffee shop. Now you’ll have to scramble and pull out all the stops to cover up Mount Everest sprouting from your face.

So, you begin with your usual techniques and then give pause for a moment. Does makeup powder clog pores?

No, doll. It doesn’t. Especially when you choose the right one. See, we’ll get to all that as we go in further below.

Basically, powder foundations should never clog pores or leave a greasy residue behind because it’s all in the design. They don’t contain emollients or oils. They have a dry feel and can absorb up oil and keep shine at bay. This is an ideal choice of makeup for anyone that has oily, sensitive, or blemish-prone skin. 

Do you use a liquid foundation and have any of those aforementioned skin types? If so, you might be causing problems for yourself. Liquids are more likely to have oil in them. Powder foundations usually have very small mineral particles and are less likely to clog your pores.

Mineral makeup has things like zinc oxide, mica, iron oxides, and titanium dioxide. With fewer ingredients, it’s ideal for sensitive skin. However, beware if your skin is oily as the minerals combined with your oil can lead to a cakey or clumpy appearance.

Yes, that’s a lot to take in so basically know this:

  • Powder is ideal for younger skin or oily skin because it has the mega power to absorb oil away.
  • Mineral makeup in powdered form is best if you have sensitive skin because it has fewer preservatives and additives.
  • Dry foundation is ideal if you live in a warm climate year-round or for summer use.

Best of all, we do love powder makeup because you can take it along anywhere and touch up without looking like you’ve layered your face with dry, cakey flakiness. So, if you have younger skin, oily skin, sensitive skin, or are prone to breakouts, you will definitely want to find out more about powder makeup and read below. It gives you light coverage and a lovely natural finish and is easy to reapply as needed. Best of all, because it sits atop your skin instead of absorbing, it will usually keep from clogging your pores and causes more blemish vicious cycles in your future.

So wait…if this stuff isn’t clogging your pores, then what is? Good question! We’ve got the answers to that and so much more so keep reading!

What’s actually clogging your pores?

If you’ve been using the wrong type of makeup for your skin, it’s most definitely time to switch it up. No worries as we’ll give you plenty of tips on that further below. But you should understand what comes into play for clogging your pores. This way, you can always stay ahead of the game and keep your skin healthy. You’ll want to do that to prevent embarrassing blemishes from sprouting up at just the wrong time like when you’re standing in the elevator with your crush and your stomach emits one of those whiny growls of hunger that sounds like a whale’s mating call. Yeah. We can’t help with stomach sounds, but we can help with keeping your pores free and clear, so here goes!

Hormonal changes

Clogged pores are often a result of hormonal insanity. Oh those crazy hormones! What will they do next? When your hormones levels are running high, it makes your skin secrete more sebum which will clog your pores. These changes tend to happen during that time of month, though younger girls going through puberty and just getting into makeup will find this to be the case too. And if you’re trying for a baby or are pregnant, your hormones will most certainly get out of whack and take your skin along for the crazy ride.


Did your boss just trot over to your desk and dump a mountain of work that needs to be done “yesterday” on top? Breakouts tend to happen more when you’re stressed to the max. The physical stress on your body and the resulting hormones that explode from it lead to more blemishes. In particular, cortisol comes into play and triggers your sebum glands into a massive overhaul which leads to those unwelcome pimples from clogged up pores.

Excess oil

Not to sound like a broken record as the old folks say, but all that excess oil coming forth from hormones and stress can clog your pores. That sebum is supposed to nourish your skin and keep it soft and hydrated. Under duress though, it creates too much. When your sebaceous glands start going bonkers, it makes the dead skin cells on your skin’s outer layer stick together and get stuck in your pores rather than shed away like they’re supposed to. Thanks, stress and hormones! UGH!

Seasonal changes

Seasons change and so too does your skin. During certain times of year, your pores may look larger and create more oil. We’re looking at you, summer! If you live in a warm climate, you may find you have these problems year-round. Thankfully, you can take extra steps to soak up that extra oil so you can get your skin to behave and keep your pores from clogging. More on that further down so keep reading!

Unbalanced diet

Diet is a HUGE force when it comes to congested pores. Researchers have found a link between high insulin levels and the overproduction of sebum. Your insulin levels rise from sugary foods and that increases testosterone which sends out more oil.

If you’d like your skin to improve, you have to approach it from multiple angles. So what we say about the outside and taking care of your skin is very important, but what you put inside of you is imperative for keeping your pores unclogged. Combining these tactics will ensure skincare success!

You should be eating plenty of fresh fruits and veggies along with lean proteins, healthy fats, nuts, and seeds. These all have tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that leave you with healthier skin. When you neglect to nourish and hydrate your body from within, it makes it harder for your skin cells to function as they should. It takes a great skincare regimen with quality products PLUS good nutrition to have gorgeous skin.

Additionally, dehydrated skin leaves pores dry. They harden and become inflamed which can also cause acne and other skin concerns. Your body needs moisture inside and out so that your sebum can function optimally. Have plenty of water, and if you find it doesn’t go down as easily as those mimosas at Sunday brunch, try adding slices of lemon or fresh fruit to it so you can get the best benefits from it for healthier skin all over!

Dead skin

Skin is such a fascinating organ. It is always birthing new skin cells while shedding away your old ones. Your pores get clogged when you have an excess of sebum coming out because they bind those dead skin cells on the surface together. Instead of naturally falling off, with the excess oil, they fall into your pores.

It’s not just young skin that needs to worry about blemishes. Even as you get older, you may find zits popping up because your skin starts losing its ability to shed away those dead skin cells with efficiency. You’ll need to keep on top of that exfoliating to aid the skin in the process and keep your pores cleared out.

Over-cleansing and exfoliating your skin

Ah but wait! Before you go gung-ho with your exfoliating, know that you should do it in proper amounts. Too much cleansing and exfoliating strips your skin of those natural oils. When you do that, your skin is like, “ZOMG! Where are those hydrating oils?!? Quick, get up here with more of that good stuff!” And thus, your oil glands make more oil than they should. That will lead to clogged up pores.

Plus, when you scrub too much, it can irritate your skin and leave it inflamed. And that translates to more noticeable pores. Eek! For your best results, you should go with a gentle face scrub like M3 Naturals Activated Charcoal Scrub (Amazon link) two or three times per week.

Poor makeup choices

Are you choosing the wrong makeup for your skin? You should seek out products that are labeled as non-comedogenic. That’s fancy for it won’t clog your pores. Another thing to look for is an oil-free formulation.

If you notice that no matter how much powder you use to conceal your spots, they just get worse, you should switch your makeup. Poor makeup choices make skin problems like acne even worse. You break out, then you freak out and apply heavy-duty makeup so you can feel confident on your date with Mr. or Miss Hotstuff. But you use long-wear formulas hoping that the coverage lasts during your date, and maybe some kissing too. Then you get home on a complete high from an amazing date and scrub your skin clean only to irritate it. Upon waking up, your acne looks even worse.

It’s your pores. They’re clogged. When they get full of gunk, they become inflamed and breakout. And the makeup choices you make, along with your heavy hand in skincare, can make it so much worse. So choose wisely. Choose quality brands that make formulations that are suited to keep your pores free of clogs.

How do you do that? Keep reading and you’ll be the Yoda of non-comedogenic makeup!

How to choose makeup that won’t clog your pores

Now, it’s time to go shopping! Yay! For makeup! Double yay! But first, some tips on how you should choose your makeup from here on out. By following these tips, you’ll find your way back to clearer skin and keep your pores from getting clogged. Break that breakout vicious cycle. You can do it!

Look for “non-comedogenic” makeup

Browse through makeup selections and you’ll have plenty of choices. But among those choices, you always want to select makeup that is labeled as “non-comedogenic.” As mentioned, that means it won’t clog pores.

Certain ingredients are comedogenic though, meaning they clog pores. Think of blackheads. They are open comedones and turn black when they are exposed to air. Whiteheads are closed and have bacteria trapped under the skin. So when you see a product that is labeled as non-comedogenic, that means it is less likely to get into open pores and clog it up to create an ugly whitehead or blackhead.

Makeup that clogs pores isn’t going to say it on the label. Yes, you’ll see “non-comedogenic” on non-clogging formulas, but the ones that clog won’t advertise it. Who would want that? “Buy me! I clog your pores! Pick me!” Um, no thanks.

If you ever have any doubts, you should read the ingredients. Quality brands will never hide what they contain. Certain dyes and chemical additives will always raise an eyebrow, but even natural coconut oil is a no-no if you don’t want to clog your pores.

You may also see “non-acnegenic” or “non-pore clogging” on labels of the skincare and makeup products you choose. These are the same as non-comedogenic and will be good choices. You can also look for formulas that contain salicylic acid which can help you fight away acne. That means your makeup can help you do battle with blemishes while helping you look flawless upfront. Mineral formulas are another choice that is usually less likely to upset your skin and clog pores.

If you’re shopping for foundation, in addition to salicylic acid formulas and mineral-based formulas, you may also like water-based formulas. These also can help keep free radicals from terrorizing your skin and protect you from UV rays so your skin will look better and better.

Check the ingredients

One of the most important considerations you should make when buying makeup is what’s in it. Yes, you should choose according to your skin type and tone, but the ingredients in your makeup can affect your skin.

When choosing makeup, be aware of what kinds of ingredients can cause your skin to continue on that nasty vicious cycle of breakouts. Safe ingredients are very important and should be at the top of your concerns. You can find out more about ingredients that clog your pores so you avoid them and keep your skin looking top-notch.

Choose brands that focus on ingredients that nourish your skin with vitamins and antioxidants, and be on the lookout for ingredients that are bad for your skin. Here’s a little rundown of the top offenders you need to avoid:

– Alcohol

You’ll see alcohol in foundation and concealer which is there to help it sink into the skin. However, alcohol is very drying and can cause irritation. Plus, when alcohol dries, it creates a thin coating that clogs up pores. If you have blemish-prone skin, avoiding skincare items with alcohol in them is essential for getting back in the clear.

– Acrylic

Acrylics aren’t just in nail formulations. These can be found in makeup as well. It serves to bind the ingredients together. But of course, it’s no better than binding your skin with a tight plastic mask. You’re essentially trapping everything underneath it and those things have nowhere else to go but deep into your pores.

– Bismuth oxychloride

That shimmery, perfect look is irresistible. However, bismuth oxychloride is one nasty chemical everyone should avoid. It has ties to cystic acne which you definitely don’t want. Read your makeup labels and skip buying anything that has it.

– Mica, silica, and talc

While mica isn’t so bad for other skin types, you should watch out for it. Silica and talc should be used with caution too. These things have light-reflecting particles that can give you a gorgeous dewy and glowing appearance. You’ll find them in powders, foundations, and bronzers, but choose wisely. If your skin is particularly dry or sensitive, they may further irritate and dry it out. When skin is too dry, it can lead to breakouts. Again, mica is a natural mineral, but not every skin type works well with it so be aware!

– Parabens

For the love of everything, stay away from anything with parabens! Never use any product that contains them whether it’s for your skincare, makeup, or hair care routine. Parabens have been outlawed in other countries. These are supposed to extend product life but they are very toxic and can disturb your hormones. If you are thinking of starting a family, you must definitely chuck all paraben products from your home. And even if you’re not, you do not want to use anything that has them.

– Perfumes and dyes

Anything that has manufactured fragrances and/or colors shouldn’t be used on your oily, acne-prone, or sensitive skin. They’re not that great for any other skin type either. They might smell lovely, but they can irritate your skin and make it more prone to breakouts and clogging. If you must use anything with a scent anywhere on your body, go for formulations that are made with natural ingredients instead.

– Petrochemicals

Do you have anything in your stash of beauty products that have mineral oil, petrolatum, or paraffin wax on the label? If so, these chemicals are a bad idea. They preserve the product while locking in moisture. There’s nothing wrong with locking moisture into your skin when you’re using the right kind of ingredients. These have no benefits and simply clog your pores. So you might feel more moisturized but you’ll soon see the downfall in the form of breakouts.

– Phthalates

Like parabens, phthalates are banned overseas. These nasty additives lend a soft and flexible texture to your makeup. Unfortunately, they also cause trouble with your hormones and bring out blemishes like crazy. Banish them from your bathroom and makeup vanity immediately!

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– Silicone

Silicone is often used in foundations and primers. It has a silky and smooth effect for the skin, leaving it looking flawless and refined. While there is nothing dangerous about silicone itself, it’s not recommended for dry, acne-prone, or sensitive skin. Silicones tend to dry things out and certain formulas can leave you with more clogged pores and breakouts than others. If you want a good primer for your skin, choose one that allows it to breathe. There are many options, but my favorite is by far the Hangover Rx Replenishing Face Primer by Too Faced (Amazon link), plus I really like its mild coconut smell.

 that are non-comedogenic that will do your skin type justice!

How to conceal your acne without further clogging your pores

Ok, so you’re still on for that hot date with Hottie-McHot-Hot from the coffee shop. And you still have a blemish that needs covering. What do you do?

Well, quit panicking for one. For another, grab the proper non-comedogenic for the job. Once you have that, everything will fall into place. To minimize the look of a blemish or full-on acne, make sure that the first thing you do is wash your hands.

The oil that is naturally found on your hands or from those couple of fries you snagged from your work bestie at lunch can get right into your skin when you touch your face. To top that all off, if you apply makeup with hands that aren’t freshly washed, you’ll also be depositing any dirt and bacteria you’ve encountered since your last handwashing.

How many communal doorknobs have you touched? Desks? Keyboards? Your own phone? Unless you’re religiously sanitizing these items, chances are, you’ve got unwanted gunk lingering on your hands. You want to be sure you don’t get this onto your face so clean those hands, girl!

Next, use your non-comedogenic foundation. Smooth it on and then use a small makeup brush (synthetic is best for cleaning) to dab concealer onto the offending area. Be gentle in your touch. Dab gently to blend it into your surrounding skin. Finish it off with a quick hit of your non-comedogenic powder. This will set your concealer in place and make your look last and last.


There are many things that can clog your pores and perpetuate your breakouts. But your makeup powder isn’t usually the culprit. You need to look at your hormones, diet, makeup products, and skincare routine to see where you’re going wrong. Choosing the right type of makeup that is specifically formulated not to clog pores is the best way to avoid added problems when you fix up your face each day.

Knowing what ingredients aren’t good for your skin is also incredibly important. Some are dangerous for everyone while others just aren’t good for your oily, acne-prone, or sensitive skin. Always choose wisely and apply your makeup with good technique.

As well as eating right to avoid causing your body to react outwardly to what you put into it, practice good skincare routines. If you don’t want to have a breakout, make sure you wash your face at the end of every day, no matter how tired you are. Removing all that makeup before bed and using skincare products formulated for nourishing your skin type will all help you achieve that clean, clear, glowing skin you want to see looking back at you naturally!


My name is Hajer and welcome to my site. This is my little haven, my outlet, where I can express myself, and show you everything I've learned about makeup, skincare, hair tips, and so much more, as well as the different beauty mistakes I've made so that you can avoid them.

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