Nowadays, I raise my eyebrows when a brand (or celebrity) launches a skin care line. Whenever a new product collection drops, I find myself wondering or shouting to the heavens, “What’s the point of this?” When a brand rolls out skin care, I’m basically a Drag Race judge — I need there to be a theme, innovation, and clear POV. So when Benefit told me about its POREfessional PORE Care line, I had to review it to see if it deserved some hype. And with its Tuesday, Feb. 14 launch, I can tell you that the cult-favorite beauty brand that boasts legions of loyal fans with impeccably shaped brows, delivers a skin care line that gets a 10 out of 10, no notes, from me.
Made up of two cleansers, two masks, a moisturizer, and a toner, Benefit’s POREfessional PORE Care line is designed to address one of skin care’s oldest concerns: pores. I was in my twenties when I realized that I was never going to shrink my pores down to nothing or make them invisible because pores are an essential part of, you know, having skin. Back in the day, skin care brands would try to convince you that you could and should erase your pores. “Actual skin? Yuck.” Seriously, that was the vibe.
Benefit’s POREfessional PORE Care Collection
Benefit Cosmetics isn’t playing that game. Instead, the POREfessional line acknowledges that pores are a fact of life and not something to be ashamed of. In the brand’s words, these are “pore positive” products. Pore positivity might sound like a novel idea in 2023, but if you were a nose-strip-wearing, apricot-scrubbing teen in the early aughts, you know this approach to skin care is a game-changer.
Each of the six products in the POREfessional line is thoughtfully formulated to keep pores unclogged without being harsh on your skin or your psyche, which is no easy feat. In fact, according to Julie Bourlet, Skincare Formulation Expert at LVMH and the Head Chemist for Pore Care, the toner — my personal favorite from the line and a true innovation — went through about 70 iterations before the formula was settled on; the non-drying clay mask went through 400 (!). A rush job, this line was not. Ahead, I’m sharing my honest review of each of the products in Benefit Cosmetics’ first-ever skin care line.
The Foam Cleanser
I’ve been wary of foam cleansers since college because they tend to really strip my skin, causing oil overproduction and shininess, but the foam that this gel cleanser lathers into hits a sweet spot between gentle and effective cleansing. At $29, it’s the most affordable product in the POREfessional line and does exactly what it’s supposed to do, thanks to yuzu and lemon extract. If you double-cleanse, you’ll want to pair it with the next product to leave your skin smooth and bright.
The Cleansing Oil
The Get Unblocked cleansing oil has become a go-to part of my morning skin care routine. It’s gentle enough to use twice a day and leaves my skin feeling hydrated, thanks to a blend of ultra-lightweight oils like avocado, grapeseed, and jojoba. Unlike other cleansing oils that can leave your skin feeling greasy, Get Unblocked breaks down dirt and makeup without leaving a slimy film on your skin. As someone sick of oil cleansers leaving more gunk on your face for your second cleanser to fight through, this is a big deal for me. Get Unblocked costs $39, but I think it more than earns its price tag since it doubles as a makeup remover. (Yes, it even works on waterproof mascara.)
A small amount of both cleansers is all you need. Because I am impulsive and excitable, I overdid it with the pumps on these cleansers when I first started testing the line and wound up a little shiny. Believe me, less is more.
The Foaming Toner
Meet the game-changer. This toner is unlike any I’ve ever seen before. Thanks to its pump that turns the liquid toner into a foam that you pat onto your face, no wasteful cotton pads required. But don’t let the fun application process or cute packaging fool you, this formula is no joke. Its blend of AHAs, PHAs, and citrus fruit extracts works fast. I’m not talking “after six weeks” fast either, my pores looked smaller after a single use.
After two months of using the toner, I looked like I was walking around with an Instagram filter — a subtle one, mind you, nothing too out there — on my face. If there’s one product you try from this line, please let it be this $34 toner. Not only is there nothing like it on the market today, but it makes what is arguably the most arduous step in any skin care routine fun, fast, and easy.
The Smoothing Gel Mask
As someone who loves a chemical peel, I was surprised by how much I fell in love with this gel-to-clay mask. It leaves my skin looking smooth, but I was most impressed by how hydrated my face felt after wearing it. After all, most clay masks leave your skin feeling dry, but not so with Speedy Smooth, which soothes and purifies the skin, thanks to a blend of celery and flax seed extracts, hyaluronic acid, and squalane. At $39, it hits the mid-range price point of the line.
The Deep-Cleansing Mask
Though Speedy Smooth is a sweet little product, it doesn’t hold a candle to Deep Retreat, a pore-unclogging and skin-clearing clay mask that has replaced the AHA mask I used once a week for a decade. Deep Retreat was a doozy to create and finding the right blend of ingredients, including kaolin clay and sea fennel extract, took Bourlet and her team hundreds of attempts. As with other clay masks, you can see the dirt and oil being pulled out of your pores as it dries, but unlike other clay masks, Deep Retreat doesn’t leave you looking shiny or feeling stretched. Again, 400 different formulations were tested before this purple beauty came to be and, IMHO, it’s worth every penny of its $39 price tag.
The Soothing Moisturizer
I was the most skeptical of Smooth Sip, a lightweight moisturizer formulated with aloe leaf juice, niacinamide, and squalane, simply because my skin is so dry that I start my day with an ultra-thick night cream. That said, I was pleasantly surprised by how bouncy this gel-cream left my skin. At $44, it’s one of the pricier items in the line, but it definitely delivers hydration along with a subtle matte effect, making it ideal for any oily gworls out there.
What stands out the most about Benefit Cosmetics’ POREfessional PORE Care products is that they just. plain. werk. Unlike other skin care products that deliver immediate results at the cost of causing irritation or peeling, I had zero negative reactions to any products in the POREfessional line, even using them every day. Instead, I saw results.
As a beauty writer, I test dozens of products a week and rarely stick to the same products for more than a week at a time. However, the POREfessional PORE Care products work such a special kind of magic on my skin, I used them exclusively for two months. In the photos above, you can see my unfiltered skin (from left) after using the entire POREfessional line once, after a month of using it, and after two months of using it. Kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it?