There shouldn’t be any gaps in your beauty routine—and the same goes for the appearance of your skin. Of course, enlarged pores and an uneven complexion happens (more often than we would like), but it’s all about taking the proper steps in both your skin care and makeup routine to create that flawless finish—even if it just looks that way. So we chatted with Maddox Lu, regional education manager for Eastern Canada at Benefit, for his expert makeup tips on how to deal with pores and build up to flawless skin.

1. Buff dead and dry skin.
Clear away dirt and oil from the surface layer of the skin—any excess buildup of dead skin will only be enhanced when you apply makeup overtop (and this doesn’t help to conceal an uneven complexion, friends). “Facial prepping with a gentle buffing face scrub and a smoothing toning solution  are great ways to gradually smooth out the appearance of all textures on the skin,” says Lu. For a flawless-looking complexion and to reduce the appearance of pores, exfoliate regularly with a gentle scrub—try Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant after cleansing. And follow up with a hydrating facial toner suited to your skin type.

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2. Have a good, well-moisturized base.
This is what separates a healthy, beautiful complexion from all the rest, and why a good moisturizer is so important to hydrate dry skin. “Effectively prime the skin with Total Moisture facial cream and Porefessional face primer from Benefit for an incredible long-lasting, comfortable and smooth canvas before makeup,” advises Lu. Following up your morning skin care regimen with a primer fills in any gaps in the skin and allows for foundation and any face products afterward to be applied evenly and flawlessly.

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More makeup tips on how to achieve flawless skin on the next page…

perfect-pores-page-two.jpg3. Apply primer.
Now, more on the importance of primer: how to apply it. “Buff, buff and buff some more!” explains Lu. “When products are buffed on with brushes, their textures are spread and blended more finely leaving a smoother finish, which complements the prep and prime steps prior.” He says that primer is best applied with fingertips in a gentle buff-spread motion. Focus on key areas like the T-zone and apples of the cheeks, and wherever there are visible pores.

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4. Add your foundation.
The key to creamy, matte skin is having that totally even and flawless finish. Lu agrees: “When pores are minimized, skin appears smoother and allows makeup to glide on more flawlessly,” he says. A smooth, primed base simply enhances the final look, allowing foundation to sit better and evenly on the skin all day. “When the skin is prepped with smoothing skincare, building multiple layers of makeup also appears much more subtle compared to poorly prepped skin,” he says.

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5. Finish off with matte, flawless skin.
So you’ve properly filled in pores and smoothed over skin for an even finish. What’s next? Well that all depends on the look you’re going for—and this works for a simple low-maintenance day look or dramatic and sculpted contouring at night. “When you use the recipes above, both in the prep stage and the prime stage, any blushes and bronzers will glide on top silky smooth,” says Lu. Just keep in mind one further precaution when it comes to smoothing out the appearance of uneven skin: “Avoid shimmer in liquid blushes and powder blushes alike, says Lu. For best results in all lighting, keep it matte.

Read more:
Flawless skin: How to get a matte finish

Skin care: 10 pore minimizing products

Find the right foundation for your skin tone

5 reasons to use toner