Makeup Tips

This Primer Is a Treasure for Anyone With an Oily T-Zone and Big Pores—And I Have the Photos To Prove It

Photo: Marie Lodi Andreakos
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Anyone who has oily skin and big pores knows just how crucial a good primer is when using foundation. I’ve gotten so accustomed to using a primer to help blur out pores and even out my skin tone, I feel naked during the rare times I forget it. Needless to say, I’m pretty serious about primers (maybe not as serious as liquid eyeliner, but they're pretty up there), and am always down to experiment whenever a new one comes along. Tatcha has been one of my favorite skin-care brands for years, and I’ve been a huge fan of its original Silk Canvas primer ($52), which is a rich, solid balm that comes in a compact. After the success of the Silk Canvas, the brand followed up with a spinoff version — Tatcha’s Liquid Silk Canvas ($52), which comes in a bottle and is a different type of formula.

Tatcha Silk Canvas primer vs. Tatcha Liquid Silk Canvas primer

According to Daniel Martin, Makeup Artist and Tatcha Global Director of Artistry & Education, the main difference between the original Silk Canvas and the Liquid Silk Canvas is the consistency of the formulas. While the original is a rich, velvety balm, the liquid is a lighter weight, oil-free version. Both are made with silk powder extracts to smooth out pores and wrinkles, as well as a blend of botanical and antioxidant-rich extracts that are aimed at protecting and nourishing the skin. “An easy way to determine which version will suit your skincare needs better is by matching like-for-like formulas,” explains Martin. “If you're in a drier climate or have dry skin and use an emollient moisturizer to help feed hydration into the skin, the Silk Canvas will pair beautifully, and similarly if it's humid, you have oilier skin and wearing a lighter weight or oil-free moisturizer, reach for The Liquid Silk Canvas.”

Because I have oily/combination skin, the Liquid Silk Canvas seems to make the most sense, which I thought was interesting since I’ve had such great results with the original primer. But Martin says both formulas keep makeup in place, and prevent creasing or cracking without pilling or becoming too slippery. I figured the Liquid Silk Canvas might be better for me during hot-weather days (which, living in LA, is basically every day of the year). I noticed one of the main differences between the primers right out of the package, literally.

Because the original Silk Canvas is a solid balm in a compact, you have to scoop a small amount out with the included spatula (or your long nail if you’re being lazy, like me) and massage it into the skin. The Liquid Silk comes in a bottle, so you just apply one pump, so it’s much easier for me in that sense. After putting on my moisturizer and sunscreen, I applied the primer using my fingers like Martin recommends (“It allows you to better control the application; you can work it into the skin without grinding into pores, and you end up using less product as there's no sponge or brush soaking up the formula.”) and I also found that it blended into my skin faster than the balm, which made the application process rather quick.

Before primer:

tatcha silk canvas primer before
Photo: Marie Lodi Andreakos

My skin was in pretty bad shape due to some post-laser acne breakouts, so the primer definitely had its work cut out for it. Immediately after applying Liquid Silk Canvas, I noticed that my skin looked brighter, more evenly toned, and my big ol’ pores were way less prominent. It was like a lowkey Instagram filter, not too much, not too little, but just Goldilocks-level right. I then applied my full-coverage foundation, which went on smoothly and without much effort needed to blend. Liquid Silk Canvas is made to protect your makeup so it lasts throughout the whole day, and it proved itself against the ultimate test: the foundation did not settle into my pores. Though, I did have some oiliness in my T-zone, which is expected, especially on an 80-degree weather day. Still, it wasn’t a lot, and my pores still looked a lot less obvious than usual, so I’m not mad at it.

After primer:

after silk canvas tatcha primer
Photo: Marie Lodi Andreakos

Full makeup look with Tatcha Liquid Silk Canvas primer:

tatcha silk canvas primer full makeup
Photo: Marie Lodi Andreakos

Since I first began using Liquid Silk Canvas, I find myself reaching for it more and more. I’m a fan of how easy it is to apply—I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a pump bottle—but I also love the formula for my specific skin type. Overall, I think the Liquid Silk Canvas primer is definitely worth the cost, especially if you’re someone who has oiliness and big pores, and are looking for something to prep and pamper your skin before and underneath mid-to-full coverage foundation. I loved how it blurred my pores just enough, brightened my complexion, and gave me a lit-from-within look. Congratulations, Liquid Silk Canvas, you’ve made it to my coveted, everyday product lineup.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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