Perfectly Poreless Putty Perfector
Stila's Perfectly Poreless Putty Perfector has a tongue-twister of a name, but, when applied before foundation, really works to reduce the appearance of pores because its soft-focus effect blurs minor imperfections. Its soft matte finish is ideal for combination to oily skin, including breakout-prone skin. Sounds good, right? Not so fast, as there are some trade-offs to consider.
Packaged in a slightly thick compact that houses a well-made synthetic sponge applicator, the putty has a semi-soft, slightly sponge-like texture. It's easy to pick up with the included sponge, your fingers, or, as Stila recommends, a brush. Specifically, Stila recommends using their Wonder Brush, a synthetic fiber brush whose bristles are stubby and densely packed for more concentrated application. Regardless of the application tool you use, Perfectly Poreless Putty Perfector presents the same issues, both good and bad.
The good is that whether applied with the sponge, your fingers, or a brush, you get a nice pore-filling, blurring effect whose soft tint works to help unify an uneven skin tone. Stila offers their pore-blurring product in five shades, almost all of which are workable—the golden peach Medium should be considered carefully, as it goes on rather bright and is difficult to tone down. Otherwise, the shade range serves those with fair to dark skin tones quite nicely.
Once set, this feels weightless—a bit surprising, as the texture in the compact appears thick. Because of each shade's tint, if you pair this with foundation (which we highly recommend), you'll need to be sure the colors mesh well so that your foundation shade doesn't look off.
We recommend pairing this with foundation because, applied on its own, the formula eventually "falls" into pores, making the larger pores look dotted with color. In contrast, when applied under foundation (as a primer of sorts), the results are considerably better. Skin texture is smoother, skin tone looks more even, and most important, pores look smaller—and stay that way for several hours.
Our recommended method of application runs counter to what Stila advises, as they recommend you apply Perfectly Poreless Putty Perfector alone or over foundation. When we applied this over foundation (again, regardless of the tool used) it not only disrupted our foundation, but also caused the treated areas to look a bit chalky, as if over-powdered with a lighter color than our skin, plus pores looked dotted with color rather than de-emphasized.
As far as Stila's claim of moisturizing properties, this really doesn't feel too hydrating—at least not for dry skin or dry patches. On the other hand, the powder-like matte finish isn't noticeably drying or dulling, either.
By now you can see what we meant by trade-offs. Perfectly Poreless Putty Perfector isn't for everyone concerned with hiding large pores, but if you're curious to see how its visual effects look on your skin, it's worth an audition. Just be sure to apply it before foundation, avoid applying it on its own, and you can judge for yourself how well this reduces and blurs the appearance of pores. When applied as we explained, we were impressed with the performance of this fragrance-free formula—but it can just as easily go the other way if you follow Stila's usage instructions.
- Makes good on its claim to reduce the appearance of pores.
- Enhances skin texture and tone when paired with foundation.
- Matte finish without making skin look dry or flat.
- Fragrance-free formula.
- Applied on its own or over foundation as advised, it collects in pores, requiring extra blending.
- Not advised for touch-ups on the go, as it visually works best when used as pre-makeup primer.
- Because of each shade's color, it can be tricky to ensure an even match with your foundation.
Makeup artist Jeanine Lobell has been at the helm of Stila since its inception in 1994, and her creations have an impressive history of blending innovation with eye-catching, fun packaging. Of course, this innovation is not without its price, and you will find some rather ordinary products where the packaging or dispensing method is the only thing that's exciting. Where Lobell struck gold is with her superlative collection of foundations. Weve examined hundreds of makeup lines for this and previous editions of this book, and Stila has had and continues to maintain one of the best collections of truly neutral foundation colors. For anyone confused about what we mean by "neutral tones," you need look no further, though we are pleased that more mainstream lines (including L'Oreal, Revlon, Clinique, and even Cover Girl) are now creating wonderfully neutral foundation colors. Stila's foundations aren't inexpensive, but it's critical to get a foundation that's right for you, and that may mean splurging. Other stellar categories include concealers, blush, eyeshadows, brushes, and much better mascaras than in years past.
Once an independent brand with a first-to-market approach to clever cardboard packaging that was sleek, urban, and utilitarian at the same time, Stila's presence and product lineup and distribution expanded (with mostly favorable results) when it was acquired by Estee Lauder in 1999. It was a bit perplexing when Lauder announced in late 2005 that it would sell Stila to "optimize our portfolio of brands" and put more attention (read: financial resources) into their M.A.C. and Bobbi Brown brands (Source: The Rose Sheet, April 17, 2006, page 4). Ironically, of those three brands, Stila has the most compelling collection of products. M.A.C. and Bobbi Brown are no slouches, but Stila always had a slight edge, at least in the complexion-enhancing categories.
An affiliate of Sun Capital Partners (naming itself Stila Corporation) bought the brand from Lauder in spring 2006 and has been at the helm since. Lauder's no longer owning Stila led to the brand's hasty exit from department stores, a move that left many shoppers wondering what the heck happened (and, at least in the stores we visited, the sales associates were vague about the line's future). Luckily, Stila still has a home in Sephora stores worldwide, and is randomly distributed in select department stores. That's great news, because there is much to love about this line, and the most recent crop of products proves that Stila has every intention of remaining a competitive player in the compelling game that is the cosmetics industry.
For more information about Stila, visit www.stilacosmetics.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.