I have two younger sisters, and I was lucky that the youngest one turned out to be a makeup junkie like me. We’re always commiserating over products that don’t work, gush over our latest lip gloss obsession, and share the wealth when we find new colors that compliment our tan skin. The other day, I came home and my sister whipped out her latest purchase: Benefit The Pore-Fessional ($28). She began telling me her pores were as good as invisible with this primer (which is the second primer to be added to Benefit’s line).

Now, I do think Benefit’s marketing is cute. They have darling names and bright packaging. But a while back a former co-worker of mine mentioned their products were loaded with preservatives, and since then, I’ve backed off their face products a bit.

I immediately asked my sister to show me their ingredients. It says it’s oil-free and there were no “paraben” suffixes which almost made me breathe a sigh of relief. But, as I suspected from the silky texture of the product, it was a laundry list of silicones including dimethicone and silica.

Silica, as Marta had previously noted, when in the body is toxic. Topical silicones like cyclopentasiloxane (also in this product), it evaporates quickly and not noted to be a big threat. The ingredient is water-thin but also waterproof, so it may be what’s responsible for the dewy effect when you use this product on your skin.

The benefit here (no pun intended), is that when you use The Pore-Fessional, it does leave the skin with a silky, nice-feeling layer of softness that does seem to temporarily “blur” your pores. It’s a translucent gel that gives you that soft-focus effect. But again, that’s what silicones do, and it is temporary.

Another minus point for The Pore-Fessional: phenoxyethanol. Since reading some of Marta’s warnings on this ingredient, I always seem to see red flags whenever I see a product contains this preservative. The contents list goes on to mention polymethyl methacrylate, a plastic filler; yet another silicone, triethoxycaprylylsilane; and (sometimes noted carcinogen) BHT. I guess the only ingredients I thought actually didn’t make me almost cry were its sun-blocking titanium dioxide and vitamin E.

But another thing that bothered me while researching this product was it was nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find a transparent ingredient list online. I had to dig up the box of the product again and write it out for the purposes of this post. And while it says which is “minimize the appearance of pores,” the potential harmful effects of the ingredients (and myriad silicones) are not worth it.

A day later, my sister told me that even though she felt she got instant gratification using it, the next day she broke out. Super fail.

Cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, dimethiccone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, isononyl isononanoate, silica, dimethicone crosspolymore, isodedecane, phenoxyethanol, polymethyl methacrylsate, titanium dioxide (CI 77891), cyclohexasiloxane, tocopheryl acetate, fragrance (parfum), mico, iron oxides, (CI 77492), limonene, iron oxides (CI 77491), iron oxides (CI 77499), triethoxycaprylylsilane, BHT.