Best Primer for the T-Zone: Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner

Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner

Boys and girls with combination/oily skin, take heed: I have found something that smooths out the pores and keeps shine at bay! It is reasonably priced, and it contains salicylic acid to help solve the problem instead of simply covering it up. In other words, I can’t oversell Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner!

I am all for a healthy and radiant complexion, but my T-zone clearly needs no help to achieve that look. I have to focus on tackling blackheads and keeping that shine under control instead. Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner claims to give the skin a more refined texture, make pores less visible (it also claims to “close pores,” which as you might already know, is a false claim since pores simply do not “open” or “close”), and prevent pores from being clogged.

Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner review

Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner comes in a 30ml/1 oz squeeze tube, and it goes for around 15, 16 euros here. The clear lightweight lotion is very lightly-scented. The consistency is a lot more fluid than silicone-based primers, but not as runny as some water-based ones. It is very easy to spread this out.

Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner instructions

Once spread out, Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner sets to a matte finish. It does a great job obscuring pores and giving the skin a uniform texture. I have been using it for months. While I can’t properly assess if it prevents my pores from being clogged (I do not wear makeup on a daily basis, so I do not use this on a daily basis), I have a little story to tell you. On my way back from Taiwan last November, I forgot to pack the tube of La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo in my clear plastic bag. Naturally, my skin had to grasp the opportunity and start forming a painful spot on my chin 36,000 feet in the air. Since this was the only thing I had at hand that could possibly help, I slathered some on and went to sleep. That spot was gone before I landed! While I wouldn’t replace Effaclar with Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner, I am inclined to believe that to a certain extent, the acid works.

The instructions specify that Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner has to be applied before cream, but since I use it as a primer, I apply this on top of my skincare products. Not only does it instantly make pores look smaller and skin texture more refined, it does keep shine at bay for several hours longer than most other primers I have tried. A lot of primers can fill the pores out, but not many of them really keep sebum production in check.

Bottom line: If you are tired of silicone-based primers that fill the pores without regulating sebum production, Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner is a product you really should consider. For me, it is primarily a primer, but it does have some skincare benefits. Bioderma offers samples (which is how I got to know this one), so see if you have access to the brand at a pharmacy nearby!

Here is the ingredient list:

Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner ingredients


  • Redhotjillypeppers

    This one sounds great as a primer, I tried some of the sébium products and they’re all pretty good.

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Jill, I haven’t tried other products in the line-up, but I’m definitely going to look into it!

  • beautiesatwork

    sounds like something I could use :)

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      You should check it out then, Eva! It’s a budget-friendly and it works well :)

  • beautiesatwork

    sounds like something I could use :)

  • Sofia

    Interesting to know of this product as my T-zone is not part of my best features I think. I don’t wear makeup each and everyday, and I never wear primer, but I do realise that my t-zone is way better when I do wear make up, maybe because I tend to get mattifying foundations or bbcreams and it helps… Maybe this would be great for when I go makeup-less.

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Sofia, T-zone is nobody’s best feature LOL I don’t wear makeup every day, either. This you can totally just use without makeup to mattify the skin a little. At night I use Effaclar (K or Duo) on my T-zone, but during daytime it’s this.

  • Icaria

    Oh this looks good! I’ll try to remember about it next summer when my t-zone goes out of wack!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Helene, my T-zone is coo coo for cocoa puffs all year round, so I need this in my life 😉

  • Kiss & Make-up

    :-S I should have read this BEFORE I got the new Dior Pore Minimizer, lol. I do love it though, but still, this is probably a skin-friendlier option.

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      OOO you got that one? I’d love to hear what you think about it! You can try this next time :)

      • Kiss & Make-up

        Oh it’s really nice! I plan on reviewing it, so in a week or two I should be able to tell you all about it :-)

        • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

          Oh great! Take your time. Base makeup always takes time!

  • Lena L

    Thanks for this review! I wish Bioderma was easily available here as well. I usually order from a french site but not the heavy stuff like the cleansing lotion! This one looks light enough and sounds awesome. I will try it soon. 😉

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      You’re welcome, Lena! So sorry to hear it’s hard to get Bioderma in the States. I hope it’ll be more available soon, since there are some good products in the range!

  • Larie

    I’m not super into primers and pore-thingees, but that might be because of the silicone-y ness and ugh, one more thing to put on my face no thank you 😛 But! I like the sound of a non-silicone filled option! Because really, that just perpetuates the problem…

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Larie, this does contain silicone but you’re right, it is not the second (or even the first) ingredient. I use this instead of Effaclar in the morning, since Effaclar doesn’t mattify.

  • syrena85

    Fortunately I don’t need any pore refiners or anything like that as my skin is quite dry. But obviously it may always change at some point so it’s good to know where to look for the stuff that works

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Irena, oh if you have dry skin you most probably don’t need this! You’d get more mileage out of a radiance-boosting product 😉

  • Emi at Project Swatch

    Ooh, this sounds great! I would use it on my chin during the summer only, but I do need something for that.

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Emi, do you get more shine on your chin? I get all of it on my nose and forehead (so annoying)!

  • TracyBeautyReflections

    Glad you found something that works for you Sunny! I love Bioderma products, especially their sunscreen.

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Tracy, oh yeah I need to try those at some point! I am also helplessly hooked on the micellar water 😉

  • Liz

    I’ve been meaning to try this ever since Lisa Eldridge mentioned it in a video. It’d be nice if I could use this just alone without moisturizer. Too drying you think?

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Liz, I actually skip moisturizer on my T-zone if I’m going to wear makeup, because even the lightest moisturizer makes it grease up so much faster. I very often use a hydrating serum (the Caudalie one) all over my face, put this on my T-zone and call it a day (moisturizer on my cheeks of course, but not on my T-zone). I wouldn’t say it’s drying!

      • Liz

        That sounds awesome! Okay, on the list now. :)

        • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

          Yup you should check it out, Liz! The best part is it doesn’t break the bank 😉

  • Kelly

    I really love this too. I use it as a primer and for my oily skin it works very very well. I have nothing bad to say about it and think any oily skinned person would love it! I wish it were more available here in the states, I had to buy mine on Amazon

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Kelly, glad to hear you’re also a fan! I THINK Bioderma is more available in Canada, so I sure hope it’ll expand to the US soon!

  • rachlovespenguins

    Probably not the product for me and my dry skin. Though I can relate to Emi and the chin thing. If anything is going to be a problem for me in the summer it’s my chin. Seriously, what is up with my face? lol

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Rach, if your skin is dry, you probably don’t need this! That is so interesting. I kept thinking everybody gets shine in their forehead and nose, but apparently for some people the chin is the problem 😉

  • lippylash

    Oooh this sounds so good!!!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Natasha, you should give this a go! See if you can get a sample at a pharmacy nearby.

  • Emae

    This is quite interesting. I’ve never tried any product from this brand. Although it sounds like a good idea to have my boyfriend buy some Bioderma goodies for me since he’s in Europe. Lol I have to admit, the fact that it contains salicylic acid kind of sold me. I need to finish my BECCA Ever-Matte Primer first! Oh, the temptations!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Emae, oh yeah definitely ask for something from Bioderma. I love their micellar water so much that I always buy it in bulk!

  • Lily

    Oh no! You didn’t just tell me this. I just bought a mattifying primer from Dior – the new one, and I’m still trying it… and I nearly ordered Metamorphoses from RBR. Now this one? The best you tried??? What are you doing to me, Sunny??

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Lily, SORRY! I’d love to hear about the Dior one though. If it’s any consolation, this one is not pricey at all so you can probably grab it without feeling guilty 😉

  • Jaa

    Oh this sounds interesting! I’m all for anything that claims to minimize pores! And this one has skincare benefits, too, so I’m really curious now! How would you compare this to Benefit POREfessional in terms of texture and staying power? Thanks! :)

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Jaa, I actually only tried Benefit POREfessional once a long time ago, so I can’t really remember! Tell you what: I just remembered that I have a sample sachet sitting in my sample pile. Let me give it a whirl next week and get back to you!

      • Jaa

        Yay! Thanks, Sunny!! :)

  • Whitney

    Bioderma skincare products are really getting good reviews! I started with the makeup remover and the sales at the drugstore gave me some samples of the serum and some other products (a whole gift bag of samples!) and I like them so far. I would love to seek out a sample of this so I’ll scope around next time! I have so many pore refining primers tho..*sigh*

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Whitney, oh wow that’s nice! I love it when brands are generous with samples :) Definitely see if you can lay your hands on this one. The good thing is it really doesn’t break the bank (not too sure how much it is in Canada tho), so you can probably afford to own one more!

  • jenn @Abeautifulzen

    this looks quite good. the fact that it doesn’t have silicon but can still smooth and refine pores is a major plus. onto the ‘keep an eye out’ list this goes.

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Jenn, it does still have cone, but it’s not as high up on the list as it is with most primers! Definitely still keep an eye out for it :)

  • peggy timmermans

    Ohhhh now I’m curious! I love my Becca primer but as you know you can’t get that one here so this might be a good alternative!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Peggy, I haven’t tried the Becca one you have but give this a go if you want some mattifying!

  • Chenny

    Hi Sunny, today is my second day trying this product. My skin care routine steps usually: toner, essence, gel cream, sunscreen… yesterday i put this product in the 3rd step so: toner, essence, pore refiner, gel cream, sunscreen and it works great. But today I try to put it on as the last: toner, essence, gel cream, sunscreen, pore refiner and it didn’t work.. even after an hour the pore began to oily..

    I want to know, what do you suggest the best way to use this product?

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Chenny, OK that’s a little strange. I always use this as the last step, and it works.

      If using it as the last step doesn’t work for you, maybe you should stick to using it before your cream/sunscreen?

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