If blackheads are starting to make an appearance after a month of not going for your regular facial, pore strips may be the solution to your blackhead woes.
Do pore strips really work?
Sometimes called “nose strips” or “pore packs”, pore strips, along with sheet masks and acne patches, are the SOS treatments that most beauty enthusiasts have in our closets.
They’re easy to use: traditional pore strips require you to wet your nose, apply the strip, leave it to try, and then slowly peel it off and watch your blackheads get stripped off. There are variations to the way they’re applied, depending on the product, but generally this is how most of them work.
Like how wax strips help to pull out hairs, pore strips are able to bind blackheads to the adhesive of the product and then lift them out from the pores.
However, this is a temporary solution to get rid of the appearance of blackheads but will not prevent blackheads from appearing in the future – you’ll always need other solutions that help you to regularly eliminate excessive sebum build-up (which is what blackheads are made up of; they’re oxidised sebum plugs) and unclog your pores.
Want to try a pore strip? Read on
Before you buy new pore strips, take note that those with sensitive skin sometimes complain that the adhesive or material of the strip irritates their skin. But if you don’t usually have this problem – go ahead and use it once to twice a week, depending on how fast blackheads appear.
This popular treatment has come a long way, with variations for sensitive skin to multi-step ones for a complete routine. Here are 19 best pore strips (and alternatives for people with sensitive skin!) that you can try at home for clear, blackhead- and gunk-free pores of your dreams.
Best pore strips to get rid of blackhead and gunk
1. Biore Pore Pack Black (popular!)
One of the most popular pore strip brands around, Biore’s is affordable, safe for sensitive skin, and effectively removes both blackheads and clogged pores for smoother skin. Plus, you’ll get to see all the gunk on the dark coloured pore strip – we know how satisfying that is!
Available on Guardian for SGD4.75.
2. Sephora Collection The Charcoal Kit
This limited edition kit has four purifying products enriched charcoal to give your skin a thorough detox. The kit includes a body polish, face exfoliator, pore minimiser, and a nose strip to purge skin of impurities for a clear complexion.
Retails on Sephora for SGD26.
3. CNP Laboratory Anti-Pore Blackhead Clear Kit
This two-step blackhead kit comprises two masks: one to soften skin, dissolve blackheads and sebum, and the other one to tighten and minimise pores for the poreless, Korean glass skin look, without causing any damage to your pores. Don’t be intimidated by the two-step routine. It’s actually very simple to follow and this is certainly one of the best pore and blackhead management solutions with great online reviews.
Available on Guardian for SGD35.90.
4. yes to Tomatoes 2-Step Nose Kit
Here’s another easy two-step product. This one has a cleanser with charcoal and Jojoba to allow you to remove dirt and deep cleanse pores first, before you slap on a charcoal pore strip that acts as a magnet for blackheads, leaving you with clean and bright skin.
SGD9 on lookfantastic.
5. COSRX Blackhead Remover Mr.RX Kit
Another multi-step blackhead remover, this one by COSRX, a popular Korean skincare brand, has a softening mask to first open pores, which makes the process less painful, followed by a clearing sheet – which is like your standard pore strip – to remove the gunk deep in your pores. Finally, there’s one last additional sheet you can use to close the opened pores and soothe any irritation caused, making it a great choice if you have sensitive skin.
Retails on lookfantastic for SGD10.50.
6. Sephora Collection Nose Strip
Made with charcoal, which is said to bind to dirt and draw out impurities, Sephora Collection’s new and improved Nose Strip unclogs pores and reveals smooth, clean, and matte skin in just 10 minutes.
SGD4 on Sephora.
7. A’PIEU Goblin Blackhead 3 Step Nose Pack
If you have an excessively oily nose, this one is for you. Formulated with oil-controlling Witch Hazel extracts and BHA, this not only removes unsightly blackheads, it also reduces sebum and shine. This is the best pore strip for those with oily skin type, for sure!
Retails on Althea for SGD1.30.
8. Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Nose Pack
A very affordable option from Innisfree’s bestselling Jeju Volcanic line, you can use this often as a weekly treatment without having your pockets bleed. Easy to use and highly effective, this is formulated with volcanic particles (from Jeju!) that absorb blackheads and sebum for skin that looks and feels cleaner.
Available on Althea for SGD3.90 for 6.
9. CAOLION Pore Blackhead Eliminating T-Zone Strip
Why not clean out all your blackheads – not just from the nose – while you’re at it? CAOLION’s covers the entire T-Zone, as well as the cheek area next to the nose, which are problem areas for many. This pore strip is infused with ceramides and centella to reduce irritation after removal.
SGD8 on Sephora.
10. Aritaum Glacial Clay 3 Step Pore Care Nose Pack (pampering treat!)
This three-step routine begins with the pore heating sheet that helps to open up your pores and prep your skin for blackhead removal.
Then, you apply the pore strip that’s infused with glacial clay to help draw impurities from the pores.
Finally, the last step is to be put into the freezer while you’re doing step one and two, so that you can put it on as a cooling treatment to close the pores and soothe any irritation.
Available at SGD3.30 on Althea.
11. Guardian Nose Pore Pack Charcoal (most affordable!)
If you’re looking for an affordable pore strip option, consider this one from Guardian. These pore strips contain active charcoal to help absorb oil and dirt and are also infused with peppermint oil so you can get a cooling sensation after removing the strip.
Retails for SGD2.75 on Guardian.
Best alternatives for pore strips
Those with sensitive skin sometimes shy away from pore strips because for fear that the material and process irritates their delicate skin. If you’re looking to get rid of blackheads and unclog your pores without pore strips, these alternatives may come handy.
12. The Rice Polish Deep Foaming Enzyme Powder (very gentle!)
Enzyme powders are one of the most popular Japanese beauty step to gently exfoliate skin and get rid of blackheads. If you’re looking for a luxurious exfoliant that you can use every day, try this one from Tatcha.
While most exfoliants should only be limited to once or twice per week, Tatcha’s is gentle enough for daily use, formulated with natural ingredients like papaya enzymes, and anti-ageing green tea, rice, and algae, giving you luminous, clean skin.
SGD95 on Sephora.
13. Alpha-H Micro Cleanse Super Scrub
Need something more heavy-duty? This one is recommended specifically for blackheads and blemishes, as its combination of AHA and jojoba beads remove dead skin cells effectively to reveal fresher ones underneath. The scrub is also formulated with peppermint that soothes and reduces redness.
While the words like “scrub” and “acid” in its product description may sound a little intimidating you may be surprised that it actually feels gentle on the skin unless you have a very damaged skin barrier. Normal to mildly sensitive skin types will find this very comfortable.
From SGD16 on Sephora.
14. Mario Badescu Silver Powder
Mario Badescu is a popular brands among those with acne-prone and oily skin types. So it is probably not surprising that they have a solution to help with blackheads – a common skin concern among the previously mentioned group.
This unique powder formula is made with ingredients like Kaolin Clay and Zinc Oxide, which helps to absorb excess sebum, all while tightening pores at the same time.
To use, simply mix it with water to form a paste, then massage it onto problem areas, and watch those blackheads disappear!
Retails for SGD27 on Sephora.
15. Blemish & Blackhead Remover
For immediate results, use a tool like this affordable one, which is made of 100% stainless steel for durability. Just make sure you keep the tool clean, and follow proper procedures so as to not damage your skin.
Available on Guardian for SGD3.95.
16. Medicube Pore Brush
The ultra fine, 0.05mm bristles of this dense pore brush from Medicube throughly cleanses your pores and removes dirt your fingertips can’t reach. It also has a silicone brush on the other side that exfoliates dead skin cells. Many beauty bloggers rave about so it’s definitely worth checking out!
Retails for SGD19 on Guardian.
17. LANBENA Blackhead Remover Mask (cult-favourite!)
This cult-favourite product is well-loved in Asia and for good reason: it really helps to get rid of blackheads gently.
It starts off as a wet mask that you apply onto affected areas. After the mask dries, tear it off and you’ll see blackheads and oil plugs get removed along with it. The product is so gentle, the brand suggest that those with severe blackheads can use it up to three times a week.
Retails for SGD11 on Lazada (there’s a 50% discount now, so grab it fast!)
18. Foreo Luna Mini 2
You can make your (blackhead-removing) life easier with Foreo’s Luna Mini, which does the cleaning for you – minimum effort required. The non-abrasive silicon points gently cleanses your face effectively without overstimulating the skin. It’s also waterproof, so you can wash it easily and frequently without a problem.
The best part about using a facial cleansing device like this one is that it helps to unclog your pores and gently exfoliate skin each time you use it, so it also helps with the prevention of blackhead appearance.
Retails for SGD205 on Sephora.
19. Skinfood Egg White Pore Mask
This product is primarily meant for unclogging pores as a prevention for blackhead appearance but its ingredients also help to gently remove blackheads that have already formed.
Enriched with eggs and amino acids, this mask helps to reduce excess sebum and oil production, while penetrating deeply into pores to cleanse it. Those with oily complexions will be able to achieve fresher and cleaner skin throughout the day after the treatment.
Take note, though, if you’re dealing with stubborn blackheads that are deeply lodged within the pores, this mask may not be able to extract them.
Retails for SGD13.10 on Althea.