Does Glue Really Work As A Face Mask?

I'm a sucker for anything that can save me money, especially when it comes to beauty products. So I tried the blackhead mask with glue, to see if this hack could be a money saving alternative to the more expensive, branded blackhead masks and nose strips.

In the realm of blackhead removal products, there are a ton of different methods to rid yourself of the little blighters. There are blackhead masks that look like you’ve covered your nose in tar, or even cleansing pore strips that appear to rip your blackheads right out of their cosy homes in your pores. There are also a bunch of natural ways to remove your blackheads, from clay masks to baking soda scrubs. As bizarre as it might sound, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to blackhead removal.

However, some of these methods might be more than you want to spend, and it's fun to have some cheap alternatives. I doubt you can pick up any decent quality nose strips that offer the same value for money as an entire bottle of glue, and occasionally, desperate budget times call for desperate skincare measures. In this case that translates to: I put glue on my face to save money. Here's what happened.

The Inspo

I followed the above tutorial on how to create a blackhead removal mask out of Elmer's glue. After watching a video where an Elmer's glue face mask fails drastically, I decided against doing a full face mask, because I did not want to end up in pain and/or with a red, sore-looking face afterward. I don't usually suffer with sensitive skin, but I wasn't sure how the glue would react to my face, so I didn't want to risk it.

The Glue

After a spot of research, that involved watching YouTube videos of people spreading glue on their faces, I gathered the following: Elmer's glue is the most popular brand to use to create this mask. However, I wanted to get even thriftier, so I opted for a £1 (approx. $1.23) bottle of PVA glue from my local pound shop. Besides, I'd never heard of Elmer's glue before, while PVA is widely used in schools as a safe, non-toxic alternative over here in the UK — IMO, it's the Elmer's glue for British people.

Although the bottle did say that the glue I'd chosen was in fact "non-toxic," it did state, "Do not allow material to come into contact with eyes" along with instructions on what to do if the product did come into contact with eyes, or was ingested. So I was a little wary about how safe and "non toxic" this product actually was, but I remember getting PVA all over my hands during crafts as a child, so I reckoned it would probably be okay on my nose, as long as I kept it away from my eyes.

I decided to use an old makeup brush that was on its last legs to apply the glue to my nose.

I squeezed a splodge of glue onto an empty tin and I was ready to begin applying.

The Mask

As I hadn't used a mask or had my blackheads extracted professionally in quite some time, I felt ready for a purge. Above was my nose pre-glue. Then, it was time to spread it on.

Admittedly, it felt utterly wrong spreading glue on my nose.

When I'd covered my nose, I felt like I'd applied too much, as it was still opaque after a few minutes.

After about five minutes I was starting to worry that I'd have to start again, as I thought I'd put far too much on.

I started to feel concerned when my nose began to itch a little and these dots appeared on the end of my nose.

However, my patience paid off and I could feel the glue drying on my face. It felt oddly irresistible to scrunch my face up and feel the glue begin to peel up at the edges. I twigged that the dots I'd seen previously must have been the glue filling my pores. I wasn't sure if this was a good or a bad thing.

When I'd timidly touched my nose and concluded that the glue had finally dried, I began to peel off the glue.

This was by far the best part and it felt amazing — like when you used to peel glue off your hands in elementary school — and I'd actually do it all over again just for this sensation.

The Results

I couldn't wait to peek at my mask! I put it against a black book cover so as to view the results clearly and I was shocked. I couldn't be certain if the white specks spotted all over my glue mask where little hairs or blackheads but, considering it was painless to remove, I thought they would likely be blackheads. TBH, I was surprised because I didn't think it would work.

As a bonus to the relief I felt at not having to make a trip to the hospital, after washing my face (as suggested in the tutorial) my nose felt fresh and very soft. I'm sure my blackhead situation still needs some attention so, unless a professional told me this was bad for me or my skin, I would actually do this again!

If you want to give this a whirl, just make sure you're not allergic to your chosen glue and that it definitely says, "non-toxic" somewhere on the label. Stay safe and blackhead free with this fun little experiment — if nothing else, it will give you some nostalgia for those glue-covered classroom days.

Images: Phoebe Waller