The 4 Best Blackhead Strips

ByC Mandler

Blackheads. We all have them, and for many of us, ridding them from our faces is our most consuming skin care-related quest. Maybe you've soaked them in salicylic acid or steamed them over a boiling pot of water, but these results pale in comparison to what you can achieve with one of the best blackhead strips, which can pull out even the peskiest gunk from clogged, congested T-zones.

There is really nothing more satisfying than pulling off a pore strip and seeing just how much schmutz was trapped in your nose, but thus begs the question: what exactly is that stuff anyway?

Our sebaceous glands naturally produce sebum, which is the weird whitish stuff that comes out when you squeeze your nose really hard. It's an oily secretion comprised of lipids that actually help skin and hair retain moisture, but too much sebum can lead to clogged pores and acne. When a pore is clogged, the sebum begins to oxidize from air exposure and darkens in color to form blackheads.

Pore strips are a quick and easy way to essentially vacuum out an abundance of sebum from problem areas, but sebum production is also a natural bodily function that does more good than harm. When we strip our skin of sebum, it can become super dry and irritated, so it's important not to overdo it with blackhead erasers, or we risk exacerbating the problem. Personally, my skin is too sensitive to handle using one of these strips more often than every other week, but what's great about that is one pack will last me ages.

Overall, pore strips are a good skin care tool to have on hand — especially in the sweatier months — but what's most important is that you take good care of your skin by taking stock of what works and what's too abrasive for your face. After all, everyone's skin is different and some people can handle aggressive treatments better than others.

1The All-Around Best Blackhead Strips (And Amazon Agrees!)

This blackhead remover kit from Anjou really has it all. Instead of just equipping you with a pore strip on its own, Anjou has gone above and beyond by sending not one, but two additional serums that'll leave your nose feeling squeaky clean for days after. Before applying the pore strip, you're supposed to allow the blackhead dissolving serum — formulated with hero ingredients like glycolic and lactic acids — to sit on the affected area for two minutes. It should only take 15 minutes tops for the wet pore strip to dry, and after removing, you apply the pore minimizer (which is made with soothing witch hazel and moisturizing hyaluronic acid) to make sure that not only are your follicles clear of blackheads, but that they're not left open and vulnerable to more potential skin irritants, too. The pore strips have six slits, so whether you have a button nose or something a little more aquiline, you'll be able to fit this baby on easy-peasy.

2These Classic Blackhead Strips That Never Fail To Give Results

Bioré is the eponymous maker of the pore strip for a reason, and that's because they really, really work. I've been buying their deep cleaning strips since I was 12 and started getting clogged pores at summer camp, and all you have to do is wet your nose, slap one of these on, wait ten minutes, and then audibly gasp at the sheer amount of discolored gunk that appears on these bright white strips. Maybe that's gross, but I don't care because it's so worth it. The best part about these tiny lil' pore vacuum cleaners is that ever pack comes with seven of each of the two strip typs: one designed for your nose and one that's suitable for any other area of the face where blackheads may appear (T-zone, I'm talking to you!). This product is dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic, and oil-free, so even though it's one of the more aggressive pore strips on the market, it's technically suitable for sensitive skin types, too. And with nearly 1,400 five-star reviews on Amazon, you know that this tried-and-true classic really deserves its pore-clearing fame.

3A Multi-Step K-Beauty Pore-Cleansing Experience

This blackhead removing kit from K-Beauty brand ANSWER NINETEEN+ gets rid of sebum build up on and around your nose through two different pore strips and a finishing ampoule, and works on both blackheads and whiteheads. Formulated without AHA or BHA — which are great at fighting acne, but can be irritating or drying on more sensitive skin types — the two different pore strips each have their own purpose. The first foams into a rich lather when wet, softening the skin and loosening clogged pores for maximum extraction with the second step in the kit, another pore strip that's formulated with charcoal and clay to suck out any and all unwanted gunk. After the second strip, you apply the included ampoule, which tightens pores, moisturizes skin, and relieves any redness or irritation. According to reviewers, way more ampoule is included in each packet than you need for your affected area, so you can bottle it up in an empty product container, keep it in the fridge for maximum freshness, and incorporate it into your normal skincare routine. This kit really is the gift that keeps on giving.

4A Gentler K-Beauty Option, Which Are Infused With Aloe

For folks with sensitive skin, a blackhead-clearing solution with soothing ingredients and fewer steps the safest bet. These pore strips from The Face Shop may not be as comprehensive as some of the other kits on this list, but with fewer components than the other options, there's less likely to be a surprise ingredient that ends up causing irritation instead of relief from persistent blackheads. These strips are pretty run-of-the-mill: you wash your face, apply one across the damp bridge of your nose, and wait for it to dry and work its magic, which usually takes around 10 to 15 minutes. What's great about these strips are that they contain aloe, which is my number one hero ingredient for 99.9 percent of skin afflictions. Sunburn? Put aloe on it. Inflamed zit? You need aloe. Redness? Have I mentioned aloe? This formula is effective, yet kind to skin that can't safely handle the usual abrasiveness of the average pore strip. These strips are also great for folks with oiler skin, as the volcanic ash is great for absorbing unwanted greasiness and mattifying shiny areas.

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