I'm Obsessed with These Pore Cleansing Strips That Erase My Blackheads
I have what can only be described as an uncooperative nose. Even on days when the rest of my complexion is in tip-top shape, the tiny blackheads that accumulate on my nose are likely to appear. I've tried the classic stick-and-peel pore strips that you can buy at the drugstore, but my blackheads always seemed to come back with a vengeance within a couple of days—plus, the feeling of ripping a piece of tape off your nose isn't exactly pleasant.
Pore strips didn't appeal to me at all when I first picked up a box of Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Strips, but the description on the box was tantalizing enough to convince me to give them a go. Neutrogena describes this twist on the pore strip as a "strip-to-scrub," meaning you don't just rip the strip off after a few minutes—you rub it into your skin like a thin wafer of soap.
Buy it: Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating Strips, $16; amazon.com
I apply one of these salicylic acid-loaded strips to my nose after washing my face about once every 10 days. As the strip soaks up the water left on my nose, it starts to disintegrate into a scrub. After a few minutes, I use my fingers and a clean washcloth to scrub my nose and upper cheeks with the resulting scrub. Inevitably, my post-strip nose looks way different than it did before. Since the pore strips are made with alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), they gently exfoliate, brighten and tighten my skin—without drying it out. My pores appear smaller and there's no sign of the blackheads that usually show up. Plus, there's no adhesive residue or irritation from pulling a strip from my nose.
Reviewers are similarly in love with the pore strips, especially those who have to avoid adhesive or travel often—these strips could very well replace the need to pack your facial exfoliant for the weekend. "I immediately thought how great these would be for travel," one Amazon reviewer says. "Since they're not a liquid cleanser, they won't count in your TSA liquids restrictions. They do a good job of cleansing. I have somewhat sensitive skin and these didn't irritate me."
The salicylic acid in these strips makes them a good acne fighter as well, so you could even use them to battle your maskne. If you love pore strips for the satisfying map of dirt and oil you see on the strip after pulling it off, this set may not be for you—though some reviewers prefer these painless strips.
For satisfying blackhead removal without the stickiness, these scrub strips are the way to go. Next time I might even pair them with Neutrogena's salicylic acid-spiked facial scrub for a total refresh.