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Clog pores with excess sebum, makeup, dirt, and dead skin cells, and what do you get? Blackheads. They’re a type of mild acne that can be incredibly annoying, leaving many to poke, prod, or reach for pore strips to try to remove them.
Pore strips can be a lifesaver when you’re looking for a quick fix or some stay-at-home self-care. It can also be strangely satisfying to see what the strips pull out.
While they’re great at gunk-busting, sticky pore strips can also be irritating on the skin, especially if used frequently. It can also be hard to find what works best for your skin.
We’re here to help by rounding up some of the best options out there. Read on for our top eight choices for your nose and T-zone.
When choosing pore strips for this list, we looked at ingredients and online reviews. We aimed to include different price points and types of strips, like strips for the chin and forehead.
We also considered Environmental Working Group (EWG) ratings. The EWG rates makeup and skin care products based on their possible health concerns. Products are scored on a 10-point scale, with 1 being the best possible score and 10 being the worst.
We tried to mostly choose products that have a good EWG rating. However, not all products are in the EWG database.
- $ = under $10
- $$ = $10–$20
- $$$ = over $20
Most products on our list come with 6 to 8 strips per pack. Some brands may vary, though. Take a look at the package size if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck.
Peace Out Pore Treatment Strips
Peace Out pore strips are made with hydrocolloids, which help remove sebum and dead skin. They also contain dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) and vitamin A to reduce the appearance of pores.
Although this product hasn’t been rated by the EWG, it’s free of certain potentially harmful ingredients, including formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, and triclosan. It also contains less than 1 percent of artificial fragrances and is gluten-free.
Each pack includes both nose strips and face strips that you can use anywhere on your T-zone.
The directions suggest wearing the strips for 6 hours or overnight, or 1 hour if you have sensitive skin. This is longer than the time required by other pore strips, so they’re best used when you’re not in a rush.
Formula 10.0.6 Down to the Pore Strips
If you want to remove blackheads from your entire T-zone, this Formula 10.0.6 variety pack might do the trick. In addition to nose strips, it includes strips for your chin and forehead. They’re made with charcoal and witch hazel, which helps remove excess sebum.
The strips also help control oil with kaolin clay, Moroccan lava clay, and aloe leaf extract.
According to users, the strips have a nice herbal scent. They’re also bigger than some other strips out there, so you can get more coverage.
Pacifica Cosmo Vanish Pore Strips
This Pacifica multipack includes separate strips for your nose, chin, and forehead. The strips rely on tea tree oil, hemp seed oil, and witch hazel extract to control excess sebum. Some people are sensitive to tea tree oil, so if you’re not sure how your skin will react, it’s best to do a patch test.
Rated a 1 by EWG, the strips are made with natural fiber instead of synthetic materials.
Bioré Combo Pack Deep Cleansing Pore Strips
This combo pack includes both nose and face strips. They’re dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic, and made with witch hazel extract.
In each box, you’ll get more strips than other combo packs on this list. These have an EWG rating of 2 though they do contain methylparaben.
The reviews for this product are mixed. Some users say the strips effectively unclogged their pores, while others say they didn’t work. Still, this product is a popular choice among skin care enthusiasts.
Bioré Deep Cleansing Charcoal Pore Strips
These deep cleansing charcoal pore strips from Bioré are designed to remove blackheads, dirt, and excess oil. They’re dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic, vegan, and cruelty-free.
These strips are rated a 2 by the EWG. They do contain methylparaben, though. If you’re looking to avoid parabens, this product may not be a good choice.
Boscia Pore Purifying Black Charcoal Strips
These nose strips use charcoal powder and witch hazel extract to help remove impurities. They’re also made with extract of moutan, a peony with antioxidant properties.
Like all Boscia products, these strips are vegan and free of gluten, artificial fragrance, and synthetic colors. They’re rated a 1 by the EWG.
Compared to other products on this list, these strips are a little more expensive, but fans say they’re worth the extra cash.
TONYMOLY Strawberry Nose Pack
This product from TONYMOLY is a multi-step pore treatment that comes with three separate strips. First is a gel strip made with sage extract, witch hazel extract, and strawberry seed oil. It brings blackheads and sebum to the surface of your pores.
Next up is a normal nose strip that’s designed to lift away impurities. The third strip soothes and tones with aloe and strawberry fruit extract.
This product has a strong strawberry scent, which some users love and others don’t. Each package contains enough strips for one treatment.
Hydropeptide Bambusa Blackhead Banisher
These dermatologist-approved nose strips are jam-packed with natural ingredients. Volcanic ash and charcoal exfoliate and cleanse the skin. Bamboo extract, witch hazel extract, sacred lotus flower extract, and aloe hydrate and soothe.
These strips are free of gluten, sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. They’re more expensive than other pore strips and are only meant for the nose.
Pore strips use strong adhesives to stick to your skin. That means that removing them can sometimes be painful.
Especially if you have sensitive skin, you might notice redness, itchiness, or discomfort after using them. There have also been anecdotal reports of pore strips damaging or breaking the skin.
To protect your skin, keep these tips in mind:
- Follow the directions on the packaging. While some strips are designed to be worn for a few hours, others are made to stay on for only a few minutes.
- Avoid using pore strips near your eyes.
- Never use pore strips on sunburns, inflamed acne, very dry skin, or open wounds.
- If you notice your skin is irritated after using a product, stop using it.
- Always remove pore strips slowly and gently. If they’re stubborn, try adding water to help soften them. This should make them easier to remove.
There are several factors to consider when finding the right pore strips for your skin.
Some common skin care ingredients, like parabens and phthalates, are considered unsafe by the EWG. If you prefer to avoid these substances, be sure to check the label. Also, look out for any ingredients you may allergic or sensitive to.
You can also take into consideration your lifestyle and preferences. For example, certain products may be certified vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free.
Most pore strips are designed to be used on your nose. If you want to use them on another area of your face, look for a variety pack that also contains chin and forehead strips.
If you’re not sure where to start, you can also ask a dermatologist for a recommendation. They may be able to suggest a product based on your personal skin needs.
Take a look at the packaging directions before using any product. In general, here’s what you’ll do:
- Wash your face as usual. Pat dry.
- Wet your nose, chin, or forehead, depending on where you want to apply the strips.
- Dry your hands. Remove the pore strip from the plastic lining.
- Apply the smooth side to your skin. Press on the strip, smoothing out any creases.
- Wait for the suggested amount of time. The strip will eventually dry and harden.
- Gently pull off the strip, starting at the outer edges. Slowly peel toward the center.
- Wash your skin and pat dry.
Often, it’s recommended to use pore strips once per week. More frequent use might cause irritation, especially if you’re repeatedly using them on the same part of your face.
Always use pore strips on their intended location. For example, only use nose strips on the nose. These strips are designed to curve around the nose, so they might not fit right in other areas.
If you’d like to apply pore strips on another area of your face, use face strips. These are shaped to sit across your chin or forehead. Plus, some brands use different ingredients in each type of strip.
There are many types of pore strips to choose from. When selecting a product, be sure to check the ingredients. Read and follow the directions for best results.
To avoid unwanted side effects, never apply pore strips on irritated or inflamed skin. This includes sunburns, acne, and open wounds. Gently peel the strip off instead of pulling it off fast.
Pore strips are a temporary fix. The best way to prevent and remove blackheads is to exfoliate and follow a regular skin care routine.