Pore strips have made a mainstream comeback for getting rid of blackheads. Mainly designed for the nose, these sticky pore strips work by adhering to blackheads.

In theory, the blackheads are removed when you pull the strips off your face. However, the strips may not remove acne entirely because they can’t deep-clean your pores.

While there isn’t anything inherently harmful about store-bought pore strips, the sticky synthetic materials can have a drying effect. And if you use them regularly, they can become pricey.

As an alternative, you may consider making your own pore strips with natural ingredients you can find around the house. Read on to learn how DIY pore strips work, as well as how you can make them yourself.

Homemade pore strips are designed to work in a similar way to their store-bought counterparts. The purpose of pore strips in general is to unclog pores of excess dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. All three of these elements contribute to the development of blackheads.

While no clinical studies have been conducted on natural pore strips, research does support the skin-benefiting effects of some of the individual ingredients commonly used, including yogurt and honey.

Before getting started, it’s important to use DIY pore strips on a clean face. Washing your face beforehand not only removes surface oils and dirt from your skin, but it also helps to soften blackheads for easier removal.

You’ll also need to wash your face after using pore strips to remove any excess ingredients left behind.

Don’t use any of the following recipes if you’re allergic to ingredients in them. It’s also recommended that you do a patch test ahead of time to make sure you don’t have any adverse reactions.

Rub the following mixtures inside your elbow and wait for 24 to 48 hours. If you experience inflammation or redness, don’t use it.

The following are some of the most popular DIY pore strip recipes and how to make them.

Egg white pore strips

Although there may be risks associated with allergies and infection, egg whites are widely used in homemade face masks because of their purported exfoliating and astringent-like effects on the skin. When used in pore strips, egg whites may have the ability to help shed dead skin cells that are clogging your pores.

To create an egg white pore strip, you need egg whites and paper towels. Place egg whites in a bowl and tear a paper towel into thin strips, putting them in with the egg whites.

Once the egg whites have soaked through the strips, place them across the desired area of skin. Gently peel off once the paper towels harden or after about 20 minutes.

Pore strips with tape

This method relies on the sticky factor of tape to remove blackheads alone without the use of any other exfoliating or softening in ingredients.

To use, take off small strips of clear cellophane tape. Place them sticky-side-down on the desired area of treatment. Press firmly against your skin and wait several minutes before gently peeling off.

While cellophane tape could possibly remove surface dead skin cells, it’s unclear how effective this method is in removing clogged gunk in your pores. Don’t use masking, duct, industrial, or any other type of tape that could be harmful to your skin.

Pore strips with sugar and honey

Honey is known for having antiseptic qualities, while the rough texture of sugar creates a natural exfoliant. When combined, these two ingredients may create an effective pore strip.

First, heat equal parts honey and sugar together over a saucepan. Once completely combined, let the mixture cool for several minutes. Apply to the desired area of skin and allow to harden for at least 15 minutes. Gently peel the strip away and rinse your skin.

Pore strips with yogurt and gelatin

Yogurt is known for adding moisture to the skin while also calming inflammation, thanks to naturally occurring probiotics. Gelatin is used in this recipe to help create the “sticky” effect of store-bought pore strips.

This recipe combines equal parts of plain gelatin and plain dairy yogurt (about a tablespoon of each). You can also use milk instead of the yogurt, though the texture may be thinner.

Heat the ingredients together until completely combined, and then test it to make sure it’s warm but not hot. Once it’s ready, apply in a thin, even layer across your nose, chin, or forehead. Wait 15 minutes or until the mixture is completely hardened before peeling the strips off your face.

Use caution if you have sensitive skin, as the gelatin’s ability to adhere to the skin can cause irritation upon removal. Some people have also reported a painful removal experience. You may consider reserving this recipe for your nose or forehead only.

DIY vegan pore strips

It’s also possible to make vegan-friendly versions of the pore strip recipes above. For example, you can use dairy free yogurt without gelatin or almond milk combined with an alternative sticky substance such as agar. Gently remove once hardened.

While the ingredients above may help remove blackheads safely at home, there are certain household ingredients you should never use on your face. Avoid pore strip recipes that contain the following:

  • Glue. The idea behind glue is to mimic the effects of tape or the sticky factor of traditional pore strips. However, glue is not intended for human skin, and it may cause your pores to become clogged even further. Avoid any form of glue when attempting blackhead removal.
  • Toothpaste. This is a dated home remedy that’s sometimes used as a spot treatment for pimples. However, we now know that toothpaste is much too drying for the skin.
  • Baking soda. Some “natural” acne treatment recipes use baking soda to help dry out blemishes and excess oils. The problem with baking soda is that it may be too drying. This can cause your sebaceous glands to produce even more oil, and it may lead to rashes and skin irritation.

If you’d rather not go through the hassle of homemade pore strips, it may be worth the extra cost to buy traditional pre-made versions from the store. These work by adhering to your skin and clearing clogged pores upon removal.

You may also consider the following treatments to help get rid of blackheads and prevent their reoccurrence.

Salicylic acid

This is a popular acne-fighting ingredient because of its ability to dry up excess oils and exfoliate dead skin cells before they get clogged in your pores.

For best results, use salicylic acid at least a few times per week. You may need to use it daily if you have regular acne breakouts. You can try salicylic-acid-containing face washes, toners, or spot treatments, but only use one type of product at a time to prevent your skin from drying out.

Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA)

Like salicylic acid, AHA helps unclog pores by removing excess oil and dead skin cells. It can also help treat enlarged pores, age spots, and wrinkles.

Citric acid is commonly used for acne-prone skin, while lactic acid and glycolic acid may also be helpful with increasing skin cell turnover if you develop blackheads regularly. Try an AHA-containing serum or toner daily for best results.

Charcoal masks

Some store-bought pore strips contain charcoal to help extract blackheads. Another alternative is to use a charcoal-containing mask to deep-clean the pores all over your face. Since charcoal masks can be drying, use them no more than once weekly.

Homemade pore strips may work just as well as traditional store-bought versions. However, you may find that certain ingredients work better than others for your skin. Consider trying out different recipes until you have found your best fit.

Conversely, you should stop using them if you experience any signs of irritation or worsening acne.