I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
I've had a love/hate relationship with pore strips since the first time I came across a blue box of Bioré Strips while lurking the skincare section of my local CVS when I was in middle school. Up until then, I had done everything I could think of to get rid of those grainy dark points that peeked through my skin — mainly my nose — every few days, from mixing harsh cleansers to making my own makeshift pore extractors (the horror!).
Eventually, pore strips would become one guilty pleasure that I'd spent my allowance and eventually paychecks on, and they have remained my favorite pain-free way to get rid of those pesky dots, even if I know they'll return the next week.
Sunday night is my favorite time of the week. It's when I give myself the time to do it all: hot shower, face mask, and of course, strips. It's just one of the best ways for me to get mentally and physically pumped for the upcoming week. Knowing I won't have to worry about anxiously peering at my dark pores is just such a big weight off of my shoulders.
I've also found a few ways to make using pore strips even more enjoyable (as if that was possible!) because I won't be quitting my addiction anytime soon.
Just get the cheaper ones
At some point, I got tired of paying full price for the more expensive strips that all my friends and I were using. As with any beauty product that you've grown to trust, it can be hard to let go and try something new, but when I got bored waiting on a long line at Forever 21 one night, my eyes started to drift to those bins overflowing with miscellanious junk.
I picked up a dented box of the Purederm Botanical Choice Nose Pore Strips and was surprised to see that it cost nearly half of what I usually spent on strips — just $3.90 for six. I figured I didn't have anything to lose, so I excitedly tossed them into my cart bag along with the crop-top sweaters and faux-fur vest I'll never wear.
My initial hunch about being able to save money for the same quality product was so on-point. Compared to Bioré Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, which run $6.99 for six, the Purederm strips are worth stocking up on since they get out just as much buildup.
Prep Your Skin and Open Your Pores
Opening your pores before applying your cleanser, pore strips or facial mask can make your product better at doing it's job, which is exactly what I came to realize when I started steaming open my pores.
My first attempt at playing with Lush Tee Tree Oil Toner Tab was in a dark Ecuadorian hotel room bathroom while I was visitng some cousins at a local beach town. All I needed was a clean bowl and a towel to drape over my head, and I was soon prepping my skin for the pore strip I'd also stashed in my makeup bag.
Even if you want to accomplish the same effect by filling your sink with only hot water, you'll be opening up your pores enough for the extra oils and blackheads to reach the strip adhesive.
Multitask with Hot Air
As any pore-strip-lover knows, the 7 to 10 minutes you have to wait when wearing a strip can feel like eternity. You're just so excited to see the finished product — a temporarily blackhead-free nose, cheek or chin — and the gross blackhead-covered pore strip that can be weirdly satisfying to see.
To cut that waiting period in half, slap on your pore strip after your shower and before you start blowdrying your hair. The hot and cool air that passes through when drying your hair helps you accomplish that paper-mâché feeling much quicker than just waiting it out.
Custom-Cut Your Strips
Depending on the brand of pore strips you've claimed as your favorite, you might have noticed that each brand might have their own unique way of designing the strip's shape and cuts. If you snagged a box of strips that were on sale or tried a new brand on a whim only to realize that they didn't have the expected notches along the sides, you can use a pair of nail scissors to custom cut your own. I've found this quick extra step especially helpful when converting chin strips into nose strips by cutting them in half and then gently snipping small lines along the edges.
- How often do you use pore strips?
- Do you think one brand works better than the rest?
- How do you pass the time while waiting to pull the gunk out?