There are many different ways of cleaning the skin, from wet cleansers to oils, creams and waxes, to physical and chemical exfoliants. All have their pros and cons and realistically the best approach would probably be to use a combination to max the benefits. The only method I personally avoid is physical exfoliation as it can unnesecarily damage the skin and the results are not better than when using chemical exfoliants, such as AHA and BHAs. However, there is one type of physical cleansing that I still use and that is the legendary nose strips.
I have very oily skin and even the best BHA products don’t get all of my pores cleansed so I use a nose strip once a week. Sticking something on your skin and then yanking it off is obviously not the best way to treat your skin and so you have to decide for yourself whether this is a step worth doing for you, especially if you are not oily or don’t have big pores.
Nevertheless, let’s have a look at the best nose strips I found so far, the Bioré Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips.
The Bioré Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips come in cardboard packaging which is nicely designed and showcases the product well.
The nose strips themselves come in an aluminium satchel which tears open very easily. The nose strip comes on a transparent slide that you have to peel off.
How to use
All you need to do is wet your clean nose lightly, place the nose strip on, wait for 10-15 minutes to harden and then pull off.
Mandatory step: You can then inspect the nose strip closely and take pride in all the blackheads, dirt and hairs that you got rid off!
The Bioré Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips work really well and they take off most of my blackheads. You will have to experiment a little at first at figuring out exactly how wet to have your nose before sticking on the strip (it can have an effect on how well it works) but with practice you will optimise this and you will know exactly.
It is also worth noting that for a long time I thought that nose strips were a rip-off type of product because my oily nose still has a lot of very visual black dots even after constant nose-stripping and BHA cleansing etc. However, after I spent some time looking at my skin under a microscope I quickly realised that those were not blackheads but likely just large sebaceous glands which are typical for oily skin. What I’m trying to say here is, if you do a nose strip but you can still visually see black spots on your skin it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are blackheads or that the nose strip didn’t work well.
After inspecting my skin under the microscope I could only find 2-3 blackheads so the product works well. If you use these strips once a week consistently you will also notice that you will get less and less blackheads coming off and the strips will not look as pleasing as you very first one but hey, that’s the point, to clean and keep it clean!
TIP: If you have slept with your makeup on, especially foundation or a BB cream, (it happens let’s be honest we’ve all been there) make sure to do a nose strip the day after, it will remove a lot of dirt before it becomes a more difficult blackhead. Don’t forget to also change your pillowcase!
One box of the Bioré Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips contains 6 one-use strips and retails for £8.99 but you can often find them for much cheaper at drugstore shops or even Primark.
The product has a subtle clean-minty type scent which you likely won’t smell while you have the strip on.
This product does not specify skin compatibility. However, this product will be most useful to oily skin with large pores.
Do not use cosmetics on broken skin. If you are concerned consult with a medical doctor first.
Practicality of use/user experience
These strips are very easy to use. The packaging is very easy to open and the strip is easy to apply. It hurts a bit when you pull the strip off but you will get used to it and looking at all the blackheads and dirt on the strip will give you a lot of satisfaction.
Here’s what the brand says about the product:
“Say hello to clean pores! Bioré® Deep Cleansing Pore Strips lift away deep down dirt to provide a deep clean–instantly! In just one use, pore strips are twice as effective as the leading pore cleanser at getting rid of pore-clogging build-up, dirt, oil, and blackheads. Plus, with regular use, blackhead nose strips can actually reduce the appearance of your pores! Learn even more about pore strips by checking out Pore Strips 101, a guide to pore strips that includes advice from top skincare experts.
- Clean and wet the skin on your nose.
- Peel strip off plastic and apply to nose with the smooth side of the pore strip down.
- Wait 10-15 minutes.
- Slowly peel off strip starting at edges.
- Admire the ‘harvest’ on your pore strip…if you’re into that sort of thing!
- Use only on the nose.
- Avoid using on acne blemishes or swollen, sunburned, excessively dry skin, or skin prone to spider veins.
- Consult a physician before using on skin being treated with prescription acne medication.
- Avoid using on skin which is sensitive to bandages or peel-off face masks.
- Remove strip as directed promptly after it becomes stiff. If strip is difficult or painful to remove, wet strip thoroughly until it slides off easily. Forceful removal of the strip should be avoided and may cause skin abrasions. If this occurs, discontinue use and consult a physician.
- Do not use more often than once every three days.”
This product contains 11 ingredients of which 9 offer some positive, 1 are potential negatives and there are 3 potential sensitisers.
This product is obviously not the skincare type and although it contains some skin conditioners and soothers, they are not worth it over the harshness of the pulling to get the strip off. These nose strips are not a skincare mask, use them only for blackhead removal.
To keep this article short, I am only listing the skin nourishing or skin positive/negative ingredients, and in this specific case also the special ingredients that give this product some function and ignoring the ones that only play formulation purposes. For the full list of these products ingredients scroll down to the “full list of ingredients” section.
- Polyquaternium-37 – Antistatic and hair fixative.
- Silica– An absorbent and anti-caking agent, good for oily skin. Can improve spreadability and help the product adhere to the skin. It can even prevent setting of the product ensuring that it is evenly dispersed. Silica is only dangerous as a powder and when inhaled in so there is no significant risk here.
- Water – self-explanatory.
- Glycerin – Found naturally in the skin so can be seen as a skin replenishing ingredient. A skin conditioner that helps improve and smooth the appearance of skin. A good moisturiser that is almost always present in moisturising products.
- Polysilicone-13 – A hair conditioner.
- PEG-12 Dimethicone– A hair and skin conditioner that can enhance the product’s spreadability.
- Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract – A skin conditioner and astringent (=causes contraction of skin cells and other body tissues – in cosmetics astringents are most famous for reducing redness and the appearance of veins) making this compound effective for local application on bruises, sore muscles, varicose veins and inflammation. Some research suggests that it has anti-oxidant and anti-flammatory effects and that it is even an effective in reducing eczema.
- Butylene Glycol– Skin conditioner that can also prevent moisture loss from the skin. Sometimes also used as fragrance.
- Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate – Skin conditioner and soother.
- Methylparaben– Love them or hate them, there is still not enough scientific proof to prove that these are harmful. However, some people prefer to avoid them for “peace of mind” so if you are looking for paraben free products, this one is not for you. For my thoughts on parabens check out: Coffee Chat: Q&A – You asked “As a Chemist Which Ingredients do you Avoid?”
Ingredients that can cause irritation to some:
This is actually really case specific, as different people have different sensitivities and allergies. Just because a compound has been reported by some to cause sensitivity, it doesn’t mean you will have an issue. “Sensitizer” compounds being present is not a negative in my opinion, as this is the case with pretty much everything out there and funnily enough I’ve seen products that are targeted specifically for sensitive skin, containing some compounds that have been reported by some, or are known to be, sensitizers.
If you have sensitive skin or you are prone to skin sensitisation and unwanted reactions, try a little bit of this at the back of your hand first and consult a medical doctor if you are concerned.
The following compounds present in this product have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Butylene Glycol, Methylparaben.
Full list of ingredients:
Polyquaternium-37, Silica, Water, Glycerin, Polysilicone-13, Peg-12 Dimethicone, Titanium Dioxide, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Butylene Glycol, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Methylparaben.
The Bioré Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips are great for oily skin, to remove all those blackheads or trapped dirt from the nose’s pores. If you don’t have oily skin or big pores then you might need to consider whether the harshness of this type of product is worth the benefits you are getting, considering that if you don’t have oily skin or big pores you will likely not have many visible blackheads either.
I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!
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