10 best blackhead remover products on the market
From prevention to top treatment solutions, this is our top 10 list
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / October 01 2018
The only good thing about blackheads is the satisfaction you get peeling those pore strips off your nose and seeing the gunk ripped out before your very eyes. Disgusting, yes. But disturbingly rewarding (just ask Chrissy Teigen; she knows).
“A blackhead is an over-active oil gland (sebaceous follicle) that is clogged with oil (sebum), dead skin cells, tiny hairs, and sometimes bacteria that combine to make a plug,” explains Emma Hobson, Education Manager for the International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica. “The surface of the plug being in contact with the air at the opening of the follicle oxidises and turns black. That’s why when you remove a blackhead the top is black but the rest is a creamy colour.”
Blackheads are unfortunately the type of skin issue that you need to stay on top of if you want to keep them at bay. There’s no quick and final fix. The best way to get rid of blackheads it with a good skin care routine that’s focused on controlling oil and keeping pores clear. “[Blackheads] occur due to dirt, oil and debris accumulating in the follicle, often from poor skin cleansing and exfoliation and incorrect product use, especially when using comedogenic ingredients in makeup, haircare and skin care that actually create blackheads on the skin,” says Hobson.
Blackhead products come in many forms. There are those that keep them from forming in the first place, and then there are blackhead removal products that tackle the issue if, and when, they rear their black heads.
These are our picks for the best products for blackheads, including a mix of preventative products and blackhead-clearing solutions, with reviews.
#10 / Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant
Exfoliating is a vital step for preventing blackheads from appearing, but you need a gentle formula to avoid inflaming skin and actually sending bacteria deeper. The Dermalogica Superfoliant combines a light physical exfoliation with a blend of alpha hydroxy acids and enzymes to clear skin of dead skin cells and help prevent blackheads and breakouts from forming.
The review: “Be gone blackheads! This gentle yet hard-working powder transforms into a paste with water and can target uneven skin texture and congestion in a single wash.” Iantha Yu, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Editor
#9 / Alpha-H Beauty Sleep Power Peel
When tackling blackheads (and other forms of acne), it’s important not to strip skin of vital moisture, otherwise your skin is going to kick your oil production into overdrive to make up for the deficit. We love this peel because it uses effective chemical exfoliants like retinol and glycolic acid, but doesn’t skimp on the hydration side of things either (thank you, hyaluronic acid!). And you just pop it on before bed and let it do its thing while you sleep. This peel is suitable for dry, oily, acne-prone and ageing skin.
The review: “I haven't had any issues with blackheads since I started using Alpha-H Sleep Power Peel. My huge pores shrink overnight leaving no room for dirt and grime, it really is magic and it all happens while I am sleeping!” Nicole, SUPERcrew member
#8 / Go-To Exfoliating Swipeys
Starring lactic acid, an extra gentle AHA, these exfoliating pads are soaked in an all-natural solution that works wonders on clearing the skin’s surface of dead skin cells and grime build-up, while drenching skin in nourishing and soothing aloe vera for healthier-looking skin that’s free from blackheads and breakouts.
The review: “I get blackheads on my T-zone and the one thing that really works for me are the Go-To Exfoliating Swipeys. They are brilliant. I notice a huge difference from when I use them and when I run out and forget to re-order them. They are super easy to use, just swipe and leave for a few minutes then rinse, they aren’t messy and you notice a difference almost right away. No harsh scrubbing and no painful pulling. Love them!! 5/5!” Pru, SUPERcrew member
#7 / Philosophy Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Exfoliating Clay Mask
When we sent this cream mask to our Review Crew® to trial, they awarded it 4.5 stars. What they loved the most was how effectively it cleared blackheads until they were all but gone within a few weeks, and how significantly their pore size was reduced after just one application. It has all the ideal ingredients (white kaolin clay, salicylic acid and natural exfoliants) to keep excess sebum under control so pores remain free from blackhead-causing debris.
The review: “Philosophy's Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Exfoliating Clay Mask is the best $48 you will ever spend, if you have spent your life trying to improve your pores and blackheads. The mask is creamy, yet has fine granules in it, so give your skin a light massage in circular directions when you first apply the product, as this will really give your skin a great exfoliation, too. After one use, my skin felt clear and smooth. After a few uses, the benefits of this mask became very apparent. I could hardly see my pores and my blackheads were practically non existent. I use this mask once or twice a week, and with continued use, your skin will clear up and look perfect.” Ariane, SUPERcrew member
#6 / Skin Republic Nose Strips + Charcoal
A winning combination of a pore strip application and oil-absorbing charcoal in the formula, these strips not only work, they’re affordable, too. Witch hazel works on tightening pores to minimise their appearance while aloe vera soothes any inflammation.
The review: “Comes in 6 individually sealed packs enclosed in a foil pouch so ideal for travel. Simple to use, clear instructions and - most importantly - they work! The satisfaction when removing them can’t be emphasised enough. Smooth, clear skin and no nasty black dots.” Kylie, SUPERcrew member
#5 / Ole Henriksen Pore Balance Facial Sauna Scrub
A unique face scrub that warms up to open pores and deeply purify skin before cooling down to re-close pores noce they’re clean and clear, you’ll find glycolic and lactic acids and volcanic sand in this formula. Excess oil is soaked up, pore size is minimised and skin is left smooth, refreshed and clear.
The review: “As instantly gratifying as pore strips are for blackheads, I’m all about the long-game for beating them, which is why I make sure to exfoliate with this once a week. Besides the fact that the instant warming sensation feels delightful, it’s the kind of scrub that feels like it’s really doing a good job, without feeling like it’s sloughing away layers and layers of skin. Post-use, my skin feels soft and smooth, and I’ve noticed that blackheads are kept at bay for a bit longer.” Carli Alman, Beauty Crew Editor
#4 / NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme
Exfoliating facial pads are a quick and easy way to decongest skin. A five per cent concentration of glycolic acid, along with salicylic acid and lactic acid, provide an effective chemical exfoliation that refines and unclog pores and keeps oily skin under control. Just make sure you only use this treatment at night and always apply sunscreen the following morning as it may cause sun sensitivity (good to know: this is a common risk with most chemical exfoliants).
The review: “My fave product for blackheads and general skin exfoliation is the NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme. I discovered these last year and am just obsessed. They gently exfoliate your skin with glycolic acid, salicylic acid and lactic acid while the addition of hyaluronic acid stops your skin from drying out. I use these a couple of times a week and find that they keep my skin blackhead-free, pimple-free and looking really radiant. The price tag is also VERY budget-friendly!” Isobel Larkin, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Writer
#3 / Clearskincare The Easy Squeeze
If you prefer to use a removal tool to squeeze out gunk from your blackheads, an extractor like The Easy Squeeze is the best blackhead remover product for a simple and safe extraction. And it only cost $10. It keeps your dirty fingers aways from the blackhead (or pimple) to avoid infection, and puts vertical pressure on the breakout to minimise skin damage. If you’re a squeezer, this is the way to do it.
The review: “If the blackhead is ready to be released, I find the tool called ‘The Easy Squeeze’ effective to instantly push the blackhead out. I'm careful with it though - if the blackhead seems too stubborn I will not keep pushing with this tool or damage to the skin can be done. The blackhead has to be really ready and if it is, this tool is extremely effective. This product comes in a little tin and it needs to be cleaned each time. It only deals with one blackhead at a time.” Vanessa, SUPERcrew member
#2 / Cosmedix Detox Activated Charcoal Mask
Live or work in the city? The daily pollution you’re exposed to may be the key culprit behind your blackheads. This Cosmedix mask focuses on detoxing pollution-exposed skin by drawing out impurities from your pores (you can thank the kaolin clay and activated charcoal for this) and clearing pollutants from skin. This charcoal face mask is sensitive skin-approved and great for decongesting large pores.
The review: “As someone who’s prone to congestion, a blackhead-zapping product is an essential part of my skin care routine. And for me, Cosmedix Detox Activated Charcoal Mask is the best blackhead remover mask. It instantly detoxes my skin. The kaolin clay-based formula gently exfoliates and draws out any impurities (blackheads included) and leaves my skin smoother, brighter and more radiant.” Kate Niven, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Writer
#1 / Biore Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips
There’s a good chance Biore’s pore strips have been in your skin care kit since your teenage years. Well, they deserve a spot in your adult line-up, too. Containing two top ingredients for keeping acne-prone skin in check - tea tree oil and witch hazel - these pore strips make quick work of stubborn blackheads. We also love that they’re dermatologist tested and hypoallergenic.
The review: “I have been using Biore pore strips ever since blackheads unkindly attacked my skin and these strips have never let me down. Blackheads have made me quite self-conscious but I’ve found these pore strips a necessity in order for me to feel confident and proud of my skin again. Not only do they immediately clear your skin of blackheads but they also unclog your pores from dirt and leave your nose clean and smooth as ever in a matter of minutes.” Joahanna, SUPERcrew member
Looking for products that will keep oil under control? These are our picks for the best face wash, scrub and more for skin suffering from adult acne.
What’s your pick for the best blackhead remover product? Share with us your favourites below.
Main image credit: @shaymitchell
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.