I've become somewhat of a skincare junkie as of late. I don't know if it's because I'm now in my 30's and feel like I'll look back and regret not taking better care of my skin, or if it's for other reasons, like my new job at a beauty brand (hello discount). Let's say it's a combo of the two. Either way, I'm really excited by skincare, all the various products available and what they do. With that said, let's focus this chat on just targeting blackheads.
We'll start with "what *did* I know/do about my blackheads before". I've always struggled with blackheads mostly on my nose, pretty common right? We've been hearing about this "T-Zone" from our early tween years (remember those commercials of girls splashing their face with water, like anyone washes their face like that...) and prior to now, all I've really done to "tackle" them, was use a biore strip to rip them out or the occasional face mask promising to "melt" them away. While a strip is satisfying because you get the visual reward to actually SEEING your blackheads plucked from your nose, they really are literally a band-aid on the situation. Those don't change the root of the problem and that was the thing that was most frustrating to me. Realization: A nose strip isn't going to make your blackheads go away or keep them from coming back. Something that has always bothered me is that I personally felt like I could see my blackheads after putting makeup on, like tiny little bumps on my nose - GROSS, but I honestly just chalked it up to being a lost cause. Until now.
There's a lot of skincare related things I've been doing lately so I think it's important to note that there isn't one miracle product or an overnight solution. If there's one thing I've learned, skincare is a marathon NOT a sprint. You have to try a combination of things and stick with it long enough to see the results. SO, with all that said, here is my combo of tips, tricks and tools that I've been doing and using and within 30-60 days have noticed a big difference in my pore size and blackheads.
Let's start with this oil-based cleanser by The Ordinary. I know, oil-based, it scared me too. Especially since you use it on your dry face. Contrary to what you may think about using an oil-based cleanser, it actually does NOT make your skin oily, in fact, it does the opposite. Because makeup and sebum — the waxy substance produced by your skin that can cause acne if it builds up — are both oil-based, oil cleansers break them down and lift the impurities, allowing you to wipe them away (it makes getting your make-up off a lot easier, too). One thing I didn't know was that OIL-FREE cleansers can upset the skin's natural balance of oil which can aggravate skin conditions and cause your body to product more oil to compensate for what is being removed aka...causes you to actually have oiler skin. I love this squalene cleanser by The ordinary because not only does it seem to be affective, but their whole range is at an affordable price-point so it's relatively low risk to try it out!
Silicone Facial Brush
Chances are you've seen these around or at least heard of them. I had seen natural-bristle electric facial brushes but always steered clear because it seemed like they were really expensive and I'm not the kinda person who drops a lot of money on something if I don't know it actually works. It seem's like things have changed since those came on the market and there's all kinds of choices for various different brushes. I opted for this Foreo facial cleansing brush which is a small, silicone, battery-operated tool that I move around my face in circular motions after I've applied my face wash. I use this instead of using my hands, which is what I did previously. Don't get me wrong, I will use my fingers to apply my cleaner evenly over my face, I just use this tool to actually do a better job at cleansing away dead skin and impurities.
A blackhead brush, this is something you didn't know you needed, and will love. It's cheap, easy to get on amazon and will be really helpful at targeting your blackhead zones. I use this while I still have cleanser on my face and after I've used my foreo. Basically, this little guy is for targeting areas that are hard to get to any other way, like around your nose. It's just a small little "wand" with super soft bristles that I move in small circles over my nose, in the area just either side of my nose where I also see blackheads, between my brows and on my chin to exfoliate the skin. I do this step while the oil-based cleanser is still on because this brush will help get the cleanser in those hard-to-reach places so that it can "melt away" the build-up. Like all of the above, don't expect to see this tool remove all of your blackheads in one use. Just keep at it with consistency and you'll see.
Toners have come and gone in my skincare regimen for the past 10 years and it's because I didn't really know what they did or how important they were so when it came to simplifying (and let's be honest, saving money) I dropped it from the line-up. Turns out, they're important. Toners help to restore and balance the pH in your skin after cleansing. They also remove any residual cleaner that was left on the skin. All you do is pour a little toner on a cotton round (I STRONGLY recommend reusable cotton rounds) and wipe over your face. That's it, really simple but affective product. I use several different toners, all by Mario Badescu.
Sometimes I wonder how many masks I can have and do they really do anything. There's sheet masks, clay masks, charcoal masks, powder masks, the list goes on and on and I promise you, I own them all. Guess what, it doesn't matter if you own them but only use them once a month or 6 months for that matter. Your masks aren't going to do anything for you unless you use them on a consistent bases. Each mask as a prescribed frequency in which you should use them so that you don't dry out or irritate your skin so I recommend following that. You can mix up your masks depending on your goals. For you T-Zone and black heads, I recommend trying This Mario Badescu Silver Powder. It's a weird one, It's literally a jar of powder which is something I had never seen before. Just grab your cotton round, make sure it's damp and press it into the powder and then dab or rub onto your face in your T-zone area.
The take away: Consistency is KEY. I do these as part of my daily regimen 2x a day (excluding the mask). It has taken 30-60 days to see a true change in my skin. In order to see the best results, you must wash your makeup off at the end of each day and cleanse and moisturize again in the morning. I promise to follow-up with a skincare breakdown soon. Do you have and tips and tricks I didn't mention that have helped you with blackheads? What things from above will you be adding to your routine? Let me know and if you found this useful, share with your friends :)