Blackhead strips won't really get rid of blackheads and big pores on your nose. Use this instead.

This wonderful nugget of beauty wisdom comes courtesy of Mamamia’s shiny new beauty podcast, You BeautyTo ensure you never miss an episode, subscribe to You Beauty here. It’s a blast.

Unless they’re being removed in a pimple popper video, no one likes blackheads.

Sadly, blackheads have a penchant for hanging out on your nose, as in, right in the middle of your face. Big pores do too.

Although no one can really see your blackheads or large pores from far away, those little black dots or small indents can make you feel insecure or conspicuous.

Hence, we asked beauty editor of 15 years and Mamamia’s executive editor Leigh Campbell to share her wisdom on how to get rid of blackheads and big pores on the You Beauty podcast. (Get it in your ears below…)

What are blackheads?

The good news? Blackheads aren’t bits of dirt.

“Blackheads aren’t dirt, don’t worry, we’re not all dirty buggers,” Leigh explained.

Pimples, or blemishes, come in many different (and annoying) varieties. Blackheads are just one of them. Joy.

“Blackheads form when sebum, the oil in our skin, hits the air in the environment and oxidises, turning the oil black. Your face isn’t dirty.”

How to get rid of blackheads.

Leigh explained blackheads can be really hard to get rid of, especially ones on the nose.


White blackhead strips are often the first thing that comes to mind when we think about trying to get rid of them, but Leigh believes there’s a more effective way to do it.

“Yes, there’s the pore strips that don’t really work that well – they’re fun and it’s fun looking at ‘the worms’ afterwards. They can clear some blackheads but they’re not really effective,” she explained.

“It’s better to use a chemical exfoliator, you need something with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs).”

AHAs work to dissolve the gunk in the surface layers of your skin, while BHAs penetrate deeper to clear the really clogged up stuff.

“They eat away at dead skin cells and at that surface sebum, so that will move that stuff much more gently than pore strips. I soak a cotton pad [with a chemical exfoliant] and hold it on my nose for a good two or three minutes when I’ve got blackheads.”

Leigh also said charcoal masks or peel off masks can be effective. They can remove blackheads, but you need to be careful because they can damage the acid mantle (the protective layer of your skin) and cause skin sensitivities, redness and itchiness.

Side note, we tried the viral blackhead charcoal mask to see if it lives up to the hype. Post continues below.

Video by MWN

How to get rid of big pores on your nose.

According to Leigh, no one’s quite figured out how to permanently shrink the size of your pores. Products on the market might help, but mostly, rhe size of your pores comes down to genetics and the ageing process.

“Pores get bigger as you get older, that wasn’t my skin concern until my early 30s, it was just rude,” Leigh said.

“You can get products that visually shrink them momentarily, only for a few hours, which is still better than nothing.”

She suggested trying a pore minimser, like Benefit’s The POREfessional Face Primer (try a smaller size for $20 first before committing to the larger sizes) under your makeup to blur the appearance of pores.

To recap:

  • Blackheads = chemical exfoliation.
  • Big pores = blurring face primer + self-acceptance.

You Beauty Cheat Sheet

Other questions Leigh and Kelly answered, as well as products mentioned in passing, and their ‘spendys’ and ‘saveys’ (and where you can buy them).

“Is it OK to brush your hair when it’s wet, and if so, with a brush or a comb?”

  • When your hair is wet, it’s at it’s weakest and very vulnerable to damage.
  • If you’ve got fine hair, use a wide-tooth comb to detangle wet hair.
  • If you’ve got knotty, curly or thick hair, brush it with a hairbrush before you get in the shower.
  • Keep a wide-tooth comb in the shower and comb through once you’ve applied conditioner.
  • Side note – Never, ever rub your hair with a towel when it’s wet, squeeze the water out with a towel or use a towel turban.

Spendy and Savey

Leigh’s Spendy: Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen, $41.

Image: Clinique.

Why she loves it:

  • An easy-to-use eyeliner pen Leigh's used for years.
  • Perfect for Leigh's go-to look (tight lining from the pupil to the outer corner, followed with liquid liner over the top).
  • It's like a calligraphy pen and hard to bugger up.
  • The pigment is very, very black.

Kelly's Spendy: FOREO UFO Smart Mask Treatment, $395.

Image: FOREO.

Why she loves it:

  • It's REALLY BLOODY EXPENSIVE but Kelly loves it.
  • It's a round device that lights up, heats up and vibrates to give you a custom mini facial.
  • Connects with an app on your phone and you choose what skin concern you want to treat.
  • Use it with the FOREO disc masks for 90 seconds for all over your face - you can use the red light for anti-ageing or the blue light for acne treatment.
  • Kind of like having a mini facial
  • Comes with a two-year warranty, Kelly worked out that's it's around $3.80 per week.
  • Sneaky tip: Kelly sometimes soaks cotton pads with her own favourite products to replace the ones you're meant to buy.

Leigh's Savey: Lanate Body Topical Cream, $26.49.

Image: Chemist Warehouse.

Why she loves it:

  • Leigh knows she said the other week she doesn't use body creams, but this one came recommended through the You Beauty Facebook group.
  • It's a body cream, but so much more than a moisturiser.
  • Used to treat keratosis pilaris, the little bumps on your arms that are a build up of proteins that need breaking down.
  • The product contains aminium lactate, 17.5 per cent, so it exfoliates dry skin but is also hydrating.
  • Smells a bit chemically, but it's very effective.
  • Leigh's friends said they used it twice a day for a month to treat keratosis pilaris.

Kelly's Savey: Dermal Therapy Blistop, $5.49.

Image: Chemist Warehouse.

Why she loves it:

  • High heels or any shoes that give you blisters are so uncomfortable.
  • It's the solution to not wearing ugly band aids.
  • Spray on band aid product, it's not 100 per cent effective but nothing is, Kelly reckons it works.
  • Spray the product on the bit of your foot that rubs.
  • Forms a clear protective barrier that sits between your skin and shoes, and washes off easily.
  • Side note - someone at a wedding told Leigh she uses numbing cream on the bottoms of her feet so she can wear high heels for hours...

Until next week, stay lovely.

Love all things beauty? Come join our You Beauty Facebook group for more chit chat about things to put on your face. And body. And hair.