I had an intimate relationship with Biore Pore Strips in college. Staring at my pores in the mirror was the perfect way to avoid all the reading and studying on my to-do list, and I was convinced my pores needed some serious attention. In 1998 pore strips were a staple on my grocery list, but they are a luxury I don’t leave space in my budget for any longer.

If you’re unfamiliar, these small white strips can be applied to your face and allowed to dry. When removed, dirt and oil are pulled from your pores, cleaning and making pores less noticeable.

The downside to commercial pore strips? You will pay about $9 for 14 of these little things. (I’m not sure how I ever justified this.) The ingredients are also a negative–in addition to parabens, some of the other ingredients raise a red flag. Also, they can adhere too strongly to your face and end up feeling like they are ripping your skin off. Ouch!


These pore strips can easily be made at home using only two ingredients. Matt and I tested these out in true DIY guinea pig fashion. Although I didn’t think we got the exact results a commercial pore strip offers, they did pull some dirt and oil from our pores. (And there were no tears because our skin remained in tact, and they’re completely non-toxic.)

Blackhead Removal 1

DIY Pore Cleansing Strips

What you will need:

Combine milk and gelatin in small saucepan and mix together. Heat on stovetop until mixture starts to thicken a little. Mixture should be warm – not hot – before applying to face. Also, be sure to apply a hot cloth to your face (and dry face thoroughly) before applying. This ensures your pores are open allowing for maximum cleansing.

Using a cotton swab or makeup brush, spread mixture onto nose or other problem areas in a very thin layer. Allow to completely dry on your face before peeling off. It should feel very stiff when completely dry.

Blackhead Removal 2

Note: Pore strip is not ready to remove if it feels rubbery or soft. If applied too thick, or not allowed to completely dry before removing, your homemade pore strip won’t be effective.

Other options

Now that I’m not a teenager I no longer obsess about clogged pores, but I still like a pore treatment now and again. No gelatin in the cupboard? Before the advent of pore strips, I figured out that a piece of Scotch tape gives the same result. Who knows why I had tape on my face in the first place, but it was a great accidental discovery. (Although I’m pretty sure the adhesives in Scotch tape are anything but “natural.”) I have also heard of Elmer’s Glue being used in the same way, although I have yet to try it and have not researched the ingredients. Please post below if you have tried other natural do-it-yourself blackhead removal pore cleansers!


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Comments

  1. Alicia says

    Everyone’s face is different I guess. I use just straight rubbing alcohol on my face. One really can’t beat the price, it’s about a dollar where I live, and it lasts forever.

  2. Kendra says

    What a great idea! Cant wait to try it…

    I’ve also heard that a dab of honey works. I havent tried it yet (almost out of honey and MUST have it for my tea, lol)… but I guess after you steam your pores open a bit with a hot washcloth or whatever works for you, dry your skin well, and then you put a dab of honey on your finger and real quick pat/dab at the affected area. if your skin is dry enough, the sticky honey sticks to the gunk in your pores and supposedly pulls it out! If it works or if it doesnt, the extra bonus is that the honey is good for your skin! LOL

  3. Linda says

    Would egg white do the trick? I haven’t tried it, but it would dry pretty stiff! I have used minute oats as a facial mask-leaves my skin feeling very soft and smooth. I wasn’t using it for pores, but…

  4. says

    oh how cool! I’m gonna have to try this. I LOVED those pore strips as a teenager.. LOL I remember how painful they were to peel off but seeing the blackheads on the strip was so rewarding!! LOL thanks.

  5. Jillian T says

    ihttp://www.crunchybetty.com/5-natural-ways-to-remove-blackheads

    She has 5jess natural ways to eliminate them! Honey pat down, egg whites, natural clay mask, and using a tooth brush(clean of course). Plus there is explanation on how to prevent, which is very important. Hope this helps!

  6. Char says

    I accidentally used duct tape once. I was working on a project and had ripped a ton of strips and was running out of places on my body to stick them as I was walking around a building so onto the tip of my nose one went.

    I am one of those in the middle people where some things are too much and others aren’t strong enough for my face.. and sometime over the last 6 months my skin changed DRAMATICALLY (about to turn 35? major change in my diet? health issues? – who knows.)

    But, the one thing that I have used for YEARS as an astringent is Witch Hazel. It isn’t drying in areas that need moisture, and it is effective in the T-Zone.

    As for the funny smell? It goes away as soon as it dries. I pay as much -or less – for a bottle of rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide and they are all on the same shelf.

  7. says

    Great article guys! I too loved the Biore strips but they are expensive for sure!
    I’ve struggled with acne since my first pregancy 16 years ago. A little over a year ago, tired of over-the-counter products that were not very effective and not wanting to use prescription medications, I went on a mad search for a natural solution to my acne. I found that the spice “turmeric” worked to clear up my painful, cystic acne! See my method for using it here http://poppyjuice-poppy.blogspot.com/2012/02/truly-amazing-acne-treatment.html .

    If this helps even one other person clear up their painful acne, I would be thrilled! It makes me feel good to know turmeric is good for you in multiple ways.

    Thanks for your great tips, as always!

  8. Deseri says

    Loved the article and comments…I have recently been experimenting with oils. Scientifically oil dissolves oil. Baking soda is the best non abrasive exfoliate i have ever used. So i use a mix of oils i came up with (for my crazy combo, acne prone, indecisive skin everyday I use avocado oil with a few drops of lavender and neroli, for calming, antibacterial, and scaring. And twice a week I use the oil and rub a little baking soda in to exfoliate. ) I have had awful acne, pores everything. And for the first time in my life you can rub your finger tips accross my face and not feel bumps and grunginess. Love it.

  9. Tiffany says

    Ive tried this before and not only was it extremely painful but it did not clear my pores :(. It did however work wonderfully for an eyebrow wax (yes oops!).

  10. says

    I just tried this. Ouchie! It didn’t pull out the blackheads on my nose, but my skin feels soft. I will try it a few more times to see how it works.

  11. Chris says

    I have used a mixture of milk and gelatin for a while now and it works very well. I adjusted my ratio a bit more on the milk, but still roughly the same proportions. Usually I will steam my nose and upper cheek areas for 10 minutes with a hot washcloth, apply one batch and let it dry for about 30 minutes. Once it has set I peel it off and I am always amazed by the crap they pull out of the pores. Then I wash, resteam, and make a second batch. The first batch seems to take a lot of dead skin and superfine hair with it, along with most of the contents of the pores. The second batch mops up what the first batch missed in the pores. I have done a third batch but it rarely has anything to pull up.

    I think the key to this recipe is to apply it as hot as you can possibly stand it and rub it in very well. The times I haven’t had good luck is when I don’t rub it in well enough or that it isn’t just below burning temperature. I aim to make it slightly uncomfortable, but not to the point of burning. Works wonders and is dirt cheap.

    Being a guy that works in a dirty environment all day with a lot of dirt, oil, and grease and it just isn’t possible to stop 3 times a day to clean it off before it gets in and clogs these pores. I have always had big black clogged pores on the tip and sides of my nose. This takes care of it and leaves my skin feeling really nice afterwards.

  12. Hannah says

    I just wanted to say that I did this 3 days ago and it made me breakout like never before so I won’t be doing this again. Yes, I did everything right, but I also did my cheeks and that’s where I broke out the worst. It’s really disgusting and I’ve never felt more self conscious in my life.

  13. Amanda S. says

    I’m a die-hard believer in Tea Tree Oil. You can find a bottle for around $8 at a GNC or other supplement store. I use a clean 6oz bottle filled with water and add around 15 drops of tea tree oil. Squirt a little on a cotton ball, and you’re good to go. I’ve read that tea tree oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and so much more. Stinky, stinky, stinky, though! (The smell goes away once it dries.) A couple months into my once-daily regimen, I’m breakout-free! All that wasted money, and what FINALLY worked was 99% water! Tell your friends!
    I’m eager to try this blackhead clearing recipe, because unfortunately, my tea tree oil concoction doesn’t do a whole lot for cleaning out my pores. Fingers crossed!

  14. says

    Unfortunately, this did not work for me. It made my skin soft, but pores were opened and all the blackheads were still there. ):

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Some people have to do a second treatment once pores are opened. See comments from Chris above to get some ideas on making it work better next time!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Great question! I wouldn’t recommend using flavored gelatin…just because it has so many other ingredients in it, including sugar, artificial dyes, and other artificial ingredients. Find natural gelatin right next to flavored gelatins in the grocery store.

  15. Kelly says

    glue would probably work, put if you inhale too much you’ll get woozy or high. so i wouldn’t try it :)

  16. Keri says

    Tumeric was mentioned to clear up cystic acne but the person who posted wasn’t sure why. Turmeric is effective against cystic acne because it has anti inflammatory properties. Similarly, crushed aspirin will give the same results for the same reason. Also, witch hazel was mentioned. Witch hazel is a cheap and effective astringent that will not cause over dryness like alcohol will. These are all great tips. I can’t wait to try the pore strips:)

  17. says

    Interesting, educational and funny!
    My daughter is 11 and really going through the puberty thing right now it is a coincedence her school just had the “what happens when puberty hits” assembly. Anyway, she had this HUGE blackhead right in the middle of her nose and her Great Grandma use to get them out of my husbans skin with the rounded part of a small Bobbie pin!!
    So that is what Daddy did. worked and she wasn’t crying or jumping arall around. Put peroxide on andnd she was a happy camper =0)

  18. Beverly Phillips says

    I use arm and hammer toothpaste on my face. Once a week I rub it on my blackhead prone areas. Not going to lie it burns a little at first but works great. Dont do it more than once a week or it will irritate skin.