You know how sometimes you see someone whose skin is so dewy and luminescent that you can only gaze, transfixed (while also murmuring a silent prayer to the skin care gods to bless your own complexion in a similar fashion)? That was me—often—whenever I met with Soko Glam founder Charlotte Cho. Her knowledge of K-beauty is vast and unending, but there’s one recommendation I always go back to. “This is really good,” she once told me as she passed me her go-to product for eliminating blackheads. Naturally, I ripped it open the second I got home. Two years later, I still tell everyone who raises the subject of blackheads to try it immediately.
Before you ask, I’m not talking about pore strips. I’ve tried plenty of those before, and while it’s undeniably satisfying to watch them peeling pockets of gunk away from your skin, they also leave my nose looking red and irritated. I feel similarly about those pull-off charcoal masks that superglue themselves to your epidermis and refuse to let go. Great for viral videos, not so great for your face. The blackhead treatment that finally won me over is the far gentler (but equally satisfying) Skinmiso Pore Beauty Nose Mask.
Soko Glam sells the masks in a 10-week set—the idea being that you use one of the 10 packs once a week. Thanks to my inability to stick to a schedule for anything not related to food, I tend to space them out more, which means the $20 treatment lasts even longer for me.
There are three steps, which I realize sounds like a lot of work, but the results are fully worth it. (Plus, you spend most of the time marinating in essence, which involves no active work on your part.) In the pouch labelled “Step 1,” you’ll find an essence-soaked sheet mask cut in the shape of a pore strip. This is the Blackhead & Whitehead Removal Mask, which you’ll drape over your nose for 10 minutes. The formula is packed with ingredients that help quickly soften your blackheads and draw them to the surface, prepping them for far easier extraction. You may experience some mild tingling—don’t be alarmed. “This product is different compared to traditional pore strips because it does not adhere to your nose to strip away dead skin cells and clogged pores,” explains Diana Chen, Soko Glam’s senior merchandising manager. “It loosens up the debris in your pores.”
You’ll notice this as soon as you remove the mask and go in with the individually packaged cotton swab (if you have a comedone remover, that works even better). Using light pressure, run it over your nose and watch a bunch of gunk come pouring out. I can’t really think of a better way to describe it than that. If you enjoy watching pimple-popping videos and examining the aftermath of a pore strip session, you’ll love this.
Then, it’s time for the second step—another 10-minute mask. Wipe the gunk off your nose, then cover it with the Pore Tightening & Soothing Nose Strip, which performs the all-important step of soothing your skin and minimizing the appearance of your pores. Any lingering redness from your extractions will melt away under its ministrations. And to cap it off, step three: a tiny pouch of transparent gel labelled “Essence” that you apply with your finger. The formula has the velvety slip of a primer and blurs your pores into soft-focus nonexistence. Usually, by the time I’m done, the rest of my complexion looks a bit lackluster in comparison. Can your pore strip accomplish that? Somehow, I doubt it.