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Pores for the People: Blackhead-Fighting Products for Men & Women

By Amalah

Hi, Amy.
My husband has HUGE pores on his nose, and they’re always looking gunked up. I’m trying to convince him that his addiction to those Biore strips is not the answer! I read the post in your archives about “pothole pores” and was wondering if you would recommend the same products to clean up a man’s face. (Obviously skipping the concealer step.) He’s on board with trying out a new skin care regime, I just don’t know what products to buy.

My husband will pretty much use whatever I put in front of him, provided it isn’t pink or smells like flowers. He rode the drugstore product train for a looooong time — dozens of Aveeno and Biore washes scattered in our recycling bin — but still had the same old complaints. Dry, sensitive skin on his cheeks and forehead, with a ton of blackheads on his nose and chin.
Then I bought the (grooooan and waaaait for it) Philosophy line and stuck the face wash in the shower. I didn’t even realize Jason was using it until a few weeks later, when he looked in the mirror and proclaimed his love for “that yellow stuff in the shower.”
Jason’s skincare is far from perfect — he washes his face in the shower every morning, but not at night. He never uses sunscreen or moisturizer and even when I handed him a tube of eye cream and implored him to use it for the purposes of this column (“If I write about it I can expense it! I need your opinion to HELP THE PEOPLE”), he used it two or three times, tops.
(Meanwhile, the man owns approximately 14 jar of hair products, so…I don’t know.)
But, whatever. Men get away with this nonsense on a regular basis and have the gall to look better all weathered and wrinkled. But blackheads and pothole pores? Not a good look on anyone. So…yeah. At the risk of sending hundreds of foreheads slamming down on keyboards out of boredom, I’m going to recommend the Philosophy Purity Made Simple wash YET AGAIN.
I love stuff that my husband and I can both use — one bottle on the shelf, less soapy rings I’ll have to scrub off the tile later — and the Purity is so one-stop-shop it’s insane. It removes your EYE MAKEUP, ladies. But your husband probably won’t read the fine print on the bottle and see the thing about the makeup removal. It’s not pink; it smells like nothing. It’s the “yellow stuff in the shower” that quietly performs miracles.
I do get a little bored pimping the Philosophy week in and week out, so I recently tried out the Dr. Brandt Poreless Essentials system. (I’m such a sucker for starter kits.) It reaffirmed everything I’ve come to expect from aggressive skincare routines. Especially ones that include toners, as it stripped my skin dry and made me break the eff out and did NOTHING for the pores on my nose or the smattering of blackheads I still get on my chin (I sleep curled up with my hand on my chin and CANNOT STOP IT). Too medicated, too strong, and totally upset the balance I’ve achieved with Philosophy. (However, I absolutely loved the microdermabrasion scrub and the primer samples included in the kit, and I’m sure I’ll find opportunities to yak about those later.)
(Although…$75 for that microdermabrasion scrub vs. $25 for the Philosophy version? Cough. COUGH!)
If you can get your husband to apply moisturizer, the Hope in a Bottle exfoliating moisturizing is also amazing for pore/blackhead problems. But, you know, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Okay Okay, fine. I will go out and buy it.
Since my boyfriend uses my Aveeno face wash anyway…I am sure that he will use the Purity stuff without question, because he could use some pore help on his nose.
I have won the battle with moisturizer though. He uses Kiehls Face Fuel for Men. He gets dry skin on his “5 o’clock” constant stubbly face. It works really well on his skin… plus I made him use the one with SPF, haaa.
Sneaky Sneaky.


I KNEW that was the stuff you were testing that might “change our lives” – and yet, I was so hoping I was wrong.
I finally broke down and bought the Dr. Brandt Pores No More on the recommendation of the good Sephora lady.
It is crap. Expensive crap. I have big ol’ pores on my cheeks – and they still are big. Or more importantly, LOOK big. I was so very very sad. 🙁

Karen S
Karen S

I’m 34 and have had blackheads all over my face since puberty (except the wrinkle-prone eye and upper lip area where the Philosophy Hope in a Tube goes). Before I started using Purity and Hope in a Bottle, you could see the pores on my nose from ten feet away. Now, you can only make them out from a foot or two, which would be unacceptable to most of you, I’m sure, but I’m pretty happy. They get even less noticeable if I use the face wash twice a day, but an average of 1.5 times a day is the… Read more »


So even though I was pretty satisfied with the Oil of Olay stuff I’ve been using since I was 15, I decided to try this Purity you’re always going on about to see if it would keep me from having the occasional spots of trouble I get. I gave it two months of twice-a-day use so my skin would get used to it, and I broke out horribly. It’s just too harsh for me–after washing my skin feels dry, and though I also used Hope in a Jar to moisturize I couldn’t help but feel that stripping and remoisturizing twice… Read more »


Thanks, Jenn. Amy’s frequent advice to just go get Purity was ringing in my head on my last trip to Sephora and I went ahead and bought it. I didn’t have any real problems with my face regimen, but I thought I should be more adult and maybe this stuff would do wonders and make me look like a supermodel. Right? Anyway, after a few weeks of using it morning and night, I am not so much noticing any improvement. Like you, my face feels dry after washing and is having some mild breakouts. But since Amy raves so much… Read more »