Blackhead Solutions Self-Heating Blackhead Extractor

0.68 fl. oz. for $ 29.00
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Clinique's Blackhead Solutions Self-Heating Blackhead Extractor means well but relies too much on gimmicks and not enough on research-backed solutions.

Blackhead Solutions Self-Heating Blackhead Extractor comes in tiny tube with a twist-off top that has a plastic "massager" attached. Inside is a paste-like product with small, gentle bamboo scrub particles dispersed throughout. You're instructed to put the paste on areas of the face with blackheads, wet it to start the "self-heating" reaction, then use the massager for 10 to 15 seconds after which you rinse the paste from skin.

The only positives about this fragrance-free product are that it contains two percent salicylic acid, the gold standard for pore exfoliation, at a pH where it can effectively work as an exfoliant. Other than that, this is a miss, and unlike many products we review, this time it's not because of bad ingredients.

Instead, it relies too much on unsupported hype. This product simply can't do what it says, which should be the main goal of any good skin care product. The self-heating action is the result of a chemical reaction that, while benign, doesn't benefit skin at all.

The plastic knobs on the massager don't make any impact on skin, and they certainly cannot extract blackheads (although you may have some luck with sebaceous filaments – the tiny grey dots covering many peoples' nose and cheeks).

The other problem is Clinique's recommendation to only leave the salicylic acid-infused paste on skin for a few seconds, but that's not enough time for it to work its exfoliating magic (see More Info for details).

Overall, this one's a bust; it's much better to consider the leave-on salicylic acid products you'll find on our list of best BHA exfoliants.

  • Contains salicylic acid at a pH where it can effectively exfoliate.
  • Fragrance free.
  • Self-heating action has no impact on skin whatsoever.
  • The massager included with this product cannot extract blackheads.
  • Salicylic acid is much more effective in a leave-on product.
  • Not particularly cost effective when compared to other acne treatments (that actually work).
More Info:

This product contains salicylic acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA), an ingredient that when included in a well-formulated leave-on product work beautifully to gently exfoliate skin. However, in a rinse-off product, salicylic acid is far less effective, if effective at all, because it is rinsed off before it can begin to work.

If you're hoping this will provide exfoliating benefits, think again. On the other hand, salicylic acid can provide hydrating benefits during its brief contact with skin.

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes
This gentle-yet-effective treatment extracts blackheads without pain, squeezing, or damage to skin. When mixed with water, the unique formula develops a warming sensation that gently opens clogged pores for an easy removal of blackhead-causing dirt, oil, and debris. It smooths the way for clearer, softer, shine-free skin and helps keep future blackheads from developing.
Active: Salicylic Acid 2%. Inactive: Magnesium Sulfate, Dimethicone, Isononyl Isononanoate, Isododecane, Polysilicone-11, Phenyl Trimethicone, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Acetyl Glucosamine, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 80, Polyethylene, Diatomaceous Earth, Triethylhexanoin, Pumice, Bambusa Arundiacea (Bamboo) Stem Extract, PEG-15/Lauryl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Water, Silica.

Clinique At-A-Glance

Strengths: A few excellent moisturizers and serums; excellent sunscreens; very good cleansers and eye makeup removers; unique mattifying products; impressive selection of foundations, good concealers; some remarkable mascaras; much-improved eyeshadows, lip colors and blush formulas.

Weaknesses: Bar soaps (which can clog pores and dull skin); alcohol-based toners; unfortunate choice of jar packaging for antioxidant-loaded moisturizers.

Estee Lauder-owned Clinique launched the concept of cosmetics being "allergy-tested," "hypoallergenic," "100% fragrance-free," and "dermatologist tested." Of those marketing claims, the only one with significance is "100% fragrance-free," which, for the most part, Clinique maintains (although it does add some fragrant extracts to a few products). Unfortunately, terms like hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested aren't regulated by the FDA and can mean anything, thus, you still need to rely on the ingredient list to tell you whether their product contains any ingredients with the potential to irritate skin.

That inconvenient fact aside, Clinique is leading the way with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums, plus some formidable makeup and more than a few excellent sunscreens. While Clinique has some products that we see as missteps for reasons discussed in their reviews, more than ever, what they offer is quite good (just have realistic expectations, as some of their claims go beyond what their products are capable of).

Turning to makeup, Clinique continues to offer a vast palette of colors and textures, especially with their enormous selection of foundations, many of which feature effective sunscreens. Without a doubt, the numerous formulas offer something for every skin type and almost every skin color, though the blushes, eye makeup and lip colors are frequently not pigmented enough for deeper skin tones.

The bottom line is that, despite a few shortcomings, Clinique is one of the most comprehensive (and comparably affordable) department-store makeup lines, and it is completely understandable why they enjoy such broad appeal.

Note: Clinique is categorized as one that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although Clinique does not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they dont test on animals unless required by law. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Team.

For more information about Clinique, call (800) 419-4041 or visit www.clinique.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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