Charcoal is all-the-rage in beauty town as of late, so when I discovered the existence of Bioré Charcoal Pore Strips ($7.99 CAD) I didn’t hesitate to pick up a pack (I’m a super fan of natural skincare ingredients, after all). Think of charcoal as a magnet; when applied to your skin, it works to draw out gunk and grime, including that of oil. While its recent trending status in North America lends itself to a seemingly new revelation in the beauty industry, it has in fact been used in skincare regimens for years – centuries, even.

If you have an oily complexion like me, any product that promises some sort of oil control is certainly worth sampling. In fact, Bioré Charcoal Pore Strips promise 3x less oil, something from which my slick-and-shiny schnoz could definitely benefit particularly during these warmer (ahem, humid-as-hell) months.

Let's talk Bioré Charcoal Pore Strips_2
Photo cred: John Hibionada

As an adamant user of Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that the charcoal strips would be equally as effective, if not more so, than the regular strips – that is, until I tried them. The cause of my disappointment lies partially in the fact that blackheads are difficult to see against the black strip (admit it, you too enjoy investigating the filthy adhesive of a pore strip post-use).

Even if I set aside this trivial fail, however, I’ll admit that I do not find Bioré Charcoal Pore Strips to be as effective as the Deep Cleansing Pore Strips. I base this on the appearance of my nose post-use – while many blackheads no longer remained rooted in my pores, I still found many that did (only about 3/4 were removed compared to the regular strips which typically remove almost all of my blackheads). In fact, I ended up re-applying the strip.

Photo cred: John Hibionada
Photo cred: John Hibionada

Additionally, I also find that these strips leave a fair amount of residual charcoal on the nose area. While this is something that can easily been rinsed off with a bit water (and if you have used the Deep Cleansing Pore Strips or another similar product you will find that they too leave behind some adhesive) perhaps the charcoal strips seem worse only because the residue is black and thus more pronounced.

As to the promise of oil control, I can’t honestly say I saw any difference in this department though I’m not doubting charcoal as an effective skincare ingredient.

I’ll be the first to admit to my bias; had I nothing with which to compare, I’d say the charcoal strips work quite well. Nonetheless, perhaps if you are blessed with small pores or few blackheads, Bioré Charcoal Pore Strips would be better suited to you. In any case, while I don’t plan on picking up another pack of the charcoal strips, I will continue to use the Deep Cleansing Pore Strips ’cause you can bet I love to see them blackheads go.


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  1. Hi,
    Yup, it didn’t work for me either. To be fair, I have stubborn and deep-seated blackheads. What this charcoal strip did was just lift my blackheads but not totally remove it. I had to do it three times. Well anyways, our journey to the best pore strip continues. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. this sounds like a great product, I have a problem with blackheads right now and feel this would be soemthingi would for sure try in the future, great post.

  4. I’m with you on wanting to see the blackheads on the peeled-off strip…that was my first thought when I saw these charcoal strips!

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