Beauty: Could these wonder products banish blackheads once and for all?

Clinique claim they've found a solution to a universal skin problem. Sarah Marshall puts their promise to the test

A mixture of dead skin cells and excess oil results in those nasty little dark dots

EVER since I was a teenager, blackheads have been the bane of my complexion, and 20 years on, I'm sad to say the situation is no better. A mixture of dead skin cells and excess oil results in those nasty little dark dots, and no matter how hard you clean, they just don't seem to go away.

But Clinique reckon they have a solution to the age-old universal problem in the form of two new blackhead-busting products, promising a 94% decimation in just six weeks. It's an ambitious claim, perhaps too good to be true. Could they really have come up with a pore-cleansing miracle?

Blackhead Solutions 7 Day Deep-Pore Cleanse & Scrub. £19.50:

How to use: Twice daily for a deep-cleansing scrub. Apply a layer for a five-minute mask once a week.

What's it like: Silica grains and a thick slathering of salicylic acid indicate you're in for a deep clean. Unlike similar products, this doesn't leave my skin feeling dry and taut – probably thanks to an injection of glycerin.

The verdict: Remarkably, this product starts working from the get-go, with pores visibly clearer – particularly on the forehead and chin. It also did a good job of sloughing away dead skin cells, leaving my skin looking Photoshop smooth. After a few weeks, my complexion was noticeably clearer – although the product did little to eliminate large pores.

Blackhead Solutions Self-Heating Blackhead Extractor, £22

How to use: Apply a thin layer daily, add water to activate the thermal technology to open up pores, then massage with the rubber applicator tip.

What's it like: Although recommended for all skin types, my sensitive skin did rage red after the first few applications. This – and the accompanying tingling feeling – soon subsided, and my skin definitely felt smoother after a week using the product.

The verdict: The product appears deceptively thin, so it's hard to know how much you should apply. A little bit of skin flare is normal after a facial - and this felt no different. The applicator tip did help dig away at those hard-to-reach nostril corners, but I only noticed minor improvements.

So is this a winning product?

Overall, yes. The Cleanse & Scrub could easily become a bathroom cabinet staple and performs far better than similar products on the market. The Extractor is less impressive, mainly because it felt somewhat clumsy to use. Although it does enhance the effects of the cleanser, it's not an essential buy.

Both products will be available from February 2. Visit

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