Testing: Dr. Jart Pore Clear Mask

It’s no secret among my friends that I’m OCD about enlarged pores and blackheads. Over the years I’ve tried anything and everything from pore strips and home extraction kits to facials and microderm abrasion. And yet dirt and oil continue to take up residence in the crevices of my face, and I keep test-driving new products, wishing for a magic pore-be-gone elixir.

Intrigued by BB creams and the wave of skincare coming out of Asia, I decided to try Dr. Jart’s Pore Medic Pore Clear Mask. According to the package, the mask helps loosen sebum (an oily substance produced by hair follicles, which clogs pores and can cause blackheads) by absorbing it along with dirt and dead skin, hopefully leaving skin clear and refined.

When I opened the package my initial reaction was to abort mission—I was holding what appears to be a cold, slimy folded tissue, which in no way, shape, or form did I want touching my face. But since it was already in my hand (and at this point it looked like it’d be harder to get it back in the bag than on my face), I proceeded in the name of journalism.

I unfolded it, slapped it on my face, adjusted the eye and mouth holes, and smoothed out the wrinkles, slightly amused by my Michael Myers-esque reflection. And then I waited.

The instructions said to leave it on for 15 to 30 minutes, so I sat with it for 20. After a moment or so I could feel the serum seeping into my skin, burning ever so slightly, and I decided it might have been worth it after all. Ten minutes in, it cooled off, and I waited another ten before peeling it off. The package advised to “gently massage the remaining essence into skin,” so I did.

Initially I noticed no change in my pores, but by the next morning my skin was slightly peeling around the T-zone, which continued for a couple of days. Four days later I can honestly say that my skin does look smoother and my pores, smaller. I’ll definitely use the mask again, maybe once every couple of weeks when I can’t afford a facial.

$6, available at Sephora.