For years, I have been saying that someone needs to create a vacuum cleaner for the face to pull out all of the crap from your pores to save you from the urge to squeeze your blackheads (yes, we know we need to do it with a tissue, but realistically who does?). Now my prayers have been answered as I've finally got my hands on facialist Sarah Chapman's Pro Pore Refiner, £128.
It allows you to get that fresh-from-a-facial feeling at home and get rid of blackheads without irritating your precious money maker. As a makeup artist, I am more than aware of how important it is to have a clean and smooth canvas is to work with.
The rechargeable tool is about as long as an iPhone and the width of a banana. Chic, cylindrical, in trademark Sarah Chapman grey, it has a reassuring weight behind it. There is a flat metal plate at one end which loosens everything up by warming and vibrating the skin and emitting positively charged ions to entice the dirt from its hiding place. At the other end is a clear extraction nozzle which you use like a vacuum cleaner and which allows you to see all the gunk you've sucked up.
After cleaning my face thoroughly, I glided the flat base of the wand over my damp skin, focusing on the most blocked areas. The plate soon warmed up and I massaged it over my T-zone. After two minutes the little device turned off: step one complete. On the step two setting, the metal end began vibrating gently to add to the heat and loosen the crud further.
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So far so-so. My skin was warm, but by now it was dry which made the metal drag rather than glide. But, then came the bit I had been waiting for - extraction. I turned the Pore Refiner around and positioned it exactly on top of one of my biggest blockages. I rubbed it back and forth until my blackhead nemesis jumped free of its oh-so-comfy home. It popped into the nozzle where it joined the rest of the gross oily residue that had been drawn out of my skin. It felt exactly as you would imagine – like a mini Hoover or facial cupping. If you’ve ever had a Hydrafacial in a salon, it’s a similar feeling. The most satisfying part was watching it happen.
There are three extraction settings, each more powerful than the other, and the instructions clearly state that you must keep the device moving over your skin to avoid bruising (I mean, that makes sense, we’ve all seen the Kylie Jenner lip suction videos). However, I was so (en)grossed by this little device and the eye-popping amount of dirt it was dragging out of my pores that I started to experiment with the suction settings. I didn’t always obey the gliding rules either, and I did start seeing some bruising. But honestly, I didn’t care. This wand was a gift from the gods. I have never experienced anything as powerful outside of a salon. A warning to all though, it is addictive, just like spot squeezing. The advice is to use it only twice a week.
Afterwards, my chin was bruised (I was warned) but my skin felt unbelievable. The most impressive part was that my pores were visibly empty - not just the big blackheads, but the little ones on my nose as well as the comedones (the tiny skin-coloured bumps that look like spots) around my chin. The pure grime sitting in the nozzle head was evidence enough.
I applied hyaluronic acid, lavender oil (to calm the bruising) and a ton of moisturiser and toddled off to bed. And in the morning? Well the bruising was pretty much non-existent but my skin was still as soft and glowy.
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I am officially obsessed with my Pro Pore Refiner. I would go so far as to say it is the one thing I would save from a fire if I had to choose something other than my dog. My skin is purer, cleaner, more glowing and softer than before. I use my magic wand twice weekly, if not more (shhh!!). However, I do not go through the two-step process of loosening the dirt beforehand as I find a hot flannel compress pressed onto my blocked areas releases the dirt better than any vibrations or warming that the base plate does. That being said, I have a friend who swears by the metal end. Whether you use all the steps or just the last, it is a guaranteed essential for anyone who wants clearer pores.