• Wed, Apr 17 - 10:22 am ET

About Face: Can Elmer’s Glue Really Get Rid Of Blackheads?

Can Elmer's Glue Really Get Rid Of Blackheads? Gloss editor Ashley Cardiff aims to find out.

A few days ago, I was doing my usual perusing of lady sites when I came across a post from one of our partners. Our friends over at HuffPost Style do a recurring feature in which they ask various lovely women in and around New York for the products they use to achieve said loveliness. One usually finds an expected high/low array of It products, your drugstore cleaners (Hey, Purpose!), your super fancy La Prairie creams, Burt’s Bee’s lip balm, YSL mascara… the kind of content that–much like a time-honored “What’s In Her Bag?” feature–is seldom surprising but compulsively readable.

Anyway, I love this stuff. Reading about the products in peoples’ daily rotation is abundantly interesting. Maybe I am extremely boring that way.

Their most recent addition, though, almost knocked me out of my chair: a Housing Works clerk with awesome hair revealed she unclogs dirty pores with… glue. And not some hydrating/clarifying/detoxifying/heroin-promises glue “specifically formulated” and $70 and devoted to this purpose, no. She uses good old Elmer’s Glue.

My natural skepticism kicked in here, much like it did when I first saw conventionally attractive towel-wearing blondes pull Bioré stripes off their noses in ’90s commercials and subsequently marvel at how the surface resembled a “cactus.” I bought those as a teenager, even as my parents rolled their eyes and said that a stick of tape would do the same (and be just as useless). They were right. [Sidebar: Some people swear by these things; I have never found them to do anything but draw up moisture and otherwise very normal top-layer skin stuff].

So, I wondered, was this any different? Can Elmer’s glue really get rid of blackheads?

I decided to find out and embarrass myself in the process.

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  • Maria

    I love these pictures. Don’t worry about going into politics, you pulled this off with grace.

    • http://thegloss.com/ Ashley Cardiff

      Aw, thank you!

    • anon

      yeah, unless they photoshop a penis where the elmer’s glue is you are untouchable ashley! run for office!

    • http://helloalle.com/ Alle

      ASHLEY FOR PRESIDENT.

  • Joanna

    Don’t worry Ashley. I would create the best smear campaign about you if you ever ran for office!

    • http://thegloss.com/ Ashley Cardiff

      Goddamnit.

  • Dicky

    More of these types of posts, please!

  • Allison

    Thank you, Gloss, for writing the least stupid beauty content on the internet.

  • Shayla

    This was fun! I do a blackhead-removal thing every once in a while, using one part plain gelatin powder and one part milk. It actually pulls (some) blackheads out of my chin/nose area. Not kidding, either! Maybe you should experiment with that one ;)

    • http://thegloss.com/ Ashley Cardiff

      I came across the milk/gelatin blend while doing research for this very post. Sounds interesting and less chemically.

    • Amanda

      but HOLY SHIT does the milk/gelatin grab at the facial peach fuzz. Never ever again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/victoria.umesi Victoria Umesi

    I use a mixture of milk and plain geltain when I’m at home, but most of the time I just opt for the Biore strips. Usually they work for about a day, but my nose is so oily that I usually can have a clear face for about 1/2 a day -_-

  • Cee

    Soooo what office would you be running for? What will be your campaign style?

    • http://thegloss.com/ Ashley Cardiff

      Oh, you know. The political one!

      And pantsuits! Fearsomely tailored paintsuits.

      …But with a bold lip, obvi.

    • ktree

      Don’t forget the splash of color and statement necklaces.

  • jamiepeck

    The only thing ignoble about this is how foxy you look in these photos.

  • Princess Bitchface

    Loved this! More stupid beauty shit posts, please! Biore strips have never worked for me either – it’s like my pore-gunk is too.. moist? Also – you can’t buy glue in a supermarket but can get it in a pharmacy? WTF?

  • MR

    I think you need to spend more time on the Long Meadow, early Sunday mornings. It’s the only place in Nyc where you can actually feel like you’re in the country. All the photos are nice profiles of you.

  • Jennifer

    Fun fact, the reason Elmer’s Glue is non-toxic and ok for curious kids everywhere to eat, is that Borden, the milk company, owns it, hence the cow on the front, so it is a dairy based product, therefore, some what edible. So it probably didn’t do that much harm to your face.

    • http://thegloss.com/ Ashley Cardiff

      This is indeed a fun fact! Thank you.

    • emunfred

      Actually, Elmer’s Glue contains no animal products. It is mostly polyvinyl acetate, which is found in latex paint and chewing gum.

  • Jennifer

    Wow, I think I successfully used more commas than necessary. Cheers!

  • Necrisha

    I used to use the plain aloe gel bought for sunburn the same way in place of using facial scrubs with emollients.I’d slather it on thick, wait for it to completely dry-leaving the thin film that could be peeled off. That’s all that trick is really good for, getting rid of loose dead skin without resorting to something that wouldn’t cause redness…

  • docscience

    Elmer’s glue is water based, hydrophyllic, blackheads are oil.

    Physics was against you.

    You need an adhesive that is oleophillic for this to work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tairy.hesticle.7 Tairy Hesticle

    that is hilarious…I was hoping the outcome would be different but at least you had fun with it =)

  • Sean

    I’ve been thinking about this one (not sure why)…what if you put a little dab directly over a given blackhead, instead of having it run all over your nose like an over-sexualized Cinnabon ad? Maybe a discreet lump (left to dry) would have the strength to remove the blackhead, sort of like how a potato can be used to remove a broken lightbulb?

  • Fred

    Looking at the pics it look like you may have done it wrong. First rinse your face with hot water to open up your pores. Then take the glue and “smear a light amount” over your problem areas and be sure to go past the creases where your nose and cheek meet. (it looks like your just dribbled a lot of glue on your face which would take forever to dry…noticed by how you said “After another five, only the thickest parts of the glue were wet”) It should look pretty much transparent even before drying. Wait for about 15 minutes for it to dry and be pretty much clear. Then peel up from the cheeks and look at all that nasty shiz you took off your face.

  • MomOf4

    I tried this and the glue was drying as I read your post. Figured, what could it hurt to try it? I did not, however, pour glue down my face as in your photos. I simply put 2 drops on my finger, then smeared it on my nose. Three blackheads did indeed come off when I peeled off the glue. So, if you don’t drown yourself in the glue, you may get some off. Who knows. Some things work for some and not for others. It was fun to try at least. (And yes I was one of the weird kids who like to glue my hands together, then peel all the glue off)

    • DawnAlison

      Ikr I love peeling glue off of my hands…Idk y.

  • riley32

    It works, I used the natural glue and held a warm wash cloth on my nose for about 2 minutes first and I’ve had these blackheads for a couple years.

  • CnnEatsDong

    I make casts of my dong with Elmer’s wood glue

  • Damien

    Did you apply a steaming wet cloth to your face? You have to open your pores first.

  • Michelle

    It worked perfectly great for me. However, I did a vinegar/listerine wash real quick prior to. You do equal parts listerine/vinegar and take a cotton ball and do a few passes over your face. Let it sit a few minutes. You can also use lemons instead of vinegar/listerine. Then you put the glue over your face but put it on somewhat heavy. I let it sit for at least 30 minutes and I used a hair dryer on the coolest setting and I also used the cool button on the dryer to help dry the glue. After 30 minutes my skin looked so fresh, I plan on doing this three times per month until my skin looks healthy again. The before and after is dramatic in my opinion. Your skin didn’t look bad from the start. I have skin that does not shed normally according to my dermatologist. I refused to continue paying 100 bucks a pop for a true chemical peel every month. I used the Elmer’s Glue Gel instead of the white glue. No real rhyme or reason other than that’s the only Elmer’s Glue I had in the house at the time. It takes a little longer to dry but I’m telling you it works. Sorry it didn’t work for you. :) Michelle T. Atlanta, GA

  • christina

    I put elmers glue on my nose and chin all the time and it work for me! I definitely do not spread it like it shows in your pictures though haha. I use a thinner layer and bring it across onto my cheek so I have something to grab onto when I rip it off. Rip it off quickly as though it were a wax strip to take hair out. That does the trick for me.