Much unlike many a magazine editor who recommends you buy all sorts of crap that they most likely got for free, your Jezebel staff doesn't get jack shit (other than books, unsolicited). And that's how it should be. But on our own time, in our personal lives, we still buy stuff. So this is Worth It, our recommendation of random things that we've actually spent our own money on. These are the things we buy regularly or really like, things we'd actually tell our friends about. And now we're telling you.
I know, I know, you're not supposed to pick at your skin. I have been told this by every dermatologist I've ever seen, and it's been said countless times by my mother too. But I can't help it: I like picking at my face! Not until it bleeds or anything, but I do get a perverse pleasure out of popping a zit or squeezing the goop out of my pores. Even if it is gross, it is deeply satisfying—like washing your windows or cleaning your kitchen, it just makes things look better. So, yes, from time to time, I engage in a little casual face-picking. Deal with it, experts.
Now, I've had a few facials in my life, and while the extractions kill, they do work. You can do some of the same thing at home with your hands, but there are certain spots that just aren't easy to get into. For instance, it can be hard to get those little ribbons of sebum to come out of the pores on the sides of your nose. It is for that reason that I purchased a nifty little tool called a 3-in-1 Extractor from Sephora.
I admit I was a little scared to wield it against my own delicate face. (I am clumsy enough that I mostly worried about stabbing myself in the eye. So far, so good.) It's a skinny metal stick, and it has little loops on either end. You press these down over your pores, and the pressure it causes brings the dirt and glop right up out of there like magic. One of the loops is supposedly for blackheads and is flatter, and the other is more rounded and is for white heads. I really only use the white head side, even on blackheads. But, hey, you can do whatever you like—it's a free country.
Also, and this is the SCARY part, if you unscrew the stick at the middle, you will find a devilishly sharp little tip that can be used to cut holes in your skin. If used properly, you can lance white heads that you can't extract just by pushing on them. Due to some genetic curse, I get a ton of these, and cutting a little hole in them and popping the pearl of white stuff out (which, sadly, does not have value like real pearls or I would be loaded) is the only way to get rid of them. I once paid someone in my dermatologists office $95 to cut a bunch of the whiteheads open for me, and now that I have this extractor, which only costs $22, I can do it myself for free.
Of course, you need to be very careful when sticking yourself and even when you're just pressing on your pores, since you don't want to make a blemish worse or scar yourself for life. It really helps if you steam your face or put a hot cloth on it for a few minutes beforehand to open your pores. That will make cleaning them much easier. As for wear and tear on the extractor, I've had mine for a few years, and it's still in perfect shape. I just wipe it down with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol after I'm done using it, and then I wash my face and go on with my day, knowing that I have slightly less junk in my trunk, er, my pores.
3-in-1 Extractor, Sephora, $22
Worth It only features things we paid for ourselves and actually like. Don't send us stuff.