About half an hour outside Toronto, there lies a magical place called Pacific Mall.
Canada's largest indoor Asian mall, this place is overwhelming, filled with hundreds of stalls, each packed with hundreds of cute imported things. Some go for the handmade fresh noodles, others for the endless cellphone case options; I go for the beauty supplies.
In my experience, Pacific Mall (often just called Pmall) offers a ton of products that you can't find anywhere else in the city. There's an entire Tony Moly store, where was finally able to scoop up a peach Petite Bunny Gloss bar this past weekend, and some tiny stands with row upon row of the best hair clips I've even seen.
My favourite stop in the immense labyrinth, however, is Korean cosmetics store Holika Holika, a brand that promises to magically transform your skin. The description on their Canadian Facebook page pretty much sums it up: "Holika Holika always gives you lots of fantasy and happy moments while shopping at our boutiques; products aim to bring you fun experience with surprising and wonderful results."
I pretty much wanted to buy everything in Holika Holika when I visited earlier this month (That nail polish! That glitter eyeshadow!), but I limited myself as best as I could and walked away with only three products: A peach tea face mask sheet, a new lip brush, and a blackhead removal kit.
THE CUTEST black head removal kit you've ever seen. Ever.
The set is part of their blackhead removal line called Pig-nose, and all of the graphics show a stupidly adorable little cartoon pig nose being rid of its polka dots.
Has blackhead removal ever been more darling? No. But does it work? Let's find out.
I had no idea what to expect when I opened the first pouch in the kit. Was it a cream? A gel? Opening each part of this kit felt like opening the door of an advent calendar, with the final reward being a polka-dot-free nose instead of Christmas Day (sort of the same thing?).
Step 1 ended up being a wet, lemony-smelling mask strip for my nose. It was swimming in some acidic liquid in the packet, which dried out while it sat on my nose. I kept it on for 20 minutes as prescribed by the English instruction sticker that was given to me with the purchase.
This step was supposed to open my pores to allow for easier blackhead removal, but I think it must've done a bit of a peel as well--it burned quite a bit at the beginning!
What's behind magical door number two? Another pore strip! This one however, was pink, which automatically makes it better than the burny white one. This strip also seemed a lot more like the drugstore pore strips I had used in the past, so I had something to compare it to, unlike step one.
I rinsed the step-one goop off of my nose and put the step-two strip on the wet surface, pushing it into every corner of my nose. I waited 15 minutes as the instructions told me to, and slowly removed the strip from corner to corner.
So much satisfaction! The strip pulled out all of my gross nose gunk--more than I've ever seen removed with another strip.
Step three is a super gunky wet pore strip mask designed to close the pores and soothe stressed-out skin. The smell is pretty medicinal, and the strip is really slimy and hard to handle,but once you get it in place it does have a very nice cooling effect.
I left it on for 15 minutes, patted the reman in gel residue into my skin, and I was done!
The final report: My nose looked amazing: not a black clog in sight! I would highly recommend this little pack, especially because it only cost me four dollars with tax. My pores are were the tiniest they'd ever been by the time I finished step 3, and in general I just felt so clean and refreshed. I may just have to pick up some of the other Pig-nose products, this peeling massage gel looks quite tempting...