Does Mario Badescu Silver Powder Bid Bon Voyage to Blackheads?

Published in: Skin Care


Written by Sam

Like werewolves, blackheads hate silver…powder that is. Did freelance makeup artist and blogger Sam find a silver bullet for blackheads? Find out in today’s guest post.

Mario Badescu Silver Powder

Blackheads. Most people with even remotely oily skin have ‘em, and everybody hates the little buggers. These spots ain’t cute like freckles; they’re dark, glaring pools of pure, undistilled evil.


First off, just what are these nasty specks? Now, I’m no chemist (I skipped Chemistry in school… Physics-boy, here), but from what I understand, blackheads are whiteheads without a layer of skin over them. Both are a collection of sebum and dead skin cells within the duct of a sebaceous gland, and, to put it mildly, they’re really gross…

Both start out whitish in color, but whiteheads stay white because they have a layer of skin over them, which is also why they swell. Blackheads do not. The layer of skin over whiteheads allows the duct to act as a breeding ground for bacteria. Blackheads, on the other hand, open to the air, quickly oxidize and appear black. Incidentally, oxidation is also the reason why metals rust.

Lovely, no?

Whiteheads are the reason why I’ve been on varying acne medications for the past three years. Duac, Tetracycline, Doxycline, Differin, Monocycline, Retin-A… You name it, and I’ve probably been on some form of it at one point or another. The problem is that none of them seemed to have much effect. They just either dried out my skin or made it extremely red, without much reduction in the amount of acne I actually had. My dermatologist finally put me on a combination of Epiduo and Soladyn, which is my current regiment, and these two, along with my wondrous Clarisonic, have cleared up my skin something fierce.

Within six months of use, my skin had relatively cleared, with only one to two active pimples at a time, for the most part, and very small ones at that. That meant I could finally concentrate on the last remaining symptom of my hyperactive sebaceous glands: the tiny black dots speckled over my nose.

Now, I’d been lucky in that I’d never really had any acne on my nose; just a myriad of blackheads. The medication seemed to reduce the darkness of them (somehow…), but not the amount, while the Clarisonic helped reduce their size. Again, no real reduction in number. I was stumped. Being on acne medication that caused chemical exfoliation of my skin and using the Clarisonic, which imparts mild physical exfoliation, I didn’t seem like the best candidate for more manual exfoliation (at the risk of tearing up my skin and giving myself a giant red rash). And, from previous experience with using a manual exfoliator twice weekly, it didn’t do much more than clear out a handful of my dreaded blackheads.

So, what was left to do? Laser resurfacing was way out of my league (and insurance wouldn’t cover it), and I wasn’t eligible for microdermabrasion due to my acne meds. I scoured the net for alternative solutions and finally stumbled upon the cult brand, Mario Badescu. It purportedly had a powder that could be used to extract and diminish blackheads, and boy was I skeptical. Powders are for sopping up oil or adding shimmer, aren’t they?

That’s always what I thought.

So off to Makeupalley I went, where I found this only getting average reviews. Some people raved about it, calling it their Holy Grail product and preaching the wonders of its white gold, while others complained of its seeming uselessness, and how it really did nothing but give their skin a horrid white cast.

Well, at only $12 dollars for one ounce, I supposed it was an ‘ok’ test-buy. I grabbed a pot at Nordstrom and headed home.

Mario Badescu Silver Powder

Mario Badescu Silver Powder, like the rest of the line’s products, comes packaged in very simple, yet somehow chic packaging: a green and white label on white plastic. No flourishes, no fancy scripture. Just blatant labeling. Tossing the Nordstrom bag on the bathroom counter, I opened it over sink, expecting a giant poof of powder to explode out after transport. Right away, I could tell the lid was going to be an issue. It seems one turn short of being able to close securely, and it’s a bit wobbly even when turned as far as it will go. Fortunately for me, the packaging includes an aluminum peel-off cover, so I was spared from the white cloud of wasted product.

The stuff looks, well, like a basic white powder. It clumps a bit, which I found odd, but other than that, nothing extraordinary about its appearance. The directions on the back call for merely dampening a cotton ball, dipping it in the powder, applying it to the affected area, and waiting 10 minutes before washing off.

I improvised, grabbing a Q-tip, wetting it with warm water, and dipping it in the pot. The powder instantly clung to the tip, and I dabbed it on my nose, at which point the powder and moisture formed a thick paste. A bit too thick, at first.

Mario Badescu Silver Powder mixed with water forms a paste

The one thing I really dislike about applying it is that you’re constantly fighting to get the right consistency: too much water, and you get a runny liquid that doesn’t stay where you put it; too little water, and you get a really thick paste that doesn’t adhere and just falls off in clumps. I’ve come to aim for a medium-thick paste, almost the texture of modeling clay mixed with a bit of water.

Instead of leaving it on for 10 minutes that first use, I left it on overnight. Unfortunately, in the morning, most of it had rubbed off on my pillow. Looking in the mirror, all that was left was a thin white film. After cleaning my face with my Clarisonic, I examined my nose, closely. Was there a difference? Had they actually shrunk or reduced in number? Not really.

But I wasn’t one to give up. I continued this method for the next four days, applying it on clean skin faithfully every night, and washing it off in the morning, and by the fifth day…

A definite improvement!

I’m not talking “Oh, my god, my nose is completely clear, goodbye blackheads!” improvement. But it was definitely something. They all appeared lighter than they’d been, and there were markedly fewer than usual. After this, I reduced my use to three times a week, every other day, and continued to see progress over the next couple months.


I can definitely say that I see real results from Silver Powder. Although not all of them are gone, the sheer number, size, and darkness of my blackheads has reduced incredibly. I’ve come down to one application per week now, which seems to keep them at bay (I reached a plateau point at which this stuff stopped doing any more work). Before Silver Powder, I could definitely see my pores and tiny dark spots on my nose even with foundation, but now, after it, foundation completely covers whatever I have left. My nose looks smooth, clean, and clear!

I’ve also tried just applying it for 10 minutes or so and washing it off, and it does actually seem to produce the same results as leaving it on overnight… But I like to lie to myself and say that my method works better.

NOTE: If you don’t use something like the Clarisonic to remove it, Silver Powder will leave a definite white cast to the area it’s applied. Just something to keep in mind if you don’t wear foundation.

And the amount you get for $12 is insane. Literally. It’s been almost three months, and I don’t think I’ve used even a tenth of the jar. I’ll probably end up losing it before it runs out.

Don’t worry too much about it drying areas that don’t have blackheads, as it hasn’t produced any ill effects. I have noticed that on nights when I do use it, however, that my nose is very slightly less oily the next day (I can usually go another hour or so before seeing it shine). And for those afraid of products with long lists of ingredients with unpronounceable names, rejoice! Silver Powder contains only three ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Titanium Dioxide, and Zinc Oxide. The last two there are physical sunscreens, which kinda confuses me, but who am I, the Chemistry-ignorant, to question something that works?

So, is Mario Badescu Silver Powder a must-buy? It depends. If you’re looking for that one product that will get rid of every single blackhead you have overnight, then keep looking (and gimme a call when you find it!). But if you don’t mind adding another step to your skincare routine, then this is one product that will definitely help knock those black buggers down a peg, and your nose (or cheeks, or chin) will thank you. Combine it with a good chemical or physical exfoliator, and you’re on the road to blackhead extermination.


Written by Sam

Sam is a 17-year-old, oddly tall guy whose love of all things skincare, makeup, and fashion started when he entered the modeling world at 14. Since then, he’s established himself as a freelance makeup artist in the theatre and fashion worlds, and started his own blog to preach the wonders of orange eyeshadow, Asian skincare, and designer fragrances to the masses.


Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 28 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Tappanga says:

    What? I use a lemon/sugar scrub and within five days my blackheads were GONE, not “improved”. And it costs about $3.00. If you don’t want to go that way (although you’d be a dang fool), Stridex pads work just as well (even got compliments from my esthetician after using them!).

    • Elaine says:

      One thing about those stridex pads:

      they literally destroyed my skin. I thought my blackheads were from oily skin – my skin was dry.

      Do NOT use them if you have dry skin. It took me a solid 3 months for my skin to recover after 1 week of using those damn pads.

      • claudia says:

        Stridex pads! I agree, they can really damage skin! My cousin had some acne on her chin once and thought that it would be a good idea to leave the Stridex pad on her chin. Overnight. Well, it literally burned her skin! She still has scars, 15+ years later.

    • holly says:

      Sam states in the post that because of his medication and clarisonic use, he felt that more manual exfoliation wasn’t a good idea, ruling out a scrub.

      Most people I know have had terrible results with Stridex pads. Whenever I used them my blackheads would seem to disappear for a day or two, but then be back with a vengeance. If they work for you, lucky you, but they definitely don’t work for everyone.

    • Ronda says:

      Stridex is horrible for your skin, way too harsh and irritating. All lemon juice does is BLEACH your blackheads, it won’t diminish them, it will only DISGUISE them. I’ll take Sam’s method, and I plan to try it.

      Thanks Sam, great advice as usual!

  2. Solangel says:

    Need this! The surface of my nose is like a freaking dance club for blackheads!

  3. Tracy says:

    Sounds interesting! Might have to give this a try! Thanks Sam!
    Tracy recently posted … Burberry Makeup Is The Only Iconic Burberry Plaid Ill Probably Ever Own

  4. Michelle says:

    Thanks for this! I would love any posts relating to oily skin/clogged pores. I might have to give this product a go!

  5. Kate & Zena says:


    Have you tried the Biore deep cleaning pore strips? Those things are WICKED. Those things easily take out 90% of my blackheads.

    HOWEVER, my Holy Grail product makes me cry when I look at the price. The Jurlique Intense Recovery mask is seriously a vacuum cleaner for my zits and blackheads…but it’s 1.5 ounces and forty-nine dollars. I don’t how it works, but I’ve tried every acne product–even that awful, horrendous ProActiv line (don’t ask. BAD idea. Forgot my acne-wash and used my friend’s ProActiv)–out there like you, but that mask sucks out everything. You can literally watch it suck everything out of your skin. It’s fascinating….and really, really gross (seriously gross, you wouldn’t believe what your skin holds). I’m probably going to have to buy a new one in two weeks. Definitely going to cry when I press the “enter” button.

    • adelinky says:

      Oh yes!!! The Biore strips rip mine out! Not all completely but I just love looking at the strip after I’ve pulled it off…. ew….!!!
      adelinky recently posted … Braids

      • Kate & Zena says:

        It’s fascinating and gross at the same time, isn’t it? You know it’s going to be gross, but you just have to see.

        I do that with my mask too. Before I wipe it off, I examine my nose in the mirror just to see the little mountains in my once smooth green mask. It’s so gross, but I find it absolutely fascinating for some reason! It’s like, “Oh my God, that was all in my nose? Ewwwwwwww…fascinating.”

  6. Ikkiv says:

    Just one thing : Blackheads don’t appear black because of oxidation. If you’ve ever extracted a blackhead, you will see it is still yellowish/clear once extracted. It is black because of the way light refracts around the hair follicle.

  7. Jeni says:

    I have the same issue – I have managed to clear my skin really well from acne, but the only thing that remains are the blackheads on my nose that never go away! I don’t even have oily skin! I use sunscreen every day that contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and that definitely doesn’t help my blackheads, so I wonder if the magical third ingredient would do anything for me? Hmmm… I currently use Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel and that helps with my blackheads, but they always come back two days later!
    Jeni recently posted … Cosmetics Database

  8. Silva says:

    This sounds great! I hate those pesky things, and this sounds great, and isn’t too expensive, so I’ll try it out!
    Silva recently posted … Pieces Soul Petrol

  9. Margarett says:

    Sounds like I will need to make a trip to Ulta today.

  10. Raquel says:

    is there any solution to whiteheads, i don’t have blackheads but i have whiteheads and while foundation covers it pretty ok, i would like for them to disappear i’ve tried the biore nose strips and yea while stuff comes out on the strip in the next day or two my nose ends up looking the same way it was… ultimately my question is, is there a cure for whiteheads?

  11. Hedy says:

    I ADORE Mario Badescu! I’ll have to try de-silver powdering myself with the new Clarisonic I have-I usually use Biore strips after it.
    Hedy recently posted … Good to know- Changes to Health Care Flexible Spending accounts

  12. Josh :D says:

    I just picked up the Silver Powder and I’ve mixed a little of it in with my setting powder and have been using it to set my makeup — control the oil so much better! 😀
    Josh 😀 recently posted … Review- tarte Smooth Operator Tinted Moisturizer

  13. Wendy says:

    As someone who’s suffered through teenage to adult acne I can tell you that I pretty much gave up and then I started going to a herb guy who told me to just wash my face with hot water and a clean hand towel and do a sort of compress/steam for about 10 minutes every other day.
    Let me tell you the first 2 weeks I was horrified because the water use to come out almost yellowish not to mention is smelled awful but ever since then I have had no acne, I sometimes get whiteheads and blackheads when I get very stressed but that’s it.
    I urge you to try it because just hot water and a towelette made me get off all my acne medication.

    • Ronda says:

      I have heard that hot water, and even steam, eventually causes broken capillaries (kind of like spider veins I think?) I don’t know this for certain but I read to only use warm water. I still use VERY warm water, but I’ve given up my hot steam/hot compress sessions. Too scared of broken capillaries! Anyone else have thoughts about this?

  14. Misbah Farid says:

    Actually just tried it right before reading the post, and I’d purchased it because it was used on me during a facial at Ulta. Love this stuff, it makes my nose feel smooth. This was the first time I used it by myself, and I think it’s easier than using a strip – I can never get it to smooth out properly, and it never covers my trouble areas (right on my nostrils as well as where my nose meets my face) just right, but the powder does. The lady who did my facial specializes in this brand, and she rec’d that I do it once per week.

  15. Emmaline says:

    Calcium carbonate is what is in most calcium supplements labeled “easier/ better absorption.” I had to take these after I broke my arm in a car weck recently. I bet I could grind up 3 or 4 pills and get similar results.

  16. cheyenne says:

    the way this guy writes makes me feel so academically stunted. ha

    • Ronda says:

      ha I know what you mean! I love reading this much detail about a product, and Sam sells me on everything. Sam you need to work on commission!

  17. veronica says:

    Just catching up on posts now! Wow, I’m behind.

    Anyway, just wanted to say that Sam is one of my favorite new additions to MBB! For someone only 17, he writes like he’s been doing this for decades. Keep it up!

  18. alyssa says:

    I use biore strips after I use the Mario Badescu silver powder and it really sucks out all the gunk!!!

  19. Joanne says:

    Enjoyed reading about the Silver Powder. For 12 bucks, I’m in!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge