Should You Try an Exfoliating Powder?

We break it down.

Caitlin M.
ByCaitlin M.

Everyone knows the traditional steps of skincare: cleanse, exfoliate, tone, moisturize. But, there's a new player to the exfoliate step. Powder exfoliators are here to shake up the game. But what exactly do they do? Don't worry. We've got you covered in this week's Beauty 101.

The scoop: Exfoliating powders are pretty much just what they sound like: powder exfoliants. Sometimes called facial powders or polishers, they have the same deep cleaning, scrubbing properties of your standard chemical or physical exfoliants, but they're much gentler thanks to their fine powder consistency.

Why it's necessary: Ideal for sensitive skin, these powders are finely milled so they can easily mix with water to form a cleansing exfoliant. They're much gentler on skin than physical abrasives and many contain enzymes that are specifically geared at deep cleaning certain skin types. And depending on the powder you choose, you can use your exfoliator daily!

How to do it: It's simple: Use a powder as your second step in your skincare routine with wet hands and face. After wetting your skin, apply about a teaspoon amount of the powder onto your hands and rub them together to activate. You'll see it transform into a lighter lather, which means you're ready to apply to your face. Rub in circular motions all over your face and rinse with warm water when done! 

Shop the trend:

Splurge: Tatcha Polished Deep Rice Enzyme Powder ($65)

Tatcha Polished Deep Rice Enzyme Powder

One of the OG powders that beauty buffs swear by, Tatcha's rice enzyme powder is formulated with a blend of rice bran, green tea, and red algae extract to leave skin soft and supple.


Mid-range: Amarte Daily ExfoliPowder ($37)

amarte daily exfolipowder

Battle hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and other signs of aging with this powder formula of wheat and rice bran extracts for cellular recovery and willow bark and pine to tighten and refine pores.


Save: H20+ Beauty Elements Fresh Powder Exfoliator ($28)

h20+ beauty elements fresh powder exfoliator

Papaya fruit, ginger root, and pearl extract work together to make this an equally cleansing and exfoliating powder. Remove dirt and makeup all while revealing a more radiant complexion!


IndieAmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel ($60)

amorepacifci treatment enzyme peel

This under-the-radar K-beauty brand is a must try for a variety of skincare concerns, but right now, we're turning to it for its brightening powder exfoliant. Formulated with natural papaya enzymes, dull skin is eliminated sans chemical abrasion to reveal smoother, brighter skin.

Have you tried a powder exfoliator? Like it? Loathe it? Let us know!

About the Author
Caitlin M.
Caitlin M.
Runner. Music lover. All things nachos. Follow me on Instagram: @caitlinsmiller