Exfoliants come in all types and textures, from exfoliating cleansers and scrubs to enzyme peels and in-spa treatments. One of our all-time favorites: the powder exfoliant. Used for centuries to brighten, smooth and hydrate skin, these ultra-fine powders gently remove impurities and exfoliate skin for a glowing complexion. The trick: Just add water. Here’s why you should add a powder exfoliant to your skin care routine, plus our tips and tricks for using one properly.
Benefits Of Using A Powder Exfoliant
Powder exfoliants are incredibly gentle. When mixed with water, these finely-milled powders transform into a luxurious paste or lather that removes impurities and smooths skin - without scratching its surface. In addition to physical exfoliants like oat and rice flour, many also include naturally-derived AHAs and BHAs. These acids provide additional exfoliation by dissolving dead skin cells and leaving you with a silky smooth complexion.
When it comes to powder exfoliants, the power is - literally - in your hands. The amount of water you add to the mix informs the strength of the scrub, allowing you to make adjustments depending on the day, the season or your skin type. Yoon-Soo Cindy Bae, MD tells Byrdie: “Use less water to feel more texture, and for more of a general soft cleanser, use more water.”
Word of advice: If you’re after deeper exfoliation, don’t scrub harder. Instead, adjust your water-to-powder ratio. Eminence Organic Skin Care Product Support Representative and licensed esthetician Alicia Hawthorne says: “No extra pressure is needed for a physical exfoliant; the granules will do the work!”
3. Liquid Free
Another benefit of powder exfoliants is that they are liquid free. Bacteria and mold have a much harder time growing in dry environments, which means powder exfoliants often contain fewer preservatives and have a longer shelf life than their liquid counterparts. Another bonus: They are TSA-approved. These travel-friendly cleansers can be slipped into your carry-on with zero fuss from airport security.
How To Use One
Now that you know the benefits of using a powder exfoliant, here is how to apply one properly:
- Dispense a dime-sized amount of dry powder into the palm of your hand
- Add a small amount of water
- Rub your hands together to create a creamy paste or lather
- Apply to your face using circular motions, careful to avoid the delicate eye area
- Rinse thoroughly with water and pat skin dry
Pro Tip: For an extra boost of exfoliation, add a dash of your favorite cleanser to step one! Alicia’s favorite mixology blends Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant with the Acne Advanced Cleansing Foam.
Dermafoliant vs. Fizzofoliant: Which Is Right For Me?
Are you ready to add a powder exfoliant to your skin care routine? We love the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant and the Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant for different reasons. The Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant is a chemical exfoliant with strawberries and rhubarb infusing the skin with antioxidants (yes, it smells delicious like a strawberry field!). It contains a rice powder that absorbs oil, while lactic and salicylic acids remove dead skin cells.
The Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant employs microgreens, stone crop and rice flour with adzuki powder to exfoliate and buff skin texture. With its light fizzing action, you’ll enjoy massaging this into the skin.
Pro Tip: Use caution when combining exfoliation treatments; although some work together, there are some combinations that should be avoided!
What About Exfoliating Masks Like The Turmeric Energizing Treatment?
If you’re loving exfoliating masks to awaken your complexion, try the Turmeric Energizing Treatment, a warming powder, exfoliant and mask. Zeolite and turmeric remove dead skin cells and impurities, improving the skin’s appearance by smoothing and tightening. This golden-colored exfoliant differs from the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant and Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant in terms of its frequency in use. It is ideally used once a week, whereas the Dermafoliant and Fizzofoliant can be used frequently, even daily if you’re keen!
What Other Exfoliators Pair Well with Powder Exfoliants?
Are you considering using other exfoliators alongside the powder exfoliants? You’ll be pleased to know that the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant or the Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant can be easily added to any of our cleansers for additional exfoliation. Pairing exfoliants together offers deeper exfoliation and improves the radiance of the skin.
When matching up exfoliants, keep in mind that our chemical exfoliants (like the Dermafoliant) have naturally occurring mild acids and enzymes to exfoliate the skin, whereas a product like the Fizzoliant is purely a physical scrub with exfoliating granules.
You can try the following combinations, depending on what products you’re loving.
You can use a VitaSkin Exfoliating Peel™ after the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant or Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant.
You can pair the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant or the Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant with our award-winning Mangosteen Daily Resurfacing Cleanser. This cleanser adds chemical exfoliation with its lactic acid ingredient which removes buildup and improves skin hydration.
To decongest pores, you can pair the Charcoal Exfoliating Gel Cleanser with the Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant.
Pair the Almond & Mineral Treatment with the Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant. This combination will be extremely softening for the skin and perfect for decongesting any build up on the skin. Simply apply the Almond & Mineral Treatment and let it sit for a few minutes. Once the heat from the Almond & Mineral Treatment starts to dissipate, add water to the Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant. Apply this mixture over top of the Almond & Mineral Treatment.
Pairings with the Turmeric Energizing Treatment
Interested in exfoliating with a warming face mask? Try these combinations:
- Apply a VitaSkin Exfoliating Peel before using the Turmeric Energizing Treatment.
- For a more intense treatment, layer the Lime Stimulating Masque over top of the Turmeric Energizing Treatment to accelerate effectiveness, brighten and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
- For extreme brightening, layer the Citrus and Kale Potent C+E Masque over top. Simply wet fingers and gently massage for 2 minutes and let the heat rise and dissipate before removing!
We’d love to hear if you use a powder exfoliant in your skin care routine. Tell us in the comments below or on social media.
This post was originally published in September, 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.