What is a cleansing powder and why do I need one, you ask. Largely driven by the ever-growing popularity of K-beauty—short for the Korean beauty movement—powder cleansers are beginning to crop up across all lines of the skin-care spectrum. To be clear, they're not sitting atop the best-selling product list at Sephora (of course we checked—though we were happy to see better-for-you brands like Sunday Riley and Tata Harper on that list), but when an entirely new category of beauty products starts sprouting, it's so damn exciting, we simply can't keep it to ourselves.
Clay, powdered aloe, rice bran, pulverized pearls, and other earthly ingredients constitute a promise for brighter, more youthful skin, and as a fan of powder cleansers I can attest: They deliver. You might be used to seeing powdered products as the base of slightly more intense treatments like weekly masks and exfoliants, but powder cleansers are gentle enough for daily or alt-daily use.
To use a powder cleanser, put a spoonful onto your palm and combine it with a few drops of warm or lukewarm water. Rub your palms together and add water until the consistency feels right. Each product will have unique guidelines, but the less watery your mixture is, the more exfoliating it will feel. For a gentler wash, add more water.
The truly excellent bonus of powder cleansers? They're carry-on friendly and are far less likely to explode in your bag. Welcome to your new summer skin-care obsession.
4. PLANT Apothecary - Rice + Clean Gentle Facial Cleanser
Taking a page out of Japanese skincare, this rice bran-based cleanser softens skin and protects it from damage caused by UV rays. The geishas used water leftover from cooking rice to wash their faces, claiming it gave them better skin. Little did they know this was thanks to power ingredient, gamma oryzanol, from the rice. Combined with chamomile, which has antimicrobial properties, this powder cleanser is gentle enough for even sensitive skin.
PLANT Apothecary Rice + Clean Gentle Facial Cleanser ($24)