What you need to know about skin care powders

You’re about to see them everywhere, so here’s what to expect

Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / May 25 2017

You may already own a cleanser, exfoliator and concentrated serum, but what about a skin care powder? Besides being extremely travel-friendly and more lightweight than their liquid counterparts, they’re also a great option for when you’re looking to customise your existing skin care routine.

It may sound complicated, but skin care powders fall into two categories - some cleanse and exfoliate your skin, whilst others can give your existing products a bit of a boost. Read on to discover more about this emerging skin care trend.

If you want to… cleanse and exfoliate

If you’re looking for something that’ll work harder than your gel, cream or milk cleanser, then a skin care powder may be the right move for you. One ingredient that works well at cleansing and exfoliating is rice bran extract, also known as oryza sativa.This ingredient is extracted from rice seeds or husks and is ace at exfoliating when it’s mixed with water. Plus, it also works to physically and chemically buff away dead skin cells, and works well for those with sensitive skin types.


June Jacobs Radiant Refining Exfoliating Powder comes in a supersized bottle that holds a blend of bamboo powder, rice bran extract and salicylic acid (just to name a few) in powder form. When you’re in the shower, pop a small amount (say, half a teaspoon) into wet hands and create a creamy paste, and work it all over your facial skin for a minute.

Rodin Olio Lusso Facial Cleansing Powder may look impressive in your bathroom, but it can also work wonders for your skin. Featuring a blend of exfoliating and nourishing ingredients like rice bran extract, red algae extract, jasmine and neroli oil, this clever product can be instantly activated by water and used twice daily.

You can’t go past Dermalogica Superfoliant if you’re looking for a product to cleanse and exfoliate without being too abrasive on your skin. Besides rice bran extract, you’ll also discover charcoal powder (which is great at drawing out impurities), niacinamide (great at targeting redness) and lactic acid (to further polish the skin).

The powder’s ingredients are activated on contact with water and are designed to micro-exfoliate by superficially polishing and brightening the skin’s texture whilst also controlling the very negative effects of pollution damage on our skin.
Emma Hobson
International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica
Education Manager

June Jacobs Radiant Refining Exfoliating Powder

Rodin Olio Lusso Facial Cleansing Powder

Dermalogica Superfoliant

If you want to… boost your brightness

Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a leading ingredient in brightening the complexion and evening out skin tone. You may be familiar with it existing in your serums and moisturisers, but a teensy dose of this can be added into your existing routine to supercharge your products.


Clinique Fresh Pressed System is a pack that features a powder cleanser which activates with water and a Daily Booster with powdered vitamin C to brighten all over. Interestingly, the Daily Booster comes pre-packaged in dual chambers (one side is vitamin C powder, the other is a soothing emulsion) which can be combined with the push of your thumb once you’re ready to try it at home. Pair one to two drops of it with your regular moisturiser for a daily boost of vitamin C.

CosMedix Pure C Mixing Crystals are made with pure ascorbic acid, and you’ll only need a few shakes (about the size of a grain of rice) to get the most out of the product. Mix it in with your day or night skin care products to target dark spots and the like.

Besides the brightening ingredient, you’ll find salicylic acid inside O Cosmedics Pure C + BHA, which can help target dull skin and sallowness and gently buff away dead skin cells once applied. Like the others, mix it with your go-to serum or moisturiser to given them some extra benefits.

Clinique Fresh Pressed System

CosMedix Pure C Mixing Crystals

O Cosmedics Pure C + BHA

Iantha is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor, and has been part of the team since the site launched in 2016. Besides pinky-nude nail polish and wispy false lashes, she has a healthy obsession with face masks and skin care ingredients. Her previous work can be found in Virgin Australia Voyeur, Women's Health, and SHOP Til You Drop.