Now here's an unexpected way to powder your nose: Powder face cleansers are already big abroad in countries like Japan and Korea, and thanks to innovations by the brands we know and love stateside, the formula is quickly gaining popularity in the U.S. The formulas act partly as a DIY exfoliant--simply spill a small amount into the palm of your hand, then mix with a few drops of water to transform the powder into a foam. If you prefer a little more grit, go easy on the water, but if you prefer a texture similar to the rest of the cleansers in your arsenal, mix equal parts of both powder and water. Because elements like alcohol and preservatives are left out of the mix, powder face cleansers present a more gentle alternative for sensitive skin types, or complexions that flare up under traditional scrubs.
So, how do you find your perfect formula? Just like with any new skin staple, start by determining your needs and any issues you want to address. If you're lost on where to start, pick up a one-size-fits-all versions like Amorepacific's Treat Enzyme Peel ($60; nordstrom.com) or Tatcha's Gentle Rice Powder ($65; tatcha.com), which work on all complexions.
NUDE Skincare's Detox Brightening Fizzy Powder Wash ($42; sephora.com) is perfect for those in need of a serious deep cleansing, and if dark spots are a concern of yours, Peter Thomas Roth's Camu Camu Brightening Cleansing Powder ($45; sephora.com) is rich in vitamin C to impart an instant illuminated effect. For acne-prone skin types, we recommend Murad's Dual Action Cleanser and Exfoliator ($30; ulta.com). The dose of salicylic acid works to kill blemishes before they have time to form, and seems slightly more potent in its powder form. Like the rest of the formulas, Murad's can be amped up or toned down by altering the water levels, and the dissolving beads ensure you won't over-exfoliate your skin. Another unexpected plus to powder face washes? They won't hold you up in the airport security line. While the TSA is easing up on security measures in terms of your beauty loot, a full-sized gel cleanser still runs the risk of being confiscated, which is why its powder counterpart just might be picking up a few more frequent flyer miles.