16 Skin-Perfecting Powder Cleansers For Every Budget & Skin Type

While certainly not new, powder cleansers are having a big moment right now — and for good reasons. To wit: To say they’re tried-and-true is a bit of an understatement, since most borrow from historic beauty practices, however, the newest versions are far from antiquated. In fact, most are incredibly sophisticated, upgraded with everything from botanical ingredients to enzymes to simple (and quite foolproof) ingredients like baking soda. What’s even better? They can be found at nearly every price point.
So, why powders? It’s simple: They gently exfoliate your skin as they cleanse, travel well in both carry-ons and gym bags, and make for a pretty rad customizable experience. And while they may look different from one another, don’t be surprised that they contain a lot of the same players — rice bran, oat, adzuki bean, and seeds—all naturally derived ingredients that provide a bit of texture without overly harsh grit.
A lot of the powder cleansers you’ll see coming up are inspired by ancient Japanese beauty rituals involving rice bran, an antioxidant powerhouse credited with giving geishas their flawless complexions. Many formulas also help to brighten, hydrate, and smooth.
Dr. Dendy Engelman, dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, recommends using powder cleansers at night, post–makeup removal, as a deep cleanse to remove any extra impurities. “The particles in dry powder allow for more exfoliation than liquid cleansers,” she explains. “Because of this, they are best suited for combination or oily skin.” That’s not to say that those with normal or sensitive skin can’t partake in a powder cleanse — just find one that’s formulated for your skin type. (Fret not, our slides ahead will help with this!)
The cool thing about powder cleansers is that they’re customizable depending on how much water you mix in — less water makes a stronger scrub and more water allows for gentler exfoliation. You can even cut with another liquid cleanser if you prefer. Those with dry skin can try mixing with an oil cleanser for a nourishing, gentle scrub. There is one caveat, however: If you have skin that’s very reactive or suffering from rosacea or eczema, Dr. Engelman suggests sticking to a gentle liquid cleanser.

Click through to find the powder cleanser in your budget that can give your complexion the geisha treatment.
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Best For: Those on a budget

While making a facial exfoliator with straight-up baking soda is a popular DIY for oily and acneic skin, things can go south pretty fast without some quantity control. Biore’s version makes it safer all around, thanks to a pH-balanced powder-to-foam consistency. You can control the intensity of the scrub by adding more or less water, which activates the formula, but either way, expect a cooling splash of freshness when you rinse.

Bioré Baking Soda Powder Cleanser, $9.99, available at Ulta.
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Best For: Dry or easily irritated skin

If you couldn’t tell from its punny name, this exfoliating cleanser is another rice bran–based cleanser, teaming up with chamomile to calm dry, irritated skin. The powder is fine and gentle, but you can up the scruff by adding less water. With just three ingredients (vitamin E is the third), this is a great pick for those with reactive skin who are concerned with potential irritants.

PLANT Rice & Clean Facial Cleanser Rice & Chamomile, $24, available at Birchbox.
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Best For: Those who like double-duty products

This Korean powerhouse brand’s powder cleanser sounds like something you’d order at a spa — but for a fraction of the cost. This formula has natural papaya enzymes to gently whisk away dead skin cells, helping the rest of your skin-care products absorb better. Translation: It's a double win. Plus, it takes the place of a scrub, since you’re reaping benefits from both a physical and a chemical exfoliator. “As long as you aren’t scrubbing too hard with a powder cleanser, I don't mind the enzymes contained in most powdered cleansers I've tried,” Dr. Engelman says, about doubling up on exfoliation.

Our advice? Shake a bit into damp hands, sprinkle a bit of water on top, work into a lather, then massage over your damp, clean face. (And prepare for smooth skin!)

AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel, $60, available at Sephora.
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Best For: Organic beauty lovers

This natural powder scrub has only six organic ingredients: oat powder, rice powder, almond powder, adzuki-bean powder, Dead Sea salt, and calendula-flower powder. The texture is more rolled oats than sandpaper, and it doesn’t really change form with water — this is strictly a gentle, natural scrub. This is a great pick in the morning to smooth your complexion for the day, or mix it with a liquid cleanser for heavy-duty cleansing at night.

White & Elm Exfoliating Micro Grains, $18, available at White & Elm.
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Best For: Sensitive and reactive skin types

The idea behind this powder cleanser is less utilitarian and more about preserving the formula. Since dry cleansers don’t require as much preservatives or binders, this formula can remain "fresh" for longer. Like many Korean skin-care products, it’s formulated for the most sensitive of skin and lacks sulfates, yet still manages to create a rich foam upon contact with water.

Papaya and pineapple enzymes promote cell turnover for an overall deep clean with this pH-balanced product that protects its natural ingredients so they can perform best on your skin.

The Snow Queen Enzyme Powder Wash, $25, available at Glow Recipe.
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Best For: Your weekly scrub

This charming glass bottle contains a Japanese adzuki-bean powder formula that you can mix with either water or another liquid cleanser to gently buff your skin. It scrubs away dry patches and encourages surface cell turnover. Note: This one doesn’t foam or transform when wet — you can pretty much take the name literally as an add-on to your cleanser or stand-alone physical exfoliator.

Bobbi Brown Buffing Grains For Face, $44, available at Sephora.
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Best For: Dry or sensitive skin

This silky-fine powder from Japanese brand DHC may feel like fairy dust, but mixed with water, it becomes a dense foam, containing protease enzymes to help dissolve dead skin cells. This is a great pick for sensitive skin, since it’s the gentlest powder, plus the formula has honey and sodium hyaluronate to help hydrate.

DHC Face Wash Powder, $12.50, available at DHC.
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Best For: Travel and gym bags

These little sugar packet–looking servings of powder cleanser are jammed with tons of botanical skin-conditioning ingredients: Chamomile, calendula, and aloe help calm and soothe skin while Aspen bark, zea mays, and oat and rice powders do the exfoliating and oil-fighting work. One packet goes a long way, becoming a rich lather with a little bit of water. The grit isn’t harsh at all and dissolves as you massage it in, so overdoing the scrub isn’t a big concern. The best part is that you can throw these packets in your gym bag or your carry-on without worrying about leakage.

Honest Beauty Powder Cleanser, $22, available at Honest Beauty.
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Best For: Those prone to breakouts or skin congestion

Everyone’s favorite hair and skin oil has been turned into an exfoliator in Josie Maran’s argan oil–based line. Finely crushed argan shells and rice powder do the buffing, along with papain, salicylic acid, and rice enzymes, which help to exfoliate and keep pores clear. You can pair this one with Josie Maran’s Argan Cleansing Oil as well, for a super-hydrating scrub.

Josie Maran Argan Exfoliating Powder Cleanser, $40, available at Josie Maran.
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Best For: Clogged pores

This all-natural grainy exfoliator partners with an accompanying toner to not just exfoliate, but also refresh your skin, simultaneously whisking away the impurities that you’re loosening with your weekly scrub. The powder formula is simply bamboo, fennel, honey, and goat's milk powders, and pairs with the alcohol-free witch hazel toner, which promises to eviscerate blackheads while unclogging pores and sopping up excess oil.

Mi-me Bamboo Brightening Grains and Toner, $24, available at ILoveMiMe.
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We already know charcoal pulls out every bit of oil and dirty hiding in your pores, so why not test out a powder version of our favorite skin-care trend?

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Exfoliating Cleansing Powder to Clear Pores, $30, available at Sephora.
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Best For: Dry skin

Taking from Japanese tradition, this exfoliating powder contains adzuki beans and rice-bran powder. The dry grains are coated in tsubaki oil, and once wet, release to scrub and nourish your skin. Need even more hydration? Mix this powder with a bit of tsubaki oil instead of water for a luxuriously soft and velvety complexion.

Boscia Tsubaki Oil–Infused Exfoliating Powder, $36, available at Sephora.
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Best For: Vegan skin-care enthusiasts

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to wash your face with seltzer (just us?), this wouldn’t be too far off. The "fizzy" feeling is sloughing away dead skin with rosehip and vanilla-orchid seeds. Plus, it's loaded with oils and vitamin C to keep your complexion looking refreshed and hydrated. This all-natural and vegan product is surprisingly high-tech, and totally worth the buzz.

NUDE Skincare Detox Brightening Fizzy Powder Wash, $42, available at NUDE Skincare.
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Best For: Packaging-obsessed peeps

That Linda Rodin created this cleanser because she didn’t want to clean her face with an oil-based product, despite her face oil being one of her most popular products, is both ironic and pleasing. Why? Now, devotees of the line can double up on the same heavenly neroli and jasmine scents of said face oil in their cleanser. This luxurious powder face wash lathers to a satisfying foam and uses rice bran with sea algae to soften your skin as you scrub it clean. It comes with a little towel to pat your face dry before putting on some Olio Lusso, for an even more luxurious feel.

RODIN Facial Cleansing Powder, $45, available at Net-A-Porter.
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Best For: Oily skin

The gold standard for modern powder cleansers, Tatcha’s whole philosophy takes from the ancient beauty secrets of geishas, including the fabled rice bran so widely favored in powder cleansers. Rice bran’s natural antioxidants and skin-soothing enzymes are said to be the key to clear, glowing, soft skin. Coupled with papaya enzymes and Tatcha’s trademarked HADASEI-3 anti-aging ingredient, this powder cleanser is hailed as a cult classic. The fine powder turns into a creamy foam with water so your skin doesn’t feel harshly scrubbed, but is left baby soft after rinsing.

Tatcha Classic Rice Enzyme Powder, $65, available at Tatcha.
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Best for: Instant brightening — just add water

Whether you’re on the go or just happen to prefer your skin care in a single-serving packet, this ultra-fine powder is packed with a high concentration of vitamin C for maximum brightening effect. The ingredients are potent for sure, but even sensitive skin types are clear to use this non-drying, non-stripping formula.

Clinique Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C, $29.50, available at Ulta Beauty.
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