A sprinkling of this magic dust will have your skin in sublime shape
No longer just for setting make-up and mattifying, powders are making their mark on the cleansing circuit. Katie Wright dusts off the milled marvels that will shake up your skincare regime.
Creams, lotions and oils abound in every bathroom, but did you know some of the most effective skincare products are actually of the powdered variety?
A bit like washing powder for clothes - but no where near as harsh, obviously - they combine granulated enzymes, botanicals or actives with mechanical exfoliants, which, when liquefied with water, create a sudsy foam that dissolves make-up, dirt and dry skin.
Originating in Japan, there are now plenty of powder players on the UK market, ready to add a sprinkle of magic to your cleansing regime.
Japanese brand DHC's foaming Face Wash Powder, £9.50, contains the enzyme protease, which sweeps away the dead skin cells that lead to dull-looking skin, plus honey and liquorice to soothe and soften (www.dhcuk.co.uk).
More of an exfoliator than a cleanser, Kiko Pure Clean Powder, £7.90, lathers up nicely, making light work of make-up and grime, while olive pit and corn starch granules scrub away dead skin (www.kikocosmetics.com).
Mixed with water, the kind of baking soda you normally find in the kitchen makes an effective exfoliator, but Biore's Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub, currently reduced to £3.29 from £4.99 at Superdrug, combines the raising agent with cleansing actives to leave skin feeling squeaky clean (www.superdrug.com).
Specially designed for darker skin tones, Dr Barbara Sturm Enzyme Cleanser, £45, Harrods, contains a potent blend of enzymes and vitamin C. The soft lather gently buffs away dry skin, reduces oiliness and promotes radiance (www.harrods.com).
Exfoliation is essential for preventing acne, but it has to be gentle enough not to irritate existing blemishes. Murad Transforming Powder Dual-Action Cleanser & Exfoliator, £25, strikes the ideal balance, harnessing salicylic acid, bio-enzymes and pumpkin seed extract to boost cell turnover and prevent breakouts (www.murad.co.uk).
Another Japanese import, Sensai's luxurious Silky Purifying Silk Peel Powder, £55, Harrods, combines exfoliating powder properties with signature ingredient koishimaru silk to deliver gorgeously soft skin. Use two or three times a week in place of your usual cleanser (www.harrods.com).
Part of the excellent Hydra Sparkling range, Givenchy's One-Minute Glow Powder, £29.50, Debenhams, is so gentle it can be used daily. Mix a sprinkling of the powder with a dash of water in the palm of your hand, and massage over your face to reveal soft, purified skin that improves the more you use it (www. debenhams.com).
One of the first skincare powders available in the UK, Aesop Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant, £27, is comprised of pulverised tea tree leaves, nut shell and purified clay, all crushed to smithereens to produce a twice-a-week treatment. Activate with water or your favourite cleanser for a double dose of exfoliating action (www. aesop.com).
The botanical blend of rose petal, jasmine and neroli in Diptyque's Radiance Boosting Powder, £38, delivers nourishing nutrients at the same time as sloughing away dullness (www.diptyqueparis.co.uk).
An innovative powder serum, Institut Esthederm Intensive Vitamine C Serum, £27, Escentual, needs no moisture to get to work on fine lines and pigment spots, simply tap it lightly over areas of concern. "Vitamin C gets destabilized when put in water, so we formulated a high amount of Vitamin C (15%) in powder form, to make sure it remains active until put in contact with the skin," explains brand education director Isabelle Benoit (www.escentual.com).