Is exfoliation necessary?
Exfoliating has gotten a lot of mixed press lately—at least as far as our faces are concerned. Is regular exfoliation a must to fend off aging, dullness, and other demons? Or is it a recipe for a skin disaster?
If you’re among the many beauties with sensitive skin, you’re probably leaning towards the latter. Scrubs and even ultrasonic cleaning brushes can leave your skin feeling raw and less than pretty.
But when you find the right kind of exfoliation for your skin, it feels so right—and your skin looks soft, supple, and glowing. If scrubs and brushes are too intense for you, don’t fret.
The rise of exfoliating powders
Exfoliating powders are making a big splash (or dust cloud) in the beauty world. Ranging from $20–60, these powders are designed with sensitive skin in mind. Way back in 2014, (ah, the innocent years) the Duchess of Sussex (then Meghan Markle) professed her love for one of the best-known exfoliating powders. She told Allure, “I really love the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder. It just sort of foams on your face and gives you a really subtle exfoliation.” Most blends (including Tatcha) rely on rice powder, one of Asia’s best-kept beauty secrets since the 16th century—until now.
Rich in antioxidants, raw brown rice’s chemical structure is similar to that of ceramides—moisture restoring fat layers in skin. Because the flour granules are much smaller than those in your typical scrub, the effect is much more gentle. Those with normal or hardier skin may benefit from using an exfoliating powder daily while those with sensitive skin may do better using it only a few times a week.
While most commercial exfoliating powders are a blend of multiple powders, including rice, using rice powder alone will still yield lovely results—and save you big dent in your wallet.
How to make your own exfoliating powder
You can find rice flour in health foods stores or online. Bob’s Red Mill sells a package for about $13.
Alternatively, you can make your own rice flour at home using either a mortar and pestle or a high-speed blender. (If you’re using a high-speed blender, be sure to cool the rice in the freezer for at least thirty minutes to prevent the blender’s motor from toasting the flour and denaturing its enzymes.
If you’re looking for something extra gentle, try using white rice instead. You may not get the same boost of antioxidants, however.
For added skin perks, try combining your rice flour with:
- adzuki bean flour (clarifying)
- coconut (detoxifying)
- cornmeal (oil-absorbing)
- dried rose petals (toning)
When you’re done, your flour should look like a loose setting powder. Store in a glass container for up to six months.
How to use it
Dampen your face. Put about one teaspoon of powder in your palm and allow the faucet to drip on the powder. Stir it with your finger until it makes a paste. Using gentle, circular motions, massage it onto your face for a few minutes. Rinse with water and a washcloth. Pat your face dry and follow with toner, serum, and moisturizer.
Also see: The Best Oil for Your Skin Type
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Photos: Mary Hood