Due to recent problem with damaged, flaky and sensitive skin, I am now paying more attention to gentle exfoliators. Since the focus is gently removing the top layer of dead skincell rather than unclog pores or dark spots, I was looking for mostly physical exfoliators instead of just chemical peels. My favorite Clinique 7 Day Scrub cream and Laura Mercier Face polish unfortunately contains microbeads so I’m not planning to buy them in the future. My only other favorite gentle exfoliant is Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion, but I like having multiple favorites in case one of them is discontinued. My first encounter with powder exfoliator is Boscia Tsubaki and I rather enjoyed it, despite finding powder a little awkward. However, it did exfoliate and it was gentle, so off I go to test a few more popular exfoliating powder to see if any can make it to my favorite list.
Exfoliating powders are gentle and can be customized. You add water to activate them (thus do NOT leave in the shower!) and adjust the ratio for the paste to be as thick or thin as you like. Because most of then have an enzyme component, which provides a gentler chemical exfoliation than acids, you need to massage it on your skin for the recommended 30-60 seconds to get the best effect. If you are looking for deep exfoliation, reducing pores or dark spots, then check out chemical peels instead. If you are looking for gentle surface exfoliation, then read on. Today, I will be talking about AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel, Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder and Bobbi Brown Buffing Grains.
AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel
Description: ($60 for 2.5oz) A water-activated exfoliator to dissolve dead surface skin cells without harsh abrasiveness for instantly brighter skin. It eliminates dry, dull surface cells and toxins. It helps brighten and even skin tone while providing a soft and smooth complexion. And it improves the penetration of other treatment products
Ingredients: Lactose, Mannitol, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate Dextrin, Water, Zeolite, Silica, Betaine, Papain, Allantoin, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract Starch, PEG-32, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Yellow 5, Green 3, Fragrance.
My take: A crumbly powder with no scent. The powder melts into a nice lather when combined with water. It left the skin feeling soft, hydrated and smooth. It does help to slightly brighten the skin and tone down the redness, but in terms of exfoliation it is a bit too gentle for me. Enzyme is more of a chemical exfoliant that is gentler than acid, I don’t feel any grainy texture or physicial exfoliant in here. While it didn’t do much for flaky skin, it did improve the texture of my skin in a few uses. It looks better and the blemishes are smaller, more toned down.
Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder (Classic)
Description: ($65 for 2oz) A water-activated enzyme powder of rice bran, papaya + HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex. Reveals skin’s natural gleam. It exfoliates without harsh abrasives for effortless baby-soft skin. It is for normal/combination skin, created with conditioning pearl extract . Non-irritating. Non-sensitizing. Dermatologist tested. (It appears that the powder used to contain microbeads but has been reformulated without it. Hurray!)
Ingredients: Oryza Sativa (rice) Powder, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Potassium Myristate, Cellulose, Water, Papain (papaya Extract), Camellia Sinensis (green Tea) Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin (pearl) Protein, Oryza Sativa (rice) Bran, Algae Extract, Glycerin, Dextrin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol
My take: Interesting! It totally threw off my conception of a physical exfoliator. The powder turned mushy then into a lather. It really feels more like a cleanser on your face, and you can’t feel any of the granules at all on the face or finger tip unless you are looking for it and rubbing really hard. Yet, when you rinse off after 30 seconds, the skin is left super smooth and soft and clean so it definitely exfoliate. They mention it can be used as a cleanser by itself after removing makeup, and it is gentle enough for all skin types (no irritations, sensations, just feel like a nice slightly rice scented cleanser). It proved to me that you don’t need to feel the grain on the face or finger to get a great exfoliation.
Bobbi Brown Buffing Grains
Description: ($43 for 1 oz) A true skincare innovation. These luxurious grains can be mixed with any Bobbi Brown cleanser or water to create a fully customized, gentle exfoliator for the face. Comes in a glass bottle with pour top for easy use.
Ingredients: Polyethylene, Phaseolus Angularis Seed Powder, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Chlorphenesin, Polyethylene
My take: The granules are fine/med size, gritty enough to provide some good exfoliation but not so rough it irritates the skin. It does not foam or became smoothie-like in case of Boscia Tsubaki. It’s a gentle but firm exfoliator with no scent, definitely works in a cleanser. It rinses off easily, leaves the skin very smooth and redness toned down. It’s a good basic exfoliator that you can add to cleanser or adjust the thickness of.
Conclusion: If you are looking for a basic scrub where you can customize the thickness or add to cleanser for one quick routine, then Bobbi Brown is a good choice. If you have super sensitive skin and wants to get rid of dead skin without the abrasive feeling of scrubs, Tatcha is a wonderful choice. The fine powder cleanses and makes the skin feel ridiculously soft and smooth. If you have dry skin or want to be able to customize how hydrating your exfoliator is, Boscia Tsubaki may be a good choice since you can add water for normal skin or add oil for dry skin. It’s got some grains for a good scrubbing and some powder for a bit of lather. If you want more of a super gentle, barely noticeable chemical exfoliant then AmorePacific is great. The effect is more subtle and not as immediate, but it is effective.
Bobbi Brown contains microbeads as I just realized so that is out. If you want something mild enough for daily use then AmorePacific is excellent, but I want something with a bit more omph to be used 2-3 times a week. Boscia Tsubaki is nice, but I see better result with Tatcha, so the winner for me is Tatcha.