BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper
Beyond reviews, our team aims to provide you with useful, compelling, and fun how-to guides, gift ideas, and deep dives into trendy products consumers like you love. Here are our latest articles.

Best face scrub

Which face scrub is best?

If you want radiant, smooth skin that has a healthy, youthful glow, you should consider adding a facial scrub to your skincare routine. Exfoliating on a regular basis offers compelling benefits like a more even skin tone, increased circulation and the cleansing of clogged pores. It also removes dead skin cells, which stimulates cell turnover and encourages new, plump skin to replace fine lines, wrinkles and blemishes. 

The Era Organics Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub and Face Exfoliator is an excellent choice for those seeking an organic, all-natural facial scrub that’s also effective. This gentle microdermabrasion sugar scrub can be used in several ways and is packed with high-quality botanical ingredients like organic aloe vera, manuka honey, walnut and vitamin C. 

What to know before you buy a facial scrub

Decide if you want a physical exfoliant or chemical exfoliant

Exfoliants fall into one of two categories: physical exfoliants and chemical exfoliants. Physical exfoliants include facial scrubs which use granules to literally scrub dead skin cells, oil, dirt and grime from your skin. Chemical exfoliants like peels and acid serums dissolve dead skin cells at the skin’s surface and within the skin. Some products incorporate both physical and chemical exfoliating agents. 

Look for highly effective ingredients 

Some ingredients excel at exfoliating skin. If you’re using a physical exfoliant, make it a priority to find a facial scrub with skin-friendly, gentle ingredients like jojoba beads, poppy seeds and pumice. These ingredients moisturize your skin while they exfoliate it. 

Excellent natural ingredients for chemical exfoliants include pomegranate, pineapple and papaya. The star line-up of chemical exfoliants consists of acids that ramp up cell turnover. These include salicylic, lactic, glycolic, mandelic, lactobionic and malic acids. 

Take your skin type into account

As with any skincare product, you should always take your skin type into account when shopping for a facial scrub. Look for exfoliating products that contain the following ingredients. 

  • Sensitive skin: gentle chemical exfoliants with lactic acid
  • Normal/combination skin: mild physical exfoliant agents, glycolic acid and salicylic acid
  • Oily skin: salicylic acid and charcoal
  • Dry skin: moisturizing ingredients like lactic acid, jojoba beads, poppy seeds and pumice

What to look for in a quality facial scrub

Scrubs designed for your face

You should never use products intended for use on your body to exfoliate your face. The skin on your face is more sensitive and oilier than the skin on your body. This is the reason why you should only use products that are specially formulated for your face. 

Plant-based or synthetic facial scrubs

If using an all-natural face scrub formulated solely with plant-based ingredients is a top priority for you, make sure you carefully research every ingredient contained in any facial scrub you consider. Doing so may take some time, but your peace of mind is well worth the investment. 

Fragrance or fragrance-free facial scrubs

Fragrances, both synthetic and natural, can cause reactions in people who are sensitive to fragrance. These reactions can range from headaches to full-blown allergic reactions. On the other hand, some people aren’t bothered one bit by fragrances and enjoy them. If you’re in the former category, stick to facial scrubs that are fragrance-free, to be on the safe side. 

How much you can expect to spend on facial scrub 

The price of facial scrubs is low compared to many other skincare products. You can find a high-quality facial scrub for as low as $15. Facial scrubs top out around $30, but most don’t cost this much. 

Facial scrub FAQ

Is using a facial scrub necessary? 

A. Exfoliating your face with a scrub is important and very beneficial. It serves three purposes. First, the process of exfoliating encourages healthy cell turnover by removing dead skin cells to reveal new ones. Second, by eliminating dead skin cells, a facial scrub refines the appearance of pores and makes them appear smaller. Third, exfoliating allows your skin products to penetrate more deeply and work more effectively. 

How often should you use a facial scrub?

A. You should never go overboard with how often you use a facial scrub. Two to three times per week is sufficient. If you exfoliate more often than that, you risk irritating your skin which can cause more harm than good. 

What’s the best facial scrub to buy?

Top facial scrub

Era Organics Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub & Face Exfoliator

Our take: With the ability to be used as a facial scrub or mask, this product exfoliates, moisturizes, minimizes your pores and removes blackheads. 

What we like: This gentle microdermabrasion sugar scrub gently exfoliates your skin to banish dirt and grime to reveal healthy, glowing skin. You can also apply this non-toxic scrub as a facial mask that minimizes the appearance of spots, fine lines and wrinkles while balancing your skin tone. The paraben-and-alcohol-free formula contains high-quality botanical ingredients including organic aloe vera, manuka honey, walnut and vitamin C. 

What we dislike: Some users say the granules weren’t fine enough and that the scrub left a film even after rinsing with water. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top facial scrub for the money

Clinique Seven Day Scrub

Our take: This exfoliating cream with fine granules clears and refines your pores, along with de-flaking your skin, to produce a polished complexion. 

What we like: You can use this fragrance-free scrub regardless of your skin type, as it’s suitable for regular, dry, combination and oily skin. Buyers praise this scrub for leaving their skin smooth and soft. 

What we dislike: A few buyers felt the scrub lacked enough granules to exfoliate effectively. 

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora, Ulta and Macy's

Worth checking out

Fresh Sugar Strawberry Exfoliating Face Wash

Our take: Results of a clinical study showed that this facial scrub refined skin texture and removed impurities for most participants. 

What we like: Formulated with sugar crystals and real strawberries, this exfoliating face wash boasts a line-up of powerful natural ingredients. Grapeseed oil delivers hydration, strawberry and black currant extracts nurture a healthy-looking complexion and a blend of white sugar crystals soften and smooth the appearance of your skin. 

What we dislike: Some buyers report a lack of exfoliating power and an artificial smell.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta and Sephora


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Megan Oster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Share this post: