Best Body Scrubs

Updated October 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
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Buying guide for best body scrubs

You can keep dry, flaky, itchy skin at bay with a body scrub. Body scrubs exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells to reveal the soft, smooth, glowing skin beneath. But the best body scrubs aren’t just abrasives – most formulas also contain ingredients that help hydrate the skin. If you have body acne, you can find scrubs with acne-fighting ingredients to help clear your pores as well.

Choosing a body scrub can be a real challenge because there are just so many options on the market. You have to decide what type is best for your skin issues, what ingredients you prefer, and what other features will give you the smoothest, softest skin possible.

Our buying guide is full of tips to help you find the best body scrub for your body care routine. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’ll find our specific product recommendations for the best body scrubs around in the matrix above.

For the most effective exfoliation, use circular motions when massaging a body scrub into your skin.

Key considerations

Body scrubs vary in terms of the abrasive ingredients they use to exfoliate the skin. While all scrubs can effectively remove dead, flaky skin, some ingredients are more abrasive than others.

Sugar body scrubs

Sugar scrubs are the most common type of body scrub. They work well for most skin types because the granules are finer and gentler on the skin due to their smaller diameter, which means a sugar scrub is less likely to irritate the skin. You can find scrubs made with either granulated white or brown sugar. There are also some formulas that use caster sugar, which is the finest, gentlest option available.

Sugar body scrubs naturally contain glycolic acid, which works as a chemical exfoliator to dissolve the bonds that hold dead, dry cells on the surface of your skin. That means you get double the exfoliating action, so a sugar scrub can be extremely effective for dealing with winter-dry skin on your arms and legs.

Salt body scrubs

Salt body scrubs may be a better option if you need a little more help dealing with rough, dry skin. Salt scrubs are usually made with sea salt, which has larger, more abrasive particles for exfoliating the skin. But while they can effectively remove dry, flaky patches, salt scrubs can also irritate sensitive or delicate skin because they’re rougher in texture.

Salt scrubs are also thought to have a detoxifying effect on the skin. They can draw impurities out of the skin because salt attracts water, which allows you to get rid of toxins that might lead to skin issues. But a salt scrub’s detoxifying effect can also dry out your skin, which defeats the purpose of using a scrub in the first place. If you opt for a salt-based body scrub, make sure that the base contains plenty of moisturizing ingredients.

Coffee body scrubs

Coffee body scrubs use coffee grounds as their abrasive material. Coffee grounds aren’t as abrasive as sugar or salt, so a coffee scrub can be a good option if you prefer a gentler scrub. But coffee scrubs don’t exfoliate quite as well either, so they may not be as effective for removing flaky patches as other body scrubs.

The reason that many people are drawn to coffee body scrubs is for the caffeine and antioxidants. Caffeine encourages the blood vessels in your skin to constrict, which can temporarily lessen the look of cellulite and give your skin a tighter appearance. Antioxidants are an effective ingredient used in many skincare products because they help prevent free radical damage due to sun exposure and encourage a healthier skin tone overall.

Skin type

If you’re not sure which type of body scrub to choose, use your skin type as a guide. Sensitive skin types should avoid salt scrubs, which are too harsh to exfoliate the body without causing irritation. Instead, opt for a fine sugar scrub or a coffee scrub, both of which can gently exfoliate your skin.

You should also go with a sugar scrub or coffee scrub if you want to exfoliate your body more regularly. Finer granules provide a gentler scrubbing effect, so you’re able to use the scrub several times a week without causing irritation.

On the other hand, if you have rough, thick skin, opt for a salt scrub or coarse sugar scrub. These formulas provide a more thorough scrubbing to deal with flaky, dry skin. They should generally only be used once a week.

"If you have eczema or another skin condition, ask your dermatologist before introducing a body scrub into your body care routine to make sure it won’t irritate your skin."
STAFF
BestReviews

Features

Ingredients

A body scrub’s abrasive is the main ingredient to consider, but the other ingredients also determine the results. Most body scrubs feature a base with hydrating ingredients like oils and butters to moisturize your skin. Other formulas may also feature skin-soothing ingredients to help calm inflammation and itchiness. Some body scrubs have acne-fighting ingredients for combating breakouts on your back or chest.

  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil is a heavy-duty moisturizer that keeps skin hydrated. It’s an ideal ingredient in a body scrub if you want smooth, soft, moisturized skin.
  • Olive oil: Not only is it full of antioxidants, but olive oil is also an effective moisturizer for the skin.
  • Shea butter: This thick emollient hydrates the skin and forms a protective barrier to keep moisture locked in your skin.
  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties to calm redness and itching but can also moisturize and form a protective barrier for the skin. Some scrubs even use large particles of oatmeal to serve as an abrasive.
  • Salicylic acid: An acne-fighting ingredient that works as a chemical exfoliator, salicylic acid deep-cleans pores to get rid of dirt, oil, and bacteria that can cause acne.

Packaging

Thinner body scrub formulas usually come in squeeze tubes, which makes it easy to get out just the right amount of product. A squeeze tube also limits mess and keeps the unused scrub from getting contaminated.

Thicker body scrub formulas typically come in a tub, so you have to reach your fingers inside to scoop out the product. A tub makes it easy to get out a large amount of the scrub, but you run the risk of water from your shower or germs from your fingers contaminating the rest of the scrub.

Fragrance

Many body scrubs contain ingredients that have their own natural fragrances, which can make your shower routine more pleasant. It’s best to avoid formulas with artificial fragrances, though, because they can irritate sensitive skin, which may cause more dryness and itchiness.

Did you know?
It’s best to apply a body scrub with your fingers. If you use a body brush or loofah, you’ll likely over-exfoliate and cause irritation.
STAFF
BestReviews

Body scrub prices

Inexpensive: Body scrubs vary in price based on the size of the container and the quality of the ingredients. The most affordable body scrubs are usually salt scrubs or coarser sugar scrubs, which are rougher on the skin. They have some hydrating ingredients, but they generally aren’t the most moisturizing options. Scrubs in this price range typically cost $4 to $18.

Mid-range: Mid-range body scrubs are usually coffee- or sugar-based scrubs with finer granules that are gentler on the skin. They usually have a moisturizing base for more effective hydration and generally range from $13 to $36.

Expensive: The most expensive body scrubs are typically sugar-based formulas with extra-fine granules that won’t irritate the skin. They also contain plenty of hydrating ingredients like coconut oil, olive oil, and shea butter. They typically cost between $36 and $60.

Tips

  • Always wet your skin before applying a body scrub. Scrubbing dry skin can irritate it.
  • It’s best to use warm water to dampen your skin before applying a body scrub. Hot water can dry out the skin and make it more delicate.
  • Wait about five minutes after you get in the shower or bath to apply your body scrub. That gives your pores plenty of time to open up, so your exfoliation is more effective.
  • In the shower, turn off the water, apply your scrub, exfoliate for one to two minutes, and then turn on the water again to rinse.
  • After you get out of the shower or bath, pat with your towel to dry off your skin. Rubbing your skin after using a body scrub can cause irritation.
  • If you want the softest, smoothest skin possible, always apply a body butter or other moisturizer when you get out of the shower after using a body scrub. That will lock in essential moisture.
Exfoliating with a body scrub before applying self-tanner can help you achieve a more even, natural-looking tan by eliminating the dry, rough patches that tanner can cling to.

Q. How often can I use a body scrub?
A.
You don’t want to irritate your skin by over-exfoliating, so it’s best to avoid using a body scrub daily. If you’re using a gentler scrub, two to three times a week is usually enough to maintain smooth, soft skin. If you’re using a harsher salt-based scrub, then once a week is sufficient.
 

Q. Should I use a body scrub before or after I shave my legs?
A.
It’s best to use a body scrub first. Not only can it help you avoid ingrown hairs, but exfoliating before you shave ensures that you won’t irritate your legs by scrubbing freshly shaved skin, which is more delicate.
 

Q. Can I use the same scrub on the face and body?
A.
No. Body scrubs are much too harsh for the fragile skin of the face. Only use a facial scrub to exfoliate your face.

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