When we talk about exfoliation, we don’t usually mean the best body scrub. That a conversation usually reserved for the face—facial scrubs, to be exact, or their chemical counterparts. Exfoliators buff away all the dead skin that sits atop your skin—these cells roughen your skin texture, dull your complexion, and cause breakouts. But exfoliation isn’t exclusive to the face. The best body scrub out there will do just as much good for the skin on the rest of you, and there’s a scrub for practically every inch of your body, from head to toe. These body scrubs can leave your skin feeling soft and smooth; especially if you follow a good scrub-down with a good body hydrator. The scrub did its job to reveal the freshest, brightest, and healthiest skin cells at the surface of your skin, while sloughing away the zombie cells.
But before you browse our favorite body scrubbing products, you should note two things: First, sometimes your foot calluses and cracked heels require special attention, so don’t count on these scrubs to remedy those—though they can certainly help prevent the buildup of dead skin on the feet. Secondly, a good rule of thumb is this: You can use facial exfoliators on the body, but it is not wise to use body exfoliators on your face.
The best dual-action exfoliator
Five exfoliators in one, this is the most comprehensive body buffer you can get. It uses alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids) which unclog pores and dissolve dead skin cells. Simultaneously, pumice and bamboo work to instantly buff and soften your skin. In the long run, it’ll yield healthy, bright, and smooth skin, all over your body.
The best spa scrub
If you can’t get to the spa (this one in SoCal), then bring the spa home to you. The Golden Door sells a range of products that will soothe skin and spirits alike, including this salt scrub. It uses hinoki cypress oil plus a vitamin- and mineral-rich blend to nourish and nurture healthy skin while the salt buffs away at dead cells.
The best joint buffer
Birkenstock knows a thing or two about calluses and rough skin. The brand’s new cork-oak skincare line does wonders to nourish and hydrate skin: This cranberry seed scrub, in particular, is a great spot-scrub on rough elbows, knees, hands, feet, and more. It’s packed with macadamia oil to leave skin soothed and smooth after the polishing.
The best muscle-soothing scrub
REN’s kelp and magnesium and sea salt scrub claims to induce micro-circulation to soothe sore muscles. We’d suggest this one for a bath: stand up in the tub after a soak, massage it onto rough patches or wherever you plan to apply lotion after. Then sink back down and enjoy the relaxation.
The best exfoliating cleanser
Both a cleanser and exfoliator (that will work on both your body and face), this sugar scrub foams as you massage it into the skin. It buffs away dead cells with its grit, and will leave you skin feeling soft and clean at the same time.
The best exfoliating bar soap
As a body cleanser, this soap is a triumph: It soothes and fortifies skin with rose-hip oil. But it is also pumped with tiny oat flakes that gently scrub away dead skin cells. It’s a more gradual, perpetual smoothness, low-key enough so that you can use it every day.
The best pumice stone
Iceland is full of big, impressive lava fields, so it’s a smart place to source your lava-stone pumice bar. This stone is even more perfect in that it comes from the body-and-soul soothing specialists at the Blue Lagoon. It scrubs away at rough skin and will works especially well on your feet.
The best gentle scrubber
If you prefer a gentle, everyday body polisher, then get this body mitt from wonderbrand Face Halo. It’s superfine fibers make for an easy, gentle buffer, and it’ll survive 200 tumbles through the washing machine, which makes it much more hygienic alternative to your shower loofah.