We rounded up the best exfoliating scrubs because the second step in a well-rounded skincare routine is exfoliation. We’ve been over this before, but it bears repeating, and, well, taking care of your face is by nature a rinse-and-repeat business. That means using either some physical grit or a (totally safe) acid to sweep away the dead skin cells on your face. “But to what end?” you ask. Well, exfoliating regularly prevents pore blockage and premature signs of aging (like dark spots and fine lines). It also just makes your skin feel terrific.
Typically you want to exfoliate 1 or 2 times weekly, depending on the grittiness of your scrub and the sensitivity of your skin. Below you’ll find some of the best exfoliating scrubs. Add one to your skincare rotation, and you should be well on your way to smoother, brighter, younger-looking skin
The Best Face Scrub
If all you need is a straightforward, twice-weekly scrub—then Mallama’s is the pick. It combines gentle bamboo microcrystals with a sugar cane base, and also helps dissolve surface cells with the help of fruit-extracted alpha hydroxy acids. It’s neither excessively gritty nor exceedingly gentle, the right balance for a nourishing scrub (one that’s packed with fortifying and soothing Vitamin C + E, too).
The Best Face Scrub for Dry or Sensitive Skin
Consider all the soothing and fortifying herbal ingredients packed into Mario Badescu’s scrub: ginger, ginkgo, green tea, aloe, and coconut combine for a nourishing but gentle buffing, with no wear and tear to your sensitive or parched skin.
The Best Face Scrub for Oily Skin
This scrub works a lot like a detoxifying and rejuvenating face mask, with its bentonite clay base and a dose of activated charcoal to suck impurities and excess oil right from your pores. It’s got sugar cane to scrub away dead skin cells, plus oils of avocado, sandalwood, cypress, and vetiver to nourish the skin and leave a woody scent behind. Scrub it on, let it set for a few minutes, then rinse away for what feels like a full-on facial.
The Best Exfoliator for Acne-Prone Skin
We’re pulling a fast one on you here: If you have acne or are especially prone to it, then it’s best to skip a physical scrub. Instead, swap in a salicylic acid cleanser or gentle peeling product to soak up impurities, mitigate breakouts, and prevent future blemishes. Dr. Dennis Gross has tons of terrific salicylic acid products, and this cleanser derives it from willow bark for a gentle clean that’s more than surface deep.
The Best Pre-Shave Scrub
Frequent shavers know the ins and outs of having baby-smooth skin. Primarily, they know how to avoid ingrown hairs and razor burn. One of the best ways to accomplish that is to scrub the face with a pre-shave exfoliator, which will remove dead skin cells that could otherwise cause razor drag. Perhaps more importantly, it will also help lift the whiskers up and away from the skin, giving you a clean, smooth shave with a single stroke. This one, from Dollar Shave Club, combines crushed walnut shell with nourishing oils and the skin-smoothing powers of papaya extract.
The Best Face Scrub for Men with Beards
Here’s another spin on scrubs: Beard brushes are your best bet for brushing away all the dead skin cells underneath your whiskers—and thus preventing beard dandruff. (They also help distribute oils from the skin throughout the entire beard, which softens and strengthens each hair, too.)
The Best Scalp Scrub
If you can scrub your face clean of dead skin, you can do the same to your head to reduce oil production and flaking. This one uses kaolin clay and salicylic acid to soak up impurities and dissolve dead skin, plus argan oil to nourish the hair.
The Best Face and Body Scrub
This stuff is pure, unadulterated grit. Go easy on your face, but go to town on the rest of your body. It sands away rough, dead skin with jojoba beads and crushed walnut shells, while soothing and strengthening with aloe vera and honey.
The Best Exfoliating Device
Use this buzzing device from FOREO in tandem with the brand’s exfoliating cleanser. Suddenly that ritual cleanse becomes a face massage that rids of dead skin, dirt, excess sebum, fine lines, and dark spots—and it even helps lift dead skin from under the beard, too. It’s also an effective way to prepare or a shave, as it preps the skin for the razor and thus prevents ingrowns and razor burn.