The Method: Polish, £60, Lancer
Want skin like Kim’s? Well, start with this granule exfoliator, the first step in Lancer’s three-step everyday skincare regime. It’s pumped with algae and fruit extracts to deeply clean, nourish and refresh the skin.
Multi-Action Penta Peel, £58, DCL
Beloved by beauty insiders and skincare addicts, these peel pads pack a punch with a five-acid formula (mandelic acid, lactic acid, phytic acid, hyaluronic acid and salicylic acid) for unparalleled results. The combination of acids is able to diminish fine lines, clear-up any blemishes and restore elasticity.
Botanical Gentle Buffing Cream, £55, Sisley Paris
The fact that this buffing cream contains matricaria, a botanical extract that has soothing and softening properties, means it can be used on the most sensitive of skins. Plus, it dries like a face mask and then you roll it off to remove, which is supremely satisfying.
Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment, £85, Space NK
Fake you have good genes with this daily treatment, which rejuvenates and brightens complexion. Ideal for blemish-prone skin.
Colbert MD Intensify Facial Discs x 20, £60, Net-A-Porter
A cult product for city girls, these disks are ideal for dull, dry skin that’s constantly exposed to pollution’s toxins. Also great as an in-flight treatment for restless skin.
REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask, £36, Space NK
This should be your go-to for seamless skin. The glycol combined with natural fruit acids renews skin cells for spotless youthful complexion. Ideal for mature skin.
Gentle exfoliator, £26, Clarins
This gentle exfoliating toner is ideal for sensitive skin, which reacts badly to harsh face scrubs and strong liquids. It also smells pretty delicious, too.
Daily microfoliant, £49.50, Dermalogica
Fancy a scrub with a difference? Then give this a go. Simply pour some of the powder into your hands, add some water and exfoliate away!
Liquid Gold, £33.50, Alpha-H
With a name like this, you can expect big things. This is a liquid exfoliant that totally delivers, and is a favourite of beauty bloggers and stars alike. Liquid Gold is perfect for skin on the oilier side.
Glow Tonic, £18, Pixi
This cult product is one of the most dreamy liquid exfoliants, with glycolic acid, aloe vera and ginseng.
Pineapple papaya facial scrub, £24, Kiehl’s
This is a great all-rounder as it is finely-ground and suits all skin types. It’s also the perfect fruity exfoliant.
Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Formula, £81, Dr Dennis Gross
For the ultimate resurfacer look no further than Dr. Dennis Gross’ famous two-step chemical exfoliant. Having used this product personally I can attest to its strength and results, with significantly reduced pores and fine lines. If you are an acid beginner, Dr Gross’ universal strength version is where you need to start.
If it’s glowing and radiant skin you’re after, you’ll likely need to exfoliate. After all, it’s exfoliation that apparently keeps Pharrell Williams and Heidi Klum looking ridiculously young (Williams is 46!).
- What is exfoliation?
- Face scrubs for oily or acne-prone skin
- Face scrubs for dull or aging skin
- Face scrubs for sensitive skin
- Face scrubs for dry skin
- Face scrub for men
- Top 10 Facial Scrubs Of 2019 Reviewed
- 1. Acure Brilliantly Brightening Facial Scrub
- 2. St. Ives Nourished & Smooth Face Scrub and Mask
- 3. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
- 4. St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub
- 5. Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
- 6. Philosophy The Microdelivery Daily Exfoliating Wash
- 7. Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant
- 8. Freeman Facial Apple Cider Vinegar Clay Mask + Scrub
- 9. Simple Kind to Skin Facial Scrub
- 10. Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub
- Facial Scrubs Buying Guide
What is exfoliation?
Exfoliation is “the process of removing dead cells from the surface of the skin. As dead cells accumulate, they interfere with light reflection, giving a dull appearance. Exfoliating can help improve skin radiance and even skin tone,” said Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a New York-based dermatologist.
Exfoliating can help keep your pores unclogged and your skin free of blemishes by reducing the amount of bacteria (yuck!) on your face. It gives your skin an instant glow. It helps your visage feel fresh and invigorated.
But before you go scrub-mad, Zeichner had some advice so you don’t wind up with irritated, angry, blotchy skin (speaking from experience as someone addicted to exfoliators).
“You should look for an exfoliator that matches your skin need,” said Zeichner.
(Of course, consult with your dermatologist before embarking on any skin care regimen, or if you have specific concerns or questions).
But, it can be overwhelming to sift through the hundreds of scrubs and exfoliation products out there to find the best one, so we’ve done the work for you.
Face scrubs for oily or acne-prone skin
“Look for a product that contains salicylic acid. This beta hydroxy acid helps remove excess oil from the skin while exfoliating,” said Zeichner.
Here are a few of our favorite face scrubs for oily and acne-prone skin:
1. St. Ives Fresh Skin Face Scrub
This is one of Amazon’s bestsellers, for good reason. “An oldie but a goodie,” said one TODAY editor. “It’s always sure to slough off dead skin cells and build-up.”
2. Arcona Cranberry Gommage
This is a shower staple of mine and truly works. It’s fine, doesn’t strip your skin and smells subtly of berries.
3. Tom Ford Exfoliating Energy Scrub
If you use this brand, you cannot go wrong. This is great for oily skin (like mine) and the crushed apricot seeds help remove impurities.
4. Colbert MD Intensify Facial Discs
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Not only is Dr. Colbert an absolutely stellar dermatologist (speaking from experience), but these wipes help diminish dullness, fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.
Face scrubs for dull or aging skin
“Look for products that contain alpha hydroxy acid like glycolic acid. It is water-soluble and does not penetrate past the outer surface of the skin, where it can remove dead skin cells,” said Zeichner.
Here a few of our favorite face scrubs for dull and aging skin:
5. M3 Naturals Premium Activated Charcoal Scrub
“Oh yeah that GLOW is amazing!!” wrote one Amazon reviewer. Sold!
6. Chanel Gommage Microperle Eclat Maximum Radiance Exfoliating Gel
I’m obsessed with this exfoliator, which is powered by pearls and orange blossom concentrate. It’s not too gritty or too fine. It’s just right.
7. Bobbi Brown Radiance Boost Superfine Walnut Grain & Orange Oil Exfoliating Mask
“It’s infused with tiny bits of walnut grain which, while I rinse the mask off with warm water, act as a quick scrub that make the skin look fresh and polished,” said one TODAY editor of this go-to.
8. Dermalogica Skin Prep Scrub
This tried-and-true favorite uses natural corn cob meal to get rid of those dead cells. Just read some of the, ahem, glowing reviews!
Face scrubs for sensitive skin
“Look for a manual exfoliator. You have complete control over these products as you can put as much pressure as you’d like on the skin as you use them,” said Zeichner.
Here are a few of our favorite face scrubs for sensitive skin:
9. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads
These are alcohol-free, and can be used on sensitive skin. They make for a great way to really get your face clean when you’re wearing SPF creams and makeup.
10. Image Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Masque
This is an editor favorite because “this one does not have rough grains in it, so the product goes on smoothly, which is great for my sensitive skin. Bonus: it has a wonderful orange scent!”
Face scrubs for dry skin
11. Fresh Sugar Face Exfoliator
I think this makes my skin look brighter every time and the sizable sugar granules feel luxurious when they melt on your skin.
12. Ole Henriksen Transforming Walnut Scrub
This scrub foams lightly and is made with a blend of walnut powder, ginseng and chamomile extracts. “This cleanses but doesn’t overly dry my skin either,” wrote one Sephora reviewer.
13. Crepe Erase Refining Facial Scrub
“Not gritty and gentle on my delicate skin. I like it and use it twice a week,” wrote one Amazon reviewer.
14. Susanne Kaufmann Enzyme Peel
I grew up in Germany, so I have a special affinity for skin care from that country. And I highly recommend this peel, made from active plant ingredients. It’s perfect for sensitive skin.
Face scrub for men
15. Elemis Energising Skin Scrub, Smoothing Face Exfoliator
This one is for guys, and happens to help prevent ingrown hair.
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If you really want glowing and radiant skin, you better stop skipping that most important step – exfoliation. Why? Dead skin cells that pile up on our face make our skin look dull and dry, not to mention rough. It can also clog our pores which, in turn, causes oil to get trapped on the surface of our skin, resulting in acne.
As you age, your skin’s ability to shed those dead cells becomes slower. By exfoliating, you’re getting rid of that layer of dead cells along with any dirt and makeup that might still be there to reveal the new layer, leaving your skin looking rejuvenated. You also get the added benefit of getting an even skin tone. After exfoliating, any moisturizers, cleansers, and skin care products you use will be able to penetrate your skin better.
Of course, the search for the “holy grail” of facial scrubs isn’t going to be easy. Everyone has different skin types, sensitivities, etc. so what works for some may not work for others. So we decided to help you with that search, starting with the 10 best facial scrubs in the market today.
Top 10 Facial Scrubs Of 2019 Reviewed
1. Acure Brilliantly Brightening Facial Scrub
Facial Scrub For Combination Skin
This Brilliantly Brightening Facial Scrub from Acure features plant-based ingredients such as organic sea kelp, French green clay, organic lemon peel, and Madonna lily stem cells. The scrub is vegan and free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, DEA, formaldehyde, petrolatum, and paraffin. The lemon peel and sea kelp help exfoliate your skin while the French green clay unclogs your pores.
The Madonna lily stem cells, on the other hand, boost cell regeneration. Now, don’t be put off by the color. The dark green paste may seem off-putting but it really does work wonders on your skin, leaving it soft and smooth. However, some do feel that the scrub is too gritty, particularly those with sensitive or dry skin. There have also been reports of allergic reactions.
- All natural ingredients
- A bit pricey
- Can cause allergic reactions with some users
- Can be too rough for some
- Not for dry skin
2. St. Ives Nourished & Smooth Face Scrub and Mask
Facial Scrub for Sensitive Skin
The St. Ives Nourished & Smooth Face Scrub and Mask is, as the name already implies, a 2-in-1 product. You can use it as a scrub to exfoliate your face or as a mask to nourish your skin. It is completely oil-free, no sulfates, and made with oatmeal extract, honey extract, and 100% natural exfoliant walnut shell powder.
It smells a little bit like cocoa butter for those of you who are wondering. What we love about this is the fact that while it exfoliates your skin, it is very gentle on your skin, leaving you with very soft, smooth skin. It doesn’t have a lot of “beads” so it is a bit creamier than our first pick. But for those who wish for a gentler scrub, this may be their thing. It is also hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested. Take note though that some users have reported experiencing breakouts for the first few weeks of use before producing results. Also, your skin might feel a bit tight after you use it so you may need to moisturize after this. As for the mask part, it doesn’t really live up to expectations.
- Good for normal and combination skin
- 100% natural exfoliants
- Can leave your skin a bit tight and dry after use
- Mask is not as effective
- Some users have reported experiencing breakouts during the initial weeks of use
3. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
Facial Scrub For Dry Skin
This is a daily facial scrub that contains bearberry, aspergillis and grapefruit as well as rice bran and rice extracts. All of these ingredients are designed to work together to balance skin pigmentation, regulate melanin production, and take away dead skin cells and impurities on your skin. It’s a gentle exfoliant that works wonders on all types of skin. It’s not abrasive at all. It also doesn’t dry out your skin after use. Aside from the fact that it works wonders, you’ll absolutely love this facial scrub is the fact that you only need to use a little for each wash, ensuring it lasts a good long while. And considering it’s very expensive, it’s a very, very good thing.
As an added bonus, it’s not in a tube. You can actually open the bottle and scrape every little bit of it until you’re pretty sure it’s empty. The only problem is that this exfoliant is a powder. You need to mix in water to use it which makes finding the right consistency a bit of trial and error. And if you store it in your shower, you might want to think again as the powder tends to absorb moisture.
- Great on all types of skin
- Good packaging
- Lasts a good long while
- Powder form
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant also available on EDCSkinCare. Check current price here for 0.45 oz and 2.5 oz here.
4. St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub
You’ve probably heard about this long before. It is one of the most popular facial scrubs there are. But it’s definitely not for everyone. This apricot scrub from St. Ives contains apricot extract (obviously) as well as 100% natural exfoliants such as walnut shell powder. In case you didn’t know, apricots contain purifying carotenoids and antioxidants. What all that means is that it will moisturize your skin and keep it healthy.
The scrub makes use of corn kernel meal as its exfoliant to get rid of the dead skin cells while promoting cell regeneration, leaving you with soft, brighter skin. The scrub is hypoallergenic and free of any sulfates and parabens. It’s also non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn’t cause blocked pores. While it does clean skin and is pretty effective as an exfoliant, some users have found the scrub a tad too gritty to use more than once or twice a week. For a few, the scrub is too harsh on their skin.
- Works wonders on thick, dry skin
- Smells good
- Can be too harsh on some users
- Can cause breakouts in some users
5. Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
Facial Scrub For Oily Skin
The AHA and BHA in the Murad Exfoliating Cleanser stand for alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid, respectively. These are more commonly known as glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids which help exfoliate the surface of your skin while also helping reduce wrinkles, and clarify pores. One thing that makes this product stand out is the fact that it can take out dirt on your face, brighten your skin, and keep it moisturized as well.
Your skin won’t be left tight and/or dry after using the product so it works great for most, if not all, skin types and even during winter. This is all due to the addition of Jojoba Beads and Sodium PCA into the formula. While it seems to work great for many users, some might find the chemicals too harsh if they haven’t tried cleansers or scrubs that contain AHA. Also, the price is a bit steep especially if you’re not sure if this is going to work for you or not.
- Cleanses and moisturizes
- Gentle on sensitive skin
- The beads are not rough on the skin
- Price (too big of a commitment for someone not sure about whether it will work or not)
- May not be for users who have never used AHA products
- Contains SLS
6. Philosophy The Microdelivery Daily Exfoliating Wash
Facial Scrub For Acne Prone Skin
If you want an exfoliating product that doesn’t leave your skin raw, then the Philosophy The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash just may be what you’re looking for. It is gentle enough that it can be used by all skin types and designed to be used to clean your face daily. This facial scrub is sulfate-free and rich in antioxidants. It can help clean your pores, get rid of blackheads, and retain your skin’s moisture level.
Now, don’t worry about not seeing any exfoliating particles in the clear liquid since they are incredibly small. You will feel it as you gently massage it on your face. The product is fragrance-free which is, for us, a big relief because it allows even the most sensitive skins to use it. While it is more expensive than any St. Ives we’ve picked, you do get a good amount of product for the price. And you don’t need to use a lot to remove your makeup and keep your skin looking healthy.
- Very gentle
- Can be used on all types of skin
- The bottle is hard to squeeze
- Some users have had a problem with the smell
- Some users have reported the beads clumping together in one part of the liquid
7. Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant
Yes, Dr. Brandt’s Microdermabrasion is really expensive. But it’s a lot cheaper than paying for professional treatment or so it claims. This facial scrub features aluminum oxide crystals that will exfoliate your skin, lactic acid that also exfoliates your skin and softens it, and a botanical blend that contains chamomile, jojoba, and aloe vera to soothe our skin after that slightly abrasive treatment and keep it moisturized.
The smell is a bit citrusy/lemony. Based on what most users have found, this really does work wonders. However, some have reported that the tube is only half full. Also, some have experienced their skin getting dry after using this scrub. As for the price, we’ve already mentioned how expensive it is. A little goes a long way though and it is pretty powerful.
- Powerful exfoliant
- Nice smell
- A little goes a long way
- Very expensive
- Reports of the tube being only half full
8. Freeman Facial Apple Cider Vinegar Clay Mask + Scrub
As a combination mask and scrub, this product from Freeman is definitely the least expensive product on our list. We love the subtle candy-apple smell of the product. However, some who are sensitive to fragrances may find it overpowering especially if you use it as a mask. The pumice inside the product polishes your skin, getting rid of dead skin cells without causing micro-wounds on your skin. Aside from being extremely affordable, a little product goes a long way with this one too. As a mask, it works for some and not for others. More sensitive skins may find that it’s better as a cleanser.
- 4-in-1 product
- Really affordable
- A little goes a long way
- Not fragrance-free (not for sensitive skins and noses)
- Some have experienced rashes/redness on their skin
9. Simple Kind to Skin Facial Scrub
For day-to-day exfoliation, we’ve found that the Simple Kind to Skin Facial Scrub delivers. It contains Pro-Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E which are both great for the skin – rejuvenating it and keeping it smooth and soft. The rice granules are present to provide gentle exfoliation. Take note that this does not do a deep cleansing scrub. It’s more of a maintenance scrub to ensure that you slough away any dead cells and keep your face feeling fresh and smooth. So it may not be as “scrubby” as some users will prefer but it definitely will not cause tearing on healthy skin. There is no discernable scent but some users have reported an unpleasant chemical smell so sensitive noses should take note.
- Excellent price
- Makes your skin feel clean
- Gentle on skin
- Unpleasant chemical smell
- Some feel that the scrub lacks granules
- Contains mineral oil
Same price on Walmart.com if you prefer it.
10. Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub
Facial Scrub For Blackheads
We don’t know about you but the smell of zesty mint just gives us this feeling of freshness. And that’s what you get with the Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub. It features salicylic acid for fighting acne, glycerin for moisturizing your skin, sodium cocoyl isethionate to clean it, and blue spherical beads that gently exfoliate your skin. We love the fact that while it doesn’t have a lot of granules in it, it still leaves your skin soft, smooth, and clean. And in case you’re wondering, it does help in preventing blackheads. It is a cream cleanser which some people do not like. Some users have felt it’s a bit waxy and not a real scrub due to the lack of grittiness.
- Minty fresh feeling on your face
- Deep cleans your skin
- Prevents blackheads
- Some don’t like cream cleansers
- Not enough grit for a scrub
- Does not clear up all your pores, only some
Facial Scrubs Buying Guide
Choosing a facial scrub that works best on your skin is tricky. The quest to find this “holy grail” is often dangerous (to your skin) and expensive. It’s bad enough that there are numerous choices in the market. But because skin, body chemistry, and preferences are not universal, it’s hard to completely rely on what other people say. What works for some won’t necessarily work for you and vice versa. So, how does one go about choosing when a misstep can cause damage to your face?
The biggest factor that you will have to consider when it comes to choosing a facial scrub is skin type. Despite what a product’s marketing says, there are only a handful of facial scrubs that can be used on all skin types such as the Philosophy The Microdelivery Daily Exfoliating Wash.
Lucky, lucky you. You can pretty much choose whatever catches your fancy and experiment since your skin is fuss-free. Just make sure to check the ingredients used so you can be sure nothing will trigger any allergies you have (i.e. strawberries).
You’ll need to make sure that you stay away from scrubs that contain too many or too aggressive exfoliating agents. Make sure that you choose a facial scrub that is specifically made for your skin type or one that contains natural ingredients such as the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant. A scrub with oatmeal like St. Ives Nourished & Smooth Face Scrub and Mask can work wonders because it is able to soothe your skin. Just make sure to test it on a small area of your body before going all in to see how your skin would react.
A scrub is a good way to take away any impurities on oily skin but you need to remember not to over-exfoliate. Doing so could dry your skin which would lead it to produce even more oil. For your type of skin, you’ll need to make sure that your scrub cleanses your skin but doesn’t overdry it. One ingredient you should look for is salicylic acid (like what is used in Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser) which helps regulate your skin’s production of oil and clean clogged pores.
Unlike other skin types, this one’s a bit more complicated since different areas of your face have differing needs. This means that you’ll need a product that can treat both oily and dry areas of your face. Fruit enzymes are great for this skin type because it won’t dry your cheeks after exfoliation but it also helps reduce clogged pores.
With this type of skin, it is recommended that your scrub should be creamier and contain moisturizing agents to ensure your skin doesn’t dry out after use. Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant may be for you since it contains jojoba oils which are great at soothing and moisturizing skin.
Some people like it rough and there’s nothing wrong with that. To each his/her own and all that jazz, right? If you’re part of that group, then you may want to use St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub or something similar because it has a lot of grittiness. If you wish for a gentle touch, then you can choose a mild facial scrub with a minimal amount of granules or one that makes use of chemical exfoliating agents such as the Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser.
Once, Twice, or Daily?
Some facial scrubs are designed for everyday exfoliation such as Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant and Philosophy The Microdelivery Daily Exfoliating Wash. These are gentle enough to slough away dead skin and dirt without irritating your skin. Others, however, are only good for you if you use it once to twice a week such as the Acure Brilliantly Brightening Facial Scrub and the St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub.
Whatever facial scrub you end up choosing, keep in mind that you must always (ALWAYS!) test it first on a small part of your body before using it on your face. Everyone’s skin and chemical makeup are different which means you never really know how your skin is going to react to a product. This is true even for those with a normal skin type. Better safe than sorry.