13 Body Scrubs for Smooth, Flake-Free Skin

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We know it can be hard enough remembering to make facial exfoliation a regular part of your routine, but don’t let exfoliating the skin below your chin fall by the wayside, either. Just like with your complexion, regularly sloughing off dead, dull skin is an essential step in warding off dryness; you can slather on moisturizer all day, every day, but if there’s a build-up of dead cells blocking it, all the lotion in the world isn’t going to work. Trust us, those few extra minutes spent exfoliating in the shower can make all the difference when it comes to achieving, smoothing, glowing skin—we promise.

Ahead, the best body scrubs that are so good you’ll never forget to use them.

Our Top Picks
Get physical and chemical exfoliation in one fragrance-free formula.
This affordable option packs a punch in the hydration department.
This drugstore pick is effective for softening and gentle enough not to cause irritation or breakouts.
It may be pricey, but the dual exfoliation and hydrating ingredients make up for it.
Dehydrated skin can benefit from this blend of coffee grounds and shea butter.
Get much-needed exfoliation for help with bumps and uneven skin texture with this pick.
Scrub away dead skin and attack acne with this formula.
Best for Sensitive Skin:
Avene Gentle Scrub at Skinstore.com
Your easily irritated skin will appreciate the gentle exfoliating beads in this hydrating scrub.
A former Byrdie Eco Beauty Award Winner, this pick gently exfoliates and hydrates with all-natural ingredients.
Give your face, body, or scalp a good scrub with this pick to remove dead skin cells.

Best Overall: Nécessaire The Body Exfoliator

Nécessaire The Body Exfoliator
What We Like
  • Offers dual exfoliation

  • Three scent options

  • Chic packaging

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Can make a mess in the shower

This just may be one of the best scrubs we’ve ever used, hands down, a team Byrdie fave for the ideal scrubby, though not abrasive, texture. It’s a result of the combination of bamboo charcoal and pumice that mechanically exfoliate, though there are also glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids in the mix to further up the exfoliating benefits. The fragrance-free variant is a great choice for sensitive skin, though it also comes in sandalwood and eucalyptus scents. All three are sophisticated, as is the chic and minimalistic packaging.

Key Ingredients: Bamboo charcoal, pumice, glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid | Size: 6.3 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Budget: SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Illuminating Hand and Body Scrub

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Illuminating Hand and Body Scrub
What We Like
  • Affordable and good value

  • Very hydrating

  • Clean and cruelty-free

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to scoop out of the jar

You’ll get plenty of bang for your buck with this guy. It’s an awesome body exfoliator, for sure, though per the name, it’s also incredibly effective for use on dry, chapped hands; credit the addition of vitamin E, coconut oil, and lots of fatty acids. At this price, go ahead and pick up two so that you can keep one in the shower and one by your sink. 

Key Ingredients: Sugar, coconut oil | Size: 12 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore: Dove Exfoliating Body Polish

dove exfoliating body polish
What We Like
  • Great scent

  • Very hydrating

  • Affordable and good value

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to scoop out of the jar

There are a plethora of great body scrubs to be found at the drugstore, but check this one out. In true Dove fashion, it contains 0.25 moisturizers, giving it a lusciously creamy, almost whipped-like texture. While it comes in three other scent variants, we’re partial to the relaxing lavender fragrance of this one, great to use pre-bedtime.

Key Ingredients: Hydrated silica, coconut milk | Size: 10.5 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What Our Testers Say

Effective for softening and gentle enough not to cause irritation or breakouts, this is a great option to try if you have an extra five minutes for your shower and want an exfoliator that works on sensitive skin types.” — Donecia Pea, Product Tester

Best Dual Exfoliant: African Botanics Café Noir Body Exfoliant

African Botanics Coffee Scrub
What We Like
  • Offers dual exfoliation

  • Clean and cruelty-free

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

When it comes to exfoliation, you can go one of two routes. There’s physical or mechanical exfoliation, which involves using some type of particle (sugar, salt, seeds) to scrub off dead skin. Then there’s chemical exfoliation, which uses various acids to dissolve dead cells. It largely boils down to a matter of personal preference, but if you want to get skin silky smooth, seeking out a product that combines both methods is a good way to go. Enter this formula. It touts both coffee beans and crushed Marula nut shell powder, as well as a blend of alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids so that you get the best of both worlds.

Key Ingredients: Black coffee beans, marula nut shell powder, alpha hydroxy acids | Size: 6.76 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Dry Skin: UpCircle Coffee and Lemongrass Exfoliating Body Scrub

UpCircle Coffee and Lemongrass Exfoliating Body Scrub
What We Like
  • Clean and cruelty-free

  • Affordable and good value

What We Don't Like
  • Can make a mess in the shower

It can sometimes feel like exfoliating dry skin may just dry it out even further—and sure, if you choose the wrong scrub and/or overdo it, that can indeed be the case. But exfoliating is even more imperative when you’re dealing with dryness, and this pick is amazing for parched skin. It contains shea butter, which is great for hydration, and relies on gentle coffee grounds to exfoliate and polish the skin, leaving it smoother and brighter, says New York City dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman of one of her top picks. 

Key Ingredients: Coffee grounds, shea butter | Size: 7 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Keratosis Pilaris: Skinfix Resurface+ Glycolic Renewing Scrub

Skinfix Resurface+ Glycolic Renewing Body Scrub
What We Like
  • Great for KP and more mature skin

  • Clean and cruelty-free

  • Easy to use and dispense

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Can be too abrasive for sensitive skin

Dealing with keratosis pilaris (AKA KP, AKA those annoying bumps on the backs of your arms)? The bad news is there’s no treatment for it. The good news is that regular exfoliation, particularly with this formula, can help. It acts as a mechanical exfoliant and chemical peel in one. Biodegradable bamboo polishers do the physical scrubbing, while glycolic and lactic acids tackle the rest.

Key Ingredients: Bamboo, glycolic acid, lactic acid | Size: 8 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Differin Acne Clearing Daily Body Scrub

Differin Acne Clearing Daily Body Scrub
What We Like
  • Gentle enough for daily use

  • Offers dual exfoliation

  • Affordable and good value

What We Don't Like
  • Not clean or cruelty-free

No, you can’t ‘scrub away acne. (In fact, over-exfoliating can exacerbate acne). That being said, the right type and amount of sloughing are important for helping to keep pores clear. Enter this effective scrub, which is still gentle enough that it can be used daily. It combines hydrating vitamin E exfoliating beads along with oil-dissolving salicylic acid and radiance-boosting glycolic acid, great for not only keeping blemishes at bay but also warding off the appearance of leftover, telltale dark marks.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin E beads, glycolic acid, lactic acid | Size: 8 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Sensitive Skin: Avene Gentle Scrub

Avene Gentle Scrub
What We Like
  • Very gentle and hydrating

  • Easy to use and dispense

What We Don't Like
  • Not clean or cruelty-free

Yes, you can exfoliate, even if you have sensitive skin—you just need to be a little more strategic in your sloughing. Enter this formula, a super gentle version that relies on teeny-tiny jojoba beads for very gentle exfoliation (so much so that it just feels like a body wash). Meanwhile, the brand’s patented, soothing thermal spring water and a trio of nourishing oils help to impart hydration. Plus, because it’s only meant to be used once or twice a week, one bottle lasts quite a long time. 

Key Ingredients: Jojoba beads, shea oil, safflower oil, camelina oil, glycerin | Size: 6.7 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Natural: Herbivore Coco Rose Exfoliating Body Scrub

Herbivore Coco Rose Exfoliating Body Scrub
What We Like
  • Clean and cruelty-free

  • Great scent

  • Very hydrating

  • Chic packaging

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

This standout scrub is so good (and so natural) that it nabbed a coveted Byrdie Eco Beauty Award in 2019. On that note, it boasts a clean and minimal ingredient list, relying on naturals such as sugar for exfoliation and coconut oil, and shea butter for hydration. The sugar crystals deliver the best level of exfoliation; the subtle, sweet-smelling rose scent is just a bonus.

Key Ingredients: Bamboo charcoal, pumice, glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid | Size: 8 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Multi-Tasker: Ouai Scalp & Body Scrub

Ouai Scalp & Body Scrub
What We Like
  • Can use on face, body, and scalp

  • Foams nicely

  • Great scent

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to scoop out of the jar

Byrdie Senior Editor Holly Rhue sings the praises of this do-it-all formula. The sugar-based scrub is just as effective at sloughing off dry patches on your body as it is at removing dead skin and product build-up from your scalp. (Because FYI, your scalp needs just as much TLC as the skin on your face and body, and regular scalp exfoliation can help ensure your strands stay strong and healthy.) It also foams up ever so slightly when mixed with water, which, combined with the heavenly rose-musk scent, makes for a delightful enjoyable exfoliating experience.

Key Ingredients: Sugar | Size: 8.8 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Salt Scrub: M3 Naturals Himalayan Salt Body Scrub

M3 Naturals Himalayan Salt Body Scrub
What We Like
  • Affordable and good value

  • Clean and cruelty-free

What We Don't Like
  • Formula is dry

Salt is one of the oldest and most commonly-used exfoliating ingredients out there, and it’s the star of the show in this scrub. Jaliman is a fan: “It’s great at removing dead skin but also helps to remove bacteria, too,” she says. (It’s also a go-to for Amazon shoppers, who repeatedly rave about how well it exfoliates without ever over-drying skin.) To that point, since salt can be drying, we appreciate that there are moisturizing oils and aloe in the base for hydration purposes.

Key Ingredients: Himalayan salt, collagen, sunflower seed oil Size: 12 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Sugar Scrub: Tree Hut Moroccan Rose Shea Sugar Scrub

Tree Hut Moroccan Rose Shea Sugar Scrub
What We Like
  • Affordable and good value

  • Very gentle and hydrating

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to scoop out of the jar

For those who naturally have drier or more easily irritated skin, sugar is the best exfoliating ingredient; it still scrubs but is also innately hydrating. “This sugar-based option is gentle enough even for sensitive skin and contains argan oil and shea butter for hydrating purposes,” says Jaliman. The affordable price, subtle rose scent, and pretty pink color don’t hurt either.

Key Ingredients: Sugar, shea butter, natural oils | Size: 18 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Coffee Scrub: Drunk Elephant Sugared Koffie Almond Milk Body Scrub

Drunk Elephant Sugared Koffie Almond Milk Body Scrub
What We Like
  • Caffeine offers extra benefits

  • Clean and cruelty-free

  • Great scent

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Whether or not you like to sip a cup of coffee—or two—in the morning, you’ll appreciate that this scrub contains coffee seed oil. The oil is a good source of caffeine, a choice ingredient for stimulating circulation (and also helping temporarily minimize the look of cellulite, making this a nice choice for booty buffing). Sugar does the scrubbing part of things, while almond milk helps to hydrate the skin. If it sounds like it smells delicious, you’re right, it does; the fragrance is reminiscent of a yummy latte in the best way possible.

Key Ingredients: Sugar, coffee seed oil, almond milk | Size: 9 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Final Verdict

Exfoliating most definitely deserves a spot in your body care routine. The Nécessaire The Body Exfoliator (view at goop) is our favorite go-to, combining both chemical and physical exfoliants in an effective yet gentle formula. There are tons of great wallet-friendly options out there, too, like the Dove Exfoliating Body Polish and the Tree Hut Moroccan Rose Shea Sugar Scrub (view at Ulta) (the latter of which is a very hydrating sugar scrub that’s a nice pick for those with sensitive skin), while the Differin Acne Clearing Daily Body Scrub (view at Target) is choice for anyone battling blemishes. 

What to Look for in a Body Scrub

According to Jaliman, there’s really only one main thing to consider…

The Scrubbing Particles

Sugar-based options are more hydrating and less harsh, a good pick for those with sensitive or drier skin, she says. “Salt scrubs are good for those with very dry, rough skin who need deep exfoliation,” she adds. There are other scrubbies, too; jojoba beads are typically gentler, while any type of nut or seed shell or powder is a bit more intense. 

FAQ
  • What do body scrubs do?

    They remove dead skin cells, leaving skin radiant and healthier. They also allow for your moisturizer to penetrate your skin better, says Jaliman.

  • How do you use a body scrub?

    Jaliman suggests cleansing first, as this helps prep the skin for exfoliation. “Apply a generous amount of the scrub all over the body and gently rub it in in a circular motion. Rinse off after a few minutes and towel dry, then apply moisturizer immediately after,” she says. 

  • Are body scrubs safe for sensitive skin?

    Yes... as long as you choose the right one. Look for gentle exfoliants in a formula that contain extra moisturizing ingredients, says Jaliman (and steer clear of coarser, dryer scrubs). 

Why Trust Byrdie?

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She uses a body scrub at least once a week. Currently, she has the Differin product (which she uses to ward off backne), the Avene product, and the Necessaire product all stashed in her shower. 

Meet the Expert

Dr. Debra Jaliman is a New York City board-certified dermatologist. She’s an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai and the author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From a Top New York Dermatologist.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Kristen N. Glycolic acid vs. Salicylic acid: pros, cons, skin type suitability. Healthline.

  2. Herman A, Herman AP. Caffeine's mechanisms of action and its cosmetic useSkin Pharmacol Physiol. 2013;26(1):8-14. doi:10.1159/000343174

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