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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 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.
Best Overall: Nécessaire The Body Exfoliator
A 2020 Byrdie Eco Beauty Award winner, this just may be one of the best scrubs we’ve ever used, hands down. Both Byrdie Senior Editor Hallie Gould and Editorial Director Faith Xue are devoted fans, with Xue noting 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 choice for sensitive skin, though it also comes in a sandalwood and eucalyptus scents. All three are totally sophisticated, as is the chic and minimalistic packaging.
Best Budget: SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Illuminating Hand and Body Scrub
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.
Best Dual Exfoliant: African Botanics Coffee Scrub
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 actually 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 really want to get skin silky smooth, seeking out a product that combines both methods is a good way to go.
Enter this formula, a favorite of Xue’s. 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.
Best Scent: Le Labo Body Scrub
Le Labo kills the scent game every time when it comes to candles and fragrance, so it’s not surprising that their body scrub is no different. Both coffee and sunflower seeds are combined for buffing purposes, all in a safflower oil base to ensure it’s nice and hydrating. But per our point about the scent, it also smells exactly like a freshly-brewed cup of joe from your favorite artisanal coffee shop, the perfect wake-me-up for sleepy mornings.
Best Natural: Herbivore Coco Rose Coconut Oil Body Polish
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 and oil and shea butter for hydration. It’s a personal go-to for Xue, who raves about the perfect level of exfoliation the sugar crystals deliver, as well as the subtle, sweet-smelling rose scent.
Best for Brightening: Dermalogica Thermafoliant Body Scrub
Brightening often gets talked about as one of the benefits of regular facial exfoliation, but the same holds true when it comes to body exfoliation. No matter whether you’re looking to fade dark spots, even out tone, or simply leave the skin below your chin generally more radiant, reach for this option. Indian bamboo stem exfoliates, while lactic acid and papaya enzymes work to further brighten and knock out dullness. The formula is also infused with a litany of different protective antioxidants, never a bad thing.
Best Coffee Scrub: Frank Body Original Coffee Scrub
The OG product from this brand remains one of its most popular offerings. Whether or not you like to sip a cup of coffee (or two) in the morning, you’ll appreciate the coffee-based scrub that uses roasted and ground robusta beans to deliver a serious sloughing. Those beans are also a good source of caffeine, a choice ingredient for stimulating circulation and helping temporarily minimize the look of cellulite, making this a nice choice for a booty buffing.
Best Salt Scrub: Goop Beauty G.Tox 5 Salt Detox Body Scrub
Salt is one of the oldest and most commonly-used exfoliating ingredients out there, and this pick touts not one, not two, but five types of salt: Celtic sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, Dead Sea salt, and New Zealand salt, and Epsom salt. Each of those is rich in different types of good-for-your-skin minerals, imparting additional benefits beyond just sloughing. Admittedly salt can be drying, which is why we appreciate that there are three moisturizing oils—rosehip, olive, and moringa—in the base for hydration purposes, as well as a beautiful citrusy fragrance derived from natural essential oils.
Best Multi-Tasker: Ouai Scalp & Body Scrub
Byrdie Associate 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 bod 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.
Best Two-in-One: Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bod Buff Smoothing Scrub ‘N’ Mask
As the name suggests, you can use this either as a scrub, body mask, or both. For the former, massage it onto wet skin, focusing on dry spots; for the latter, apply all over, on dry skin, then rinse off after a few minutes. Either way, you get the benefits of exfoliating quartz crystals, plus detoxifying Amazon river clay, as well as hydrating coconut oil and cupuacu butter—and all of that along with the brand’s signature gourmand fragrance, a mix of pistachio and salted caramel.
If you prefer more of a traditional scrub, check out the brand’s latest and a choice pick for Xue, which also leaves skin with a subtle shimmer.
Best Drugstore: Dove Exfoliating Body Polish
There are a plethora of great body scrubs to be found at the drugstore, but definitely check this one out. In true Dove fashion, it contains ¼ 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, perfect to use pre-bedtime.
Best for Keratosis Pilaris: Skinfix Resurface+ Glycolic Renewing Body Scrub
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 definitely help. It’s a top pick for Gould and acts as a mechanical exfoliant and chemical peel in one. Biodegradable bamboo polishers do the physical scrubbing, while glycolic and lactic acids dissolve dead skin cells to leave skin insanely smooth and soft.
Best for Dry Skin: The London Grant. Co Honey Coco Body Polish
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 actually even more imperative when you’re dealing with dryness, and this pick is perfect for parched skin. Along with exfoliating sugars (which are less drying than salt), it’s also loaded with hydrators. Think raw honey, and fatty-acid rich oils such as apricot, jojoba, and sweet almond oils, just to name a few. The end result is a scrub that’s effective yet ultra-moisturizing.