The Best Face Scrubs for Men That Will Brighten Your Complexion

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Scrubs are a great way to get skin that feels fresh, smooth, and free of dead skin cells. Many men may get introduced to scrubs from testing out their girlfriend's products. However, not all exfoliators are made the same—it's important to find one that's best for your skin. “Many scrubs contain tiny abrasive granules,” explains dermatologist Dr. Milton D. Moore, MD. "These are best applied with a gentle circular motion and then washed off thoroughly." Another type of scrub known as a chemical exfoliator uses alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), and enzymes instead of granular exfoliating agents.

When looking for a good scrub, Moore advises choosing products that feature natural and organic ingredients. It's also important to look for a formula that features calming agents and moisturizers to offset the abrasion. With all the scrubs on the shelves these days, we know it can be a lot to process. Luckily, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and rounded up our top picks for every price point.

Read on for the best scrubs for men.

What to Look For in a Men's Face Scrub

Chemical Exfoliants

Formulas infused with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) react on contact with skin to help remove layers of dead skin cells, dirt, and excess oil from the surface. If a physical scrub that contains exfoliating granules is too abrasive for you, a chemical-based exfoliant could be a better option as the acids tend to deliver a gentler, more uniform result.

Adequately-Sized Granules

If a physical exfoliant is more your speed, pay attention to the size of the granules used within the formula—the smaller, the better. Any granules that are too large may cause micro-tears on your skin and disrupt your barrier, especially when applied with too much pressure.

Moisturizing Ingredients

As Moore noted above, using facial scrubs that contain hydrating, calming ingredients could help to offset any potential abrasion caused by the exfoliants.

Best Overall: Disco Face Scrub

Disco Face Scrub
What We Like
  • Has healing properties

  • pH-balanced

  • Nice smell

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

This vegan, cruelty-free face scrub not only exfoliates the skin but also invigorates the senses, thanks to the addition of eucalyptus. Aloe vera and apricot oil add antioxidant, moisturizing, and healing properties while papaya extract—the source of the enzyme papain—has exfoliating properties and can help remove impurities in the skin while removing dead skin cells.

Active Ingredients: Apricot Oil, Papaya Extract | Size: 3.53 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Budget: Scotch Porter Exfoliating Face Scrub

Scotch Porter Exfoliating Face Scrub
What We Like
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits

  • Provides a protective barrier on the skin

  • Non-irritating

What We Don't Like
  • Could have a more gritty exfoliating feel

This reformulated face scrub feels and smells a lot more expensive than you think it might be. Featuring burdock root, pomegranate enzymes, and aloe, the non-irritating pomegranate enzyme-powered scrub gently removes dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil, promoting a brighter, breakout-free appearance. But it's the incredible fragrance profile that will keep you coming back—it includes notes of bright citrus, green leaves, smokey woods, and musk. You’ll want to use this product all the time, but it’s best reserved for three times a week.

Active Ingredients: Pomegranate | Size: 4.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Splurge: Chantecaille Bamboo and Hibiscus Exfoliating Cream

Bamboo and Hibiscus Exfoliating Cream
What We Like
  • Perfects skin texture

  • Evens out tone

  • Little goes a long way

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

This vegan-friendly exfoliating cream is straight-up luxury. Made up of 78 percent rosewater and packed with botanicals, this rich cream polishes, refines, and helps to improve the overall appearance of your skin’s texture—all while delivering major hydration. Micro bamboo beads provide gentle exfoliation while plant and flower extracts nourish to promote a brighter, fresher complexion. 

Active Ingredients: Glycolic Acid, Hibiscus Flower Acids | Size: 2.5 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Drugstore: Bulldog Men's Original Face Scrub

Bulldog Men's Original Face Scrub
What We Like
  • Smooths out skin

  • Full of natural ingredients

  • Gentle enough for sensitive skin

What We Don't Like
  • Feels more like a lotion versus scrub

Bulldog is one of those brands that makes us wonder why other brands have to cost so much. Not only is this natural face scrub free of dyes and fragrance, but it's also vegan and cruelty-free. Beyond that, it's the first men’s brand in the world to make its tubes using eco-friendly compostable plastic from sugarcane. There’s also good stuff inside—aloe vera, camelina oil, and green tea help deep clean without over-drying.

Active Ingredients: Camelina Oil, Aloe Vera | Size: 4.2 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best on Amazon: Acure Brightening Facial Scrub

Acure Brightening Facial Scrub

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Brings out brightness of skin

  • 100% vegan

  • Infused with sea kelp

What We Don't Like
  • Smell is unpleasant to some

This popular vegan face scrub helps to brighten your face without breaking your budget. Loaded with great skin-friendly ingredients, it’s the ultra-fine walnut shell powder that rids your skin of dry, dead, flakey cells. Aloe leaf juice and glycerin soften and moisturize, while French green clay, sea kelp, and lemon peel help purify and provide a deep clean.

Active Ingredients: Argan Oil | Size: 4.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Sensitive Skin: Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub

extra gentle daily scrub

Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Cleansing without drying

  • Designed for sensitive skin

  • Infused with skin conditioners and vitamin complex 

What We Don't Like
  • Not for acne-prone skin

If you have sensitive skin, you might have avoided scrubs in the past. No longer! Specially formulated with micro-fine bamboo granules, this cream face scrub is not only safe for sensitive skin but great for everyday use as well, thanks to a generous helping of moisturizing glycerin and vitamin E.

Active Ingredients: Panthenol, Vitamin E | Size: 6.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Dry Skin: Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Exfoliating Daily Facial Scrub

Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Exfoliating Daily Facial Scrub
What We Like
  • Leaves skin feeling clean

  • Improves skin texture

  • Effective yet gentle exfoliating beads

What We Don't Like
  • Greasy to some

Thick, rich, and creamy, this soap-free, hypoallergenic face scrub from Aveeno is designed with dry skin in mind. Using jojoba and castor oils to help keep skin smooth and keep water in, it’s the moisture-rich soy extract that’s the star of the show. Soybean proteins help to provide nourishment in both the immediate and long-term timeframes.

Active Ingredients: Jojoba Oil, Soy Extract | Size: 7.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Combination Skin: Kiehls Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub

Kiehls Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub
What We Like
  • Softens tough facial hair

  • Reduces dullness

  • Invigorating

What We Don't Like
  • Exfoliating beads have a sand quality

This energizing scrub is perfect for guys with skin that does a little bit of everything—dryness, oiliness, and anything in between. Tried-and-true apricot kernels rid your face of dead skin cells, while caffeine and menthol stimulate, vitamin E and unsaturated fatty acids hydrate, and citrus extracts help to impart a brighter appearance.

Active Ingredients: Menthol, Apricot Oil | Size: 3.4 oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Oily Skin: Ole Henriksen Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub

Ole Henriksen Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub
What We Like
  • Dual-action warming and cooling

  • Deeply purifying

  • Contains an Ayurveda ingredient

What We Don't Like
  • Feels more like a cream versus scrub

Folks with skin higher up on the oily spectrum are going to love this warming and cooling scrub. Yep—you heard us right—this scrub does both. Inspired by traditional Scandinavian spas (where the brand has its roots) this dual-action scrub uses volcanic sand grit as an exfoliator. It's also loaded with AHAs, including glycolic and lactic acids, to really go after dead skin and help balance oily pores. Bonus–it wakes up the senses with a refreshing eucalyptus and peppermint scent.

Active Ingredients: Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid | Size: 3.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Breakout-Prone Skin: AcneFree Blackhead Removing Scrub

AcneFree Blackhead Removing Scrub
What We Like
  • Maximum strength

  • Refining

  • Leaves skin very soft

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for daily use

Featuring maximum strength salicylic acid, this scrub is a great option for acne-prone skin. Purifying charcoal and hydrating jojoba help to make it a well-balanced, effective scrub to fight breakouts. AcneFree is loaded with dermatologist-recommended ingredients, but if you suffer from severe or ongoing acne, it is always best to check with a doctor before starting a treatment regimen. 

Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid, Jojoba Oil | Size: 5.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Aging Skin: Lancer Skincare The Method: Polish

Lancer Skincare The Method: Polish
What We Like
  • Antioxidant-rich

  • Optimizes normal, dry and dehydrated skin

  • Soothing lavender scent

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to clean off

Lancer Skincare was created over 30 years ago by Dr. Harold Lancer after suffering severe burns as a child. This set into motion the brand that is now loved by celebrities like Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Lopez, and Kim Kardashian. Infused with antioxidants, pomegranate enzymes, and magnesium crystals, this warming face scrub helps slough away dead skin cells to boost skin texture and diminish the appearance of aging.

Active Ingredients: Pomegranate Enzymes, Magnesium Crystals | Size: 4.2 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Peeling Gel: boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel

boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel
What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Good for all skin types

  • Not greasy

What We Don't Like
  • A bit messy to use

This natural, clean, botanical peeling gel works in three ways—as a chemical peel that goes deep into pores to purge excess oil, as a physical peel that scrubs away dead skin cells without any irritation, and as a gentle peeling treatment to promote younger-looking skin. Turmeric root, citrus extracts, jojoba, and lavender oils all work together to deliver a softer, healthier appearance—and the formula is safe enough to use every day.

Active Ingredients: Multi-Fruit AHAs, Pomegranate Enzymes | Size: 5.0 oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

FAQ
  • What do face scrubs do?

    Facial scrubs help to remove dead skin cells and surface debris like dirt and oil from the outer layers of skin. Regular exfoliation can help to improve the appearance of rough texture, fade discoloration, and reduce ingrown hairs caused by dead skin cells.

  • How often should I use a face scrub?

    The definitive answer can vary depending on how sensitive your skin is, but dermatologists suggest exfoliating as little as once a week, to as frequent as three times a week. Keep the "less is more" mantra in mind until you get a better gauge of how your skin will react to an exfoliant to avoid irritating your complexion or disrupting your skin's barrier.

  • Should I use a chemical or physical exfoliant?

    Again, this depends on how much exfoliation your skin type can handle, but in general, chemical formulas may be a better option for those with sensitive skin, as the acids in the formulation deliver a controlled amount of exfoliation. Physical exfoliants, while effective, should contain smaller exfoliating particles to prevent irritation or micro-tears to the skin.

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. Rodan K, Fields K, Majewski G, Falla T. Skincare bootcamp: the evolving role of skincare. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2016;4(12 Suppl):e1152.

  2. Tang S-C, Yang J-H. Dual effects of alpha-hydroxy acids on the skin. Molecules. 2018;23(4):863.

  3. Ogunbiyi A. Pseudofolliculitis barbae; current treatment options. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2019;12:241-247.

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