There are certain steps almost every skincare enthusiast has in their routine—cleanser, SPF, a serum of some kind, and moisturizer, to name a few. But even the most expansive routines can sometimes overlook important aspects of skin maintenance. For example, beauty experts wax poetic about the benefits of general exfoliation, but a less popular practice deserves a spot in the lineup, too: physical exfoliation. Unlike chemical exfoliators, which exfoliate the skin via ingredients like AHAs and BHAs, physical exfoliators contain beads or particles that manually exfoliate the skin. Though physical exfoliators and face scrubs used to get a bad rap, the scrubs of today have come a long way, and thankfully, so has skincare knowledge.
When used in moderation, the right face scrub will gently slough away dead skin cells, increase cell turnover, and improve the efficacy of other skincare products. The result? Radiant, younger-looking skin that's free of acne, blackheads, scars, marks, fine lines, wrinkles, and pretty much any skincare woe shoppers can think of. There are tons of formulas out there for every skin type and concern, and finding the right one for a unique set of needs is crucial.
How We Found The Best Face Scrubs
The below list uncomplicates online shopping with a range of facial scrub options, from splurge-worthy formulas to effective drugstore finds. As always, Rank & Style’s data-driven algorithm factored in social media buzz, best-seller lists, editorial recommendations, and more to rank and score each one. From squeaky-clean formulas free of questionable ingredients to best-sellers on a budget, keep scrolling to discover who made the cut.
Next up, check out the 10 Best Body Scrubs And Exfoliators.
July 18, 2022
Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.
Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub
WHAT IT DOES: Formulated with dead sea salt, this facial scrub works to buff away dull, dead skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines, roughness, and wrinkles. It’s also enriched with kaolin, a type of clay that soaks up excess oil and restores balance to the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
USER REVIEW: "I have very dry, sensitive skin and searched high and low my entire life for a good exfoliant that doesn't irritate or cause breakouts. This is the one! It works so well and keeps my skin soft and smooth. I've noticed my acne scars and hyperpigmentation have begun to fade since using it. Definitely keeping this in my skincare routine as long as I can!"
Wishful Yo Glow Facial Enzyme Scrub
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Formulated with AHAs, BHAs, and fruit extracts that work to reduce dark spots, smooth texture, and clear clogged pores, this Instagram-famous scrub earns major points for its ability to gently address almost any concern. Unsurprisingly, it’s also safe for use on every skin type.
FROM THE EXPERTS: In a six-week study, 99% of participants agreed that their skin felt softer, 98% agreed that their skin had fewer impurities, and 93% agreed that their skin appeared brighter.
Clinique Exfoliating Face Scrub
WHAT IT DOES: This water-based scrub is formulated to refresh and improve texture in combination and/or oily skin. Still, the minimal formula is on the creamier side, so it feels gentle while delivering powerful results.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW: It’s also allergy tested and free of gluten, alcohol, and fragrance.
Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Exfoliating Daily Facial Scrub
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Formulated with hydrating soy extract and natural granules, this double-duty formula cleanses and exfoliates the skin, all while warding off dryness and sealing in moisture. For $10, it doesn't get much better than this.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW: This brightening daily scrub is soap-free, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic.
Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub
WHY PEOPLE LOVE IT: Safe for even the driest skin types, this drugstore cleanser-scrub hybrid is gentle enough to use every day. Thanks to pH-balancing glycerin, your skin will feel plenty hydrated.
USER REVIEW: “I have very dry skin and suffer from eczema, so finding products that clean my skin without irritating it can be a challenge. This has become a staple in my skincare routine. It cleans my skin and reduces any buildup of dead skin, keeping my skin fresh. I use this along with the hydrating night cream from the same brand to keep it clean and hydrated throughout the day.”
Fresh Sugar Face Polish
WHAT IT DOES: The only word that comes to mind while using this exfoliator is “yum.” Whether utilized as a scrub or leave-on mask, the fruit- and plant-based formula brightens (strawberry), seals in moisture (brown sugar), and hydrates (plum and grapeseed oils), all while gently sloughing away dead skin cells.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW: If using as a mask, leave it on for up to 10 minutes and rinse with warm water.
Tula So Polished Exfoliating Sugar Face Scrub
WHAT IT DOES: This award-winning scrub contains natural exfoliating properties like sugar, pineapple, and papaya to deliver a gentle treatment and leave the skin looking smooth and bright. And thanks to probiotics, the formula locks in moisture and soothes the appearance of inflammation, too.
WHY PEOPLE LOVE IT: Because sugar is water-soluble, this formula dissolves as you scrub to keep you from over-exfoliating.
SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub
WHO IT'S FOR: If you struggle with sensitive skin, this micro-exfoliating scrub is for you. With hydrating ingredients like glycerin and aloe leaf extract, the formula leaves behind a smooth, radiant complexion without irritating the skin.
USER REVIEW: "Exfoliating scrubs are either too aggressive for my skin, or they leave me wondering if any exfoliating agents were present in the product at all. This one is just right. It's kind to my sensitive skin but leaves it feeling smooth and polished. A small amount is all you need."
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Pore Exfoliating Treatment
WHAT IT DOES: This best-selling, quadruple-action formula serves as a cleanser, scrub, peel, and mask in just one tube. Powered by lactic acid and fruit enzymes, it works to clarify clogged pores in as little as one use.
FROM THE EXPERTS: In an independent clinical study after just one use, 94% of women showed significant improvement in skin texture, and 100% of women showed significant improvement in the appearance of crow’s feet, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Acure Brightening Facial Scrub
WHAT IT DOES: Infused with exfoliating botanicals, this vegan scrub brightens the skin's appearance and delivers clearer skin over time. Ingredients like French green clay draw out impurities and detoxify pores, while Madona lily infuses the skin with antioxidants and replenishes moisture.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW: This exfoliating scrub doubles as a makeup remover.
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