Best Exfoliators That You Should Try
If you are an athlete or a runner you may find that you may be exposed to the sun more than others, that you have to wash your face a lot more, and that you may even be experiencing skin issues you have never had before because you haven’t been taking the time to exfoliate your skin properly.
The best exfoliators can be natural or homemade while others you may find at your local store. Overall, exfoliation is a great component to add to your skin care routine, but there is no perfect exfoliator for everyone—so make sure you get to know your skin before you start exfoliating.
Check out our list of the top 10 best exfoliators below!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 9 hrs of research
Natural and certified organic ingredients
A scrub made for men
Well known brand
Scented with coffee extract and green tea
Ideal for prepping and pre-shave
Can help gain a closer shave and healthier skin
- Green Tea by Teami
- Brooklyn Botany
- DRMTLGY Microdermabrasion
- Skinfood Black Sugar
- Era Organics
- St. Ives Fresh Skin
- Buena Skin Himalayan Salt
- Paula’s Choice
- Venu Pomegranate Salt
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Top 10 Favorite Exfoliators
Natural and certified organic ingredients
A scrub made for men
Well known brand
Scented with coffee extract and green tea
Ideal for prepping and pre-shave
Can help gain a closer shave and healthier skin
May not be abrasive enough for some skin types
The formulation can be clumpy or gloopy
This one is specifically formulated for men. Brickell makes a product that will effectively slough off oily, dead skin, and all facial impurities to expose clear, soft skin. You use it before you shave to allow for the ultimate close shave. Brickell has a terrific brand reputation and is widely popular with men who have problematic skin, especially after they have groomed facial hair.Read more
Using some of the best natural and certified organic ingredients on the market this formulation includes aloe vera, avocado butter, vitamin E, pumice, and jojoba. Its formulation is 98% natural while it is 70% organic. The combination of ingredients is targeted at men with any skin type. Especially those with oily skin and build up who may suffer from blackheads or ingrown hairs
Brickell is a quality brand that is very well-known for making male grooming products. They use certified organic ingredients and they are available in over 20 countries. They have a great reputation and have been featured in such magazines as GQ, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal to name a few. When products are featured in these magazines you can feel assured they are going to be good.
This exfoliator is a gentler option for those of you who have never exfoliated before or if you have sensitive skin. It is less abrasive is it is softer--but that being said, it may not be exfoliating enough for some of you who have already been exfoliating.
2. Green Tea by Teami
Moisturizing with sweet almond oil
Soy and Dairy-Free
Great customer service, can get a full refund if you are ever unhappy
Lid can be hard to remove
Sugar can be a bit rough on the skin
Green Tea by Teami makes and all around multi-functional scrub. It does everything from sloughing off dull skin to hydrating it, renewing it and it can even remove your makeup. Using the power of the antioxidant-rich green tea as the main ingredient, it will nourish the skin.Read more
This is the perfect product for those of you who want something that is all natural--in fact, this one is even vegan! If your skin can handle something more abrasive, or if you like that feature, then you will definitely love this exfoliator.
Using all-natural sugar this product will combat dullness, redness, and toxins. It is formulated with ingredients to flood your skin with anti-oxidants that will renew and refresh your skin while providing anti-aging benefits that is always a plus. It can help remove the days grim including makeup without a film or residue on your face.
Messaging this formula into your skin in gentle, light circular motions will help reduce blackheads and blemishes and make reductions in the appearance of pore sizes. You can also apply it to problem areas and working it into those areas you can decrease the look of cellulite within 30-60 seconds. Pretty cool.
3. Brooklyn Botany
Scrub is paraben and cruelty-free
A humectant that absorbs moisture from the environment and naturally moisturizes skin
Glycolic acid and alpha-hydroxyl acid to kill harmful bacteria
Great for those with sensitive skin
Can help reduce stretch marks
Can be more oily than expected
Brooklyn Botany is a scrub for the face and the body using brown sugar. It is an ideal formulation for those with more sensitive skin.Read more
Formulated with brown sugar as the means to polish the skin, this product is designed to benefit both the face and the body. The pure and natural ingredients are gentle on the skin, so if you have very sensitive skin or have to be careful of what beauty products you use, this one will be kind to your skin. It also includes almond oil, apricot kernel oil, and jojoba oil.
This is a natural humectant, meaning it will naturally hydrate your skin, not leave it feeling dry and parched. It will absorb moisture from the surrounding and infuse it into your skin. This keeps your skin moist and supple, and overall well-conditioned.
Not only will this product effectively exfoliate your skin, but it will also moisturize it. If you have dry skin--or if you notice you typically have dry skin after exfoliating--then this is the perfect one to try out.
4. DRMTLGY Microdermabrasion
100% Satisfaction guarantee, 60-day money-back guarantee
Green leaf product
Rid your skin of blackheads, soothe fine lines and wrinkles, shrink the pores, helps fight blemishes and scars from acne
A little goes a long way
Leaves your skin brighter and softer
Those with more sensitive skin may find the pumice in the formula to harsh
The smell could be improved
DRMTLGY Microdermabrasion can smooth skin and provide it with a supple, youthful appearance. Using glycolic acid and sugar cane, this scrub will rid your pores of dirt and grim and, help minimize their size and promote healthy cell growth.Read more
While this one is a little pricier, it can be compared to exfoliators used by professionals. It works for almost everyone and is really effective--although you may not want to try this one out if you have never exfoliated your face before.
The formulation uses sugar cane extract (Glycolic acid), green tea leaf extract, lemon fruit extract, and apple fruit extract. It is labeled a green leaf product. Products with this label are paraben and sulfate-free, they are also not formulated with chemicals and will use ingredients that are cruelty-free.
Spa treatments like microdermabrasion can add up over time and be very pricey when you have them done professionally at your local salon or medical spa. This product allows you to get the treatment at home that is gentle enough to use up to 3x a week. It has a shelf-life of over 3 months.
5. Skinfood Black Sugar
Black sugar mask
Best selling product for 10+ years
Unrefined and enriched minerals and vitamin-rich formula
Black sugar granules can rid your skin of blackheads
Can refine skin while also helping improve moisture
Instructions could be made clearer
Packaging could improve
Skinfood Black Sugar uses ingredients that are organic and do not use harmful chemicals. It is enriched with a multitude of minerals and it is unrefined to avoid unnecessary extra processing.Read more
Since this exfoliator is a lot grainier and more abrasive, it may not be the best option for those of you with more sensitive skin. If you don't have any skin or texture issues, however, it is a great option for most people since it does an excellent job of getting all of your dead skin scraped away and leaves you feeling clean.
Phosphorous, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium are minerals used in this formula that are of particular note. It doesn’t end there, vitamins including riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. This combination of minerals and vitamins flush the skin with nourishment and keep it healthy and bright.
Black sugar has a very grainy-like feel. It is a perfect ingredient to slough off dead skin cells and smoothes out skin tone. It’s naturally occurring moisturizing qualities helps to reinvigorate, and refresh skin healthily.
6. Era Organics
Good for sensitive skin
Great anti-aging product
Cruelty, paraben and alcohol-free
Aloe Vera, Manuka Honey, Vitamin C, and Walnut
Scrub and anti-aging mask
Can have shipping and logistics issues
Era Organics makes an excellent product specifically for dry, dull skin and for those that have very sensitive skin. It also comes with a money back guarantee.Read more
It is specifically made for those of you who have very sensitive skin. Cruelty, paraben, alcohol-free and non-toxic all in one formula. It contains organic Aloe Vera, high-quality Manuka honey, walnut, and vitamin C which are all very healthy for our skin. These can help fight free radicals and combat the aging process.
This exfoliator is paraben free and is also labeled cruelty free--so you don't have to worry about it being unnecessarily tested on animals. It is great for sensitive skin since it is free of alcohol and only uses non-toxic ingredients. Its main ingredients are Aloe Vera, Manuka Honey, Vitamin C, and Walnut
This formula will get to the core of dull, dry skin. It can be used to rid build-up on your face and heal it. It will polish your face without being too harsh so you won’t damage that skin. It will reinvigorate your complexion and keep it looking young and feeling fresh.
7. St. Ives Fresh Skin
100% natural exfoliators
Made with walnuts and apricots from California and North Africa
A super popular product, popular brand name
Excellent value and affordability
Use 3-4x a week
May not be “animal-testing free”
There are less flower botanicals and extracts in formulation
Who hasn’t tried and loved St. Ives Fresh Skin scrub? It is such a popular product and so well known. It is a solid scrub, that is readily available.Read more
St. Ives is a well-known brand that comes at a great cost and can be found in almost any store. It works for most skin types and is a great all-around product that will work for most people. If you have never used an exfoliator before, this is a great first one to try out.
The formulation of this scrub is dermatologist tested. It is made responsibly and cleanly. Paraben free, non-comedogenic so as to keep the pores open and clean, and it is oil free.
Yes, it is a basic scrub, but for a good amount of people all they need is basic exfoliation, and this one will do it every time. Using 100% natural ingredients to remove impurities and refresh skin to a glowing state, the sweet apricots grown in sunny California are part of the recipe that lends this product to be not only popular but an award winner.
8. Buena Skin Himalayan Salt
Can help with stress
Can cleanse your aura
Help with Eczema
Help with sinuses
100% Natural Himalayan Salt
This product can be very abrasive
The mixture is very dry
Buena Skin Himalayan Salt is a formulation scrub that uses all natural Himalayan pink salt. Oh, the many benefits of Himalayan pink salt and a facial scrub makes for yet another. The formulation does not use chemicals, it has minerals and terrific nutrients that round out the recipe.Read more
This product is super easy to use and can be used anywhere you want to exfoliate--so it is both a great facial scrub and a great body scrub.
Made of minerals and nutrients of the highest quality. These include Himalayan crystals, almond oil, lychee fruit essential oil, as well as vitamin E. The formulation also includes calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and copper. These pure ingredients act together to rejuvenate your skin.
The tone, texture, and a radiant complexion can all be gained from this scrub, but that is not all. It is said to help improve circulation and reduce the look of cellulite. The Himalayan salt is supposed to do so much more, reduce water retention, improve sinuses, stop muscle cramping and pain, it is even alleged that it will decrease stress. Anything that reduces stress in this ever increasingly busy world is surely welcome.
9. Paula’s Choice
Targeted for combination to oily skin that can be afflicted by acne
Can help unclog pores
Helps with fine lines and wrinkles
May sting on the skin
Paula’s Choice uses 2% BHA liquid that is suitable for use by all skin types. Specifically, it addresses concerns of aging skin and combination to oily skin that can regularly become inflamed and uneven in tone.Read more
The salicylic acid is a known ingredient that helps with acne and is often used in many well-known acne medications. It helps improve natural exfoliation to clear skin and unclog congested pores.
If you are sensitive to salicylic acid, as I am, then you will want to steer clear from this product because it will sting. If you don't have any issues with this ingredient, however, it is a great one to consider if you have acne prone skin.
This formula is designed to be non-abrasive and to be left on the skin. It cleans pores and evens out skin tone, and as it reinvigorates the skin it also helps to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, revealing healthier, younger-looking skin.
10. Venu Pomegranate Salt
Ingredients include apricot and grapeseed oil that helps moisturize
Pomegranate provides powerful antioxidants and leaves a sweet smell that lasts all day
Anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and has anti-aging properties
Uses natural sea salt
A very dry scrub, you may need water to moisten and use
Packaging could use improvement
Venu Pomegranate Salt can increase the health of your skin with the sweet smell of pomegranate. It is a scrub that is formulated to emulate what you would have in a spa and is intended to make you feel like you just left the spa after use.Read more
This is a pretty gentle option, so it is a great fit for most skin types. The texture may be too rough for some of you, so if you want to go with something really gentle you may want to check out some other options.
In addition to pomegranate, this formulation also contains dead seas salts. These salts are very effective at polishing the skin to brighten your complexion and refresh your look. They also help rid impurities within the skin that adds to the overall improvement of its health. Extra nourishing ingredients like apricot and grapeseed oils, as well as fatty acids and vitamin E, provide deep conditioning for added suppleness to your skin.
Pomegranate is a super-fruit that is chock full of antioxidants that will address free radicals that help to keep skin healthy and nourished. The antioxidants help with the aging process and the toll that it takes on the skin’s appearance.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Differing skin types require differing beauty rand grooming products to be best effective. Additionally, what women are looking for in a product can be very different than that of what men are looking for. Therefore, when you are choosing what will work best for you, if you are a female, there are a ton of options on the market that take your unique needs into consideration. Males, you are not alone out there, plenty of options exist that also tend to your specific needs. Once you have identified what line or brand will work for you, it is time to figure out what your skin type is. The categories you may find yourself in are as follows:
Normal skin: Skin that is balanced and naturally healthy is considered normal.
Dry skin: This skin type can often have a tight feeling and a very dull, flaky appearance. Skin that is dry, lacks moisture because it has less sebum production and fewer lipids to help it keep in moisture.
Oily skin: This skin type will often have very visible and enlarged pores and have a complexion with a shiny look or sheen. The exact opposite of dry skin, sebum production is in overdrive and the process by which it is described is seborrhea.
Combination skin: This is the cross between all skin types that mostly falls within the T-zone and the cheeks.
Depending on the type of skin you have will determine the type of ingredients and products that will be most beneficial for you.
Many of the products we reviewed had similarities in that the ingredients they utilized were high potency, certified organic, and natural. Many did not utilize extra preservatives or harmful chemicals. They tended to be paraben and sulfate free and cruelty-free. They are responsibly formulated and pure in their design. Many have a money back and satisfaction guarantees because the companies that manufacture them stand behind their products and their ingredient mix. Due to the ability to develop sensitivities or for those that have consistently sensitive skin to ingredients, ensuring the products you use are pure and true to form without nasty extras will be very important to the effectiveness of your products and the comfort you will have in using them.
When it comes to product purity, we understand that everyone has different preferences as far as what ingredients they are okay putting on their skin. We steer towards more all-natural products, but we also made sure to include exfoliators for everyone. All of the selection on our list are among the best currently available and they all have different Pros & Cons when compared to the other option on our list. Make sure you take your preferences into consideration when looking at product purity, if it has ingredients you don't like--or if it is missing ingredients you would like it to have--just keep looking, we promise there is something out there for you.
Both the face and the body can benefit from regular exfoliation. In general, a couple times a week is sufficient for most people. The face may need a bit more because the skin on the face is constantly exposed. We wear clothes over most of our body and therefore it is not as affected by the elements and the environment as the face is. A clean, fresh, and bright face can make you feel not only gorgeous but confident. Here are a couple of benefits to adding this process to your beauty routine.:
- Unclog pores, and cleans the daily grime and makeup that trap oil and dirt within and cause irritation
- Expose healthier, younger, and more vibrant skin
- Give vibrancy to lifeless skin
- Slough off dead skin cells
- Message skin, enabling better circulation which improves complexion and health
- Promote the growth of new, healthy skin
- Even out and balanced skin tone that may be uneven due to acne scars or sun damage
- Help alleviate ingrown hairs and reduce bacteria growth
- Allow for a closer, cleaner shave for men who groom facial hair
Expert Interviews & Opinions
A regular routine of skincare that involves exfoliation can address many of our skin woes. Acne is a major one of those ailments. Of course, dull, uneven skin tones can benefit from this process as well.
Reduced elasticity and moisture cause cell build up on the skin which has a look that is dry and flaky. Removing this build up not only provides a younger and healthier look but it also helps to soothe fine lines and keep pores from clogging and becoming irritated.
Other Factors to Consider
Beauty and grooming product can be pricey depending on what they are formulated with. Especially if you have specific needs that need special ingredients you should expect to have a range that is on the pricier end. Often times, you get your product and you are shocked at how small the bottle is compared with the price. However, with most products, a little goes a long way. You can buy a scrub that may come in a smaller size but can last you for months.
It is important to note here that the value of the exfoliator does not specifically refer to how much it costs, or how much or how little of it you get with your purchase. Rather, we encourage to take a look at your skin and figure out exactly what you need first. As you have seen, there is no one size fits all when it comes to an exfoliator so it is important to know what will work for you and what won't. Some of you may be allergic to certain ingredients or certain ones may irritate your skin--so if you see that one the products at the top of the list has those ingredients listed then steer clear from those because those will not bring any value to your life. If you focus on your needs first and foremost, you will have more luck getting a product that you love and works for you--and that you don't mind investing in, no matter what the cost is.
You have to be very careful about the products that you use specifically if you have sensitive skin. This skin type is easily irritated by many varying factors. Skin-care products, temperature, environmental pollutants and toxins, chemicals, allergies, foods, etc. The thing about sensitive skin is that it can be a constant, permanent condition that will exist for you your entire life, or it can be something that just arises time to time due to specific triggers. When the skin’s natural barrier and protective role has been compromised, the moisture is decreased. Less water is obtained in the skin and so the ability for irritants to get to it and cause symptoms and problems is at an all-time high. When skin is actively compromised the ability for anything, including face washes, medicines, or creams applied to it can easily cause difficult irritation.
An important note to make is that when you are going to engage in a routine to polish your skin you should make sure the skin is wet before you begin. If put on dry skin, you can potentially have too much abrasion and that can cause irritation and damage. Exfoliation should be a gentle process of elimination of dead skin cells not a rough and ravaging one. For those products that do not contain physical sloughing agents, and make use of a chemical process just make sure to wash them off if they are not treatments meant to be left on the skin to process.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How can you tell if you have normal skin?
Wouldn’t it be nice to be that person who has the normal, healthy skin? Well if you have the following qualities, then you are probably one of them and cheers to you! Normal skin will have barely visible pores, great blood circulation that results in a soft rosy hue, soft texture, no blemishes, scars or sun damage spots. You will tend to be able to use most any products because your skin is less sensitive.
q: What is the role of sweat and sebum in the skin?
Sebaceous glands that we have in our skin are what produce sebum. The reason we have sebum is that it acts as a natural barrier and form of protection for our skin. When a lack of sebum is produced, our skin becomes dry and open to being afflicted negatively by internal and external elements. When there is too much sebum produced, the skin becomes clogged and oily. The result is inflammation, acne, and redness. The ideal amount of sebum allows for the healthiest skin and complexion. As far as sweat is concerned, this moisture comes from the perspiratory glands. The reason we have perspiratory glands and sweat is to help us maintain ideal body temperatures. Even with sweat, there is an ideal amount that we need to be in balance. If we have too much or too little outside of that ideal amount, our skin’s condition will be affected.
q: What clues can the color of our skin show us?
Ethnicity has an impact on the color of your skin. The amount of melanin you have in addition to the density of your skin not only affects your natural skin tone and color but it also reacts differently to external factors. Issues with pigmentation, inflammation, irritation, and sun damage for instance. Outside of our natural skin color, there are things that the skin will do that can indicate a problem. If there is reddening you may be experiencing irritation. The tone of your color can also be a determining factor as to if you are having circulation issues.
q: What do you need to know when you are exfoliating your body?
In general, you are probably mostly going to be engaging the chest, upper arms, and back. Outside of the face which we know is constantly exposed to the elements, these parts of the body are going to be the next most exposed and therefore most in need of extra attention. You will want to use a naturally growing sponge that can also come in the form of a brush or in the form of gloves. Just as you would do with your facial skin, gently, and lightly use a circular motion to slough off the dead skin cells and expose healthier, smoother skin underneath. The added bonus of working on the body is that you get improved full body circulation.
q: What is the Fitzpatrick Scale?
For all you ladies, you know how difficult it can be to figure out what exact tone your skin is in order to pick the right makeup so you can have a seamless and flawless look when you get ready for your day. The Fitzpatrick scale is a classification system that was developed in 1975 and it describes the amount of pigment in your skin. It also helps you identify your skin’s behavior when it is exposed to the sun, and what risk factors you should consider. It can help you understand if you have a complexion that is at a higher risk of damage and cancer. The reason this is so important is not necessarily to help you find the right foundation, it is to help you figure out the safest beauty routine that you can engage in and what products you should use to protect the largest organ in your body, and that is the skin. For instance, those with very light skin who freckle easily will be considered at a higher risk in the sun than those with darker complexions. No matter what your level of pigmentation is, everyone will benefit from wearing SPF on their skin and on their lips, as well as using sunglasses to protect the eyes. If you are at an increased risk for cancer, you should also consider having regular cancer screenings with your healthcare professional.