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A woman wrapped in towels with body scrub in the shape of a heart on her back.

What Are Body Scrubs: Finding the Best for You

You don’t need to spend a fortune at the salon to get a spa-like experience. You can bring the spa sensations home with products like body scrubs.

Designed to exfoliate, smooth, and hydrate your skin, body scrubs provide a seriously exhilarating experience that can lift your spirits, invigorate your senses, and renew your skin. 

We’ve got your guide to the best (and, of course, the kindest) body scrubs you need right now.

What is a body scrub?

A body scrub is like a shower gel with grit. Think of it like a body wash designed to do a little more than just clean your parts. Body scrubs work to lift away dead skin cells, polish your skin, smooth over rough patches (think knees and elbows), and give you a shower experience that will definitely have you running out of hot water. 

There are several different types of body scrubs, based on their ingredients. 

What are the different types of body scrubs?

You can find a body scrub with practically any mix of ingredients you want, but here are the top five most common exfoliants available. 

1. Sugar scrubs

Sugar scrubs contain granules of sugar (the exact same kind you stir in your coffee) to gently exfoliate your skin and smooth away dead skin cells. Sugar scrubs are ideal for most skin types because they are generally well-tolerated and don’t cause irritation. 

Make sure you never use a sugar scrub on your face. The granules are too large and can be irritating to delicate facial skin. 

Two sugar scrubs we love:

  • Beauty Kitchen’s Honeysuckle Gardenia Sugar Scrub. This formula is perfect for all skin types, smells impressive, polishes skin, and contains essential oils to help remove dead skin cells.

    Pro tip: Try using this sugar scrub before you shave on your most sensitive areas.
  • Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose Body Polish. Best for dry skin but safe for all skin types, this scrub is formulated with coconut oil to help deeply hydrate the skin while you exfoliate and polish.
     
    Formulated to eliminate dryness and dullness, you’ll love the coconut and rose scent and probably end up using it daily. 

2. Salt scrubs

Salt scrubs work the same way sugar scrubs do, but by using salt granules instead of sugar. Salt scrubs are generally more abrasive than sugar scrubs because the salt granules are larger. Salt scrubs are usually made from sea salt or Epsom salt. 

Because they can be more abrasive, you’ll want to avoid them if you have super sensitive skin or you plan to use your scrub daily. 

Two we love:

  • J&L Naturals Salt Scrub. Good for all skin types, this natural salt scrub is made with hydrating coconut oil and healing Epsom salt to help keep skin clean and hydrated and to gently remove dead skin cells while it works. 

    We love that this salt scrub also contains olive oil and is a zero-waste product, right down to the packaging, which is recyclable, compostable, and made from recycled paper.  
  • Cuccio Somatology Chill Peppermint Cooling Body Scrub. Gently exfoliates without drying your skin or leaving you salty, this scrub leaves a cool, tingly sensation that makes it ideal for use after a workout on sore muscles or when you just need to chill out.

    This deeply hydrating scrub is formulated with Epsom salt and seaweed extract and helps keep skin of all types moisturized and clear of unwanted dead skin cells.

3. Coffee scrubs

Coffee scrubs offer the same type of exfoliation and skin polishing that both sugar and salt scrubs do, but they’re also thought to help lessen the appearance of cellulite. 

Coffee scrubs contain caffeine, which can dilate blood vessels, resulting in the skin appearing tighter and visibly reducing the appearance of cellulite. These scrubs help drain your lymph nodes helping your skin look smoother.

Beyond giving you baby-soft skin, the fresh coffee aroma definitely has our vote for the best morning, get-you-going shower product. 

One we love:

  • The Dirty Lamb Mint Coffee Scrub. Not only does this scrub smell like mint coffee ice cream, but the pure Arabica coffee grinds also help drain the lymphatic system, reducing the appearance of cellulite and keeping your skin looking smooth and tight. 

    Formulated with mint and leaves, this scrub is a good match for users with combination or oily skin. 

4. Herbal scrubs

You can always opt to go the DIY route and make a scrub yourself, but be warned: it’s pretty tricky to get ingredient measurements precise, and you can end up with a scrub that actually irritates your skin instead of nourishing it. 

It’s especially important to be mindful of ingredients and their purity when you’re making an herbal scrub. Herbal scrubs contain plant parts, seeds, bark, or other extracts that can cause allergic reactions in some users. Why risk exposure to ingredients that might not work for you when you can use premade scrubs that are more effective and are made precisely to work for your specific skin type?

Play it safe and stick to scrubs from clean, cruelty-free brands you can trust to deliver products that are safe for your skin, animals, and the environment. 

5. Moisturizing scrubs

If you’re looking for a scrub that hydrates while it exfoliates, look no further. Moisturizing scrubs can be found with sugar, coffee, or salt granules, but they’ll also include a number of moisturizing ingredients that are excellent for delivering deep hydration to dry skin types. 

One we love: 

  • Sukin Naturals Detoxifying Facial Scrub. Gentle enough for the skin on your face but powerful enough to deliver serious exfoliation and deep hydration. Normal to dry skin types love this herbal formula that uses jojoba and bamboo beads to gently polish the skin. 

What are the benefits of body scrubs?

No matter what type of body scrub you pick, you’ll love the addition of body scrub in your skincare routine. Here's what you’ll get in terms of benefits. 

Promoting circulation

Body scrubs are good for helping encourage proper circulation. By increasing blood flow to the skin, you’ll also improve lymphatic drainage, which can help detoxify the skin and encourage it to look and feel smoother. 

Removing dead skin cells

It goes without saying a body scrub will exfoliate your skin. The granules help gently lift dead skin cells from the surface of your skin and wash them away to reveal newer, more radiant skin.

Smoothing razor bumps and ingrown hairs

It might just be our favorite reason for using body scrubs. By exfoliating your skin, you’ll get a cleaner, closer shave, and you’ll likely experience less razor burn and ingrown hairs. If you’re prone to those annoying bumps after shaving, the right scrub can seriously improve your experience. Trust us. 

Softening dry skin

Many body scrubs contain hydrating oils and nourishing plant extracts that keep your skin super soft and incredibly silky. Using a hydrating body scrub can help keep your skin moisturized in the shower, helping to prevent moisture loss while you cleanse. 

Which body scrubs are right for me?

Here’s how to know which scrubs work best for your skin. 

Oily skin

Coffee scrubs work well for oily skin, as well as any scrub that contains mint, witch hazel, and even honey. These ingredients help keep oily skin calm and prevent you from overproducing oil. 

Dry skin

Dry skin craves moisture, and you won’t find a more effective moisturizer than coconut oil. Coconut oil deeply hydrates and acts as a protective barrier against moisture loss. 

Combination skin

For skin that has multiple personalities, opt for salt scrubs that contain gentle essential oils and less fragrance. The oils can help balance moisture, and the salt is generally well-tolerated by most skin types. 

Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin loves a good sugar scrub. Fantastic for keeping sensitive skin calm and happy, the inclusion of aloe and coconut oil is also helpful for banishing skin sensitivity and combating dryness.

Smooth like butter with a body scrub

Take your at-home spa experience to the next level with a body scrub specially formulated to work with your skin and deliver amazing results. The first step is to make sure your body scrub is kind to your body, animals, and the environment. 

The Kinder Beauty Blog won’t scrub you the wrong way (we tried). We’ve got all the up-to-date information to keep you in the know about products that work and never involve animals. 

Sign up for your Kinder Beauty Box today.

 

Sources:

In vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of Virgin coconut oil | NCBI 

Skincare Bootcamp: The Evolving Role of Skincare | NCBI 

Dry skin | Medline Plus.gov