Beauty Skincare The 15 Best Body Scrubs for Silky Soft Skin Necessaire The Body Exfoliator was a smooth operator. By Anneke Knot Anneke Knot Instagram Anneke Knot is a freelance fashion and beauty writer with over six years of experience. Before freelancing, she spent four years on the beauty team at Health and Real Simple magazines. Now, her work can be found in publications like People, Allure, The Strategist, Forbes, Byrdie, and more. InStyle's editorial guidelines Updated on January 17, 2023 @ 04:42PM Pin Share Tweet Email We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. Sephora Your skincare routine is likely on auto pilot at this point: Cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate, repeat. Consistency is key for glowing skin. The same goes for your skin below the chin. In other words, a quick rinse in the shower isn't going to cut it. Small steps like regular exfoliation make a big difference in the overall appearance of your skin. We are looking at you, bumps and blemishes. New York-based board certified dermatologist, Joshua Zeichner M.D., recommends routinely scrubbing down skin to boost brilliance and luminosity. As temperatures get higher, sleeves and hemlines are getting shorter. If you've been slacking on your exfoliation, now is the time to incorporate a gritty scrub into your routine. Spoiler alert: Necessaire The Body Exfoliator won best overall for its smooth results and sophisticated scents. Read on to discover the best body scrubs to keep your skin glowing year round. Our Picks Best Overall: Necessaire The Body Exfoliator Best Value: Dove Exfoliating Body Polish Best Splurge: C & the Moon The Detox Scrub Best Scented: Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Body Scrub Best Unscented: Hand in Hand Sugar Body Scrub Best Clean: Drunk Elephant Sugared Koffee Almond Milk Scrub Best Dual Exfoliant: Tula Take Care + Polish Revitalize & Cleanse Body Exfoliator Best for Sensitive Skin: Biossance Squalane + Enzyme Sugar Body Scrub Best for Acne: SMLD Skincare Glycolic Acid Body Scrub Best for Bumps: First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser with 10% AHA Best Overall: Necessaire The Body Exfoliator Courtesy Buy on Nordstrom Buy on Sephora Buy on Violet Grey What We Love: The sleek, squeeze bottle packaging is easy to use and looks nice in your shower stall. What We Don't: The ultra fine beads sometimes get left behind in between your skin's folds. A longtime editor and it-girl favorite (Gwyneth Paltrow and Rosie Huntington Whitely are notable fans of the brand), this unisex exfoliant offers something for everyone. You may recognize the minimal packaging from your cool friend's Insta stories, but this scrub earned the top spot in our lineup for more than just shower shelfies. Gentle but effective bamboo beads slough off the dead stuff without irritating delicate skin types, and for good measure, powerful AHAs eat away at the stuff the beads miss. Just make sure to rinse thoroughly. With bamboo so fine, it's easy for pieces to get left behind. To top it off, the spa-like scents have the power to transport you somewhere far away when mixed with shower steam. Scent not your thing? Necessaire also offers a fragrance-free option. Price at time of publish: $30 Size: 6.1 oz | Scented: Scented and unscented options available | Exfoliant: Bamboo + Charcoal Best Value: Dove Exfoliating Body Polish Courtesy Buy on Amazon Buy on Target What We Love: This pick gives you a large quantity of product at an affordable price. What We Don't: While the microbeads help do away with dead skin, they aren't the most environmentally friendly option. Available in a variety of comforting scents like Crushed Macadamia and Rice Milk and Pomegranate Seed and Shea Butter, these scoopable scrubs feel more like a decadent dessert than a personal care product. We recommend using before bed for an approachable yet relaxing self-care moment. With over 10 oz. per jar available for $7, this exfoliator offers the most bang for your buck. Price at time of publish: $7 Size: 10.5 oz. | Scented: Yes | Exfoliant: Microbeads Best Splurge: C and The Moon The Detox Scrub Courtesy Buy on Candthemoon.com Buy on The Detox Market Buy on Violet Grey What We Love: Made with ingredients you've actually heard of, like brown sugar, coconut, and almond oils, you can feel good about lathering up. What We Don't: The cookie-like scent might be too sweet for some. C and The Moon founder, Carson Meyer, is no stranger to whipping up beauty concoctions in her kitchen. Named after environmentalist and ecologist, Rachel Carson, Meyer has always been wary of the ingredients in traditional personal care products, so she started making her own with sustainability and pure ingredients at the product's core. Need more convincing? Kim Kardashian is a longtime friend of the brand. Chunky brown sugar removes dead cells on the top layer of your skin while coconut and sweet almond oil seal in skin's moisture. The cherry (or shall we say cookie) on top is the snickerdoodle-like scent. Don't sniff on an empty stomach. Price at time of publish: $64 Size: 4-12 oz. | Scented: Yes | Exfoliant: Brown Sugar Best Scented: Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Body Scrub Sephora Buy on Sephora Buy on Revolve Buy on Spacenk.com What We Love: Laced with guarana, which has five times the amount of caffeine as coffee, it boosts circulation to smooth skin. What We Don't: $42 is a pretty steep price to pay for a rinse-off body product. You've likely heard of the Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Cream. Now, meet its partner in crime. Inspired by the sun-soaked beaches of Rio, the finely milled sugar feels reminiscent of damp sand stuck to the skin. You'll come for the crushed cupuacu seeds and the juicy coconut oil, but you'll stay for the intoxicating notes of salted caramel, vanilla, and pistachio. Price at time of publish: $42 Size: 7.8 oz. | Scented: Yes | Exfoliant: Sugar Best Unscented: Hand in Hand Sugar Body Scrub RiteAid Buy on CVS Buy on Handinhandsoap.com Buy on Riteaid.com What We Love: For every purchase, Hand in Hand donates soap and clean water to children in need. What We Don't: The naturally derived sugar provides a gentle exfoliation, but it dissolves super quickly. When founders Bill Glaab and Courtney Apple learned that millions of children were dying of water related causes, they developed Hand in Hand, which gives back a bar of soap and clean water for every purchase made from the brand. Since 2011, the brand has donated over 17 million bars of soap and 18 million gallons of water. Not only does the brand have a world changing mission, but it also only uses Fair Trade ingredients like the sustainably sourced sunflower seed oil and organic coconut oil. All while offering products at a fair price. The scrub features extra fine sugar, 97% naturally derived ingredients, and has a fragrance-free version for those sensitive to scents. Price at time of publish: $10 Size: 6 oz. | Scented: No (scented option available) | Exfoliant: Sugar Best Clean: Drunk Elephant Sugared Koffee Almond Milk Scrub Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Sephora Buy on Ulta What We Love: A splash of almond milk ensures this chunky polish soothes after scrubbing. What We Don't: It takes a minute for this product to warm up, so upon first scoop, you may have to do some digging. Just because this exfoliator doesn't contain added fragrance or essential oils doesn't mean it smells like sour milk. Coffee seed oil, raw sugar, and almond milk blend together to fight free radicals, mildly buff, and then soothe the skin to prevent redness. Plus, the subtly sweet natural scent, which smells just like a cup of java, comes from the raw ingredients rather than artificial sources. Price at time of publish: $28 Size: 9 oz. | Scented: Yes | Exfoliant: Sugar Best Dual Exfoliant: Tula Take Care + Polish Revitalize & Cleanse Body Exfoliator Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Ulta Buy on Tula.com What We Love: The peachy pink syrup scrubs without scraping and never leaves a chalky film behind on the body. What We Don't: The sweet hibiscus scent comes on a little too strong when buffing. Not all exfoliators are created equal: Some are physical scrubs and others are chemical creams. No matter what you choose, they serve different purposes. "Exfoliants are physical granules that separate dead cells from the surface of the skin," explains Dr. Zeichner. "While chemical exfoliants dissolve connections between skin cells so they can more easily be shed." This 3-in-1 scrub offers the best of both worlds. Glycolic, lactic, and malic acid blend together to unglue dead cells, while lemon peel powder and cherry seeds slough them off. Price at time of publish: $34 Size: 7.8 oz. | Scented: Yes | Exfoliant: AHA's, cherry seed and lemon peel Powder Best for Sensitive Skin: Biossance Squalane + Enzyme Sugar Body Scrub Sephora Buy on Amazon Buy on Sephora Buy on Biossance.com What We Love: After using, skin feels silky—never sticky. What We Don't: The sugar exfoliant gently sloughs, but it can dissolve quickly. Thicker scrubs can sometimes cause irritation for sensitive skin types. This offering from Biossance uses gentle yet effective exfoliators for a deep clean that doesn't jeopardize skin. The sugars dissolve as you rub in (albeit a little too quickly for our liking) to prevent over-exfoliation, and pomegranate enzymes (which are gentler than AHAs) work on everything the sugar misses. Plus, the tube is made out of ocean bound plastic, making this product gentle on both skin and the earth. Price at time of publish: $28 Size: 6.76 oz. | Scented: Yes | Exfoliant: Sugar Best for Acne: SMLD Skincare Glycolic Acid Body Scrub SMLD Skincare Buy on Slmdskincare.com What We Love: Created by the queen of pimple popping, Dr. Sandra Lee, this scrub banishes blemishes. What We Don't: The glycolic acid may be too harsh for sensitive skin types. Say goodbye to bumps and blemishes. Created by Dr. Sandra Lee, better known as The Pimple Popper, this 2-in-1 scrub uses small, self-dissolving granules as the physical exfoliant and a blend of glycolic acid and lactic acid to unclog backed up pores. The good news? This strong scrub frees up even the most stubborn ingrown hairs or blackheads. The better news? If you focus extra on dry patches, it'll result in better product penetration for anything you apply afterward. Price at time of publish: $35 Size: 6 oz. | Scented: Yes | Exfoliant: Self dissolving granules, glycolic and lactic acid Best for Bumps: First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser with 10% AHA Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Sephora Buy on Ulta What We Love: Bumps, keratosis pilaris, and ingrown hairs begone with this classic scrub. What We Don't: This scrub should soothe, not scratch, but for some 10% AHA can be hard to take. KP, or Keratosis Pilaris, is a very common skin condition that causes small, acne-like bumps most commonly found on the arms and thighs. It happens when a build up of keratin blocks hair follicles. While there is no cure-all treatment, dermatologists agree that regular exfoliation helps smooth things out. To free up your follicles, lather up a dollop of this InStyle editor fave. Armed with 10% glycolic and lactic acid plus pumice buffing beads, this powerful scrub loosens the top layer of skin and keeps your pores free and clear. Price at time of publish: $30 Size: 8 oz. | Scented: No | Exfoliant: Pumice buffing beads Best Multitasker: Ouai Cleansing Scalp and Body Scrub Sephora Buy on Target Buy on Sephora Buy on Ulta What We Love: Not only does this gritty goop fight flakes on your scalp and skin, it also won't jeopardize your dye job. What We Don't: If you use too much, fishing sugar out of your strands can be tedious. While it requires a little investment upfront, this sugary scrub offers 2 for the price of 1. Not only does it fight flakes on your body, it also stops them on your scalp. Sugar crystals offer soft exfoliation and promote circulation while skin soothers like glycerin and coconut oil nourish and pamper your complexion. We recommend massaging at the roots to break down oil and debris, before rinsing clean. Our favorite part is the fragrance: rose, bergamot, with a hint of white musk linger to double as a perfume. Price at time of publish: $38 Size: 8.8 oz. | Scented: Yes | Exfoliant: Sugar Best for Feet: The Body Shop Peppermint Reviving Foot Scrub Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Thebodyshop.com What We Love: The English peppermint essence wakes you up as soon as you unscrew the lid. What We Don't: The cooling, tingly sensation may not be everyone's cup of tea. Warm weather brings sandal season and if you don't have time to get a rub down by the professionals, try out this tantalizingly tingler from The Body Shop. Peppermint essence makes skin tingle without tickling, while crushed volcanic rock buffs away buildup. Afterwards, lather on a body lotion for hydrated, happy feet. Pro tip: pour warm water into a bowl and grab your favorite polish for an at-home salon experience. Price at time of publish: $14 Size: 3.45 oz. | Scented: Yes | Exfoliant: Volcanic rock granules Best Natural: Asutra Vitamin C Body Scrub Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Asutra.com Buy on IHerb What We Love: The hero ingredient, vitamin C, helps brighten and even skin tone. What We Don't: The goop can get a little soupy between uses. Make sure to stir with the wooden spoon (don't worry - it's included) for a thicker texture. Calling all clump lovers: if ultra fine sugars and baby sized beads are not cutting it, give this gritty goop a try. Made with familiar ingredients, the chunky himalayan salt buffs off old skin cells, while nourishing jojoba, argan, and sweet almond oils hydrate, but our favorite part is the vitamin C. The powerful brightener targets areas with excess pigmentation to diminish dark spots. Not to mention, the citrus scent offers an uplifting AM pick me up for morning shower takers. Price at time of publish: $22 Size: 12 oz. | Scented: Yes (unscented option available) | Exfoliant: Himalayan sea salt Best Sustainable: Osea Salts of the Earth Body Scrub Nordstroms Buy on Nordstrom Buy on Credo Beauty Buy on Ulta What We Love: This is proof that "green beauty" doesn't have to be crunchy: this spa-like scrub makes your skin feel soft and smooth. What We Don't: We love the eco-friendly mission, but we wish the price point was more accessible. Nowadays, creating a sustainable beauty brand is table stakes. It's expected, and far too often, it's all show and no go. OSEA began in 1996 with a love for the ocean, pure ingredients, and sustainable practices, and it has not wavered since. Now, a carbon neutral company, the brand continues to advocate for better beauty practices industry wide. Rub the salty scrub in circular motions over rough areas to see the biggest results. Mineral-rich salts lay a smooth foundation, and then, wild seaweed moisturizes for a glistening glow. We like to use a little on our hands too for a mini manicure moment. Price at time of publish: $48 Size: 12 oz. | Scented: No | Exfoliant: Mineral salts Best Foaming: Lather Bamboo Lemongrass Foaming Body Scrub iherb Buy on IHerb Buy on QVC What We Love: It doubles as a daily body wash when used correctly. What We Don't: The lemongrass scent can be overpowering. Foam doesn't necessarily mean that a product is cleaning any better than one that has no lather. And we love Lather and no lather equally. This all natural 2-in-1 cleanses as it polishes away dead skin cells, creating satisfying little bubbles along the way. The massaging action creates a delicate foam. This gentle sudser can be used a few times a week as your body wash and exfoliator, if your skin can tolerate that level of exfoliation. Price at time of publish: $22 Size: 8 oz. | Scented: Yes | Exfoliant: Powdered bamboo What to Keep in Mind Type of Exfoliator The great debate among exfoliators is between chemical and physical formulas. "Physical exfoliants physically separate dead cells from the surface of the skin," explains Dr. Zeichner, "Chemical exfoliants dissolve connections between skin cells so they more easily can be shed." So which one should you use and when? Dr. Zeichner recommends a physical exfoliant on common areas like your torso, thighs, or arms and a chemical formula on tougher areas. "If you have very thick skin on areas like the elbows, knees, and feet, chemical exfoliators can give a better benefit," says Dr. Zeichner. "The manual exfoliating washes are not enough. If you're going to use manual exfoliation in those areas, you really need something more significant like a pumice stone or sanding device." Scent The scent of body scrub is based purely on preference. Some products are laced with essential oils for a more natural, spa-like scent, and others include ingredients like vanilla or brown sugar for a sweeter smell. While the product's scent is your choice, those with sensitive skin may want to look for fragrance free options as added scent can cause irritation or redness. Your Questions, Answered Why do I need a body scrub? Exfoliation is necessary for boosting skin's appearance and overall skin health. "Body scrubs help remove dead cells from the surface of the skin to improve texture and radiance," says Dr. Zeichner, "As dead cells build up on the skin, light cannot reflect as well which leads to dullness. The skin can become dry or and flaky or even develop cracks in areas of thick skin, like the soles of the feet." A body scrub can also help to unclog pores, fight breakouts, and prevent ingrown hairs. Smooth skin that doesn't have built up oil or dead skin cells is also better able to absorb whatever products you apply next—like lotions or body oils. How often should I use a body scrub? The amount you exfoliate can vary from person to person, but Zenovia Gabriel, M.D., a New York-based board certified dermatologist, recommends limiting it to around three times per week. Dr. Zeichner advises starting at twice weekly and seeing if your skin can tolerate it. "It takes about two weeks for baby cells to make their way to the surface of the skin from the deeper levels. It then takes even more time for those cells to build up to the point that they lead to dullness. So exfoliating every day is really not necessary and may do more harm than good." To avoid irritation when exfoliating, Dr. Zenovia also suggests avoiding any known skin aggressors. Glycolic and lactic acid should be avoided on open skin—like cuts and razor burn, which can cause a burning sensation, she says. If you notice an excess of redness or irritation after exfoliating, give your skin a break and try a gentler formula.