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Which body scrub is best?

Dealing with dry, itchy skin is never fun, but it can be particularly frustrating when even the richest body cream can’t help. This usually means your skin needs some serious exfoliation, and body scrub is up to the task. It removes the top layer of dead cells to reveal fresh, smooth skin underneath that can absorb moisture more easily. A good scrub doesn’t just exfoliate — it can also hydrate the skin and even treat acne, depending on the formula you choose.

Having trouble choosing the right scrub? Check out our buying guide for all the tips you need to find the best body scrub for your shower. We’ve also included several specific product recommendations, such as our top choice from Caudalie, which works for all skin types and contains all-natural ingredients like grapeseeds.

Considerations when choosing a body scrub

Scrub type

You can choose from three main types of body scrubs, which use different abrasive materials to exfoliate the skin.

Sugar body scrubs are suitable for nearly any skin type. They’re not as abrasive as other scrubs, so they aren’t as likely to irritate the skin. Sugar also contains natural glycolic acid, which works as a chemical exfoliant to help get rid of even more dead skin.

Salt body scrubs work well for dehydrated, rough skin because they feature sea salt, which has larger particles for more intense exfoliation. This makes salt scrub a poor choice for sensitive skin because it can cause irritation. Though salt scrubs are thought to help draw impurities out of the skin, they can also have a drying effect.

Coffee body scrubs contain coffee grounds to exfoliate the skin. They aren’t as abrasive as sugar or salt, so they’re a good option if you want a gentle formula. They contain caffeine and antioxidants for other benefits. Caffeine helps tighten the skin to reduce the appearance of cellulite, while antioxidants can counter free radical damage for younger-looking skin.

Best body scrub features


Besides the abrasive material it contains, a body scrub features other ingredients that make up its base. Here are some common ones:

  • Coconut oil works as an intensive moisturizer, helping a scrub soften and hydrate the skin.
  • Olive oil contains antioxidants that are good for the skin and hydrates effectively as well.
  • Shea butter is a fairly rich emollient that helps moisturize and even forms a barrier to prevent moisture loss.
  • Oatmeal is ideal for sensitive or irritated skin as it helps soothe redness and itching. It also helps moisturize and fortify the skin’s protective barrier.
  • Salicylic acid is an ingredient that can help fight acne. It also works as a chemical exfoliant and can clean deep within the pores.


Many thick body scrubs come in a tub, which can get messy since you have to use your fingers to scoop out the scrub. Thinner scrubs often come in a squeeze tube, so you don’t have to worry about a mess or bacteria getting inside the container.


Many people prefer body scrubs with a pleasant scent, but you’re better off choosing a formula that uses natural fragrances rather than synthetic. Those scented with artificial fragrances can cause irritation for sensitive skin, leading to more dryness and itching.

Body scrub price

For a basic body scrub that uses salt or coarse sugar, expect to pay $4-$18. If you want a finer scrub with sugar or coffee grounds that exfoliates more gently and hydrates the skin, you can spend $13-$36. For an extra-fine, sugar-based body scrub with hydrating ingredients, you can pay $36-$60.

Body scrub FAQ

Q. How often should I use a body scrub?

A. Gentle coffee or sugar-based scrubs can usually be used two to three times a week. If you’re using a salt or coarse sugar scrub, stick to just once a week to avoid irritating your skin.       

Q. Can I use a body scrub on my face?

A. You should never use a body scrub to exfoliate your face. Facial skin is much more fragile than the skin on your body, so a body scrub can severely irritate it.

Body scrubs we recommend

Best of the best

Caudalie’s Crushed Cabernet Scrub

Caudalie’s Crushed Cabernet Scrub

Our take: A luxurious, hydrating body scrub that’s popular with wine lovers and anyone wanting a spa-quality formula.

What we like: Works well for every skin type but is especially effective for dehydrated skin. Contains natural ingredients such as grapeseed to exfoliate the skin. Has a pleasant woodsy fragrance with just a hint of citrus.

What we dislike: Pricier than other scrubs, especially for the amount of product you get.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

Best bang for your buck

Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bod Buff Smoothing Scrub ‘N’ Mask

Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bod Buff Smoothing Scrub ‘N’ Mask

Our take: A highly effective scrub that does double duty as a detoxifying mask.

What we like: Features crushed Brazilian quartz to exfoliate the skin. Also contains Amazon River clay and tropical volcanic pumice. Ideal for anyone who spends time on the beach.

What we dislike: Has a bright yellow color that’s off-putting to some users.

Where to buy: Sold by Dermstore

Worth checking out

Clinique’s Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliator

Clinique’s Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliator

Our take: A gel-based body scrub that offers a refreshing feel and helps brighten and soften the skin.

What we like: Contains fine grains to gently buff away dry, uneven skin. Formula is lightweight and gentle enough for daily use. Doesn’t contain any fragrance, parabens, or phthalates.

What we dislike: Grains are so fine that it might not be effective for extremely dry skin.

Where to buy: Sold by Saks Fifth Avenue


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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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