This is your year to get glowing skin, and one of the best ways to do so is by incorporating a face scrub into your skincare routine! Not sure which products to trust? Start with this list of the 19 best face scrubs for glowing skin.
What’s the Difference Between a Face Wash and Face Scrub?
A face wash is a simple cleanser that cleans your pores and restores nutrients and moisture to your face, while a face scrub is an exfoliating product that works hard to rid your pores of buildup and remove dead skin cells. Typically face washes have a creamy or gel-like texture while face scrubs tend to be gritty.
There are two kinds of exfoliating agents included in face scrubs: physical exfoliators and chemical exfoliators. Physical exfoliators work by using their rough texture to buff off dead skin cells while chemical exfoliators target the bonds that keep dead skin on your face and help them dissolve and fall off.
How Do You Use a Face Scrub?
Because face scrubs can irritate sensitive skin with their physical exfoliants, it’s best to use a face scrub around two times a week in place of your regular cleanser. That way, you can reap all the benefits of exfoliation without any of the downsides.
If you tolerate your face scrub well, you can use it as often as four times a week. Simply apply some to wet skin and massage it gently for around thirty seconds, then rinse it off. Always follow your face scrub with moisturizer to ensure you stave off dryness.
What to Look for in a Face Scrub
The kind of face scrub you choose should depend on your skin type. Here’s what to look for based on the kind of skin you have:
Normal Skin: If you have normal skin, the key is to improve your complexion without disrupting the balance you already possess. You’ll want to skip scrubs that contain harsh physical exfoliants — like fruit seeds— and opt for ones with gentler exfoliants that also contain other nutrients.
Dry Skin: Exfoliation is important for people with dry skin, as it will help reduce flaking and allow moisturizers to penetrate deeper into your skin. If you tend to be dry, go for a face scrub with a cream texture or moisturizing ingredients that will hydrate your skin before you get your moisturizer out.
Oily Skin: Acids like lactic acid or salicylic acid work great on oily skin as they release dead skin cells while cutting down on oil production. You may also want to look for products with fruit extracts like papaya enzymes to help slow sebum production while scrubbing away dirt and buildup.
Combination Skin: Combination skin has patches of dryness and oily areas, so you’ll probably want to go for a scrub that’s also suitable for normal skin. That way, you’ll get benefits from exfoliation without adding too much moisture or drying your skin out.
Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skin may not react well to face scrubs with physical exfoliants. Instead opt for gentler alternatives with chemical exfoliants. Look for clean formulas with ingredients like aloe vera, which helps to soothe irritation and swelling. Glycolic acid is also your friend!
1. Blu Atlas Exfoliating Scrub
Glowing skin is often hidden just beneath the surface, and you need an exfoliating scrub like this one from Blu Atlas to uncover it. We really can’t rave enough about this particular face scrub — everything from the ingredients to the scent, results, and overall experience is just top-notch.
It all starts with the highest quality, naturally-derived ingredients that Blu Atlas has included in their scrub. This includes the genius addition of hibiscus flower extract that delivers antioxidants to combat free radical damage, the nutrient-dense jojoba oil that moisturizes while reining in sebum production, and bamboo that cuts down on inflammation, bacteria, and harmful microbes to soothe and brighten your complexion.
Jojoba beads are the physical exfoliants included in this scrub, powerful enough to buff all that dead skin away but gentle enough to help you avoid irritation. Once your pores are clear, nourishing and moisturizing ingredients are free to penetrate deep down for lasting effects. If this scrub’s results don’t speak for themselves, the dozens of five-star reviews sure will!
2. SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub
Those with dry, normal, and oily skin types will benefit the most from this Micro-Exfoliating Scrub from SkinCeuticals. It is formulated to polish away dead skin cells to reveal clean skin underneath. It does so thanks to a blend of hydrated silica — a natural mineral that gets rid of excess dirt and oil on the face — aloe leaf extract for its soothing properties, and glycerin to seal in hydration.
Lots of positive reviews point to this as a great option for those looking for a deep clean. However, it can irritate sensitive skin. If you tend to react strongly to harsh skincare products, it’s best to do a spot test with this scrub before committing. In any case, you should only use it a few times each week to reap the benefits without putting your skin through the wringer.
3. Acure Brightening Facial Scrub
Acure has created one of the best face scrubs for glowing skin with this straightforward and effective vegan formula. It’s spiked with ingredients like French green clay for exfoliating, clarifying, and tightening pores, and chlorella to stimulate collagen production and ward off sun damage. Lemon peel is another natural exfoliator in this blend, allowing ingredients like sage leaf, antioxidant blackberry, and hydrating aloe vera to seep in deep.
Above all, Acure’s Brightening Facial Scrub is praised for its ability to cut through impurities and makeup for a satisfying clean and long-lasting matte complexion. Many of its users claim that this is the only scrub they’ve ever used and ever will need — that’s how good it is!
4. Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant
One benefit of using a powder cleanser is that it transforms into a paste upon contact with water, creating a gentle, spa-like exfoliating experience. That’s what you get with this cult favorite Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant. The luxurious skin-buffing experience begins as the rice-made powder softens when wet, delivering clarifying papain enzymes to the skin along with acne-killing salicylic acid and rice enzymes to whip skin into shape in no time.
Colloidal oatmeal is another important ingredient in this formula, exfoliating while getting ahead of any irritation. Then tea tree oil busts harmful microbes and inflammation, ginkgo biloba jumpstarts cell metabolism, and licorice root brightens skin. The result is your best skin yet!
5. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate
You’ll have to shell out quite a bit for the privilege of using Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate, but the product is worth the price. This high-end scrub takes advantage of several powerful exfoliants to ensure that every last bit of dead skin and grime is lifted from your face, while also treating your skin to nourishment in the form of important vitamins and antioxidants.
Lactic acid, silica, and salicylic acid work with papaya, pumpkin, and pineapple enzymes to scrub impurities from your pores. Once those ingredients have cleaned house, natural powerhouses like honey, aloe vera, vitamin E, rosewood, and cinnamon are clear to sink in, helping your skin to soften and fading the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Pro tip: massage this gently into your face at the end of your shower after the steam has had a chance to open up pores and make them more receptive to all the goodies this scrub contains.
6. St. Ives Fresh Skin Scrub Apricot
If you’re looking for the best face scrub for glowing skin while on a tight budget, St. Ives has got the solution for you. This drugstore favorite formula digs in deep to eliminate dead skin cells and shrink pores, leaving a pleasant scent behind. Because of its hearty formula full of abrasive physical exfoliants, Fresh Skin Scrub may not be a great choice for those with sensitive skin.
For those whose skin can put up with some aggressive cleaning, however, this is a fantastic option! Walnut shell powder and corn kernel meal get to work on those outer layers of skin, then glycerin and apricot fruit extract moisturize and encourage skin elasticity to help calm inflammation.
7. Simple Smoothing Facial Scrub
Remember the era of microbead cleansers, those exfoliators that worked magic on your skin but damaged the environment? Simple’s formula ushers in a new era of similar products that are more eco-conscious thanks to its blend of silica particles and rice powder that get to work on dead skin cells.
Few exfoliators are safe for those of us with sensitive skin, but this is one of them! Anthemis nobilis flower oil heads off irritation while panthenol moisturizes and vegetable oil from the pelargonium graveolens flower balances out sebum production to rein in oily or combination skin. This is a great, affordable product for all skin types.
8. Tula So Poreless Deep Exfoliating Blackhead Scrub
Looking for a mild wash that can help wash your pore woes away? Try Tula’s So Poreless formula. This purifying cleanser uses potent ingredients like volcanic sand, pink salt, lactic acid, and witch hazel to rid your face of dead skin and suck impurities from your pores. Satisfying exfoliation is paired with deep nourishment to leave your skin soft and glowing.
Probiotic extracts are an important addition to the formula, balancing the skin’s microbiome to contribute to a clearer and smoother complexion. Another benefit of this particular cocktail of skin-nourishing ingredients is that it’s free from harmful additives like parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances.
It’s thanks to this combination of factors that this scrub has performed so well in clinical trials — 90% of participants claimed this product encouraged a healthy glow, while 96% saw improvements to their skin texture.
9. Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub
If you have sensitive skin and are looking for a mild scrub that cleans without being abrasive, Cetaphil’s Extra Gentle Daily Scrub is a great choice. It works best on oily and combination skin, providing an oil-free clean and a dose of soothing and moisturizing ingredients that leave better skin in their wake.
Microfine granules slough off that bothersome dead skin, then vitamins E and B5 prevent damage and suck in moisture. Glycerin also helps keep your skin hydrated so you can avoid that post-cleanse tight feeling. Although those with sensitive skin should use exfoliators sparingly, everyone else can go ahead and replace their daily wash with this one.
10. Fresh Umbrian Clay Mattifying Face Exfoliant
In our search for the best face scrubs for glowing skin, we couldn’t skip over this impressive formula from Fresh. The scrub’s namesake, Umbrian Clay, is a mineral-rich clay from Italy that draws build-up from your pores to purify your skin. That, along with bamboo and olive, polishes skin for an enviable glow.
To ensure that all that scrubbing doesn’t leave skin dry and irritated, chamomile oil saves the day with its calming properties and meadowsweet extract gets your skin’s sebum production under control. Sandalwood oil treats several common skin issues to rejuvenate your complexion, and lavender flower oil kills bacteria to prevent blemishes. Those with acne-prone skin will be blown away by this cleanser!
11. UpCircle Coffee Face Scrub
UpCircle offers three versions of this excellent scrub — one for oily skin, one for dry skin, and one for sensitive skin — so you should find a formula that’s a good fit no matter your skin type! The Herbal Blend for oily skin, includes coffee grounds to remove dead skin and other stuff that shouldn’t be on the surface of your face.
Shea butter and jojoba oil deliver intense hydration and nourishment, coconut fruit oil reinforces your skin’s natural barrier, rosemary fights acne while tightening pores, and thyme increases circulation in your face.
The formula is made up of 99% natural ingredients, all of which contribute to a healthy complexion. Reviewers can’t get enough, with many claiming that they will be loyal to this scrub forever thanks to its efficacy and feel-good formula. More coffee, please!
12. Origins Ginzing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser
If you’re slow to get going in the morning, you’ll want to check out this cleanser from Origins. It’s like a fresh start in a bottle. The vegan wash scrubs gently and gets to work on your pores, resulting in a visibly renewed complexion after use. Plus, the citrus scent is such a pick-me-up that you’ll crave it every morning when you get up.
Caffeine from coffee beans is to thank for the scrub’s energizing qualities, as it quickly jumpstarts your skin and helps it look brighter and more sculpted. Jojoba beads give some gentle exfoliation power, ginseng root helps fine lines and inflammation disappear, citrus oils brighten, spearmint oil evens your complexion, and oat amino acids moisturize the skin.
Unfortunately for the dead skin and gunk that clog your pores, this wash contains the perfect storm of scrubbing ingredients!
13. Fur Silk Scrub
Get silky smooth and glowing skin with this resurfacing scrub from Fur. While it’s technically meant to be used as an in-shower body scrub, we think it works just as well on the face as a cleanser or exfoliating mask. It uses jojoba beads — an eco-friendly alternative to the microbeads of the past — as gentle scrubbers that work alongside lactic acid and glycolic acid to clean and clear the skin.
You’ll also find willow bark in here for its soothing capabilities, clary sage to calm inflammation while hydrating, and lavender for non-comedogenic moisture. Once you try out this scrub, you’ll understand why 100% of users in a trial agreed that their skin felt clearer, softer, and smoother after use.
14. Tatcha The Rice Polish Classic
If you have extra cash, you’ll want to spend it on Tatcha’s The Rice Polish Classic. This best face scrub for glowing skin helps encourage a healthy complexion no matter your skin type. The powder acts fast, so you only need a little bit to scrub away dirt and old skin to reveal a radiant face. It might take time to figure out exactly how much powder and water you need to get just the right amount and consistency, but once you’ve got that down, you’re golden.
The most important ingredient in this formula is Japanese rice bran, which Japanese women have used for generations. This nutritional exfoliator works with papain enzymes to get rid of all the old skin, leading the way for other ingredients like hydrolyzed silk to promote smooth skin and greater elasticity. After just a single use, 100% of trial participants saw more radiant skin, which goes to show how effective this rice polish is.
15. Glytone Enhance Brightening Solution Cleansing Powder
An AHA complex of ingredients powers this Enhanced Brightening Solution from Glytone. These acids dissolve the bonds that hold dead skin cells to your face, getting rid of flakes and helping you avoid pore blockages. Niacinamide helps seal moisture in your skin by preventing premature evaporation, glutathione combats signs of aging, and malic acid brightens as it sloughs off dead skin.
This cleansing powder also turns to jojoba oil for moisture, tea tree for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory power, and cucumber to provide a cooling and soothing sensation. You’re probably not mentally prepared for the skin transformation this cleansing powder will usher in.
16. Lancer Skincare The Method: Polish
Those with normal or combination skin will benefit the most from adding this skin polish from Lancer to their skincare routine a few times a week. This scrub is chock full of antioxidants to fight off damage and reduce signs of aging. Those with mature skin who are hoping for a gentle scrub will also see some serious results.
Magnesium crystals get to work on your skin’s texture and dullness, while pumpkin ferment extract provides fatty acids to seal your skin’s essential moisture barrier. This barrier is important for keeping skin hydrated, so giving it some support with this formula is a great way to encourage softness without any grease or residue.
Pomegranate extract fends off damage from environmental aggressors, radish root tackles redness and inflammation, lavender calms, glycerin hydrates, and brown seaweed brings more fatty acids to your skin for some added anti-aging benefits.
One important tip for using this scrub is to ensure that your skin is damp and your hands wet before applying, as some reviewers said that skipping this step made the scrub too abrasive.
17. Versed Day Maker
Dullness be gone! Versed Day Maker is your key to glowing skin thanks to microcrystalline, a naturally derived microbead alternative that relieves your skin of buildup and dead flakes. Instead of using parabens, silicones, or sulfates, Versed Day Maker has included powerful plant-based ingredients to restore your skin to its best.
Ingredients include raspberry leaf extract, which has been known to address skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, and rashes while also getting rid of excess oil. Black currant provides anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects and lemongrass extract to serve as an emollient, covering skin in a protective layer of moisture. Jojoba oil also makes an appearance in this formula, providing vitamins E and B while ensuring deep moisture.
This scrub is also pH balanced to avoid upsetting skin. It comes in a container made from 79% PCR plastic, so you can rest assured that you’re investing in eco-friendly skincare.
18. Rugged and Dapper Daily Power Scrub
Whether you have dry and sensitive skin or oily, acne-prone skin — or anything in between — Rugged and Dapper’s Daily Power Scrub is here to upgrade your complexion. This multi-tasking formula works as both a face wash and a toner, allowing you to skip a step in your skincare routine and get out the door faster. No more excuses for being late!
You’ll recognize most of the ingredients in this product, like aloe vera for soothing and hydration, vitamin C for a brightness boost, jojoba beads to polish skin, and salicylic acid to treat acne. To list all of the natural ingredients in this blend would take all day, but we’ll mention another few key players. Rosehip helps your skin cells regenerate, burdock treats acne and eczema, horsetail reduces pores and tightens skin, and dandelion protects your complexion from the negative effects of sunlight.
We can’t forget tea tree as well, which acts as a toner, red clover to target inflammation, gotu kola for extra antioxidants, and wild geranium to clean and keep blemishes from forming. With all of that natural goodness, this wash truly does it all.
19. Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
Use this formula from Drunk Elephant as a mini-facial at home when your skin can use a refresher. It contains both AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids) to double-team the exfoliating work. While AHAs break down the glue-like bonds that keep dead skin on your face, BHAs penetrate to clean out pores. The partnership of these acids means that your pores are in for the cleaning of a lifetime!
93% of participants in a study claimed that their skin glowed and felt softer after a month of regular use, so we’ll have to take their word. It isn’t just the AHAs and BHAs you have to thank for this product’s results, however. There is also chickpea flour to brighten, a combination of matcha, milk thistle, and apple extracts to soften, pumpkin ferment to shore up that moisture barrier, and pomegranate extract for antioxidant protection.
But the formula isn’t done there! Cactus extract combats the potential irritation that the acid blends may have caused, passionfruit tackles dryness and redness, marula oil has anti-aging properties and provides important fatty acids, niacinamide events your skin’s tone, and sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer is responsible for lasting hydration.
Yes, this product is expensive at $80, but it’s pretty much a bottled makeover for dull skin, and you can’t put a price tag on that.