Whether you’re a fan of salt granules, coffee or prefer sugar grains, the practise of regularly using any good-quality body scrub is hugely beneficial for skin health. Massaging and clearing the skin with the friction provided by a physical scrub will encourage blood flow and skin cell renewal, and ultimately result in smoother, revitalised, glowing skin. But choosing the best option can be puzzling. We’ve asked nine beauty experts — from editors to wellness fanatics to skin-care specialists — to tell us which are their top body scrubs, and why. Read on to discover which is the best for vegans, the best for very dry skin, the best on a budget, and more.
Best overall body scrub
This all-natural, vegan, cruelty-free body scrub was recommended by almost half our experts. “I can never get away with skipping my body lotion, but when I use this polish my usual moisturiser gets thrown in the back seat,” explains beauty writer Giselle La Pompe-Moore. Marie Claire’s senior beauty editor Fiona Embleton is also a fan: “This scrub is hands down the easiest way to transform dry, ashy arms and legs, especially if you’re cautious with ingredients and look for vegan and synthetic-free formulas. The heavenly scent of Moroccan rose deserves a special mention, too.” The scrub’s fragrance is also something loved by beauty editor Cassie Steer, to whom it was gifted and which she has since repurchased: “I’m very sensitive to fragrance but this beautifully scented polish imparts just a hint of floral on the skin.” Herbivore’s Amethyst Exfoliating Body Scrub also gets a vote from skincare expert Jules Von Hep who loves “the fragrance and pure indulgence of this scrub, as well as the fact that it’s formulated without parabens, phthalates, and mineral oils.”
Best (less expensive) body scrub
“Magnesium is always my go-to when I need something soothing to combat burn-out,” says Steer, to whom this scrub was gifted and which she has since repurchased. “I find that the salts in this scrub really help to relieve muscle fatigue.” The formula’s Atlantic kelp extract and micro-algae oil, meanwhile, help to detoxify and nourish the skin. International make-up artist Ruby Hammer MBE — who was also initially gifted the scrub and has since re-bought it — likes to maximise its benefits by using it after exercise. “This is a smart scrub to use after working out,” she explains. “As well as being a great exfoliant, it’s relaxing and extremely refreshing.” Also good to know is that Ren is a brand treading lightly on the planet, with eco credentials that include sourcing sustainable ingredients and packaging, and intending to become zero-waste by 2021. “Because all the ingredients are super-natural, I like the fact that I don’t need to worry about what’s going down the plug,” adds Steer.
Best budget body scrub
This inexpensive scrub is formulated with an impressive 84 percent naturally derived ingredients, as well as being cruelty-free and vegan friendly. Coconut grains provide the scrub’s friction alongside clarifying fruit extracts, while Shea butter, aloe vera and glycerin offer great hydration. “This excellent brand really proves you can be eco-conscious and not charge a fortune,” says Glamour contributing beauty director Alice du Parcq. “Soaper Duper recycles green lids from semi-skimmed milk bottles to produce all of its packaging, while the scrub itself has a zesty squeeze of sparkling lemon that brings a refreshing sunshine hit to your morning shower ritual.”
Best body scrub with salt
As salt granules are slightly tougher than, say, sugar grains, they can really get to work on severely dry or rough skin (note that for this same reason, salt scrubs are almost always reserved for use below the neck — they are rarely recommended for use on the face). This particular scrub contains natural sea salts alongside cleansing eucalyptus and rosemary oils, as well as super-nourishing almond and sunflower seed oils. “All skin types can use this but I find that it works particularly well for people who have very dry skin,” explains UK-based beauty blogger and skincare expert Fisayo. “It really gives the skin a revitalising boost, and always leaves it feeling seriously smoothed, hydrated and replenished.”
Best body scrub with sugar
This scrub uses gentle brown sugar crystals — which are natural water-retainers and so help prevent moisture loss and skin dry-out — to buff away dead cells and deeply hydrate the skin. Combine that with nourishing oils of evening primrose, almond, apricot, and jojoba, and it’s little wonder that this scrub is a longtime favourite of industry insiders like Hammer: “This scrub has won many awards and I simply love it. It’s an old classic that I keep going back to for a soft, supple and skin-smoothing finish. It gets completely rid of dry patches and my skin is left feeling silky to the touch.” Glamour columnist and beauty blogger Elle McNamara, to whom this scrub was initially gifted, is also a fan: “It perfects the crucial ratio of oil to grit; this is without a doubt one of the best body scrubs I’ve tried. Particularly for a fake tanner like myself, it’s one of those industrious scrubs that I can rely on to remove remnants of patchy tan whilst leaving my skin hydrated and nourished.”
Best cruelty-free body scrub
The sea salt in this scrub is harvested by traditional methods from the Bay of Brittany, where an ecological project has been set up to simultaneously transform the bay into a wildlife-rich wetland. Elsewhere in the formula, which is made up of 60 percent organic ingredients, is nourishing geranium oil (sourced from a women’s co-op in DR Congo), Shea butter and cocoa seed oil. The combination of which not only makes the skin appear polished and hydrated, but also leaves behind the most delicious fragrance. “This scrub smells good enough to eat. In fact, you probably could eat it as it’s formulated with such high-quality ingredients … but perhaps don’t try!” says A-list make-up artist Naoko Scintu. “I’m a sucker for anything citrus and medicinal, so with notes of citronella and (orange-smelling) Limonene, this is a little bit of a paradise to me.”
Best body scrub for very dry skin
Not only is this scrub a great option for those in need of extra hydration, it’s also excellent value for money. It has been formulated with an extremely moisturising combination of cocoa butter, Shea butter and vitamin E oil, and so is particularly useful for alleviating areas that can get very dry like elbows and knees. “This scrub is just as nourishing as Palmer’s body lotions, making it a safe bet for the dry skin set,” explains Embleton. “The natural crushed cocoa bean granules slough away flakes without feeling gritty. But, more importantly, this scrub intensely (and immediately) hydrates the freshly exfoliated skin with a moisturising base of cocoa and Shea butters.”
Best vegan body scrub
If you’re looking for something vegan-friendly with a price tag that doesn’t make your eyes water then this scrub, in its generous (and pretty) 650g glass jar, is a good option. Part of Sanctuary Spa’s Signature Collection, this scrub is formulated with dead sea salt cleverly combined with skin-nourishing oils including almond, coconut and jojoba, which also make it smell heavenly. It has been around since the brand’s early days, and has longtime fans in the industry like Scintu: “I love the fact that this scrub polishes the skin to a point where it becomes super silky, and I also love that it’s vegan. This scrub always brings me back to my youth; the smell of coconut and sweet almond is so nostalgic.”
Best body scrub for keratosis pilaris
“My No. 1 body scrub choice is probably the least sexy but it’s definitely the most transformative,” says Steer of Ameliorate Smoothing Body Exfoliant, which she was initially gifted and has since repurchased. This scrub was originally developed for keratosis pilaris sufferers to combat the very bumpy skin often found on the backs of the arms. For this reason — and unlike most body scrubs — this one features lactic acid alongside a physical granular exfoliant. “For me it’s the lactic acid that makes all the difference in this scrub,” says Steer. “A naturally occurring AHA, it gently breaks down the ‘cement’ between the dead skin cells whilst bolstering the skin’s protective barrier. Combined with the sweet almond oil it leaves my skin baby soft and is the ideal self-tan prep.”
Best body brush
If you’re looking for a super-sustainable, reusable, cost-effective body scrubbing option, then Von Hep would recommend a body brush like this one from EcoTools. “In addition to being great for exfoliating, body brushing has the added plus of being amazing for your circulation. My advice is to brush upwards starting from the ankles and working toward the heart. And if you’re a self tan user, this is a great brush to get in around the armpits and elbows to avoid product build up.” This ergonomic, vegan-friendly brush is also made with synthetic, cruelty-free bristles, renewable bamboo and even the packaging is crafted from tree-free paper. [Editor’s note: this product is currently sold out].
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