Smooth Operator: The Best Physical Scrubs For Face, Body, and Scalp | The Weekly Cut

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Sometimes physical scrubs get a bad rep in the beauty community. Some find them harsh and claim they create “micro tears” in the skin (which is apparently a total myth – thanks, Google!). But I truly believe there’s a time and a place to get scrubby. Whether you’ve been neglecting your moisturizing routine or simply feel your skin is clogged with dead cell buildup, a good physical exfoliant can be a truly cathartic experience. There’s little so satisfying in the whole world.

In terms of facial scrubs, I am of the belief that gentler is better. A current favorite is the BanilaCo High Bye Vita Peel Exfoliating Scrub, while combines some fruit enzymes with the scrubby particles to help effectively lift off any flakey, dried out, dead patches of skin. Used in the morning, what follows is the most seamless and pleasant makeup application you’ve ever felt.

A similar option perhaps better suited for sensitive skins is the Tula So Polished Exfoliating Sugar Scrub. This is amazing for use in the shower, as the sugar particles break down and dissolve after a few seconds, making over-exfoliation impossible. It also smells totally delightful.

For oily-skinned bases, the Lancer The Method Polish is truly remarkable. It is one of the most instantly effective skincare products I’ve ever used – after just one scrub, skin feels smoother and softer and even looks brighter and glowier. It’s on the pricier side, but one tube will last months and months.

But if you’re on a tight budget, I also truly stand behind the good old Queen Helene Oatmeal and Honey Scrub. It’s gentler than many other drugstore scrub options and has soothing oatmeal and honey to keep it hydrating, too.

And for those who want a scrub that just does more, the Gallinée Face Mask & Scrub is the product for you. I absolutely adore this – applied in a thick layer, then left to dry, then buffed off with warm water, always leaves skin looking better than before. As a side note, I’ve tried a lot of stuff from Gallinée and so far, I’m yet to find a dud among the brand.

Let’s move on to the body, shall we? Scrubbing all over is a great way to keep the skin healthier and glowier, plus it is essential for any fake tan users. But it needn’t feel like a chore, as the Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Scrub proves. This is one of the most delightful products on the market, full stop. If you want to feel as though you’re showering in a frappuccino that leaves your skin feeling like a cloud, look no further.

However, the Laura Mercier scrub is also one of the most expensive scrubs out there – good for a treat, but not ideal for everyday use. For that, I absolutely love both the Frank Beauty Original Coffee Scrub and the Mario Badescu Raspberry Body Scrub. The Frank Body is a loose scrub made of coffee grounds, which can be messy but is undeniably satisfying. The Mario Badescu is gentler and slightly easier to use, making it perfect for exfoliation maintenance.

If you don’t enjoy an actual scrub, though, I also enjoy an exfoliation tool. Using a body brush like The Body Shop Round Body Brush before a shower is a one-way ticket to both softer and smoother skin and better circulation. And using a scrubby cloth like the Salux Washcloth can successfully turn any shower gel or soap into an exfoliating experience.

Many of us think exfoliation can end there, but that’s not the case. Scrubbing the scalp is a necessary step to help remove product buildup and maximize hair growth. The Frank Beauty Caffeinated Scalp Scrub feels totally amazing – especially if you haven’t washed your hair for a while. It has a softly mentholated, cooling sensation, and rinses clean to a stimulated scalp.

For true luxury, though the Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt is second to none. Whether it’s the spa-like scent or the work-of-art tub, using it feels like a real experience. The results are brilliant, too – hair feels uber clean and strong after rinsing.

And if you’re on a tighter budget, don’t fear – there’s a scalp scrub out there for you, too! The Lee Stafford Hair Growth Scalp Scrub is cheap but absolutely cheerful. It ha a slightly more chemical-y scent, but apart from that, exfoliates and stimulates the scalp with the best of them.

Shop 9 editor-approved scrubs for all body parts

Featured images via Frank Body

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