Exfoliation—it's not just for your face.
Your body needs it, too, especially if you're dealing with dryness, rough patches... or even scales (here in Canada, that's an actual thing).
Unless you remove that surface dead skin, any body moisturizer that you put on top won't be able to do its job properly.
That's where the latest body exfoliators come in.
Choose from body scrubs, which physically buff away dead skin cells, or body peels, which use acids to chemically dissolve them. You can even use an exfoliating body lotion that does double-duty!
Ahead, find out what to look for in a body exfoliator, and discover the best products to try now.
What to Look for in a Body Scrub, Peel or Exfoliator
Here's what I look for in a body scrub, peel or exfoliator:
- Sulfate-free: Sulfates are harsh foaming agents that can strip away natural oils and lead to irritation.
- Stable oils (or oil-free): Polyunsaturated fatty acids go rancid quickly, so I avoid them in high concentrations (typically the first five ingredients). Monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids are more resistant to oxidation and have a much longer shelf life.
- Silicone-free: Silicones are film-forming ingredients that leave a coating on the skin and can exacerbate body acne.
- Petroleum-free: Similar to silicones, petroleum derivatives such as mineral oil leave an occlusive film on the skin and may actually increase water loss.
- Low in fragrance (or fragrance-free): While it's much more harmful on your face, too much fragrance can also lead to skin reactions on your body.
- Has a preservative: All water-based products must contain a preservative in order to prevent bacterial growth.
Now, on to the products that tick off these boxes!
Herbivore Coco Rose Coconut Oil Body Polish
Herbivore Coco Rose Coconut Oil Body Polish is a densely-packed sugar scrub with a pretty pink tint and a subtle rose scent (thanks to the Moroccan rose absolute). You know how some scrubs have a puddle of oil at the top after the first use? That doesn't happen here—this jar is chock-full of sugar. Afterwards, your skin will feel soft but not oily. You can also use it as a lip scrub!
Goop G.Tox 5 Salt Detox Body Scrub
Goop G.Tox 5 Salt Detox Body Scrub exfoliates with five different types of salts (Himalayan pink, Dead Sea, Celtic sea, New Zealand solar and Epsom). They're blended into a base of moringa and olive oils, spiked with fragrant rosemary, grapefruit, peppermint and elichrysum oils. This one has quite a gritty texture and isn't very oily, so it gives your skin just a light coating of moisture.
Indie Lee Coconut Citrus Scrub
Indie Lee Coconut Citrus Scrub has a higher concentration of oil, so it could definitely double as a body moisturizer. The all-natural ingredients list couldn't be more simple, and includes sugar, coconut oil and jojoba oil, plus lemon balm, lemongrass and vanilla for a lemony-fresh scent. The sugar granules dissolve quickly, so it's incredibly gentle on your skin.
REN Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Salt Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Body Scrub
REN Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Salt Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Body Scrub has the texture of a balm, but once you massage it over your skin, it polishes with sea salt and Epsom salt. Coconut fatty acids and an algae oil act as emollients, leaving your skin super soft but not greasy. For best results, apply it on dry skin and then have a bath—it will turn into a relaxing magnesium soak.
Kopari Coconut Crush Scrub
Kopari Coconut Crush Scrub may not look the prettiest (which is why they didn't put it in a clear jar). But that's because it's packed with exfoliating brown sugar and coconut shell powder, in a moisturizing coconut oil and beeswax base. Since the grains are very fine, this is one of the gentlest scrub options. And the sweet, coconut milk scent smells good enough to eat (but please don't!).
Nécessaire The Body Exfoliator
Nécessaire The Body Exfoliator takes a two-way approach to smoothing your skin, using both physical and chemical exfoliants. Tiny pumice beads give it a slightly gritty feel, while salicylic, glycolic and lactic acids dissolve dead skin and marula oil adds moisture. Choose from Eucalyptus, Sandalwood or Fragrance-Free.
Truly Moon Rocks Whipped Body Scrub
Truly Moon Rocks Whipped Body Scrub is, like all of the brand's products, made with only a few natural ingredients. They include sugar and Dead Sea salt crystals to exfoliate, and olive and jojoba oils to hydrate dry skin. Blue tansy oil, often used in facial skincare for its soothing properties, makes an appearance here to give it a vibrant blue colour. The floral scent comes from rose, ylang-ylang and lavender.
The Organic Pharmacy Cleopatra’s Body Scrub
The Organic Pharmacy Cleopatra's Body Scrub is another sugar and salt combo, using them with olive oil, honey and vitamin E to create a hydrating, luxurious scrub. It's also very floral, thanks to rose petals, ylang-ylang and a little synthetic fragrance (so you may want to skip this one if you're sensitive).
Little Barn Apothecary Coffee + Mint Exfoliating Body Scrub
Little Barn Apothecary Coffee + Mint Exfoliating Body Scrub wakes your skin right up with coffee (which has firming benefits) and peppermint essential oil. Organic cane sugar granules do the exfoliating here, while coconut oil, meadowfoam seed oil and cocoa butter deliver moisture.
Fur Silk Scrub
Fur Silk Scrub isn't just for the bikini line, like the brand's other products. This polisher can be used all over the body and is even gentle enough for your face. It uses not one but three types of exfoliation: jojoba beads, fruit enzymes and alpha-hydroxy acids. It is also one of the only exfoliants that is completely fragrance-free.
Herbivore Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish
Herbivore Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish contains actual amethyst gemstones, crushed into a fine powder. Along with sugar and Epsom salt, they buff away dead skin while coconut oil, shea butter and meadowfoam seed oil lock in hydration. The texture isn't oily at all, and it has a subtle, natural floral scent.
Pixi Rose Body Polish
Pixi Rose Body Polish nourishes with glycerin and shea butter while it exfoliates with sugar granules, lactic acid and papaya extract. It doesn't feel harsh on your skin, nor is it greasy, and the rose and citrus extracts impart a fruity-floral scent.
Pacifica Sugared Crystal Supercharged Body Scrub
Pacifica Sugared Crystal Supercharged Body Scrub is a cleansing, foaming body scrub with sugar, crushed quartz crystals and silica beads (which give it a grittier texture). It can be used on wet or dry skin, and you can even let it sit for a few minutes for a deeper exfoliation. This one's scented with watermelon, but if you prefer lavender, there's also a Crystal Lavender Crushed Quartz version.
Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Crème Sugar Scrub
Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Crème Sugar Scrub is one of the most budget-friendly body scrubs, and features natural ingredients such as sugar, coconut oil, coconut milk and shea butter. The brand also makes a Ground Coffee Scrub that is worth a look, too!
Harper + Ari Exfoliating Sugar Cubes
Harper + Ari Exfoliating Sugar Cubes are single-dose cubes, and each one is good for a full-body cleansing, exfoliating and hydrating treatment. Sugar does the scrubbing here, and it's enriched with shea butter, glycerin and aloe vera for moisture. They do contain some artificial fragrance—choose from an array of scents, including Coconut, Juice Cleanse, Dream and Rosé.
UpCircle Body Scrub
UpCircle Body Scrub applies the upcycling movement to skincare. The company takes coffee grounds from London cafés and then combines them with salt, sugar and shea butter to create this all-natural scrub. Tangerine, grapefruit and other essential oils give it an uplifting herbal scent.
This Works Perfect Legs 100% Natural Scrub
This Works Perfect Legs 100% Natural Scrub isn't just for your legs—it's also gentle enough to be applied all over the body. Pink Himalayan salt and sea salt are suspended in coconut fatty acids, which give it a balmy texture. The light and refreshing scent is 100 percent natural.
Pixi Glycolic Body Peel
Pixi Glycolic Body Peel is part body scrub, part chemical peel. It contains fine pumice particles for physical exfoliation, and is also high in glycolic and lactic acids to dissolve away dead skin. Out of the tube, it's a luxe pink cream, but as you rub it over your skin, you'll feel a mild gritty texture. It's actually gentle enough to use daily.
Aquareveal Gentle Action Water Peel for Body
Aquareveal Gentle Action Water Peel for Body exfoliates without any grains, acids or enzymes. Instead, it uses a water-based gel technology to bind with dead skin cells so they can be rinsed right off. Use it out of the shower, on damp skin—you simply massage it on and then remove he dead cell build-up with water. This peel is also fragrance-free.
StackedSkincare TCA Multi-Acid Body Peel
StackedSkincare TCA Multi-Acid Body Peel is a leave-on acid treatment for your body—ideal for removing dead skin, softening keratin bumps, fading dark spots or clearing body acne. The fragrance-free liquid contains lactic, salicylic and trichloroacetic acids, and it's self-neutralizing, so you don't need to rinse it off. You simply brush it on and leave it to work its magic for eight to 10 hours.
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 Corps
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 Corps is the body version of the cult-favourite Lotion P50 exfoliating toner. It uses a similar blend of active ingredients, including alpha-, beta-, and poly-hydroxy acids, to smooth dry, rough skin and boost hydration. You've also got to love that it comes in a spray bottle for easy application on hard-to-reach areas.
REN AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum
REN AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum lets you exfoliate while you moisturize. The creamy, lotion-like serum is spiked with a high 10 percent concentration of lactic acid. It also includes shea butter, xylitol and probiotics to soften, smooth and hydrate. It is surprisingly effective on scaly skin, and can even help with keratosis pilaris and body breakouts!
Shop Editor’s Picks
What's your favourite body exfoliator?
Have you tried any of these?