Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Regularly exfoliating the skin on the face is part of the beauty and facial routine of many people. The skin is the largest organ of the human body, as well as one of the most sensitive and most important to take care of. Washing and always removing makeup from the face helps to keep it clean, but the face highly appreciates a deep cleanse every so often.

A facial scrub removes both dead cells and dirt that accumulates on the face that can clog the pores and make the skin look dull and tired. What’s more, a facial exfoliation helps you to apply and improve the effectiveness of other beauty products, such as moisturizers, masks or serums.


  • Facial exfoliation stimulates cell renewal on the face and brings radiance to your appearance.
  • All skin on the body can be exfoliated, but the face is the area that appreciates it the most. It is important to purchase a face scrub that is specifically tailored to your specific needs and skin type.
  • Properly performed facial exfoliations are not painful, will not redden the skin, do not cause inflammation and will not produce acne outbreaks.

The Best Face Scrub: Our Picks

A face scrub is a delicate product that needs to be selected with care and purpose. The choice of face scrub is especially important because the face is the most sensitive part of the body and there are so many different skin types. If the face scrub is too light, it will have minimal or no effect on you, while an overly strong facial scrub will irritate your skin and may result in the appearance of redness on the face. Below, we recommend different options that we have selected based on their value for money, their features and customer feedback.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about face scrubs

In this shopping guide, we are going to clear up some of the most common doubts among consumers when it comes to purchasing a facial scrub. If you are thinking about buying a scrub or changing the one you already have, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we tell you everything you need to know so that you can choose the perfect product.

Using a facial scrub is not difficult at all, but it is important to follow a strict procedure to avoid damaging the delicate skin of the face.
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What is a face scrub?

A face scrub, also known as exfoliation scrub, is relatively simple and basically consists of removing dead cells from the outermost layer of the skin. Most of these cells fall off naturally, but sometimes the skin can become dry, rough or clogged thanks to makeup, sweat, sunscreen or air pollution.

A facial scrub deeply cleanses the skin and carefully removes all these dead cells, as well as smoothing out other impurities that have accumulated on the face. By regularly performing a facial scrub, you will be stimulating the regeneration of the skin to return brightness to the face and resolve any blemishes. For these reasons, regular facial exfoliation should be part of your beauty routine.

How do face scrubs work and what do they do?

Mechanical exfoliation of the face involves rubbing the skin with soft “coarse” particles to help dead cells and impurities detach from the skin of the face. A chemical exfoliation performs the same function but instead uses chemical ingredients such as bha (beta hydroxy acids), aha (alpha hydroxy acids) or glycolic acid.

As we have already mentioned, the skin naturally renews its surface cells, but it does not always manage to shed the dead cells effectively. A facial scrub stimulates this natural process, yet it makes it more efficient. Face scrubs serve, in summary, to carry out deep cleansing of the skin that is impossible to perform by conventional soaps.

Exfoliation improves both acne and blackheads, although keep in mind that excessive exfoliation can have precisely the opposite effect.
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What types of face scrubs are there for the face?

From reading the previous section, you now know that there are at least two types of face scrubs: mechanical and chemical. In this guide, we’re going to focus mainly on the mechanical face scrubs, but it’s useful to know that there are other types available and that they are perfectly combinable with mechanical exfoliation. In the following two tables we breakdown the two types of facial scrubs further.

Mechanical Face Scrub Characteristics
Soft Suitable for all skin types, but especially recommended for sensitive skin. The composition is based on waxes or vegetable oils (such as jojoba, for example). These provide skin surface exfoliation.
Strong Suitable for all types of skins, but especially recommended for oily skins. Made with particles of fruit stones, minerals, polyethylene or other materials that do not degrade. Suitable for a deep exfoliation. Avoid using on sensitive areas of the face, such as the eye contour.
Chemical Face Scrub Characteristics
Bha, aha and glycolic acid For skins that are not very sensitive or that are accustomed to these types of ingredients. Stimulates the formation of collagen which reduces the formation of wrinkles. Recommended to be used only in winter or in combination with a high factor sunscreen.
Enzymatic For all skin types, although they are perfect for sensitive and delicate skin areas. This type should not irritate the skin. Provides deep and gentle cleansing action.

Why use a facial scrub?

The skin’s surface cells, such as those on the face, are naturally replaced by the body approximately every 28 days. However, it is almost impossible for this process to be carried out evenly. There are many factors that influence this, such as diet, habits, and age. A face scrub helps the body to complete this task with a uniform result.

We’ll talk in detail regarding the frequency of applying a face scrub later in the guide, but in general, everyone should exfoliate at least once a week. This is a fantastic reason to include a face scrub in your routine. The additional benefits of a face scrub also include:

  • Boosts cell renewal. This natural process slows down over the years and face scrubs help immensely.
  • Improved circulation. The massage performed during application helps to improve the blood circulation of the face.
  • Adds shine to the skin: Improves the tone and color of the face.
  • Cleans impurities: Also unclogs the pores and improves acne.
  • Tones the skin of the face. These products also enhance the absorption of other topical products, such as moisturizing masks.

How is a facial exfoliation performed?

Using a face scrub is relatively straightforward, but it is important to take note of a few aspects in order to protect the sensitive skin of the face. A chemical peel, using a chemical scrub, is applied in the same way as a moisturizer, massaging in circular and upward movements on the face. To perform a mechanical exfoliation, there are a few steps that should be followed:

  1. First, cleanse your face with a soap that you normally use to clean your face.
  2. Generously apply the face scrub to several areas of the face, such as the forehead, chin, and cheeks.
  3. Gently massage the face scrub with circular motions. Do not press too hard and do not use on the most sensitive areas of the face, such as the eye contours.
  4. Rinse the face with plenty of clean water to remove any traces of the face scrub and apply your daily moisturizer or any other topical cream.

How often is it recommended to exfoliate your face?

This is a big question, and the answer is not always crystal clear. The number of times you should exfoliate your face per week ranges from once (for extremely sensitive skin) to three times a week. This all depends on the type of product you use, the harshness/softness of the product, and your skin type. The following table will provide you a little more information:

Skin type Application Frequency
Dry skin Dry skin should be exfoliated once or twice a week with a gentle face scrub. If exfoliated more frequently, the skin may become irritated.
Very sensitive skin Should not be exfoliated more than once a week or even only every 2 weeks, depending on your skins’ reaction to treatment.
Oily or acne-prone skin Should be exfoliated at least once a week, but preferably twice or even three times a week.

What if I don’t exfoliate my face skin properly?

The most common mistake that most people make when exfoliating is to do it too often or overly rough. If you notice swelling or redness on the face, you should take a break for a short period or try a product that is more gentle. If you notice adverse effects, you can also try a face scrub with moisturizing ingredients.

A poorly performed exfoliation can redden the face, cause the skin to peel, and even create an acne breakout, which is the worst possible outcome. It is crucial that you follow the instructions of the product and that you immediately stop using the product if you notice any of the unfavorable effects mentioned above.

Can a face scrub cause an acne breakout?

Although facial scrubs are designed to improve both acne and blackheads, excessive use of these products can have exactly the opposite effect and cause a breakout. If you’re exfoliating your face for the first time, you may notice a small acne breakout that will disappear in a few days. This is completely normal and all part of the deep skin cleansing process.

If an acne outbreak appears on your face, you should space out the frequency of the face scrubs and even try switching to a softer product, with smaller particles or one that contains moisturizer. Also, keep in mind that acne in the area of the jaw and chin area is caused by hormones and does not always have to be related to your beauty routines.

Is it better to exfoliate your face in the morning or at night?

If you asked 10 different dermatologists whether it is better to exfoliate your face in the morning or at night, there would most likely be a tie. The morning and night both have their advantages for applying a face scrub. However, when deciding on the time of day to apply the face scrub, focus on the product that you have to determine the best time of day to perform the cleanse. In the morning, it is recommended to use a softer facial scrub with small to medium-sized particles to avoid micro-cuts to the skin and so that you can still apply sunscreen to your face.

At night you can use a slightly more coarse product, which will better prepare the face for the absorption of other beauty treatments. At night, your skin also has a full night ahead to recover before facing the harshness of the sun and other natural elements such as wind, rain or snow. Ideally, try to introduce a face scrub into your beauty routine in the way that’s most convenient and comfortable for you.

Shopping Criteria

There is a huge range of facial scrubs on the market, with prices that range from inexpensive to outrageous. The fact is that the price of the product is not a guarantee of anything. The price should be a secondary consideration once all the key aspects are met. To help you find the perfect face scrub, we recommend that you consider the following shopping criteria.

  • Skin type
  • Type of face scrub
  • Particle size
  • Material of the particles
  • Ingredients

Skin type

Choosing a face scrub that meets your specific skin type is one of the most important and primary aspects to consider. Not everyone requires the same beauty routine and as such, you must find the products that meet your needs. An evaluation of your face will allow you to identify which type of face scrub and the frequency of use will be the most suitable for your situation:

Skin type Characteristics
Normal skin Normal skin can use virtually any type of face scrub once or twice a week.
Dry skin Dry skin will appreciate the use of face scrubs rich in moisturizing principles, such as jojoba oil.
Mixed skin Mixed skin requires hydration (dry skin), but also a deep cleanse (oily skin).
Oily skin Oily skin should avoid very oily face scrubs and opt for refreshing and natural products that exfoliate the skin deeply to remove impurities and blackheads.
Sensitive skin People with sensitive skin should opt for face scrubs made with very fine particles. These products should be combined with moisturizers and the application of the product should be space out.

Type of face scrub

As we have already seen, there are two types of face scrubs that exist: mechanical and chemical. Within each of these two types, there are also subtypes: acids, enzymes, softer or more aggressive. One specific type of face scrub is not necessarily better than another, rather each type has its own functions and characteristics. The suitability of the product depends solely on the specific person and skin type.

Particle size

The different face scrubs on the market have particles of many different sizes, depending on the type of treatment being performed. On the one hand, there are face scrubs with very small particles that can be used almost every day and are perfect for very sensitive skin. Meanwhile, on the other hand, there are face scrubs with larger, harder particles that should not be used more than once a week on tough skin. Bigger and harder particles provide a deeper cleanse that can sometimes be overly rough on your skin, so be careful with this aspect.

When buying a facial scrub you should take into account both your skin type and the intended use so that you buy a product with suitable particles. Keep in mind your skin type when deciding on the size and hardness of the particles in a face scrub. If you are in doubt, it is always best to start with a scrub with smaller particles and slowly increase the size after trying out your first product.

Material of the particles

The exfoliating particles used in face scrubs can be plastic or natural (from fruit stones, for example). This is a very important consideration because filtration systems in cities (even less outside of cities) are unable to stop such tiny particles. As a result, if you use a face scrub that uses microplastics for the material of the particles, they will go down the drain and end up in rivers, lakes, and oceans, where they enter the animal food chain.

Microplastics are one of the most serious environmental problems in the world today. We strongly believe that this is an important factor to consider when buying a facial scrub. The composition of the particles that make up the product you buy can have a big impact on the environment and the reduction of microplastics in nature. On the market, there are many options with exfoliating particles that are of natural origin and biodegradable.


It is always important to carefully read the list of ingredients of every cosmetic product that you buy. In the case of mechanical face scrubs, the abrasive particles can come from natural extracts, which are always far better. Ingredients used for these elements of a facial scrub include peach or apricot pits, seeds, beeswax, minerals or microcrystals.

It is also important to take into account the cream in which these particles are contained. It is worth reviewing the product composition to determine if the cream is soapy, moisturizing or neutral. Our overall recommendation is that you choose a face scrub with ingredients that are as natural as possible, even organic or vegan. If you have extra-sensitive skin, you should also avoid products that contain perfume or an odor.


Facial exfoliation is an important beauty process that should be part of everyone’s facial care routine. When you use a face scrub, the product must be adapted to the needs of your face to avoid adverse reactions. The advantages of a good face scrub are endless and after regular applications, the skin will be cleaner and free of impurities. By correctly applying a face scrub you will be stimulating cell renewal and helping improve the overall health of your face.

We really hope this guide has helped you find the perfect facial scrub. As you’ve seen, not all skin types should use the same type of face scrub, so there really isn’t a “one for all” product. It is crucial that you think carefully about your specific skin type and its needs before you buy any type of facial scrub.

Do you now know which face scrub is perfect for you? We’d like to read your recommendations in the comments below. If you liked our guide, we also encourage you to share it on your social networks.

(Source of featured image: Elizaveta Galitckaia: 95675116/