Do You Need To Exfoliate Your Face? (Plus Our 7 Favorite Exfoliating Face Scrubs)
Face Exfoliators For Radiant Skin ✨
Open any skincare 101 tutorial, and it’ll mention the importance of exfoliation—aka the process of removing dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. Typically, exfoliation happens with the help of a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or a scrub.
Exfoliating our face, though, isn’t the same as scrubbing our legs and arms since facial skin is far more sensitive and susceptible to rashes or burns. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t exfoliate! As we age, regular exfoliating can help slough away dead skin cells, revive dull skin, prevent clogged pores, and improve the effectiveness of our skincare products.
The American Academy of Dermatology shares a few tips to prevent skin damage from face exfoliating: Consider the skin products you already use and if exfoliating while using them will worsen your skin. And, be sure to select an exfoliating scrub that suits your skin type (we’ve got some we love!), and find the right schedule for your needs.
Below we’ve rounded up seven of the best face exfoliating scrubs—they’re gentle yet effective, and all are made with natural or organic ingredients. (As you’re exfoliating, remember to use small, circular motions for 30 seconds, then rinse off with warm water.)
Once you’ve pat (don’t rub!) your skin dry, apply your moisturizer, sunscreen, and oil of choice. Do this a few times a week—no more than two or three—and you should see results in a month or two. 😍
Ingredients | Organic aloe vera, fruit extracts, sea kelp, lemon peel, French green clay
Ethics | Natural & organic ingredients, vegan, cruelty-free, gives back, recyclable packaging
Price | $10 for 4 oz
For an affordable and effective option, check out ACURE’s Brightening Facial Scrub. It has super nutrients and organic ingredients like lemon peel, sea kelp, and French green clay, leaving your skin more radiant than ever. Plus, the formula is free from petrolatums, sulfates, mineral oils, and parabens. What’s not to love? It is an Allure Best of Beauty winner, after all.
Ingredients | Organic rosehip & macerated carrot oils, apricot kernel powder, olive squalane, geranium essential oil
Ethics | Certified B Corp, organic & plant-based ingredients, vegan, responsibly made in France, cruelty-free, recyclable packaging
Price | $27.80 for 50 g
Typology’s mission has always been to make naturally active, effective, and sustainable skincare products. We love the brand’s two facial scrubs: The Regenerating Face Scrub using plant-based squalane and geranium for clear and nourished skin, and the Radiance Face Scrub using organic oils for a smooth and silky soft shine. Both have incredible reviews, come with recyclable aluminum packaging, and are fully vegan and cruelty-free.
Ingredients | Certified organic Irish moss powder, grape seed powder, geranium oil
Ethics | Certified organic & natural ingredients, eco-friendly packaging, gives back, vegan, cruelty-free
Price | $20 for 1.2 oz
cocokind’s sea moss exfoliator contains just three powerful ingredients: geranium, grape seed sourced from upcycled wine flour, and Irish moss. Together, they work to get rid of dead skin cells and dullness, revealing clearer, smoother skin. We especially love how gentle this face exfoliator is for sensitive skin types. Now, your complexion’s so bright, we need shades just to see you! (Sorry, we had to.)
Ingredients | Organic lucuma powder, papaya extract, sea buckthorn powder, marshmallow root
Ethics | Certified organic, vegan, cruelty-free
Price | $34 for 1 oz; discounted subscription available
For those who prefer gel over foam, Golde’s Papaya Bright Face Mask may be for you. It’s a powder-to-gel formula that activates when mixed with water, and you only need one teaspoon! There are four simple ingredients in this mask, all of which are certified organic and packed with vitamin C. No clays, fillers, or preservatives here—just superfoods for your best skin.
5. Chagrin Valley
Ingredients | Organic & fair trade sugar, coconut oil, mango butter, aloe soap
Ethics | USDA certified organic & fair trade ingredients, vegan, cruelty-free, eco-friendly packaging & practices, made in the USA
Price | $13.50–$15.75 for 4 oz; trial sizes available
Chagrin Valley harnesses the power of nature for its salves, soaps, and shampoos. This line of face scrubs includes four wonderfully effective formulas: buttercream, citrus and sugar, coconut and honey, and Adzuki bean micrograins. Mixed with certified organic and fair trade base ingredients like oils, butters, and sugars, these exfoliators are some of our favorites. If you’re not sure which one’s right for you, grab a trial size for a fraction of the price.
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Ingredients | Wood pulp-derived cellulose, corn starch, papain
Ethics | Natural ingredients, vegan, cruelty-free
Price | $30 for 1.4 oz; discounted subscriptions available
Skinesque follows the Korean skincare industry’s lead, focusing on innovation and minimalism for our beauty routines. Made exclusively in South Korea with trusted manufacturers, the brand’s products are simple enough to use daily from AM to PM. The Enzyme Cleansing Powder, which activates with water, revives skin no time thanks to the vitamin C and papain sourced from papaya extracts. It foams beautifully, travels easily, and works effectively—no wonder it’s Skinesque’s best seller!
7. Malaya Organics
Ingredients | Organic colloidal oatmeal, Rhassoul clay, brown rice powder, plant extracts & essential oils
Ethics | Organic & natural ingredients, responsibly sourced, gives back
Price | $48 for 1.5 oz
Add a little luxury to your evening routine with Malaya Organics’ Herbal Facial Polish. Using some of the most regaled ingredients in skincare—like oat and rice powders, hibiscus flower, and pure vanilla bean—this powder-to-mask formula starts working almost immediately. You can easily elevate it to an emollient exfoliator by adding in a cleansing oil. Say goodbye to pores, dirt, and dry skin, and hello to your new favorite ritual.
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