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The Best Face Exfoliators for Every Skin Type

By Ellie Child - 1 year ago | Updated

Gone are the days of rubbing our faces raw with a harsh microbead scrub. The beauty world has since moved forward in leaps and bounds when it comes to exfoliating face scrubs, and quite frankly, our complexions have never been happier.

Our once limited options have had a jazzy new makeover and now include a range of chemical exfoliants, enzymatic exfoliants, exfoliating face washes and face exfoliator brushes. Even the nation’s favourite St. Ives face scrub has had a revamp to make it a friendlier option for all skin types to benefit from!

With that in mind, we set out to discover the best face exfoliator for all skin types. We’ve split this guide into different subsections where you can discover the best exfoliating formulations that meet your personal needs. It’s time to kick dull, dry skin to the curb – for good!

Best for normal skin:

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Daily Foaming Cleanser

Looking for an everyday glow-up essential? Kate Somerville has you covered. The brand is back at it again, providing both men and women alike with a glow-getting formula that cleanses and exfoliates away dead skin cells. A unique combination of pineapple, pumpkin and papaya enzymes work together to gently exfoliate without drying out the skin. It’s the perfect option for normal to dry skin types!

Best for dry skin:

ELEMIS Gentle Rose Exfoliator

ELEMIS Gentle Rose Exfoliator

£25.95 £36.00 (28% off)

Dry skin requires a little extra TLC when it comes to exfoliating. Luckily, this rose-infused exfoliator has just the answer to your flaky skin woes, teaming powerful blemish-busting ingredients together with soothing properties that leave your complexion feeling truly nourished.

Best for oily skin:

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant - 118ml

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant


You’ll often see this Paula’s Choice liquid exfoliator on our wish lists, and with good reason!

This powerful chemical exfoliant melts away dead skin cells, dirt and oils by using a potent mixture of ingredients that leave you with a blemish-free complexion. The formula is fortified with salicylic acid which works on encouraging collagen production and renewing skin cell turnover for a filter-worthy visage.

Best for combination skin:

Saturday Skin Rub A Dub Refining Peel Gel

Cover all bases with a solution that puts your best face first. The Saturday Skin Rub A Dub Refining Peel Gel puts a mix of feel-good ingredients to work, helping to protect and perfect your visage. Papaya extract focuses its attention on fighting off the damages of free radicals whilst aloe vera delivers a calming sensation to reduce redness and irritation.

Pineapple extract brings forth its exfoliation properties to gently yet effectively buff away dead skin cells.

Best for sensitive skin:

Avène Gentle Exfoliating Scrub

Avène Gentle Exfoliating Scrub


Finally, a formula that caters to sensitive skin!

This caring solution allows sensitive skin types to get involved with the exfoliation process by teaming a cocktail of soothing ingredients together with gentle exfoliating beads. Cellulose beads and jojoba wax beads are the key exfoliating properties within this gel-textured formula, both of which remove dead skin cells without causing irritation or dryness.

Best for mature skin:

REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask

REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask


Specially formulated for mature and sun damaged skin types, this skin-enhancing exfoliator is made up from 100% plant and mineral-derived actives that brighten up lacklustre skin. Incorporate this skin care essential into your routine to smooth, firm and minimise the appearance of pores and fine lines. Trust us, it’s a game changer.

Best for men:

Clinique for Men Face Scrub

Ideal as a pre-shave treatment, this exfoliating face scrub preps and primes the skin for a clean shave by lifting away excess oils and dead skin. Skin feels smoother to the touch and boasts a luminous glow, pepping up even the most fatigued complexions. Better still, it utilises a mix of moisturising properties that prevents razor burn and irritation!

Looking for more men’s exfoliators? Shop through our guide to the best exfoliators for men!

Best for women:

Dr. Barbara Sturm Facial Scrub

Dr. Barbara Sturm Facial Scrub


Filled to the brim with dynamic and results-driven ingredients, this facial scrub is your one-stop shop to clearer, brighter skin. Vitamin A and purslane join forces to take on the likes of irritation, flaking dead skin and fine lines, whilst a blend of silk extracts inject the visage with a healthy dosage of radiance.

Best natural face exfoliator:

Herbivore Prism Exfoliating Glow Facial

Herbivore Prism Exfoliating Glow Facial


Everyone’s favourite Insta-famous exfoliator has made the list! Herbivore are known for their powerful all-natural remedies that get to work on stressed-out skin, and their Herbivore Prism Exfoliating Glow Facial is no exception.

This does-it-all treatment is infused with an assortment of 20% fruit-based AHAs and 5% willow-bark based BHA that gently yet effectively melt away dead skin cells. This teamed with malic acids and bilberry lactic acid make for a powerful skin exfoliator.

Best enzymatic exfoliator:

Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub

Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub


When we’re after skin as clear as Huda Kattan’s, we turn to the Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub. This enzymatic exfoliator is jam-packed with papaya enzymes, BHAs and AHAs that polish all skin types, uncovering a baby soft complexion that is super easy to maintain.

Grime, dead skin cells and stubborn makeup have truly met their match with this exfoliator!

Best chemical exfoliant for the face:

PIXI Glow Tonic

PIXI Glow Tonic

£17.08 £18.00 (6% off)

Of course we had to feature the OG of chemical exfoliators. PIXI have led the way with their Glow Tonic formulation – a product that now sits prettily in the cabinets of beauty addicts everywhere. This liquid exfoliator employs glycolic acid as its main ingredient to melt away dirt and dead skin cells, uncovering a naturally glowing complexion with minimal effort.

Best face exfoliator brush:




Boasting a whopping 8000 T-Sonic™ pulsations per minute, this cleansing brush is your fast-track pass to clearer, brighter skin. It combines a cleansing and exfoliating action together to streamline your skin care routine, making it a must-have item for any skin care junkie.

To discover more of the best exfoliator face brushes, visit our expert guide.

Best exfoliating pads:

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

£14.96 £16.00 (7% off)

We love any product that offers convenience and effectiveness within a single use, which is why we seriously rate the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. Each pad contains a blend of lactic and glycolic acids that work together to come down on spots, grease, oiliness and enlarged pores. They even include soothing ingredients such as cucumber, Indian gooseberry, lemon peel and liquorice root to improve the skin’s tone!

Face Scrub FAQs

How do you use a face scrub?

Start with a makeup-free, cleansed face. Then choose which scrub you prefer depending on your skin type. Then take a small amount and smooth across dry skin, avoiding the delicate eye area. With clean fingertips gently massage the scrub across your skin and concentrate on the areas that need some extra attention – like the nose and forehead. Then it's time to rinse with lukewarm water and a face cloth. Pat your face dry and follow with your favourite serums and moisturisers.

Face scrubs offer mechanical exfoliation, which is a great way to remove impurities, while smoothing your skin in the process. Depending on your needs, you can find facial scrubs that can either boost brightness or even diminish dry patches. Wave goodbye to dull skin and hello to radiance!

How often should you use a face scrub?

Physical or mechanical exfoliation can be harsh on the skin, especially if you suffer with conditions such as eczema or rosacea. If that's the case, we recommend only using a face scrub once a week. For oilier skin types, try two or three times. How often you implement these products into your regular routine depends on how sensitive your skin is and how much you need to control the excess build-up of oils and sebum.

Face scrubs help unclog your pores and smooth out the texture of your skin. However, it's important to be gentle when physically massaging them across your face. You don't want to scrub too hard, otherwise you can end up with redness or irritations.

How do you make a face scrub?

First gather nourishing ingredients. In order to create an exfoliating product, you need something to act as the physical exfoliator, like coffee grounds, oatmeal or sugar. These all help gently buff away any dead skin cells and smooth the texture and tone of your skin. Next add in your favourite moisturising components into the mix, such as essential oils, lemon, honey, olive oil and almond oil. This will help hydrate the skin, leaving it soft and supple.

Mix everything together in a bowl and house in a small tub. Again, we recommend only using once a week to make sure you don't aggravate your skin. And remember, always patch test products to ensure they are suitable for your precious complexion.

What are the best facial scrubs?

Discover our showcase of hundreds of the best facial scrubs in the beauty biz. From high-end luxury offerings to budget-friendly options, there's a face scrub to suit every skin type. Browse through top brands, such as Ole Henriksen, Florence by Mills, ELEMIS and Neutrogena. With a plethora to peruse, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to skin care exfoliating goodies.

Searching for cruelty-free options? No problem. Simply use our filters to refine your search to match your needs completely. No matter if you've got sensitive skin or a dull, tired complexion, there's a brand, product and retailer to suit you, here at Cosmetify.

How to exfoliate the face:

1. Invest in a decent cleanser that works for your skin type

Our guide above outlines the go-to for your skin’s needs, so there’s no excuse for mismatches! Most dermatologists recommend using a chemical exfoliant over a physical one as scrubs can often irritate or break the skin.

2. Cleanse the skin before applying

It is best to use an exfoliator after cleansing your face in the morning or evening. This preps the skin and gets rid of any surface dirt.

3. Apply the exfoliator to the skin

For scrubs or physical exfoliators, apply to lightly dampened skin and massage in with your fingertips before rinsing thoroughly off. For chemical exfoliators, apply to towel-dried skin with a cotton pad, avoiding the eyes.

4. Follow up with your usual skin care routine

We recommend following up with your favourite serum or moisturiser to ensure that the skin is left feeling comfortably hydrated.

Ellie Child

Written by Ellie Child

With five years’ experience under her belt, Ellie has worked alongside a range of highly regarded makeup artists, giving her a real insight into what consumers should be spending their money on.

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