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12 best body scrubs for silky-smooth skin

Exfoliate your way to smoother limbs with these sea salt and sugar scrubs

Louise Whitbread
Thursday 01 December 2022 17:13 GMT
As well as sloughing away dead skin cells, these products give your skin a luxurious dose of TLC
As well as sloughing away dead skin cells, these products give your skin a luxurious dose of TLC (The Independent)
Our Top Picks

Body scrubs are a quick and easy way to achieve softer, smoother skin. There’s also no shortage of options to shop, from high-end to high-street brands, with some costing upwards of £40, while others can set you back less than a tenner.

The exfoliating agents in scrubs include manual ingredients, like sugar crystals, sea salt and microbeads, which give skin a short-term smoothness and rinse-off exfoliation. Other products are fortified with chemical exfoliants, such as glycolic and lactic acid to address dry skin in the long-term. Just like the skin on your face, gentle exfoliation can add luminosity, prevent a build-up of dead skin and ingrown hairs, and improve texture.

However, aside from sloughing away dead skin cells, body scrubs can also leave skin silky soft, thanks to formulas rich in coconut, jojoba, sunflower and primrose oils, to name just a few ingredients. As much as they can be a functional part of your shower routine, they’re also a luxurious indulgence and perfect for a bit of TLC.

These products can also reduce razor bumps and keratosis pilaris – the latter is also commonly known as strawberry skin, where small bumps emerge on skin when hair follicles become blocked with a build-up of keratin. So, if you regularly shave, it’s a good idea to keep a scrub close by. While it’s not necessary to use a body scrub every day, we’d recommend applying one once or twice a week, and following up with a body moisturiser for baby-soft skin.

Given the number of body scrubs on the market, we set about finding a dozen of the top-performing products worth your money.

How we tested

Over the course of a month, we introduced a series of scrubs to our shower routine and narrowed down our list to the top 12. We explored the abrasiveness of each product, how they felt on the skin, how our skin was afterwards, and value for money. Our top picks feature a mix of affordable, mid-range and high-end scrubs that we feel are well worth adding to your basket.

From budget buys to luxe treats, these scrubs are the pick of the bunch
From budget buys to luxe treats, these scrubs are the pick of the bunch (The Independent)

The best body scrubs for 2023 are:

  • Best body scrub overall – Naturium KP scrub and mask: £20,
  • Best budget body scrub – Soap & Glory smoothie star body scrub: £9.99,
  • Best moisturising body scrub – Dove crushed macadamia and rice milk body scrub: £7,
  • Best luxury body scrub – ishga Hebridean sea salt scrub: £41,
  • Best body scrub for oily skin – Keys Soulcare body polish: £25,

Naturium KP scrub and mask

Best body scrubs
  • Best: Body scrub overall
  • Size: 226g
  • Fragranced: No
  • Format: Chemical exfoliants and pumice
  • Why we love it
    • Instantly smoother skin
    • Easy to use
    • Doesn’t stick to shower basin
  • Take note
    • Time consuming as needs to be left on skin for a few minutes before washing off

This was the most transformative body scrub we tried throughout our weeks of testing. The formula is a mix of chemical exfoliants (AHAs, BHS and PHAs) and pumice rock, blended together in a creamy texture. You apply it all over damp skin once a week, and leave for a few minutes before washing off.

The second we washed it off, our skin was instantly the smoothest it has ever been – even on very dry areas of our legs from shaving. Thanks to the chemical exfoliants, it works to smooth skin with a long-term approach, as over time, they decongest blocked pores all over your body. Our skin felt fantastic after the very first use and stayed silky smooth all day.

It’s well worth a slightly longer application process, as leaving the product on to act as a mask makes such a difference compared with the other instant wash-off scrubs we tried.

  1. £20 from
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Soap & Glory smoothie star body scrub

  • Best: Budget body scrub
  • Size: 300g
  • Fragranced: Yes
  • Format: Sea salt and cupuacu bio scrubs
  • Why we love it
    • Smells amazing
    • Speedy wash-off option
  • Take note
    • It doesn’t deliver long-term results

This is the perfect blend of grittiness, as it’s abrasive without being irritating to skin. Containing cupuacu bio scrubs, banana, almond and honey extract, it leaves skin instantly softer and smoother.

We love the refreshing maple, brown sugar and vanilla fragrance and a little goes a long way. It has a thicker consistency than most, and came in handy for exfoliating pre-fake tanning, and helped prevent tan build-up on elbows and knees.

This isn’t only a great budget-friendly option, but it lasts a long time too.

  1. £9 from
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Dove crushed macadamia and rice milk body scrub

Dove body scrub
  • Best: Moisturising body scrub
  • Size: 225ml
  • Fragranced: Yes
  • Format: Crushed macadamia and moisturising cream
  • Why we love it
    • Suitable for all skin types
    • Great price
  • Take note
    • Not abrasive enough for very dry skin

The creamy body exfoliant is gentle on the skin with an inoffensive scent. While it lacks abrasive grittiness, its whipped texture feels luxurious and instantly softening, making this exfoliant especially pleasant on sensitive or redness-prone skin.

The creamy formula means it doesn’t make your shower slippy, nor does it cling to the sides of your bath and leave a mess in its wake.

Another brilliant budget beauty buy, it’s also available in a pomegranate seed and shea butter scent.

  1. £7 from
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ishga Hebridean sea salt scrub

Iashga body scrub
  • Best: Luxury body scrub
  • Size: 200ml
  • Fragranced: Yes
  • Format: Sea salt and oils
  • Why we love it
    • Feels and looks luxurious
    • Pretty and secure packaging
  • Take note
    • Expensive

This Scottish skincare brand utilises sustainably harvested seaweed grown in the Hebrides throughout its products. Everything is organic and you’ll find ishga in over 70 spas across the UK. If you’re looking for a luxury body scrub as a self-indulgent purchase or a gift for someone else, this is our top pick.

This scrub is made from sea salt and nourishing jojoba oil and almond oil, with the perfect balance of oiliness and a gritty texture that buffs away dryness, while leaving beautifully soft skin in its wake. The scent smells just like a spa too, thanks to the lavender, rose geranium, lemongrass and juniper berry essential oils.

When this arrived on our doorstep, we worried that the glass jar would have spilt, but the sealed ring on the lid and metal clasp kept it cleaner on our shower shelves than any other scrub we tried.

  1. £41 from
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Q+A AHA exfoliator body scrub

Q+A body scrub
  • Best: Body scrub for ingrown hairs
  • Size: 250ml
  • Fragranced: Yes
  • Format: Chemical exfoliants and repurposed corn
  • Why we love it
    • Tube means it leaves little to no mess in the shower
    • Budget-friendly buy
  • Take note
    • It can be a little runny in texture

We loved this fluid, creamy scrub that’s scented with golden vanilla and coconut, for a refreshing in-shower treatment. The tube packaging is much easier to work with than dipping your hand into a pot, which can be a bit messy.

Simply massage this scrub all over wet skin and rinse off. It’s not abrasive but effective at scrubbing away pesky areas of dryness and sorting ingrown hairs, without irritation or causing redness. We found ourselves reaching for this product time and time again.

This is a great option to use before evenings out, pre-tanning, or to bring on holiday for a squeaky-clean feel after a day in the sun.

  1. £8 from
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Keys Soulcare body polish

  • Best: Body scrub for oily skin
  • Size : 200g
  • Fragranced: Yes
  • Format: Chemical exfoliants and oils
  • Why we love it
    • Tube feels more hygienic and easier to use with wet hands
    • Refreshing scent of sage
  • Take note
    • It’s on the pricier side

While celebrity skincare is an overwhelmingly saturated market (we’re looking at you, Brad Pitt and Travis Barker), Alicia Keys’s brand, Keys Soulcare, is one of the very few we’d recommend.

This body polish – a creamy, grainy scrub that comes packaged in a tube – feels more hygienic and easier to manage in the shower with wet hands. The formula contains lactic and glycolic acid, two popular chemical exfoliants that slough away dead skin cells for smoother skin. Plus, coconut and sunflower oil (which have skin-softening benefits) are in there too, and bamboo charcoal.

The scrub is gritty but not irritating on the skin, and, when it’s washed off damp skin, leaves behind a clean, refreshing scent of sage and oat milk.

  1. £25 from
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Beauty Pie soul providers re-energizing dry oil sugar scrub

Beauty Pie body scrub
  • Best: Dry oil body scrub
  • Size: 475g
  • Fragranced: Yes
  • Format: Sugar and oil
  • Why we love it
    • It smells amazing
    • Generous size
  • Take note
    • It’s expensive if you’re not a Beauty Pie subscriber

Since its 2016 launch, Beauty Pie has democratised the beauty industry, selling high-quality products to its subscribers for a monthly or annual fee, for wholesale prices – read our review of its products in our guide. For us, this sugar scrub is one of the best money can buy if you’re a subscriber, as it’s only £16. For non-members, it will set you back £50.

Rich in lemongrass, black pepper, apricot and evening primrose oil, it’s sweetly scented and was one of the most effective scrubs we tried for sloughing away dead skin. The lemony fragrance is luxurious and lasts on the skin once it’s been washed off. The wooden scoop that comes with the pot is a nice way to keep the tub clean too.

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Ouai scalp and body scrub

  • Best: Multi-purpose body and scalp scrub
  • Size: 250g
  • Fragranced: Yes
  • Format: Sugar crystals and oils
  • Why we love it
    • A body and scalp scrub in one
    • Leaves hair silky soft
  • Take note
    • It’s a bit pricey (but you do get two products in one)

This multi-purpose scrub is a versatile addition to your body and haircare routine. It’s made up of sugar crystals and coconut oil, which gently exfoliate and condition skin. When used on the body, it buffs away dead, flaky skin and is particularly effective on scaly legs or to keep skin extra soft after shaving.

However, it’s also a really great scalp scrub, if you’re experiencing product build-up on your hairline or want to deep clean the skin on your head. When massaged onto a wet scalp, it emulsifies into a foamy cleanser that leaves hair silky soft and cleaner for longer. While it’s a luxurious splurge, it’s a true two-in-one product with equal efficacy.

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Sol de Janeiro bum bum body scrub

  • Best: Scented body scrub
  • Size: 220g
  • Fragranced: Yes
  • Format: Sugar crystals, microbeads and crushed cupuacu seeds
  • Why we love it
    • Amazing scent without being overpowering
    • A little goes a long way
  • Take note
    • It’s not ideal for sensitive skin

From the maker of the famous bum bum cream, Brazilian brand Sol de Janeiro also offers a body scrub with the same cult favourite, Cheirosa ’62 fragrance.

Aside from the addictive scent, the gentle exfoliants are sugar crystals, microbeads, crushed cupuacu seeds, sunflower seed oil, coconut oil and rosemary leaf extract. It leaves skin silky smooth and invigorated, but due to its gritty texture, we wouldn’t recommend this for use on sensitive skin.

It’s pricey, but a little goes a long way, lasting us well over a month with almost daily use.

  1. £39 from
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Sanctuary Spa signature natural oils salt scrub

  • Best: Value-for-money body scrub
  • Size: 650g
  • Fragranced: Yes
  • Format: Sea salt and oils
  • Why we love it
    • Luxurious looking
    • The giant jar will last you ages
  • Take note
    • Have to give everything a good mix before use

This glass jar feels more luxurious than its price tag belies, and it’s more than double the size of many on our list, making it excellent value for money.

The scrub itself is made up of sea salt flakes mixed with coconut and jojoba oils, which separate until you mix them, so make sure you give it a good stir before you use the exfoliant, to get the best results.

It’s fragranced with jasmine, grapefruit, and vanilla, and is vegan-friendly too. The addition of the oil in this formula leaves skin feeling silky soft and moisturised, and the giant jar will last you ages.

  1. £10 from
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Tropic body smooth refreshing polish

  • Best: Salt body scrub
  • Size: 200g
  • Fragranced: Yes
  • Format: Sea salt
  • Why we love it
    • Zesty lemon sorbet scent
    • Wooden spoon handy for stirring product
  • Take note
    • Oils can separate so you’ll need that wooden spoon to mix them

This indulgent scrub is housed in a thick glass jar with a cute wooden spoon. With a formula rich in sea salt, jojoba, and macadamia nut oil, it doesn’t feel scratchy but instead gently exfoliates.

While it’s recommended it be applied to dry skin, we preferred using this on damp skin, as the formula spread easier.

We loved the zesty scent of lemon sorbet, as do many of Tropic’s customers – it’s a bestseller for the brand. The spoon may look gimmicky and small, but it comes in handy to scoop out product and stir the oils, which can separate.  

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Superdrug vitamin E sugar oil body scrub

  • Best: Sugar body scrub
  • Size: 300g
  • Fragranced: Yes
  • Format: Sugar, sea salt and walnut-shell granules
  • Why we love it
    • Reduces razor bumps
    • Cheap and cheerful
  • Take note
    • As it’s not that abrasive, it won’t completely clear up dry patches

Superdrug’s own-brand vitamin E range is home to some brilliant budget beauty finds, which cover the basics in your skincare and bodycare routine. This scrub is an effective way to tackle dryish areas of skin and also helps reduce razor bumps after shaving.

Containing sugar, sea salt and walnut shell granules, along with sweet almond and grapeseed oil, it does exactly as promised – gently exfoliates and softens skin. It’s not gritty or harsh, and, for a little more than a fiver, you can’t go wrong.

  1. £5 from
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The verdict: Body scrubs 2023

Taking the coveted top spot is undoubtedly the Naturium KP scrub and mask. Nothing transformed our skin quite like it and the inclusion of chemical exfoliants such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) meant the results gradually improved with every use. It was the best overall buy for delivering silky-smooth skin in minutes. If you’re looking for a budget buy, Soap & Glory’s smoothie star body scrub is abrasive without being irritating and a little goes a long way.

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