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11 best body scrubs for smooth and radiant skin

These skincare saviours will leave you feeling brand new

Anjana Gosai
Monday 01 November 2021 12:15
<p>Choose from either physical exfoliators (salt, sugar, loofah) or chemical (alpha-hydroxy acids)</p>

Choose from either physical exfoliators (salt, sugar, loofah) or chemical (alpha-hydroxy acids)

If the skin on your body is dry, flaky, blemished or bumpy in texture, it’s time you introduced a body scrub into your regime.

Much like the complexion, the key to smooth and radiant skin on the body is exfoliation. “Our body naturally sheds dead skin cells every 30 days, but this cycle slows down with age, so regularly exfoliating is important to keep it looking healthy,” says Yuni Yunikamiyani, senior therapist at The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire.

“Aside from clearing away dead, dull skin, exfoliating unblocks pores which help prevent body breakouts; it boosts circulation, which can reduce the appearance of cellulite; it helps your body cream work more effectively, and it improves skin texture,” she adds.

There are a host of body scrubs to pick from and these come formulated with either physical exfoliators (salt, sugar, loofah) or chemical (alpha-hydroxy acids). The main difference between them is their texture, and what you choose largely comes down to personal preference. Those with sensitive skin or conditions like eczema should avoid overly gritty scrubs, as they may be too abrasive; opt for fruit enzyme or lactic acid formulas instead.

When it comes to getting the best out of your body scrub, don’t go overboard. Exfoliating once or twice a week should suffice. “Buff areas for around 30 seconds, using small circular motions, starting from the feet, working up the body and stopping at the neck,” Yunikamiyani says.

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How we tested

We trialled a range of body scrub formulas to see which ones left our skin noticeably softer, brighter and healthier.

The best body scrubs for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Tea & Tonic bright awakening halen môn body scrub: £38, Teaandtonic.co.uk
  • Best for ease of use – Sanctuary Spa salt scrub bar: £6, Boots.com
  • Best for relaxation – Mauli Rituals reawaken himalayan hand & body scrub: £58, Maulirituals.com
  • Best for sensitive skin – Ameliorate smoothing body exfoliant: £10, Cultbeauty.co.uk
  • Best for energising – Rituals the ritual of mehr body scrub: £14.90, Rituals.com
  • Best for body and scalp – Ouai haircare scalp & body scrub: £32, Cultbeauty.co.uk
  • Best for mature skin – StriVectin crepe control exfoliating body scrub: £25, Feelunique.com
  • Best for dry skin – The Body Shop wild argan oil exfoliating gel body scrub: £16, Thebodyshop.com
  • Best for softening – Tata Harper smoothing body scrub: £78, Contentbeautywellbeing.com
  • Best for body breakouts and blemishes – Sunday Riley charcoal smoothie jelly body scrub: £32, Spacenk.com
  • Best for firming and detoxing – Espa detoxifying body scrub: £40, Espaskincare.com

Tea & Tonic bright awakening halen môn body scrub

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

This British-born apothecary brand makes products in small batches. You can immediately feel and smell the freshness when you use this scrub, with over 80 per cent of its ingredients grown on UK farms.

Filled with halen môn salt, hand-harvested from Anglesey, botanicals, “super” herbs such as gotu kola and amla, which adapt to the needs of the body, plus a host of fragrant aromatherapy essential oils – this scrub is a real treat to use.

It feels luxurious and has a therapeutic aroma that instantly lifts the spirits. Its oily texture can make the shower slippy, but it glides over the skin seamlessly, exfoliating it to a silky-smooth finish, while laminating it with a lasting veil of moisture – so you can skip the body cream afterwards.

Sanctuary Spa salt scrub bar

Best: For ease of use

Rating: 7/10

If you’re not the linger-in-the-shower type, this no-frills body bar is just what you need. The soap comes infused with natural sea salt and loofah to buff away dead skin, along with sweet almond and evening primrose oils to soften bumpy areas. It is easy to use and does a good job at softening small patches of roughness. It’s also scented with the Sanctuary’s signature citrus, ylang ylang and sandalwood fragrance. Since the exfoliators in the bar are fine and gentle, you can go ahead and use it on a daily basis.

Mauli Rituals reawaken himalayan hand & body scrub

Best: For relaxation

Rating: 9/10

If your skin, mind and muscles need some TLC, pick this pampering scrub that is formulated to buff away dry skin and ease aches. It is brimming with carefully selected natural ingredients such as mineral-rich Himalayan salts to draw out toxins, and a cocktail of skin-loving organic argan, moringa, almond and coconut oils. It also features clarifying lime, blood orange and grapefruit for their skin-firming properties, Indian frankincense to boost relaxation, along with anti-inflammatory sandalwood and soothing jasmine sambac.

The scrub feels gritty and offers a thorough exfoliation. It also glides over the body effortlessly thanks to the oil content, doing a wonderful job at banishing dryness and soothing tired limbs. It leaves a light veil of oil over the body, which doubles up as a nourishing overnight treatment for the skin. We adore its therapeutic aroma that leaves you in a state of pure relaxation – a great one to use before bedtime.

Ameliorate smoothing body exfoliant

Best: For sensitive skin

Rating: 10/10

Even those with sensitive skin can exfoliate if you use the right scrub. This fast-working, dermatologist-approved scrub has a rich and creamy formula that contains biodegradable bamboo granules to gently slough away dead skin, while lactic acid dissolves bumps and ingrown hairs. The addition of shea and coconut butter, plus coconut oil, means that it doesn’t compromise on hydration. The scrub is designed to be used on dry skin, but those with sensitive skin should use it on wet skin to reduce irritation. It worked particularly well at reducing the look of keratosis pilaris – those pesky bumps at the back of the arms.

Rituals the ritual of mehr body scrub

Best: For energising

Rating: 8/10

Sugar is a common exfoliating ingredient and a great choice for those with easily irritated complexions. This sugar-infused scrub dissolves beautifully into the skin; it’s also enriched with sweet orange peel, known for its brightening and energising properties, making it a good option for morning use.  The scrub does exactly what it says on the tub – buffs away roughness and leaves limbs feeling silky smooth. The addition of oils means that skin doesn’t feel dry and tight after use, it simply glistens. We also like the added cedarwood oil, which has a potent woody aroma that pleasantly lingers on the skin after use.

Ouai haircare scalp & body scrub

Best: For body and scalp

Rating: 7.5/10

Developed by long-time hair stylist to the Kardashians, Jen Atkin’s multitasking scrub can be used on the body and scalp. It has a gently foaming formula and relies on sugar crystals to slough away dead skin. It uses probiotics to balance the skin’s bacteria levels, as well as moisturising coconut oil. The scrub feels quite sticky; however, once it comes into contact with damp skin, you do not feel it as much. It’s gentle on the skin, leaving it feeling smoother and softer. Its multitasking blend can be used on the scalp to shift product buildup and excess sebum. This process felt soothing, but it took a while to wash off. One thing to note is that it has a strong musky scent, which we found a little overpowering.

StriVectin crepe control exfoliating body scrub

Best: For mature skin

Rating: 8.5/10

A breakdown of collagen and elastin as we age can lead to crinkly looking skin. Spiked with quartz crystals and rice powder, plus lactic and glycolic acids, this creamy scrub is gentle on the skin and works a treat to improve its texture. It is also powered with caffeine to firm it, niacinamide (vitamin B3) to strengthen the skin barrier, plus papaya and guava extract to brighten. The combination of ingredients did a great job at eliminating rough areas and gave the skin a more even, firmer and radiant look. Crinkled skin under the arms and around the knees was less visible too. We loved the easy-to-use squeezy tube and the subtle lemon scent.

The Body Shop wild argan oil exfoliating gel body scrub

Best: For dry skin

Rating: 8/10

Dry, dehydrated skin felt super-nourished after using this hydrating scrub, which comes enriched with slow-pressed argan oil from Morocco. Argan shell is suspended in a gel formula that gives the body a deep exfoliation and the oil replenishes moisture. It has a warming aroma and doesn’t leave behind any greasy residue, just a pleasant soft sheen – and for an affordable price too.

Tata Harper smoothing body scrub

Best: For softening

Rating: 8.5/10

Packed into a luxurious gold-topped tub, this uber-exfoliating treatment relies on an array of naturally sourced botanicals such as pink Himalayan and Hawaiian sea salts, organic sugar, cranberry fibres, apricot-seed powder and argan oil to ward off all traces of rough skin. Designed to be used on dry skin, the densely packed and slightly gritty paste-like scrub feels comfortable on the skin and we like how it works into a creamy lather.

It loosens up ingrown hairs, making it a great option before shaving. The added argan oil penetrates deeply and drenches dry skin in moisture. It also has a natural, earthy scent (it’s free from artificial fragrance), which is pleasant if you don’t like heavily scented products.

Sunday Riley charcoal smoothie jelly body scrub

Best: For body breakouts and blemishes

Rating: 9/10

This mint-scented scrub is loaded with a host of ingredients to battle body blemishes. Activated charcoal draws out dirt and grime, salicylic acid unclogs pores and zinc regulates oil production, while manuka branch and leaf oil purifies the skin, giving it a less congested look. To balance things out, coconut water and jojoba seed oil replenish moisture. We loved using this scrub; not only does it come in a squeezy pouch that is easy to use and eliminates any mess, it has a thick, non-oily texture that doesn’t slip out of the hands. It gives skin an extra-clean and super-smooth finish, without the residue of some heavily oil-based scrubs.

Espa detoxifying body scrub

Best: For firming and detoxing

Rating: 9/10

Commonly used at spas across the UK, this luxe scrub can be used on dry skin once or twice a week. It’s filled with natural sea salts to eliminate dryness along with circulation-boosting grapefruit oil, firming cypress oil, which can help reduce water retention, eucalyptus oil to deep cleanse, and sweet almond oil to hydrate. It leaves skin feeling cleansed and firm with increased luminosity, and this effect lasts for a couple of days. It smells incredible and will turn your bath or shower time into a full-on spa experience.

A word of warning, however – the addition of natural sea salt means that you may come across small stone particles, so it is not recommended for those with sore or broken skin.

The verdict: Body scrubs

Although it is not the most purse-friendly on our list, Tea & Tonic bright awakening halen môn body scrub is worth the splurge. It’s pampering and polishes away roughness while instantly boosting skin’s hydration levels to the extent that you don’t need to use a moisturiser afterwards. It’s also the closest you’ll get to a spa experience at home – you’ll want to bask in this scrub every time you shower.

As a wallet-friendly option, Ameliorate smoothing body exfoliant does not disappoint. Its gentle and highly effective formula transforms skin texture, leaving it noticeably smoother, softer and brighter.

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IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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