Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser: best face scrubs
Credit: sephora.com

15 Face Scrubs That Work Wonders, According to Thousands of Beauty Fanatics

Plus, a dermatologist shares what to look for when choosing one.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

When it comes to skincare routines, you probably already have a favorite moisturizer and eye cream that you reach for daily—but if you want to achieve soft and smooth skin, it's also important to add a good face scrub into the mix. "A face scrub exfoliates your skin by lifting off dead skin," says Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist. "Exfoliating reveals the newer, more glowy skin, and regular exfoliation will help with any sun damage or skin discoloration from the summer."

Aside from making your skin look and feel smoother, most options provide additional benefits —some work to soften fine lines and wrinkles, while others can hydrate and brighten your skin. Similar to most skincare products, the number of face scrubs on the market is extensive, but there are two main types to choose from: physical exfoliants and chemical exfoliants.

What are the different types of face scrubs?

Physical Exfoliants 

Physical exfoliants ​are topical products that contain tiny pieces of grainy ingredients to slough away dry, flaky skin. There are many types of physical exfoliating scrubs available, from sugar scrubs to coffee scrubs, but according to Dr. Jaliman, "people with sensitive skin should make sure to choose gentle physical exfoliators." That's because if the ingredients are too coarsely textured, they can actually cause damage.  

Chemical Exfoliants

Meanwhile, chemical exfoliants use chemicals like lactic, glycolic, and salicylic acids to loosen and remove dead skin cells while unclogging pores at the same time.​​ Though most options are gentle enough for all skin types to use, "chemical exfoliants can be a problem for people with skin issues like rosacea or eczema depending on the type of acid used," says Dr. Jaliman. So be sure to research which chemical exfoliants work best for your skin type before shopping. 

How to use a face scrub

Luckily, you don't have to exfoliate every day, so incorporating a face scrub into your skincare routine won't slow you down. How often you use it depends on the type of face scrub you choose, Dr. Jaliman says, but once or twice a week is generally the norm—especially if you opt for an exfoliant with coarse ingredients or strong acids. 

Ready to add one to your routine? With these dermatologist guidelines in mind, we've combed through hundreds of options to find 15 face scrubs that customers say work the best. Whether you're looking for deep exfoliation or one that cleanses your skin at the same time, these are the best exfoliating face scrubs that will leave your face feeling squeaky clean.

These are the best face scrubs, according to reviewers:

Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
Credit: sephora.com

Best Overall: Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

$42, sephora.com

This Murad product uses both chemical and physical exfoliants, giving you the best of both worlds. The salicylic, lactic, and glycolic acids work together to clean pores and loosen buildup on the skin, while the jojoba beads slough away dead, flaky skin. It even features the moisturizing agent sodium PCA to hydrate your skin and prevent it from drying out. "At first I thought this would not do a great job, as the scrub has very small, fine particles, but it has left my combination skin glowing," wrote one customer. "I've used it two to three times a week with lukewarm water for three months and my skin, including my breakout-prone forehead, is ridiculously clear. I have sensitive skin and have had no issues with it!"

Fresh Sugar Face Polish Exfoliator
Credit: sephora.com

Best Sugar: Fresh Sugar Face Polish Exfoliator

From $25, nordstrom.com

With hundreds of five-star reviews, this Fresh sugar scrub is one of the most popular face scrubs at Nordstrom. The two-in-one product can be used as both an exfoliator and a hydrating face mask. The brown sugar buffs away dry and dull skin, while the wild strawberries and grapeseed oil included in the formula work together to brighten and hydrate. In a clinical test done by the brand, 97 percent of users reported improved skin texture and 94 percent said the exfoliator had decreased the number of rough patches. 

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
Credit: ulta.com

Best Dermatologist Pick: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

$59, ulta.com

This Dermalogica exfoliant is Dr. Jaliman's top pick because "it is very gentle on the skin." It contains rice bran, colloidal oatmeal, and salicylic acid, which work together to scrub away dirt and dead skin cells, while the addition of tea tree oil cleans pores. The result is smoother and clearer skin. Over 1,000 Ulta customers are also fans of the multitasking product, with one writing, "After one use my skin felt smoother, I've been using it every day since with the exception of a few days when I ran out. I could tell the difference in my skin texture after a couple days without it—won't be running out ever again!"

ACURE Brightening Facial Scrub
Credit: amazon.com

Best Brightening: Acure Brightening Facial Scrub

$10; amazon.com

More than 13,000 Amazon customers have given this facial scrub by Acure a perfect five-star rating. This popular scrub works to brighten skin while removing dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. What's more, it's also vegan, cruelty-free, and includes no sulfates or parabens. Many happy customers referred to the exfoliator as the "best scrub ever."

Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Exfoliator
Credit: dermstore.com

Best Refining: Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Exfoliator

$58, dermstore.com

The Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion Exfoliator is a refining scrub that works to slough away dead skin and minimize the appearance of pores. The product blends professional-grade physical and chemical exfoliators into a creamy scrub that's said to be super effective. After four weeks in a clinical assessment, 100 percent of users said they saw a significant improvement in their skin's texture and 97 percent of users reported the product deep cleaned their pores, according to the brand. 

Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Facial Scrub
Credit: amazon.com

Best Gentle Option: Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Facial Scrub

$6, amazon.com

Amazon customers love this facial scrub by Aveeno because it's gentle enough for everyday use. The naturally derived granules gently remove dead skin cells, while the scrub's jojoba and castor oil work together to even out skin tone. "Fabulous product. I love how this left my skin so soft and with a natural glow. I also really liked how toned my skin is after just a couple days use," raved one shopper. "There are so many items on the market and this Aveeno Positively radiant leaves my skin feeling fresh and renewed. Definitely a permanent addition to my skin regimen."

SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub
Credit: dermstore.com

Best Clarifying: SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub

$31, dermstore.com

This micro-exfoliating scrub from SkinCeuticals decongests skin while purifying pores and brightening your complexion at the same time. Paraben and fragrance-free, the diatomaceous earth microbeads in the formula slough away dead skin cells, while the aloe vera smooths and softens skin. The beloved beauty product has a near-perfect rating and over 300 reviews at Dermstore. Many customers called it their "new favorite face scrub."

Olehenriksen Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub
Credit: sephora.com

Best for Acne: Olehenriksen Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub

$28, sephora.com

Inspired by traditional Scandinavian spas, this dual-action scrub by Olehenriksen uses both warming and cooling ingredients to deep clean pores and loosen dead skin cells simultaneously. It can also absorb excess oils and leave your complexion looking smoother, softer, and more refreshed. One customer called it a "must have" before adding, "I can not express the difference this product has made in my complexion and breakouts. I have oily skin and using this twice a week keeps those issues at bay."

L’Oreal Paris Pure Sugar Scrub
Credit: amazon.com

Best for Dry Skin: L'Oreal Paris Pure Sugar Scrub

$8 (was $10), amazon.com

Looking for a sugar scrub that you can use on both your face and lips? Try this super affordable and highly rated option by L'Oreal. It's formulated with cocoa and three different types of sugars that work together to gently exfoliate and nourish skin, and has an impressive 4.5-star rating on Amazon. Many reviewers raved about how smooth their skin felt after using it. 

Formula 10.0.6 One Smooth Operator Pore Clearing Face Scrub
Credit: ulta.com

Best for Oily Skin: Formula 10.0.6 One Smooth Operator Pore Clearing Face Scrub

$8, ulta.com

This purifying scrub from Formula 10.0.6 uses pumice micro particles to buff away dead skin and oatmeal to draw out impurities. The deep-cleaning formula also features zinc to help control oil and prevent shiny skin. Ulta customers are big fans of this scrub, with 94 percent of shoppers saying they would recommend it to their friends and family.  

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment
Credit: nordstrom.com

Best Deep Cleaning Option: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

From $25, nordstrom.com

Celebrity skincare guru Kate Somerville formulated this face scrub with natural exfoliants to deep clean pores, along with lactic acid and fruit enzymes that work together to give you a glowing complexion. The scrub not only removes dead skin cells, but also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A full 2-ounce bottle from this luxury skincare brand is $88, but you can also opt for a .5-ounce sample size for just $25 if you want to give it a try. 

Era Organics Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub
Credit: amazon.com

Best for Clogged Pores: Era Organics Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub

$16 (was $30), amazon.com

Nearly 8,000 Amazon customers love this microdermabrasion face scrub by Era Organics for its ability to unclog blackheads and minimize the appearance of pores. The sugar scrub gently loosens dirt and dry skin, while the manuka honey works to nourish your skin cells. "Loved it from the first day. Gentle but very exfoliating, not much scent, but very pleasant. My skin felt smooth after the first use, and has continued to improve the texture," said one reviewer. "I've been using in the morning on my face in the shower, then I apply moisturizer, and my makeup goes on easier with a better-finished look. I recommend this product, and I have tried many, this is a keeper."

Burt’s Bees Peach & Willow Bark Deep Pore Scrub
Credit: ulta.com

Best Natural Option: Burt's Bees Peach & Willow Bark Deep Pore Scrub

$8, target.com 

If you're in the market for a face scrub made with natural ingredients, try this option from Burt's Bees. It's infused with willow bark—a natural source of salicylic acid—to help remove dirt and excess oil, while the peach stone gently exfoliates and buffs away dead skin cells. Hundreds of Target customers are fans, with one writing, "Great product! Smells peachy and exfoliates gently on your skin making your skin glowy and fresh. Love Burt's Bees products overall because they make them natural. Very nice packaging. I would recommend this product because it helped me a lot with dry skin!"

Clinique Exfoliating Scrub
Credit: sephora.com

Best for Sensitive Skin: Clinique Exfoliating Scrub

$24, sephora.com

With over 33,000 likes and 1,000 positive reviews on Sephora, this exfoliator from Clinique is one of the most beloved scrubs around. Not only does it remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, but it can also soften fine lines and wrinkles over time, leaving you with a glowing complexion. Made from 100 percent vegan ingredients, the scrub is allergy-tested and fragrance-free, making it a great option for people with sensitive skin. "Such an amazing product," wrote one shopper. "It is coarse enough to exfoliate and feel like it is working, yet it is gentle enough to not irritate sensitive skin."

M3 Naturals Activated Charcoal Scrub
Credit: amazon.com

Best Hydrating Option: M3 Naturals Activated Charcoal Scrub

$30 (was $33), amazon.com 

This exfoliating face scrub by M3 Naturals has an impressive 7,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, and rightfully so—it's specially formulated with activated charcoal, collagen, and sea salt to detoxify and rejuvenate skin. The deep cleaning product can also reduce blackheads and minimize the appearance of pores. "After purchasing this scrub, I threw away all other face scrubs and cleaning products I had in my bathroom because they became useless compared to this top-notch product," said one reviewer. "Unlike other face scrubs, this activated charcoal doesn't dry out my skin after use, but makes it smooth and hydrated so there is no need for a moisturizer."