2022's "7 Best" Exfoliating Facial Scrubs On The Market

Our team researched and tested the top-selling exfoliating facial scrub products on the market today to find out which ones stand above the rest. Keep reading for their picks.

Exfoliating facial scrubs are an instant pick-me-up for the skin, thanks to their ability to slough off dead and dulling cells that cover the top layer of skin and can lead to clogged pores, uneven skin tone, dark spots, dryness and wrinkles. These cells are constantly shedding on their own, but the rate at which that happens can significantly slow down due to age, hormonal changes and environmental stressors.

In seeking out the absolute best exfoliating facial scrubs available, our researchers ad testers conducted extensive research and committed countless hours to come up with their top picks. They reviewed each product’s ingredients, value and manufacturing practices (such as animal testing and the use of unwanted ingredients), and also researched and tested for efficacy and of course, results. Here are their selections for the top 7 best exfoliating facial scrubs.

Overall Rating (4.9)
4.9/5

Researchers and Testers loved the gentle sloughing power behind NourishMax Amber Honey Face Scrub—delivered through tiny, superfine amber granules—that left even sensitive skin smooth and feeling fresh, without any irritation. They also gave top marks to its honey-and-vanilla scent, a sweet spa-like treat. Even testers with dull, dry skin said that just one use of this extra-mild scrub made a noticeable difference, boosting the appearance of their skin.

They also liked the NourishMax Sugar Lip Scrub which delivers a sweet solution to prep and perfect dry lips. With fine, sugar-based exfoliating particles, it gently buffs away dead skin to leave lips feeling soft and smooth. A potent peptide supports natural collagen and hyaluronic acid production, encouraging a plump appearance. This essential lip scrub helps to protect against dryness, cracking, and chapping while imparting a deliciously sweet, tropical flavor.

Made with amber, honey, vanilla fruit extract and apple amino acids, NourishMax Amber Honey Face Scrub also contains glycosaminoglycans to moisturize and magnesium glucomate to restore essential minerals, all working together to uncover younger-looking skin with each use. Researchers and testers were also pleased with the product’s lack of synthetic ingredients, as well as its vegan-friendly, cruelty-free status.

NourishMax products are available on its website only, but the company makes the virtual shopping trip worth it: the product can be purchased at 50% OFF when buying four or more, which adds up to about $30 apiece. Plus, the company offers free domestic shipping and a 100% satisfaction guarantee, making it even easier to test-drive something our reviewers rated best in class.

Pros

Cons

#2 Drunk Elephant

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
Overall Rating (4.5)
4.5/5

A self-proclaimed at-home microdermabrasion treatment, Dr. Brandt Age-Defying Exfoliator wowed testers with its professional results. The product received a big thumbs up for its one-step delivery of exfoliating, moisturizing and soothing properties, the result of ingredients like aluminum oxide crystals, lactic acid and grape seed extract, and jojoba oil, chamomile extract and aloe vera.

Testers reported immediately smoother, softer skin that glowed, in addition to the reduced appearance of fine lines for some. And regardless of skin type or sensitivity, the product was well received overall.

That said, some testers did take issue with the cost. At $79 for two ounces, it’s a little pricey, albeit far less than the cost of professional microdermabrasion sessions. Another negative: The company states on its website that it does not conduct its own animal testing, but it does sell its products to countries that require such testing by law, so we questioned their cruelty-free claim.

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Cons

#3 Dr. Brandt

Dr. Brandt Age-Defying Exfoliator
Overall Rating (4.3)
4.3/5

A self-proclaimed at-home microdermabrasion treatment, Dr. Brandt Age-Defying Exfoliator wowed testers with its professional results. The product received a big thumbs up for its one-step delivery of exfoliating, moisturizing and soothing properties, the result of ingredients like aluminum oxide crystals, lactic acid and grape seed extract, and jojoba oil, chamomile extract and aloe vera.

Testers reported immediately smoother, softer skin that glowed, in addition to the reduced appearance of fine lines for some. And regardless of skin type or sensitivity, the product was well received overall.

That said, some testers did take issue with the cost. At $79 for two ounces, it’s a little pricey, albeit far less than the cost of professional microdermabrasion sessions. Another negative: The company states on its website that it does not conduct its own animal testing, but it does sell its products to countries that require such testing by law, so we questioned their cruelty-free claim.

Pros

Cons

#4 Kate Somerville

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Treatment
Overall Rating (4.0)
4/5

This product, developed by a celebrity esthetician, brings together both chemical and physical exfoliants. Many testers found that they appreciated how it unclogged pores, helped lessen the appearance of breakouts and improved overall texture. Some with especially dry or sensitive skin, though, noted a slight burning sensation after use.

Key product ingredients include a combination of lactic and salicylic acids, along with papaya, pineapple and pumpkin enzymes; and aloe vera, honey and Vitamin E to smooth and soften. Like Drunk Elephant’s Babyfacial, however, this product is not recommended for use more than once or twice a week. And while Kate Somerville products are certified as cruelty-free, parent company Unilever does conduct animal testing.

Pros

Cons

#5 Murad

Murad Pore Reform Skin Smoothing Polish
Overall Rating (3.8)
3.8/5

Murad and its skincare products have been on the market for more than three decades and definitely have a solid following, so our testers were excited to see what its Pore Reform Skin Smoothing Polish delivered. Some touted the product’s ability to minimize the appearance of pores, and liked that they could use it in place of a daily cleanser; others found it drying and a bit too harsh for regular use on sensitive skin.

The divide in reviews may be attributed to the product’s ingredients. While it’s formulated with naturals like witch hazel and cinnamon extract to tighten the look of pores and balance oil production, and moisturizing agents such as borage and sesame seed oils, some of its other ingredients are known to be skin irritants, including added fragrance and color, two things we try to steer clear of. And just as the Kate Somerville product reviewed here, this brand is certified as cruelty-free but owned by Unilever, which tests on animals.

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Cons

#6 Dermalogica

Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant
Overall Rating (3.6)
3.6/5

A two-in-one mask that gently exfoliates as it hydrates, some of our testers really liked what they saw when they rinsed this product away after use. With ingredients like lactic acid, salicylic acid and diatomaceous earth, that’s not surprising. A handful of others thought it was too gentle, and didn’t report a noticeable difference in the condition of their skin.

The product does contain some ingredients that can cause skin irritation, however, including essential citrus oils and botanical extracts, which for some testers outweighed the formula’s positives. And once again, as with the Murad and Kate Somerville products reviewed, Dermalogica is certified cruelty-free but owned by Unilever, which does animal testing.

Pros

Cons

#7 Elemis

Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator
Overall Rating (3.5)
3.5/5

A favorite among its exfoliating line of products, Elemis’s Gentle Rose Exfoliator definitely lived up to its name for many of our testers, who commented about its softer texture. That was fine for those with extra-sensitive or mature skin, but some found that they wanted a more gritty texture. Testers across the board, however, noted its pleasant scent and silky feel.

Formulated with cucumber extract and moisture-boosting rose flower and jojoba oils, the product left many testers with noticeably dewy skin. But a close look at its ingredients list revealed things we try to avoid, including PEGs and artificial dye, as well as citrus essential oils.

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