The 8 Best Body Exfoliators for Your Smoothest, Most Youthful-Looking Skin
This is part of our new weekly series called Test Drive, where our team of beauty experts demystify products and tools, as well as explore new techniques IRL.
If you're someone who wants to erase the signs of aging, you're probably doing a few things to improve your complexion. (Most of us focus on our face when it comes to anti-aging.) The best plan is to stick to a daily skincare routine and when it's safe to do so, schedule the occasional appointments with a licensed professional for treatments. Although the area above the neck is important, you need to give the rest of your body attention, too. And there might be a part of your regiment that you're skipping that helps keep your skin smooth, which helps make it look younger. (By the way, it's super easy and can be inexpensive, too.) That missing step is exfoliation. And if you haven't been exfoliating regularly, you definitely should be. (Don't worry, I am a recent convert, too.)
Everything You Need to Know About Body Exfoliators
"Body exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from your body to unblock pores, stimulate circulation, and reveal smoother healthier skin," says Michelle Henry, M.D, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. "Regular exfoliation smoothes any rough areas of your skin, fights body acne, and evens skin tone." All you have to do is rub an exfoliant over your body and rinse it off. But you shouldn't be scrubbing every time you take a shower; Henry says that exfoliating once per week is "ideal." Oh, and don't forget a body lotion, such as CeraVe Moisturizing Cream ($19, Ulta) for aftercare. "Always moisturize after exfoliating, to hydrate and heal the skin," Henry says.
One of the best parts about exfoliating is that it's safe for all skin types; make sure you're choosy with your product, Henry explains. "For example, sensitive skin types can use a mild chemical exfoliator," she says. "[And] dry skin types should choose a product with glycolic acid to help encourage cell turnover but also acts as a humectant to draw in water." Here are eight body exfoliators that will help reveal fresh, healthy, and younger-looking skin.
Best for Heavy Duty
When you need a deep exfoliation (like I do when I'm getting rid of the last bits of my self-tanner) this is the best choice. The crystals are large and coarse and do an excellent job of scrubbing. Although it's a pricer option, the tub is 7 ounces, which is on the bigger side. If you do select this one, be careful while you're applying and rinsing the crystals off; they make your shower slippery.
Best for Clean Ingredients
This is my favorite of the bunch. (It's also one of Henry's top picks.) It has a gel exfoliator that turns into a foam when you rub it in. The product leaves my skin feeling clean, but not stripped. Plus, I love that it has clean ingredients that won't irritate my skin. My boyfriend, who's now into skincare thanks to me, says, "[It has] a sandy feeling that washes away all the impurities."
Best for Double-Duty
I didn't know until I started writing this story that OUAI had an exfoliator, but I love their hair products, so I had to try it out. This is a heavier-duty product with coarse crystals that really get the job done. The best part about this option is that it is also a scrub for your scalp. (If you have oily hair, like me, you'll really like that it gets rid of all the gunk and build-up.) I also enjoy the clean scent that reminds me of when you walk out of a salon post-blowout.
Best for Sensitive Skin
Hello, my fellow beings with sensitive skin: You must check out this gentle product. The texture is unbelievably creamy, with minimal beads mixed in. It's not the most intense exfoliant, but it won't irritate your skin and leaves it ridiculously smooth.
Buy It: Almond Milk & Honey Gently Exfoliating Cream Scrub ($24, The Body Shop)
The first thing that caught my eye about this tub is the fun, retro packaging. Besides being pretty, it's also a really nice exfoliant. The word "smoothie" is the best word to describe this Soap & Glory product; it's super thick and creamy. I'm partial to warm, cozy scents, and I love the maple aroma this scrub offers.
Best for Moisturizing
There are two things I love about this Hempz exfoliator. (By the way, I'm a big fan of many of Hempz's products.) First off, it has a light, clean smell. Second, it doesn't dry out my skin, and during the colder months, I can get very dry patches.
Buy It: Hempz Pink Pomelo & Himalayan Sea Salt Body Salt Scrub ($18, Ulta)
Best for Anti-Aging
This creamier scrub contains Glycolic acid, an AHA that the skin easily absorbs. The powerful, Henry-recommended ingredient helps with dullness, fine lines, and wrinkles. (It's also great for treating breakouts.) This product contains walnuts, so if you have an allergy, choose a different exfoliator.