When it comes to practising good skincare habits, proper cleansing and daily usage of sunscreen are usually the first things that anyone would tell you. But any beauty or skin enthusiast worth his or her salt will not fail to mention this unsung hero of any skincare routine: exfoliation.
Sure, our skin does naturally shed dead cells, but it can’t always get them all off. Plus, this natural process also slows down as we age. That’s why it’s worth investing your time in picking a face scrub that suits your skin type and concerns.
A good one can help you prevent all those dead skin from sitting and accumulating on the surface of your skin, so that you don’t end up with a long list of complexion concerns that range from dullness and clogged pores to more noticeable fine lines and flaky patches.
Using a face scrub regularly also helps all your other skincare products to penetrate deeper into skin layers, so that they can perform at their full potential. But with so many different variants out there, how exactly do you go about choosing the best facial scrubs? And what is a chemical or physical exfoliant, anyway?
Fret not, Daily Vanity has all the lowdown on face scrubs for you.
What are the types of face scrub available on the market currently?
Face scrubs, or more commonly known as face exfoliants nowadays, are generally split into two categories: chemical and physical.
Chemical exfoliants, which typically contain common ingredients such as acids or enzymes, work by loosening the “glue” that bonds dead skin cells together so that they can be dislodged from the skin’s surface. Many of the options available in the market do more than just exfoliate, so it’s a nice way to get an added bang for your buck.
Meanwhile, physical or mechanical exfoliants tend to use particles from seeds and shells to physically buff or scrub off dead skin.
However, the main gripe some people have with physical exfoliants is that the particles used can come with jagged edges and uneven shapes, which can potentially damage the skin. To work around this issue, cosmetic scientists have since come up with gentler options that are more evenly-shaped, like jojoba beads, rice powder or bamboo powder.
So, which one should you go for? The truth: Both are equally effective and it comes down largely to a matter of both personal preference and skin type.
And before you start going on about the misconceptions surrounding face scrubs, we strongly encourage you to stop giving in to the fearmongering and start doing your own research instead. Gone are the days when face scrubs use tiny pieces of plastic as abrasive agents to sandpaper your skin to a pulp.
These days, most of the facial exfoliants out there are equally effective as they are gentle.
How do I choose a face scrub that’s best for me?
Now that we’ve established that exfoliating is one step of your skincare routine that you should definitely not skip, it’s time to find a face scrub that suits your skin. But just because there are countless options out there doesn’t mean you need to approach face scrubs with trepidation.
Firstly, what you need to do is to get to know your skin type and also identify your skin concerns (you can pop by any of your favourite beauty counters around the island and the brand’s beauty advisors would be more than happy to give you a skin consultation).
Once you’ve got that locked in, we can guarantee there’s a face scrub out there for the job that fits every type, concern (blackheads, we’re looking at you), and budget.
Ahead, we’ve done the legwork for you and rounded up 42 of the best face scrubs for every skin type, concern, and budget.
Before you scroll down to find one that fits your criteria, here are a few tips to keep in mind when using a face scrub:
- Daily exfoliation is not necessary, unless your skin is severely incapable of getting rid of dead skin on its own due to health reasons. Keep exfoliation to just two to three times per week, and avoid the eye area.
- It’s recommended to massage your face scrub onto damp skin in circular motions with very light pressure to prevent irritation and micro-tears.
- Always remember to apply sunscreen every morning to protect freshly-exfoliated skin – broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher is ideal.
Go ahead and scrub away your skin’s sins with our picks of the best face scrubs on the market.
Best face scrubs for every skin type and concern
For this round-up, we divided our top picks into several easy-to-identify categories, namely face scrubs for dry skin, oily skin, sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, and combination skin.
For those looking for an instant glow, we’ve also gathered options that are well-loved for their superior brightening effects. Last but not least, there are splurge-worthy options to indulge in as well as options that won’t break the bank.
Best face scrubs for dry skin
Dr. Barbara Sturm Facial Scrub
A facial in a bottle hardly exists, but this face scrub is about as close as you can get without stepping into a spa, making it a good must-have in your skincare routine especially on days when you are unable to make it for your facial appointment.
A true all-rounder, this formula targets breakouts, removes flakiness, and hydrates dry skin thanks to antioxidant-packed jojoba oil.
Vitamin A and purslane offer soothing benefits while shea butter and silk extract keep any possible irritation at bay, making dull, dry skin a thing of the past.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Facial Scrub retails for S$80 online.
Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste
Dry skin will especially appreciate this cream-based facial scrub that’s enhanced with fine quartz, rosemary leaf, and lactic acid to gently slough away dead skin cells and soften the skin. Plus, it comes with the herbaceous, earthy aroma that Aesop has come to be known for, making every scrub a sensorial experience.
Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste retails for S$70 at all Aesop boutiques and online.
Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser
Suitable for dry, aged skin that requires a little help in the exfoliation department, this one is gentle enough that you can use it daily. A little goes a long way for this formula, though, as it possesses two different forms of exfoliation to give you the ultimate bang for your buck.
Apricot seed powder polishes skin to perfection, while pomegranate enzymes dissolve dead, dry skin. There’s also willow bark and French clay to help pull out and purify pores, making this an especially great pick for anyone prone to blackheads.
Oh, and those who are into clean beauty will appreciate this super clean formula that’s free of a long list of questionable chemicals, and uses ingredients only from organic farming.
Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser retails for S$57 (50ml) and S$114 (125ml) on Sephora.sg.
Summer Fridays Overtime Mask
Face scrubs with shells in them have been the subject of heated discussions in the beauty world for years, but the pumpkin and apricot seed powder found in this one is really fine.
Not only is it an extremely mild face scrub, it even pulls double duty as a hydrating mask. Simply massage it in soft, circular motions before letting it do its thing for 10 minutes.
Once you wash it off, all that’s left is plump, glowing skin without any irritation. Oh, did we mention that it smells like a pumpkin spice latte?
Summer Fridays Overtime Mask retails for S$62 on Selfridges.
Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream
Fine lines and dryness won’t stand a chance with this dermatologist-developed exfoliating cream that gently refines the skin to make way for moisture to be pumped in.
Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream retails for S$20 (30ml) and S$50 (100ml) on Sephora.sg.
Kopari Coconut Crush Scrub
Luscious and decadent, you can count on this coconut oil-infused brown sugar scrub to polish, exfoliate, and hydrate your parched skin for a silky-smooth, lit-from-within glow.
If you’re a fan of the sweet and milky coconut scent, feel free to lather this on both your face and body for a gorgeous head-to-toe glow.
Kopari Coconut Crush Scrub retails for S$21 (50ml) and S$65 (300ml) on Sephora.sg.
Sand & Sky Australian Emu Apple Enzyme Powder Polish
Jam-packed with fruit extracts and enzymes, this vegan and cruelty-free powder exfoliant lets you kick dull skin to the curb and bring on the brightness in minutes. It’s also infused with macadamia oil, jojoba oil, and aloe vera to help nourish the skin and visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines.
Dry, dull skin? We don’t even know her!
Sand & Sky Australian Emu Apple Enzyme Powder Polish retails for S$70 on Sephora.sg.
Best face scrubs for oily skin
Fresh Umbrian Clay Mattifying Face Exfoliant
Oily skin generally goes hand-in-hand with enlarged pores, and we don’t blame you for wanting a product that can tackle both, which is where this face scrub from Fresh comes in.
The formula effectively absorbs excess oil with clay and doubles as a face mask – fans of this face scrub even say that it perfectly preps your skin for makeup.
Wave goodbye to grease and say hello to a new mattified visage.
Fresh Umbrian Clay Mattifying Face Exfoliant retails for S$55 at all Fresh boutiques and Sephora stores. It’s also available online at Sephora.sg, but is currently out of the stock at the time of writing. You can submit your email address to have them notify you when it’s back in stock.
The Body Shop Seaweed Pore-Cleansing Exfoliator
If visible, clogged pores plague you, look no further than this The Body Shop face scrub. Formulated with mineral-rich seaweed sourced from Ireland, it leaves skin feeling refreshingly clean while tackling excess oil or rough patches along the way.
It also features jojoba beads, which are essentially soft little skin scrubbers made from biodegradable natural wax that will work hard to shift stubborn dirt and grime for that deeply cleansed feeling without being hard on your skin.
The Body Shop Seaweed Pore-Cleansing Exfoliator retails for S$25 at all The Body Shop stores.
Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant
Thanks to a cocktail of powerful enzymes, skin-smoothing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), and activated binchotan charcoal, you can definitely depend on this highly-active powder exfoliant to deliver your smoothest skin ever.
It’s also armed with an anti-pollution technology to help guard against the damaging effects of pollution, including premature skin ageing.
Tatcha The Rice Polish Deep Foaming Enzyme Powder
Suitable for combination to oily skin, this non-abrasive powder exfoliant uses a blend of papaya, green tea, rice, and algae to create a smooth, makeup-ready canvas while tackling signs of ageing.
Tatcha The Rice Polish Deep Foaming Enzyme Powder retails for S$85 on Sephora.sg.
Clarins Pure Scrub
Blemishes, shine, and dilated pores don’t stand a chance when you have this exfoliating gel that enlists volcanic rock beads and organic alpine willow herb extract to slough away dead skin and minimise shine while unclogging and tightening pores.
Clarins Pure Scrub retails for S$54 at all Clarins boutiques and counters as well as online.
Best face scrubs for combination skin
Bioderma Sébium Exfoliating Purifying Gel
If you’re prone to acne, dullness, and hyperpigmentation, this formula is the one you need. The itty-bitty granules in this gel-textured face scrub physically exfoliate until they burst with salicylic and glycolic acid, which chemically exfoliate away impurities.
In other words, you’re getting twice the exfoliation in one product with this formula.
Bioderma Sébium Exfoliating Purifying Gel retails for S$19.94 on REVOLVE.
Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser
Packed with a radiance-boosting mixture of panax ginseng, caffeine, jojoba, and carnauba wax, this leaves your skin soft and refreshed with small, gentle exfoliating beads and an energising, all-natural essential oil blend of grapefruit, lemon, and spearmint.
Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser retails for S$38 at all Origins counters and stores, as well as Sephora and online at Sephora.sg.
Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Exfoliating Cleanser
Looking for a multi-tasker to clean and exfoliate your face at the same time? You’ll like the Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Exfoliating Cleanser that gently lifts away impurities to leave your complexion calm and clear.
On top of that, it also comes with antioxidants, vitamin E, and glycerin to keep skin hydrated, protected, and comforted.
Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Exfoliating Cleanser retails for S$32.50 on Lookfantastic.
Fresh Sugar Face Polish
If there’s a word to describe this two-in-one face mask and scrub, delectable would be it.
Brown sugar crystals and strawberry seeds first buff away rough patches on your skin before dissolving in the nourishing oils packed in the formula, leaving your skin velvety soft and smooth.
Plus, the sweet citrus scent smells so good, you might just have a tough time trying not to eat it.
Fresh Sugar Face Polish retails for S$38 (30g) and S$95 (125g) on Sephora.sg.
Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator
Reveal radiant, soft skin with this gentle exfoliator that incorporates micro-spherical jojoba beads blended with hydrating rose absolute to shed off accumulated grime and dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. Vitamin C-rich cucumber extract in the formula helps to moisturise the skin as it soothes and refreshes.
Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator retails for S$72 online.
Kylie Skin Walnut Face Scrub
Face scrubs that use crushed walnut powder as an exfoliant have been polarising for years, which is probably the reason why Kylie Jenner’s new Kylie Skin face scrub got a lot of hate on Twitter when she first announced it.
But in all honesty, the misunderstood ingredient is really not that bad – when used sparingly like a maximum of once a week. All you need is a light layer rubbed very gently in circular motions all across your face, and you’ll look brighter and less dull immediately.
Kylie Skin Walnut Face Scrub retails for S$38 on Selfridges.
Best face scrubs for acne-prone skin
Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser Scrub
Most of us are probably familiar with the Clean & Clear brand when we were teenagers, but for those struggling with adult acne, this face scrub formulation still works wonder as it’s specifically made with 2% salicylic acid to target blackheads and help dissolve impurities.
Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser Scrub retails for S$10.28 on iHerb.
Frank Body Creamy Face Scrub
For a face scrub that gently exfoliates without sucking out moisture from your dry, blemished skin, look no further than this skin-smoothing blend of coffee, bamboo, walnut, rosehip oil, and white clay. On top of buffing away dry skin, it’s good at calming breakouts too!
Be warned, though: the coffee ground-based face scrub may make a bit of a mess in the sink, but trust us, it’s totally worth it.
Frank Body Creamy Face Scrub retails for S$15 (35ml) and S$34 (125ml) on Sephora.sg.
Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment
Made with a blend of Australian botanicals, witch hazel as well as Australian pink clay, this exfoliating treatment works like a powerful magnet to soak up any excess oil and pull out toxins, pollutants, and impurities from deep within while physically exfoliating and smoothing your skin.
But if you think that combo will leave your skin high and dry, fret not: the formula is packed with rosehip, grapeseed, and olive oils to nourish and restore long-lost radiance.
Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment retails for S$59.90 on Sephora.sg.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
We can’t possibly do a round-up of face scrubs without mentioning this OG formula, and this powder exfoliant is a cult favourite for good reason.
First, it’s gentle enough that you can use it daily, though it’s just as effective when you use it once or twice weekly. In addition to that, it delivers a combination of both physical and chemical exfoliation, thanks to rice powder and papaya enzymes.
And for those unfamiliar, it’s a spill-proof powder that only foams up into a creamy paste upon contact with water, which means it’s the ideal exfoliator to take with you when you head out for your next staycation. Also, it works just as well for dry skin, though those with sensitive and acne-prone skin might want to steer clear from it.
Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub
Eschewing the typical exfoliator choices such as jojoba or crushed walnut, this gel-based face scrub combines Ecuadorian ivory palm seeds instead with nourishing botanicals to tackle buildup and impurities.
Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub retails for S$45 on Sephora.sg.
Best face scrubs for sensitive skin
Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub
While experts recommend against scrubbing your face every day, there are days when your skin just needs that extra push to get rid of all the trapped gunk.
On those days, it’ll help to use the most gentle scrub possible to prevent damage to your skin barrier. This daily option from Cetaphil is packed with pH-balancing glycerin, so it hydrates while it sloughs away dead skin cells.
Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub retails for S$14.37 on iHerb.
La Roche-Posay Ultrafine Scrub
If sensitive skin plus physical exfoliation sounds like a recipe for disaster, let the Ultrafine Scrub by La Roche-Posay change your mind.
Super-fine pumice particles – suspended in a cooling gel formula – provide just the right amount of grit without feeling scratchy. Plus, this stuff leaves skin with a quenched suppleness you might expect from a water-based gel moisturiser.
La Roche-Posay Ultrafine Scrub retails for S$26.90 on Watsons.
June Jacobs Sensitive Formula Mandarin Polishing Beads
Those who prefer to have their face scrub be formulated with things that they’re comfortable eating will love this sensitive skin-friendly formula that packs in soybean extract, vitamin E, goji berry, pomegranate, and grape seed extract to take away sweat and grime without disrupting skin’s delicate balance.
June Jacobs Sensitive Formula Mandarin Polishing Beads retails for approx. S$58.45 (US$44) online.
Pai Skincare Virtuous Circle Kukui & Jojoba Bead Exfoliator
Bid dead skin and impurities goodbye with this gel-textured face scrub that leaves zero damage to skin – or oceans, thanks to its spherical jojoba beads.
Pai Skincare Virtuous Circle Kukui & Jojoba Bead Exfoliator retails for S$64 on Sephora.sg.
Best face scrubs for brightening
Acure Brightening Facial Scrub
For those hoping to shine from the inside out, find your light with this face scrub. It’s got sea kelp, which softens and detoxifies without any harsh stripping effect.
Meanwhile, lemon and French green clay help peel and address impurities, leaving you with an irresistible after-sun glow that you’d normally get after a day out at the beach.
Acure Brightening Facial Scrub retails for S$10.07 on iHerb.
Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub
Got a case of sensitive skin that could use some radiance boost? You can always count on an Aveeno product like this one here to be get the job done while remaining gentle on even the most sensitive skin types.
With antioxidant soy extract, glycerin, and jojoba oil, this face scrub exfoliates just as much as it soothes and nourishes.
Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub retails for S$4.05 (56.7g), S$11.16 (140g), and S$11.89 (198g) on iHerb.
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Polish
For a face scrub that exfoliates and brightens but is gentle enough to be used every day (if needed), you won’t go wrong with this mild First Aid Beauty formula that’s made with skin-nourishing and soothing ingredients like shea butter, oatmeal, and glycerin.
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Polish retails for S$42 on Sephora.sg.
Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator
Yet another iconic face scrub, this potent formula gently polishes and buffs away dead skin cells with a sand-like texture to reveal a smoother, brighter complexion in minutes.
Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator retails for S$90 on Zalora.
Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub
Combining pineapple and papaya enzymes with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), you can trust this power-packed face scrub to leave you with a long-lasting healthy glow right after you wash it off your face.
Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub retails for S$34 (40ml) and S$63 (100ml) on Sephora.sg.
Gallinée Face Mask & Scrub
For a glow that lasts and lasts, this face mask-slash-scrub delivers with an innovative biotic complex that contains lactic acid to help smooth the skin and prebiotics to nourish your skin’s protective ecosystem – the microbiome.
Additionally, it packs a revitalising and purifying punch with a blend of kaolin white clay, sea minerals, and vitamin E for a clearer, brighter complexion.
Gallinée Face Mask & Scrub retails for S$15 (30ml) and S$43 (100ml) on Sephora.sg, but is currently on sale with up to 30% off at the time of writing.
Best budget-friendly face scrubs
Simple Kind to Skin Smoothing Facial Scrub
If you were once a fan of the former microbead cleansers and exfoliators, this is a great environmentally-friendly replacement with a pocket-friendly price tag. The creamy white exfoliator boasts silica particles that gently slough off dead skin, while rice powder absorbs any excess oil, leaving you positively glowing.
Simple Kind to Skin Smoothing Facial Scrub retails for S$12.90 at Watsons.
L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Scrub
This L’Oréal Paris sugar scrub is everything a sugar scrub should be, but better. It’s infused with not one, but three different types of sugar, suspended in a creamy, delectable mixture of coconut oil and cocoa butter to gently release debris and encourage the skin to glow after just one use.
What’s more, it doubles as an excellent lip scrub as well if you’re compelled to use it near your mouth. We can’t forget to mention the awesome price point, too.
L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Scrub retails for S$11.31 on Amazon.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleanser
In theory, exfoliating can leave your skin a little dry, which can be especially problematic if your complexion is already on the dry side, to begin with. But that doesn’t mean you should skip this super important skincare step.
The key is, of course, to find a face scrub with added hydrating ingredients, and this budget-friendly staple fits the bill. The gel-to-cream formula uses glycolic and lactic acids, as well as papaya extract, to gently smooth skin, but is especially noteworthy for the addition of hyaluronic acid.
One of the best hydrating ingredients out there, hyaluronic acid attracts water and traps it in the skin. This formula also doubles as a cleanser and is gentle enough for daily use, perfect for those who don’t want to deal with an extra step in their skincare routine.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleanser retails for S$12.86 on iHerb.
Bliss Micro Magic
Just like the treatments available at Bliss Spa locations (you’ll know how heavenly a treatment at one of these spots are if you’ve tried it before!), this face scrub will leave you feeling totally refreshed.
It’s basically a gentle, at-home version of a microdermabrasion that sloughs away dirt and oil with volcanic pumice while its aloe vera soothes and de-puffs.
Bliss Micro Magic retails for S$8.49 on Amazon.
Eau Thermale Avène Gentle Exfoliating Gel
This eco-friendly formula does a great job at refining and illuminating while respecting sensitive skin, thanks to cellulose microbeads, niacinamide, sodium salicylate, and Avène’s proprietary Thermal Spring Water.
Most splurge-worthy face scrubs
La Mer The Replenishing Oil Exfoliator
While its blend of sugar crystals and sea salt gently refines the appearances of dullness and fine lines, sea kelp fibres in the formula work like a cleansing cloth to draw out impurities from pores for a clean canvas.
But being a La Mer product, this face scrub obviously comes enriched with the brand’s signature Miracle Broth that helps to replenish, soften, and smooth the skin.
You’d definitely look forward to exfoliating your skin with this one every time.
La Mer The Replenishing Oil Exfoliator retails for S$235 at La Mer counters and online at Sephora.sg.
Dior Dior Prestige Sugar Scrub
Sugar micro-crystals are enriched with rose – Christian Dior’s favourite bloom – in this moisturising scrub to gently polish the skin before transforming into a hydrating mask that leaves the complexion smooth, refined, and glowing with radiance.
Dior Dior Prestige Sugar Scrub retails for S$125 on Selfridges.
Valmont Face Exfoliant
If you’re willing to spend top dollar on your skin, you might as well invest in a premium face scrub.
This restorative product is a favourite among A-list estheticians, mostly because its micro quartz crystals (yes, crystals) work for all skin types. Its texture is also so luxuriously thick it could almost double as a face cream – that’s when you know you’ve hit a new level of indulgence.
Valmont Face Exfoliant retails for S$123 at TANGS.
La Prairie Cellular Mineral Face Exfoliator
Mineral-rich gem powders, rosa centifolia flower, and an exclusive Cellular Complex come together in this luxurious, translucent gel to tighten pores, slough away dead skin cells, and improve radiance while delighting the senses with its rich and silky feel.
La Prairie Cellular Mineral Face Exfoliator retails for S$193 on Selfridges.