My obsession with finding the best body scrubs is fairly new. I certainly never bothered to exfoliate my body during my tomboy phase in high school, and in college the phrase "relaxing body scrub" never crossed my mind in the gross dorm showers. Now I'm a beauty writer, however, and from makeup-setting sunscreen sprays to bronzing moisturizers, there are very few beauty products that I have not tried — and body scrubs are hands-down one of my favorite products to use now. The use of a body scrub forces you to take a few extra minutes pampering yourself in the shower as you scrub away at every part of your body. I find this ritual to be very soothing, not to mention the delicious aroma that body scrubs invariably disperse.
Body scrubs are also incredibly practical, since they can single-handedly prevent and fix multiple skin issues. If you suffer from dry or flaky skin, backne, ingrown hairs, rough calluses, or irritated, itchy skin, a good body scrub can help. They're also a must if you plan on using a self-tanner, since you absolutely cannot get an even tan without exfoliating first.
Below are the top body scrubs that I use religiously throughout the summer (and the rest of the year) ranked from the gentlest exfoliation to the most powerful scrub.
For Sensitive Skin: Tree Hut Vanilla & Honey Oatmeal Scrub for Sensitive Skin
This is the gentlest body scrub I've ever used. If you're looking for some heavy duty scrubbing action then this will disappoint you, but if you have sensitive skin that can't handle most body scrubs then you really need to keep this one in your arsenal.
Ground oatmeal works to gently exfoliate and soothe skin, and organic honey, vanilla, and shea butter soften skin with antioxidants. As an added bonus, it smells delicious enough to eat. I love using this because then I walk around smelling like spiced baked goods all day. (It's also available in a Pear & Chia Seed version, FYI.)
For Self Tanner Prep: Jergens Natural Glow Color Primer Shower Scrub
Let's be real: You can use any exfoliator to prep for self-tanner. That said, I really like this one in particular for a lot of reasons. It has just enough roughness without being painful to use, and it contains salicylic acid to help exfoliate the skin even further. I've used it multiple times before applying self-tanner and it hasn't let me down yet.
Best of all, it smells amazing; it just has a really clean scent that lingers long after a shower. I only wish the 5.5 oz bottle was bigger because I run out quickly.
For An Amazing Scent: Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Polish
This one is by far my favorite. The peach, sugar, shea butter, and grapeseed and almond oils combine to make this the best smelling product I've ever used in the shower. If Soap & Glory's Original Pink fragrance smells anything at all like this body scrub and the accompanying lotion, I need to get my hands on it ASAP.
Aside from the scent, it just works really well. Often body scrubs feel harsh on the skin and then leave you feeling dry and irritated. Not this one. It scrubs very well without being painful, and afterwards my skin feels so soft and silky. I keep the giant 10 oz tub in my shower and also have several of the smaller $5 tubs stashed around my home "in case I go on a trip" (but really because I'm addicted).
To Wake Up Your Skin: Pacifica Kona Coffee & Sugar Detox Body Scrub
I was really excited to try a coffee-scented body scrub because I love smelling coffee almost as much as I love drinking it. However, when I opened this one and sniffed, my nose was hit with a rush of sugary sweetness and not a ton of coffee. Basically this is the Starbucks of coffee-scented body scrubs. That's OK though because I still really like it.
This is the thickest scrub so far, as you can see below. It feels luxurious and not at all scratchy. It leaves my skin feeling hydrated and smooth. I also love the inclusion of natural ingredients such as Kona coffee, sea salt, sugar, coconut and other natural oils, and the absence of synthetic fragrances or sulfates.
For A Spa-Like Experience: L'Occitane Aromachologie Revitalizing Body Scrub
I love L'Occitane products because they're so luxurious, from the quality of the ingredients to the packaging. Their body scrubs in particular always make me feel like a glamorous French woman. Whenever I use this scrub I like to imagine I'm in the south of France drinking champagne in a claw-foot bathtub (as opposed to drinking a cheap beer in my tiny shower).
This scrub is incredibly thick and dense; it feels like scooping out the richest frosting you can imagine. I love the natural ingredients (such as sugar, sunflower oil, lemon zest, and essential oils) and the fresh, citrus scent.
If you need some serious scrubbing action, however, you may want to try their Verbena Body Salt Scrub. Large salts from the Mediterranean Sea are immersed in essential oils, and a handy wooden spoon is included for scooping them out with minimal mess.
Sometimes when I'm feeling particularly dry-skinned and ambitious, I like to mix both of these L'Occitane body scrubs together for a vigorous, citrus-scented exfoliating session.
For An Eco-Friendly Option: Lush Life's A Beach Limited Edition Body Scrub
This limited edition body scrub is part of Lush's initiative to cease the use of microbeads in body scrubs, since they're terrible for the environment. It's definitely a worthy cause to support, and the product itself is pretty darn nice too.
Handmade with fresh ingredients like sea salt, sand, and gardenia extract, this dry, loose scrub actually feels like rolling around on the beach. Minus the sand in your bikini bottom, that is. I love the vanilla-caramel scent too.
I will say that this is the roughest scrub on the list, however, so if you have sensitive skin you may want to restrict this one to elbows, knees, and feet.
Luckily for those with sensitive skin (or for those who may end up missing out on snagging on of these limited edition pots), Lush has some nice other options as well. Ocean Salt $37, lushusa has a fresh, invigorating scent and has the novelty factor of momentarily turning your skin bright blue. I also like their Buffy Bar, $27, lushusa, which comes in convenient bar form and does a great job moisturizing skin in addition to sloughing off roughness.
Whichever body scrub you choose, you're sure to feel 100 percent more confident this summer as you bare your soft, smooth skin. And if you're on a tight budget, consider making your own DIY body scrub!
Images: Kelly Dougher