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7 best men's exfoliators

Leave skin feeling smoother and brighter with these microbead-free exfoliators 

A face lift: give your visage a deep clean ( Getty/Vetta )

A combination of dryness and dead cells can leave skin feeling rough and looking uneven and dull.

A good exfoliator that helps slough all that away and reveal soft, smooth skin underneath is pretty satisfying, and men’s skin is slightly thicker than women’s so can tolerate a more aggressive scrub, plus it’s good for lifting hairs for shaving.

We’ve been testing what is on the market to highlight the best ones – all without those ocean-ruining microbeads that were once the norm.

Elemis Energising Skin Scrub: £32 

This is a real treat for your skin, with antioxidant-rich bilberry, amino-acid rich meadowsweet and vitamin E, which all nourish and condition the skin’s natural barrier to protect it from the environment.

Elemis also boasts a just-the-right-size grain, which scored top marks for pore-clearing, shave-prepping and dry-skin beating. We feel confident in saying it will suit everyone.

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Haeckels Seaweed + Salicylic Powder Exfoliant: £27

Aside from how much we love its beautiful brown bottle, this, from the Margate-based brand, is a clever creation.

It comes in powder form, which is designed to be mixed into Haeckel’s (or any other!) face wash two or three times a week, so you don’t have to apply two products.

Dried seaweed exfoliates manually while willow bark, a natural form of salicylic acid, exfoliates chemically.

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Baxter of California Facial Scrub: £19, Look Fantastic


This, from the California-based barber brand, uses cornmeal and walnut shell for serious exfoliation, plus avocado oil and almond seed extract to treat and soothe, and witch hazel to fight spots.

Our tester found it a little harsh to shave immediately after use, but liked it best mixed with their face wash to make it milder and for daily use as regular maintenance.

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L:A Bruket No.050 Facial Scrub: £22.50, Mankind

We love the simple but effective formula of this, from the all-natural Swedish skincare brand L:A Bruket, which combines nurturing almond oil with exfoliating salt to form a scrub that leaves skin smooth and moisturised.

The only thing we’re not keen on is having to dip our hands into the pot container as we always get grains stuck under our nails.

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Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste: £35

Like the power combination of L:A Bruket’s scrub, Aesop’s combines a manual exfoliant in the form of fine quartz with lactic acid, plus evening primrose, lavender and rosemary oils to soothe, lock in moisture and protect.

The more water you add, the more slip it has, so use on damp skin for a hardy scrub or in the shower on wet hands for a lighter treatment.

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Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant: £49.50, John Lewis

Dermalogica’s Microfoliant is a rewardingly effective powder that you combine with water to reach your desired consistency.

It also uses papaya, rice enzymes and salicylic acid, so it combines both types of exfoliator. Our tester found that skin was left smooth and brightened – just don’t drop the bottle in the bath, as the dispenser clogs.

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ClarinsMen Exfoliating Cleanser: £21.50

This from the ever-reliable ClarinsMen range is a two-in-one product that can be used daily and eliminates the need for a separate face wash and cleanser – good for the time-poor.

We particularly recommend it for dry skin because it is soap-free and doesn’t leave that tight, dehydrated post-shower feeling. Gentle enough to use after shaving to leave skin smooth and fresh.

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The Verdict: Men’s exfoliators 

There are a lot of products that we love on this list, but Elemis’s Energising Skin Scrub just about scoops the top spot for its combination of baby soft skin and nourishing protection.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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