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13 best body scrubs

A good scrub can help prevent ingrown hairs, cellulite, and stress – what more could you want?

Add a body scrub to your beauty regime to achieve Hollywood-worthy skin ( Alamy )

An unwritten rule of autumn is that the colder it gets, the more time you can unashamedly spend in the bath. But while many of us exfoliate our face, our body is often neglected, despite the weather making it just as dry.

The benefits of a good body scrub include preventing ingrown hairs, discouraging cellulite, increasing circulation, and even de-stressing you at the end of a long day. For fake tan lovers, it also has the added bonus of scrubbing away any patchy areas.

While some scrubs promise to do more than this, like many beauty products, they often fail to live up to expectations. Just like all skincare, different brands and products suit different skin types. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites, picking out those best for every skin need.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Ouai Scalp & Body Scrub: £32, The Ouai

Founded by beauty guru and Kardashian BFF Jen Atkins, Ouai are best known for their simple yet effective haircare range. This scrub doesn’t stray too far off brand, multitasking as a body and scalp scrub that aims to exfoliate away both dead skin cells and shampoo buildup.

While our tester is skeptical of any products that promise to be two-in-one, she was impressed by its effectiveness. It foams up more than your average scrub, which helps avoid the usual scrub debris left at the bottom of the tub after you’re finished. Its secret ingredient isn’t unusual – coconut oil is pretty common in skin and haircare alike nowadays – but balanced with fatty acids, it feels nourishing on your skin.

Skin felt instantly softer after use, with the effects lasting for several days. Although the post-exfoliation tingle initially feels odd on your scalp, our hair also felt much lighter.

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Tata Harper Smoothing Body Scrub: £69, Space NK

After exfoliating off dead layers of skin, a lot of scrubs can seem dehydrating. This offering from Tata Harper promises to solve that issue, utilising argan oil and the brand’s trademark Estate Grown Beauty Complex.

It applies best to dry skin so this is best used just before a bath or shower and then rinsed off a few minutes later. Although it took several uses to begin feeling the effects, we noticed drastic improvement over time. If, like our tester, you suffer from dry, ashy skin in the colder months, you’ll love how supple this leaves your skin.

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Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub Body Smoother: £8, Boots

It may be the cheapest entry on this list, but this scrub was our tester’s winner for scent. Its maple fragrance is addictive, which is useful as this also features more product (300ml) than many of its competitors.

We used this scrub on damp skin, rubbing in circular motions before rinsing off. It’s suitable for all body skin types but, thanks to the addition of shea butter, particularly dry and combination.

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Kiehl’s Grapefruit Body Scrub: £32, Kiehl's

When it comes to skincare, Kiehl’s always seeks to impress. This body scrub is simple, with a subtle grapefruit scent that lingers even after rinsing. The results are typical Kiehl’s: skin feels like it has been deeply treated, rather than just moisturised or perfumed, and results are long-lasting.

Our tester found that this scrub was the best at making her skin feel more even, making it the ideal scrub for those who find their elbows and knees cracking over the colder months.

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Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bod Buff Smoothing Scrub 'N Mask: £21, Cult Beauty

Our tester was alarmed by the colour of this scrub at first – it comes out in a yellow reminiscent of The Simpsons, and applies so thickly that you may worry it will stain your skin – but was soon won over by its deep moisturising qualities.

This is another two-in-one product which can be used as both an exfoliator or a mask. We preferred to use it as the latter: after layering it on for dry skin and leaving for ten minutes, it buffs out in water, leaving skin with a hydrated glow. If you’re strapped for time, it can also be used like a regular scrub in the shower.

Sol De Janeiro’s signature Bum Bum Cream scent (caramel-pistachio) isn’t for everybody, those who love it will soon find themselves addicted. However, be sure to wash off every last bit, as it can stain towels or clothing.

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Valmont Cellular Refining Body Scrub: £111, Harvey Nichols

It might boast a hefty price tag, but this scrub is the most ambitious on this list, claiming to exfoliate the epidermis and improve the elasticity of your skin. Unlike other scrubs, it also helps to protect areas from future dryness.

Results may not be instantaneous, but we definitely noticed that dry patches drastically improved in quality over the course of the recommended intensive treatment (three uses a week). Thankfully, after you’ve completed this routine Valmont’s “maintenance programme” suggests using this scrub only once a week, helping you get your money’s worth.

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Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Scrub: £37, Space NK

Our main praise of this body scrub might be its scent – unlike a lot of bath products, it smells very natural rather than artificially sweet – but it’s also one of the more heavy duty entries on this list.

Thanks to its use of large grains, those looking to rejuvenate their skin in one wash will appreciate how intensely it exfoliates. Although this often leaves skin raw, coconut milk soothes skin leaving it silky smooth. As an added bonus, a little of this product goes a long way.

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Lush Candy Floss Showder: £14.95, Lush

Lush is synonymous with luxurious, all-natural cosmetics and this scrub is no exception. Marketed as a “showder”, its texture is powdery rather than thick or grainy until mixed with water. As well as looking amazing (it’s packaged like a pink washing powder) it smells sweet, almost like icing sugar, with many comparing its scent to the brand’s infamous Christmas exclusive Snow Fairy.

If we had just one criticism, it’s that the packaging is impractical and susceptible to water damage as it’s made from cardboard. However, it’s a small price to pay for the most gentle scrub on this list.

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MOR Marshmallow Sugar Crystal Body Scrub: £23, Feel Unique

While those with oily, acne-prone skin can tend to find scrubs too harsh on their body, MOR’s marshmallow-scented offering provides a gentle yet effective exfoliation for all skin types.

As well as leaving skin nourished and soft, it’s free of parabens and sulfates which can often upset the moisture balance of the skin. We also love the calming qualities of this scrub – thanks to its use of chamomile, it’s perfect for relaxing at the end of a long day.

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Ren Clean Skincare Moroccan Rose Otto Sugar Body Polish: £34, Cult Beauty

Aside from the usual exfoliating qualities, this body scrub is most notable for its use of Rose Otto, an essential oil known for its anti-bacterial and anti-depressant properties. While we can’t attest to its effectiveness in those areas, it was the most relaxing, indulgent body scrub we tested, leaving us feeling rejuvenated after use.

Skin was also left brighter and more awake, even after just one application. Rose scents aren’t for everybody, but it’s subtle enough to not be overpowering. It’s applied best massaged into dry skin before bathing or showering.

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Bjork and Berries White Forest Body Scrub: £24, Cult Beauty

Made with organic birch, this entry is an all-natural option, ideal for sensitive skin due to its minimalistic ingredients list.

Rather than the typical pot most body scrubs are packaged in, it comes in a handy squeezable tube, letting your product go further. We loved the simplicity of this product, which doesn’t encumber itself with a long list of unrealistic goals. Instead, it’s an effective exfoliator, especially perfect for removing fake tan.

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Body Shop Spa of the World Brazilian Cupuacu Scrub: £22, Body Shop

As the brand name suggests, Body Shop’s most impressive scrub is clearly made by experts. It’s the ideal match for those with combination skin, simultaneously tackling dry patches and areas prone to sensitivity or acne. Our tester was impressed by how quickly you saw the effects of this product, which eliminated rough elbows and knees overnight.

Unlike a lot of its competitors, it favours practicality over aesthetic, packaging the scrub in a dark glass jar. Smelling slightly medical, it isn’t as addictive as some other scrubs, but it more than makes up for it in effectiveness.

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Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Body Scrub: £6, Boots

Best known for their cocoa butter-infused body lotions, Palmer’s body scrub equivalent is just as nourishing. The formula makes it lighter than most scrubs, absorbing a layer of moisture into freshly exfoliated skin, and the trademark scent is good enough to eat.

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The Verdict: Best body scrubs

For exfoliation and softening, Ouai’s Scalp & Body Scrub is the perfect all-rounder. However, if you’re looking for an amazing scent, opt for the purse-friendly choice of Soap & Glory’s Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub Body Smoother.

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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