No I Don’t Want No Scrub (Unless It’s One Of These)

We strongly believe in the skin-changing powers of a good exfoliator. Here are the best affordable scrubs we’ve tried that will leave your skin smooth and unclogged.


Skinfood Black Sugar Mask ($8)

We love a good double-duty product! This scrub mask is the magical secret (don’t tell anyone) to a baby soft face. I found you get the best results using this once or twice a week on a damp makeup-free face. Follow up with a sheet mask or toner to moisturize.

To use, scrub a generous amount on your face, focusing on trouble areas such as the nose and chin. Dance around your apartment to Bieber for 15 minutes (or is that just me?) and then wash it off.

I’ve read that some people aren’t fans of the scent of this mask, but it’s just a little citrusy that goes away after you wash it off. I’ve also read a few complaints that this scrub made their skin feel dry and tight afterwards but that’s what it’s supposed to do! It is an exfoliator, not a moisturizer, so make sure you finish off with a moisturizer when you use this. Like most Skinfood products, this is a great scrub and you won’t be disappointed on the $8 you spent.

Our Rating:


Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Scrub Foam ($9)

I recently found this nifty little Korean scrub when Amazon suggested it to me. By now, Amazon knows that I’m almost always either buying a) Asian beauty products or b) Socks. I tried this last night and like most Korean exfoliation products I’ve tried, I’m a fan. I used it in the shower while my pores were open. I noticed post-shower that my skin was softer and there were fewer blackheads. Whatever gunk the scrub didn’t remove was brought to the surface and easily wiped away with a cotton pad and some toner.

This is a scrub foam so it’s a different experience than most scrubs but I’ll walk you through it. It starts off as a super fine scrub, which I loved because it felt like it was really getting in my pores and scrubbing the dead skin away. As you’re scrubbing, it magically transforms into a foam, which I assume is to wash away dirt and makeup. To me, the foam felt a lot like shaving cream. It left a weird shaving cream residue on my hands and face for a few minutes. I’d recommend using this in the shower to wash that residue away.

While I think this scrub is great, I would probably avoid it if you have super sensitive skin or tend to breakout. I can see the natural volcanic clusters in it being a bit irritating. For blackheads on every other skin type, this could be the scrub for you.

Our Rating:


E.l.f. Exfoliating Scrub ($5)

As a frequent e.l.f. shopper, I decided to give their relatively new skincare line a try and I was impressed with this scrub! It has a creamy consistency with superfine sand-like scrubbing particles that really get into your pores and scrub away all those dead skin cells.

It’s also gentle enough for sensitive skin and will give your face that baby butt softness everyone wants. Just be careful not to scrub too hard! This formula is so creamy that I went a little wild and scrubbed off a few too many layers of skin the first time I used it. Oops. The redness went away within a couple hours though, whew!

This e.l.f. Exfoliating Scrub is an excellent affordable dupe for the Bliss PorePerfecting Facial Polish ($30), which is very similar but with larger scrubbing beads. While I like the Bliss scrub, I actually noticed that I got better results from this e.l.f. Scrub that’s ⅙ of the price. I highly recommend e.l.f.’s scrub to anyone with any skin type. For best results, make sure to use it in the shower.

Our Rating:


Secret Key Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel ($7)

While this isn’t your typical scrub, this peeling gel exfoliates super well and removes a whole lot of dead skin. This was another product Amazon recommended to me, because Amazon knows me very well at this point. Since I love testing out products that sound strange and different, I decided to give it a go. Peeling gels are actually really popular in Asia- I’m surprised they haven’t taken off in the US yet. This product claims to remove dead skin from the pores while brightening with lemon extract- a win-win in my book.

I use this gel once a week and definitely notice a difference. It was a weird experience the first time I used this gel. To use, apply a quarter-sized amount to your fingers and rub it around your face on clean dry skin. The dead skin will start gently peeling off- keep rubbing for a minute or so and then rinse. If you don’t have a ton of dead skin, you probably won’t notice much peeling, but trust me- it’s working. I get the best results when I use it post-shower when my skin has opened up.

Even though the skin peeling sounds weird, this product is much gentler than a lot of scrubs I’ve used. For that reason, I’d recommend it to literally anyone, sensitive skin or not, who wants a good gentle exfoliation. If you’re looking to get deeper into those pores, I’d recommend one of the other scrubs in this post.

Our Rating:


Skinfood Coffee Body Scrub ($14)

Bonus for the body! I’ve been trying to cut back on my caffeine intake lately… but I won’t be cutting back on this coffee scrub. While this looks similar to their Black Sugar Scrub, SkinFood’s coffee scrub provides a super powerful exfoliation to your whole body. It’s especially great for rough knees, elbows and heels, and works extra well in the shower.

All of SkinFood’s products are high quality and made to be good for the skin (get it, skin FOOD?) So if you’re sensitive to other scrubs, this probably won’t irritate your skin. I’ve found this to be the perfect treat after a long day at work. My skin is always left feeling so soft and the coffee smell is refreshing. If you’re a caffeine addict like me but can’t kick the craving- give this scrub a try!

Our Rating: