12 brilliant body exfoliators for smooth, sexy, summer-ready skin

Our beauty team's favorite body exfoliators, from scrubs to acid peels and mitts

Best body exfoliators
(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to body exfoliators, it's not always easy to be objective; one woman's spa-like scrub is another's scratchy nightmare. Ultimately, the best body peel, polish or exfoliating tool for you will depend on your skin type, lifestyle, and also the reason you want to exfoliate your body in the first place. 

And while body exfoliation sits near the bottom of many of our beauty to-do lists, it really is worth factoring a session into your skincare routine once a week. This is because, just as using the best facial exfoliator can work wonders on skin tone and texture, our bodies benefit from a helping hand to shed dull, dead skin cells too.

Happily, for all but the most sensitive among us, the body - unlike the face - can handle fairly robust exfoliating products. So while the answer to how often should you exfoliate your face is one or two times a week, max, you can regularly give it some welly on the body with a coarse scrub, body brush, or high percentage skincare acid without worrying too much about irritation, inflammation, and the like. So satisfying. Whether you're trying to banish dry skin on legs or shift ashy elbows, these are the best body exfoliators for every skin type and need - pick your weapon and buff your way to greatness.

12 best body exfoliators, chosen by our beauty team

Sol de Janiero Bom Dia Bright Cream, one of w&h's best body exfoliators

(Image credit: Sol de Janiero)
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1. Sol de Janeiro Bom Dia Bright Cream

Best body exfoliator overall

Specifications

RRP: $60/£44
Key ingredients: Cupaçu butter, fruit acids

Reasons to buy

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Delicious scent
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Elegant texture
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Exfoliates without scrubbing 

Reasons to avoid

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Scent might be too sweet for some

One of the best body exfoliators for people who, like me, usually can't be bothered to exfoliate; this silky, hydrating cream is infused with fruit acids and has the most delicious Brazil-inspired, dessert-like fragrance.

This Sol de Janeiro exfoliator focuses on hydrating your skin, and brightening with vitamin C and smoothing with fruit acids, which help to even out skin tone and texture. The cupaçu butter will leave your skin feeling super soft, and also has properties that promote skin elasticity to keep your skin looking firm and youthful.

It's gentle enough to use as often as you like and, trust me, once you smell it you'll never want to skip a day. 

Soap & Glory Scrub of Your Life, one of w&h's best body exfoliators

(Image credit: Soap & Glory)
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2. Soap & Glory The Scrub of Your life

Best budget body exfoliator

Specifications

RRP: $10/£7
Key ingredients : Orange peel, soap bark extract

Reasons to buy

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Gentle exfoliation beads
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Classic fragrance
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Great value

Reasons to avoid

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Perfume won't suit everyone

How could you live through the early Noughties and not have a soft spot for this classic Boots buy? The clear-gel, vegan formulation contains softening ingredients and eco-friendly beads that gently buff skin to perfection. It contains mandarin orange peel extract, which promotes the growth of collagen and elastin to keep your skin feeling firm and youthful.

What I love about the fantastic price point is that I can use copious amounts to ensure my skin gets thoroughly scrubbed without stressing about the cost of repurchasing. It comes in a tube now, which is preferable to a tub in my book, and the nostalgic S&G 'pink perfume', a concoction of rose and bergamot, lingers on your skin. 

Sisley Energising Foaming Exfoliant For The Body, one of w&h's best body exfoliators

(Image credit: Sisley)
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3. Sisley Energising Foaming Exfoliant for the Body

Best luxury body exfoliator

Specifications

RRP: $127/£92
Key ingredients: Rosemary essential oil, bamboo marrow powder

Reasons to buy

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Luxurious texture
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Pure botanical ingredients
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Exfoliates and nourishes

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive

One for the wishlist. This ultra luxurious product sits somewhere between a creamy, hydrating wash and a scrub, making it one of the best body exfoliators for dry skin. It smells expensive, thanks to pure essential oils, which also help to reduce redness due to their anti-inflammatory properties. 

The buffing action of this product comes via ultra-fine bamboo marrow powder, which also helps to reduce the appearance of dark spots thus enhancing the effects of pigmentation-prevention products like sunscreen. That plus the beautiful botanical aroma make this a must-have exfoliator for the summer months.

This being Sisley, the texture is also gorgeous and the tube will impress any visitors to your bathroom. They will feel like they have just walked into a five-star spa.

Frank Body Coffee Scrub, one of w&h's best body exfoliators

(Image credit: Frank Body)
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4. Frank Body Original Coffee Scrub

Best energizing body exfoliator

Specifications

RRP: $18/£12.95
Key ingredients: Coffee grinds, sweet almond oil

Reasons to buy

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Effective exfoliation
+
Enlivening scent
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Cruelty-free and vegan 

Reasons to avoid

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Messy 

This is the product that kicked off a whole category of coffee-based body scrubs, so it's only right to pay respect to original and best.

The almond oil in this scrub deeply cleanses the skin and makes this exfoliator handy for removing fake tan (wondering how to get fake tan off your hands? Oil and exfoliation is your answer) This ingredient also makes it a great option for people who suffer from psoriasis and eczema, as almond oil has been shown to help relieve the dryness and irritation associated with these conditions. This coffee scrub also contains orange oil, which has been found to have stress-healing properties that can help to revive your spirits and add glow to your skin. Sounds like a win to me! 

Yes, the loose, repurposed coffee ground formula made a temporary mess of my shower tiles but it's great fun to use, very effective and the aroma is guaranteed to jolt you awake of a sleepy weekday morning.

CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream, one of w&h's best body exfoliators

(Image credit: CeraVe)
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5. CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream

Best body exfoliator for keratosis pilaris

Specifications

RRP: $25/£18
Key ingredients: Salicylic acid, urea

Reasons to buy

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Excellent value 
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Effective skin smoothing
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Smells nice and clean

Reasons to avoid

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Practical, not pampering

Cerave already has a repertoire of fantastic and affordable products in their range, with their bestsellers appearing in our best face moisturizer, best night cream, and best drugstore eye creams roundups. What's more, their hydrating cleanser is known for being one of the best cleansers of all time, so of course, the brand has a great body exfoliator to offer too.

You get a lot of product for your money with this one, and it's the perfect no-fuss, does the job cream. It doesn't have any fancy scent, just a mildly clean one, which can be quite nice when looking for a go-to, everyday exfoliator that you don't need to think twice about.

This works wonders on keratosis pilaris, which, if you've ever experienced these chicken skin bumps you'll know are harmless but annoying. Too-hot showers, fragranced products, and abrasive scrubs can make them worse, but after using this salicylic and lactic acid exfoliator a couple of times a week I found that my bumps were significantly reduced. This is because the acids remove dead cells and discourage the keratin blockages that cause KP. 

Kitsch body dry brush best brush body exfoliator

(Image credit: kitsch)

6. Kitsch Exfoliating Body Dry Brush

Best body exfoliator for boosting circulation

Specifications

RRP: $14/£12

Reasons to buy

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Promotes lymphatic drainage 
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100% vegan
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Eco-friendly
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Soft bristles makes it more comfortable than other brushes

Reasons to avoid

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Doesn't exfoliate intensely

Yes, it’s a bit hardcore to stand naked in your bathroom dragging dry bristles over your skin, but it’s also extremely effective, a great eco-friendly beauty treatment and easier to tolerate when it’s warm outside.

Take two minutes before bathing to work this brush in an upwards motion, moving towards your heart, up your limbs, across your shoulders and clockwise over your stomach. After one session you’ll get a circulation and energy boost. Continued use will leave your skin glowing and looking radiant. 

I love using this for a pamper night, as it feels like I'm bringing the spa to my home. The brush is super gentle on my skin, as it is made from softer-than-average vegan bristles, which makes using it the ultimate relaxing ritual before enjoying a warm bath. This product also gets bonus points for being eco-friendly, with a chic natural cotton handle and bamboo base. 

Face Halo for Body, one of w&h's best body exfoliators

(Image credit: Face Halo)
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7. Face Halo Body

Best dry body exfoliating tool for tanning

Specifications

RRP: $25/£18

Reasons to buy

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Gentler dry exfoliation 
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Sustainable and re-usable

Reasons to avoid

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Not relaxing 

If you're always stuck on how to fake tan without creating streaks, exfoliating is a crucial pre-tanning step. Otherwise, the tan can build up in dry areas and appear patchy.

This Face Halo body exfoliating tool is great for ensuring you reach all areas so tan won't gather in those pesky places that you might miss from just using your hands to exfoliate. Also if, like me, you don't like the feeling of exfoliating beads settling in between your fingers after your scrubbing session, then this handy tool means you can avoid that too.

Avoid oil-based scrubs before applying tan as they can interfere with the tanner's active ingredient, DHA; instead, dry exfoliate with a mitt like this. Don’t apply any body cream or oil afterward either, as it will make the tanning product become slippery and impossible to blend. Use this, grab your best self tan and you'll be good to glow.

Amanda Harrington New Skin Body, one of w&h's best body exfoliators

(Image credit: Amanda Harrington)
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8. Amanda Harrington New Skin Body

Best body exfoliating scrub for tanning

Specifications

RRP: $30/£22
Key ingredients: Glycolic acid, aloe vera

Reasons to buy

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Physical plus acid exfoliation
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Feels like a treat
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Vegan friendly

Reasons to avoid

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Not ultra-grainy

This is another great pre-tan product, although it would also be a wise choice for your weekly exfoliating treatment, tan or no tan. It combines gold-standard alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic, with biodegradable polishing beads for twice the body exfoliation action, plus it smells like a fancy spa.

The aloe vera in this scrub means that it is great for people with dry skin and/or psoriasis. Your skin will feel nourished and hydrated after just one use, so you have a fresh canvas ready for your next tanning session.

It can even be a good product to use if you're prone to tanning mistakes. Softly scrub away the skin with this and it should buff away any color.

Bjork and Berries best body soap exfoliator

(Image credit: Bjork and Berries)

9. Björk & Berries Scrub Soap

The best body exfoliating bar

Specifications

RRP: £23 (UK only)
Key ingredients : Rosehip, white willow bark extract

Reasons to buy

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Gentle on the skin
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Vegan
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Made with natural and organic ingredients
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Nourishing

Reasons to avoid

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Can go soft
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Not suitable for use on face

Described as eco-luxury skincare, this scrub soap is a great option for exfoliating your skin in a gentle way. It is a dream to use, feeling comfortable against the skin. This is a great one for those who generally find exfoliators to be too harsh, as this scrub soap doesn't contain scratchy kernels.

Use it in the shower or bath, massaging the bar into your skin in circular motions. The rosehip will help to keep your skin nourished and the skin barrier in good condition, preventing irritation. The willow bark extract will leave your skin feeling smooth and has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties which will reduce and prevent redness. 

Like any bar—even some of the best shampoo bars out there—this can get a little mushy if you leave it on the side of the shower, so keep it in a soap dish to preserve its integrity. 

Ameliorate Exfoliating Body Mitt, one of w&h's best body exfoliators

(Image credit: Ameliorate)
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10. Ameliorate Exfoliating Body Mitt

Best body exfoliator for sensitive skin

Specifications

RRP: $14/£10

Reasons to buy

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Reusable 
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Gently buffs

Reasons to avoid

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Not sensorial

A gentler take on those viral Korean-inspired exfoliating gloves, this mitt takes a soft approach to loosening and buffing away dead skin cells. This makes it one of the best body exfoliators for sensitive or reactive skin.

I personally love the large size of this mitt, meaning you can cover your whole body quickly so your weekly scrubbing session doesn't have to take hours. It also significantly reduces the mess that can be made from exfoliating with your hands, and no product will end up down the plughole. It also left my limbs silky smooth without feeling overly scrubbed or scratchy.  

It's well worth checking out this brand's range of exfoliating lotions too, which combine gentle acids and hydrators to excellent effect. 

First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub, one of w&h's best body exfoliators

(Image credit: First Aid Beauty)

11. First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub with 10% AHA

Best body exfoliator for flaky skin

Specifications

RRP: $28/£26
Key ingredients: Glycolic acid, lactic acid, pumice buffing beads

Reasons to buy

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Effective immediate exfoliation
+
Chemical and physical exfoliating results

Reasons to avoid

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Can be slightly scratchy on sensitive skin

While originally formulated to reduce keratosis pilaris, this pumice-based scrub actually works wonders on dry and flaky skin, with immediate results being seen after just one round of exfoliating.

The fine pumice beads buff away flaky skin while the addition of glycolic and lactic acids helps to shift any dead cells on the top layer of the skin so that you can get the effect of both a chemical peel and micro-dermabrasion in one product.

Not only this, but the scrub also contains mango and kiwi fruit oils, which help to reduce pigmentation and even out skin tone. On testing, we also found this gave the scrub a pleasant, sweet scent that helped us stick to weekly exfoliation sessions. 

Keys Soulcare Body Polish best gentle body exfoliator

(Image credit: Keys Soulcare)

12. Keys Soulcare Body Polish

Best body scrub for gentle exfoliation

Specifications

RRP: $25/£25
Key ingredients: Lactic acid, bamboo charcoal, sunflower seed oil, coconut oil

Reasons to buy

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Soothes skin
+
Relaxing smell
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Hydrating

Reasons to avoid

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Need to use generous amounts each time so could run out quickly

If you don't like scrubs that are too scratchy or are looking for something that will nourish and moisturize the skin at the same time as exfoliation, then this Keys Body Polish is a great pick.

Whilst it does contain beads, they are gentle against the skin and wash off easily under warm water. It also contains lactic and glycolic acids, which exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells, with bamboo charcoal helping to make your skin super soft and radiant. The coconut and sunflower seed oils also deeply moisturize, and have protective and restorative antioxidant properties.

We'dd recommend using this between two to three times a week as a full-body ritual. The bottle says to take nice deep breaths whilst using so you can get the full relaxing experience, which was a real treat when we could fit it in. Plus the aroma is warm and soothing, without being too strong or overwhelming. You really will feel like you are caring for your soul by using this.


How to choose the best body exfoliators for you

Body exfoliators may lack the glamour and fashion factor of, say, a Korean skincare routine, but these workhorses will more than make up for that in bang for your buck. That said, some body exfoliators are better at certain jobs than others. So considering the different types of exfoliators and thinking about the reason you want to exfoliate can provide a clue as to which product will suit your needs.

  • Scrubs: If you are looking to exfoliate once a week or so as a basic skin maintenance thing, a nice sensorial scrub made with chunky grains and fragrant oils should be sufficiently effective and feel like a treat too.
  • Body brushes: If you have habitually dry skin that needs regular help to shed and wish to give yourself a circulation and drainage boost while you're at it, a dry tool you can use again and again might be best. Body brushing is the most famous (or should I say infamous) of these daily skin-sloughers, but there are plenty of mitts, pads, and whizzy gadgets out there that work on the same principle. 
  • Dry body exfoliators: Dry body exfoliators also make a great pre-tanning prep exfoliator, as the oils that in many scrubs can interfere with DHA, the active ingredient in self-tan. If you find dry techniques torturous, pick a scrub or exfoliating created by a tanning brand as it'll be designed not to deactivate your self-tanner. 
  • Chemical exfoliants: For specific skin concerns such as keratosis pilaris (KP), non-physical exfoliants such acid body peels can help. Look for salicylic acid for KP or spots, while gentle fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids including lactic and glycolic acid work well on ashy skin or areas where cell turnover needs revved up. 

Aleesha is a digital shopping writer at woman&home—so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows what the best buys are at any moment. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. A year on the w&h news team gained her invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first—as well as an AOP awards nomination.

With contributions from