best exfoliator for face

The Best Exfoliator For Face Guide

Nearly everyone can benefit from a nice physical exfoliant. It sloughs away dead skin cells, gets rid of dirt and debris, and prepares your skin to absorb all of your actives and skincare ingredients. With so many options - and the recent controversy surrounding problematic exfoliating ingredients like walnut shells - it’s hard to determine the best exfoliator for the face you need.

So, what exfoliator should I use?

In the big picture, you’re looking for a gentle, natural face scrub that’s free of synthetics, harsh abrasives, microbeads, alcohol, and overly-harsh acids. Here’s how to know what to use to exfoliate skin safely and effectively.

best exfoliator for face

Face Exfoliation Basics

No matter which product you choose, avoid over-exfoliation. Some people tend to over scrub in a misguided effort to achieve a totally matte, pore-less glow - but this can backfire and exacerbate existing conditions by causing microtears in the skin.These small scratches weaken the skin’s barrier and make it prone to dryness, flakiness, bacteria, redness, and signs of sensitivity - yikes!

That’s why it’s important to use a gentle face exfoliator. And how often should you exfoliate your face? For most people, 1-3 times a week. Always start with just one application a week and take it up slowly from there (particularly if you have sensitive skin).

What is The Best Face Exfoliator For My Skin?

In general, gentleness is best regardless of your skin type. The harshness of a scrub has a lot to do with the particle size, the particle shape (round is ideal), and how finely the particles are milled in the factory.

A good test? Try a little bit on the back of your hand since the skin is not as sensitive there. If it feels even slightly scratchy on that spot, it’s way too intense for your face. That said, there are gentler natural exfoliants - and others that you should avoid altogether.

Best Natural Skin Exfoliators

natural exfoliant


Bamboo powder is the best exfoliator for sensitive skin because of its gentle yet effective properties. It’s made primarily of natural silicon - or silica - extracted from bamboo sap. Studies suggest that silica can:

  • Help with optimal collagen synthesis
  • Activate hydroxylating enzymes
  • Improve skin strength and elasticity
  • Provide anti-acne and anti-wrinkle benefits

Because of its ultra-fine texture and even physical exfoliation, bamboo powder is commonly used for microdermabrasion face treatments.

natural exfoliant for face

Jojoba Beads

Jojoba Beads are fantastic for moisturizing and are a great physical exfoliant. The following are some of the many advantages of these exfoliating beads:

  • Prevents Microtear. Unlike other abrasive exfoliants, jojoba beads' round, smooth surface prevents them from scratching or tearing the skin.
  • It's easy to customize them. Jojoba beads allow you to tailor your formula to your specific needs.
  • Biodegradability is another advantage of jojoba beads. Their smooth texture makes them effective exfoliators - like plastic microbeads - without adverse environmental effects.
  • They are highly recommended as an exfoliant for dry or sensitive skin. Jojoba beads are great for even the most sensitive skin while exfoliating dead skin cells.

The Best Exfoliator for Acne

Try the Zen Out of Ten Face Scrub, a gentle exfoliator for sensitive skin. Jojoba beads and bamboo powder in this product gently and effectively exfoliate the skin, unclog pores, and remove dead skin cells, revealing a brighter, smoother, and even more complexion.

natural skin exfoliant

Oat Flour

Oat flour is a gentle natural skin exfoliant that’s suitable for all skin types. It can easily win as the best exfoliator for dry skin since it removes dead skin cells without causing irritation or creating microtears.Oat flour is also rich in zinc, which is known to:

  • Decrease oxidative stress
  • Fight inflammation and acne

Excellent Body Skin Exfoliant

Oatmeal is one of the natural ingredients in the Hometown Honey Bar Soap to make it more effective in soothing and nourishing the skin. Oatmeal is grounded into a fine powder and added to the soap base, which helps to create a mild exfoliating effect as the soap is used.

natural exfoliants

Rice Bran

Using rice bran as a scrub has many benefits, including exfoliating the skin and reducing inflammation.

This all-natural facial scrub works by removing toxins from the skin. Softer and smoother skin is revealed after using rice bran to remove dead skin cells, blackheads, whiteheads, and grime. Additionally, rice bran is a natural exfoliant for sensitive skin.

Reduces fine lines and wrinkles

Antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids are sent directly to the skin to take action. Together, these chemicals combat the effects of aging.

Enhances blood circulation

The linoleic acid and oleic acid found in rice bran oil work together to make your blood vessels smoother, which improves blood flow throughout your body and gives your skin a more youthful sheen.

Moisturizes deeply

Rice bran oil is one of nature's most effective skin moisturizers since it is rich in Vitamins B & D and numerous antioxidant components.

natural face exfoliator


Are sugar scrubs bad for your skin?

Sugar is a natural humectant and perhaps the best exfoliator for dry skin.

That's because it is a natural source of glycolic acid, a powerful AHA that can help “unglue” dead skin cells and remove dry, damaged skin.

The texture of sugar particles allows for gentle, effective agitation of the skin’s surface without a high risk of irritation.

But doesn’t sugar cause breakouts? Not when applied topically! So slather it on - and if a few grains get into your mouth, so be it!

Great Natural Skin Exfoliation With Cane Sugar

You can find cane sugar in the Coconut Body Scrub that helps the scrub remain a more effective exfoliant and soften the skin while providing natural moisturizing and nourishing benefits.

honey as a natural exfoliant


Honey, a natural humectant, is a great facial exfoliator for sensitive skin to help attract and retain moisture.

Some skin benefits include, It contains antibacterial and inflammatory properties to help prevent acne growth caused by bacteria in the body. Honey stands as one of the most beneficial natural ingredients for individuals with sensitive skin, as it can help keep the skin hydrated and prevent irritation or dryness.

Natural Skin Exfoliation With Honey

Hometown Honey Bar Soap contains a natural humectant. Our product is more than just a cleanser; this soap gently exfoliates with honey and provides a moisture barrier that encourages deep hydration, and contains lactic acid

kaolin clay as a natural exfoliant

Kaolin Clay

Kaolin clay is a fine, mild, white clay that absorbs sebum and impurities from the skin. When used as a face exfoliator for dry skin, kaolin helps to gently remove dead skin cells, absorb excess oil and unclog pores without over-drying the skin. It helps shrink the pores and treat acne breakouts. Kaolin is also rich in minerals and nutrients that can help to nourish and hydrate the skin.

Antioxidant-Rich Mask With Kaolin Clay

In the No Plans Clay Mask, kaolin clay is blended with other natural ingredients, such as aloe vera, sugar cane, and chamomile, which helps soothe and calm the skin.

It's a gentle face exfoliator to draw out impurities - like dirt, oil and toxins - from the pores, leaving the skin deeply cleansed and refreshed. In fact, this could be the answer on how to get rid of oily skin.

Bar Soap With Natural Exfoliator

If Rainbow Is My Favorite Color Bar Soap is your kaolin clay product choice, you are in for a refreshing moment in the bathtub. It cleanses without drying or irritating with natural oils and shea butter.

Gentle Face Exfoliation and Cleansing

Combining kaolin and aloe vera makes the Down To Earth Gel Cleanser an excellent choice for individuals of all skin types. It is the best exfoliator for the face while providing nourishment and hydration.

aloe vera as a natural exfoliant

Aloe Vera

You may be surprised to find it on a list of good exfoliators. After all, aloe vera is primarily for hydration and sunburn, right?


This cactus-like plant contains vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and amino acids, and salicylic acid, a natural exfoliant. It also has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and cell-regenerative properties.

All of this makes aloe vera a particularly beneficial gel to apply topically. In addition to lightly exfoliating the skin, it’s also shown to:

  • Slow signs of aging by creating an uptick in collagen production and elastic fibers
  • Prevent dark spots by inhibiting tyrosinase, the enzyme that creates melanin
  • Fight acne with bacteria-busting salicylic acid
  • Add moisture without leaving a greasy feeling

For the best results, choose for products with a high percentage of natural aloe vera - and low synthetics or fillers.

Face Cream With a Natural Face Exfoliator

Our Cloud Whip Face Cream contains Aloe vera to help eliminate acne scars. This is more than just a face cream; this cream gently exfoliates with aloe and reduces skin redness and irritation.

Face Serum With Aloe Benefits

Aloe is a top ingredient in the PEP Rally Face Serum. It is a natural exfoliant for the face. Aloe has healing and soothing properties to exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells and promoting cell turnover.

AHA Exfoliator With Aloe Face Exfoliant

Say goodbye to facial scars and fine lines, as the AHA exfoliator is the best exfoliator for your face. Our multidimensional skin-brightening moisturizer treatment combines hyaluronic and glycolic acids for exceptional hydration and rapid cell turnover.

loofa sponge as a natural exfoliant

Loofah Sponge

Loofah sponge is a natural skin exfoliator that helps to remove dead cells and leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth. The loofah sponge is made from the fibrous skeleton of the loofah fruit. While the loofah sponge is amazing for exfoliating your skin, it is noteworthy that overuse can cause skin inflammation and irritation. We recommend gently and moderately using a loofah sponge to avoid irritation. Keeping the loofah sponge clean and dry is also essential to prevent bacteria.

Soap Bar With Physical Exfoliation

One of the top natural ingredients in the Spicy Rum Punch Bar Soap is Loofah Sponge. This soap has abilities like no other skin exfoliator. This soap gently exfoliates dead cells quickly and, at the same time, nourishes the skin.

Make Natural Skin Exfoliation Your Weekly Routine

When it comes to how often to exfoliate, we generally recommend doing this once or twice a week, depending on your skin type and sensitivity.

Regular face and body exfoliation can provide a range of benefits for the skin, from brightening and evening out the complexion to preventing breakouts and improving effectiveness with the best face exfoliator.

Best Week Ever Routine

For a better skin exfoliation process, we recommend you try good exfoliators - like the Best Week Ever Routine, which is a combination of Zen Out of Ten Scrub and No Plans Mask, which are good exfoliators for all skin types.

Best Week Ever Routine

Include Exfoliation Into Your Bathing Routine

Have you thought about the Pass the Bar Gift Set? You don't need anyone telling you it's one of the best exfoliating bathing soaps. We blended our soaps with kaolin clay and coconut oil, which is ideal for your bathing ritual.

Pass The Bar Gift Set

Face Exfoliating Ingredients to Avoid

Avoid any skin exfoliators that can create microtears and cause irritation - particularly if you have sensitive skin, eczema, or rosacea. This includes:

  • Nuts
  • Fruit pitsVolcanic rock
  • Synthetics

But here’s the thing - these exfoliating ingredients aren’t going to harm everyone, and some people swear by them. So if one of them is your go-to, then you do you! That said, here are the most popular ingredients in this category that we believe should be no-gos.


This scrub ingredient recently gained attention - and major criticism - because it’s the major component of Kylie Jenner’s body scrub. The problem? Walnut shells are harsh exfoliant particles and can create microtears in the skin. In turn, those tears can introduce infection, bacteria, and other serious issues.


This is another hot-button ingredient. The St. Ives Apricot Fresh Skin Scrub even faced a lawsuit back in 2017, with plaintiffs claiming that the crushed walnut powder creates microscopic tears in your skin and that its label's claim of being non comedogenic (i.e., it doesn't clog pores) was not correct - yikes!

The lawsuit was eventually thrown out, but the message was loud and clear - and we’ll be skipping this fruit pit for now.


Microbeads are the worst of the worst. Commonly made of polyethylene, these miniature plastic exfoliating beads are too small to be filtered out of wastewater. This makes them a major environmental hazard since they often wind up in the oceans where they’re consumed by fish, other animals, and even people.

That’s why President Barack Obama signed the Microbeads-Free Waters Act of 2015, which officially banned microbeads in the personal care industry starting in 2017.

That said, not everyone cleans out their medicine cabinets as often as they should - and you may still have a few products that contain microbeads in rotation. If so, make sure you stop using them as soon as possible - this stuff is bad news!

The Bottom Line

You need to choose one of the best exfoliators for your face. It is the first step in achieving healthy, vibrant skin, but ensures you do it correctly. You can exfoliate once or twice a week, as experts recommend, but ensure you are not excessively exfoliating to keep your skin from irritation. Find the best face exfoliator for your skin type and enjoy the many benefits of regular exfoliation.