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How To Use Body Scrub: The Ultimate Guide For Men

Using an exfoliant can take your skincare routine to the next level – but only if you know how to use body scrub correctly! Lots of guys who are new to the scrub game make some easy-to-miss rookie mistakes.

Table of Contents

What Is A Body Scrub?

A body scrub is a manual exfoliant that helps you get rid of dead skin and unclog your pores. Most body scrubs look like gritty liquid soaps, though they don’t all qualify as “soap.” They don’t cleanse your skin in the same way soap does; they scrub it!

Body scrubs have a ton of skin and health benefits, but the biggest perk that most guys enjoy is how they clear and even your complexion. After all, that’s the #1 purpose of a good skincare product.

Types Of Body Scrub

Body scrubs are best characterized by their ingredients. You can find gritty, gentle, energizing, dirt-fighting, sweet-smelling, and even moisturizing body scrubs. 

It’s less important to keep track of the various types of body scrub, and more important to keep track of your personal skin type. Your skin concerns should be the biggest deciding factor in what kind of scrub you decide to get.

Some scrubs that you can keep an eye out for:

• Himalayan salt scrubs are best for oily skin.

• Herbal scrubs are some of the best smelling body scrubs.

• Oatmeal scrubs are gentle enough to use more than 2-3 times per week.

• Sugar scrubs are great for sensitive skin.

• Scrubs with coconut oil help moisturize your skin.

• Coffee scrubs can help you wake up and feel energized.

• Baking soda scrubs are good for grimey-feeling skin.

Avoid scrubs that use plastic beads, detergents, parabens, and sulfates. All of those ingredients are big red flags; they can cause skin irritation down the line. Besides, it’s too easy to find an affordable scrub that only uses natural ingredients. It’s really just bad taste for corporations to try to sell cheap non-natural scrubs.

What Is The Benefit Of Body Scrub?

The benefits of body scrubs are plentiful, but some of the most common that you can look forward to include clear and soft skin, ingrown hair prevention, and pre-shave exfoliation.

But my biggest selling pitch for picking up a body scrub is the fact that it just feels good, especially at the end of a long day. You’re staring up into the shower stream, wondering how in the world you’re going to survive tomorrow, and a good body scrub makes everything seem slightly more manageable. The gritty texture is relaxing and incredibly satisfying to rub in. Plus you’re getting all those skin benefits at the same time!

How To Use Body Scrub In Shower

Body scrubs are fairly self-explanatory, but if you’re new to the game, here are some pointers:

  1. Get your skin wet first.
  2. Step out of the water stream so that you have time to scrub without the water rinsing away all the product.
  3. Get a dollop of the scrub ready. If you have a loofah, pouf, sponge, or washcloth, you can apply the scrub to that, but I recommend using your hands. Loofahs and poufs act as manual exfoliators, so using them with your body scrub can be excessive to the point of causing redness and discomfort.
  4. Scrub away! Or, if you have sensitive skin, just swirl it gently, don’t “scrub.” Be sure to hit your elbows, knees, feet, and anywhere else you tend to have rougher skin. There’s no rule of thumb for how long you should spend scrubbing. Stop before you get that raw, tight skin feeling.
  5. Once you’re feeling good and ready, rinse the body scrub off. Body scrubs are not meant to be left on your skin (with a few very rare exceptions that are not worth mentioning).
  6. And don’t forget to moisturize afterwards! Even if your scrub contains moisturizing ingredients, you need to use a lotion or oil of some sort to restore a protective barrier for your skin. It’ll feel uncomfortably tight, and start to get dry and flaky if you forget to moisturize.

You can repeat this process 2-3 times per week, depending on your skin type. Guys with sensitive skin should use a body scrub less frequently, while guys with oily or grimey skin should use a scrub more often.

How To Use Body Scrub On Face

You shouldn’t actually use a body scrub on your face. You should use a facial scrub for your face.

Though the two are similar, there’s one big difference: the skin cells on your face are much more delicate, so facial scrubs are much more gentle. On the other hand, body scrubs are a little bit rougher; they’re made to soften that patchy skin on your elbows, knees, and feet. That’s why it won’t feel good to use a body scrub on your face, and it won’t be effective to use a facial scrub on your body.

So be careful not to mix up the two. You’ll either waste product or irritate your skin. Aside from that, follow the same steps (that we talked about above) to apply the face scrub.

How To Use Body Scrub On Back

Unless you have really flexible arms, you’ll need a tool of some sort to help you exfoliate that bacne.

You’ve probably seen those sponges with the long handles at the grocery store – those are perfect for reaching those hard-to-get spots on your back. You can apply your body scrub to the sponge, then use it to reach the nooks and crannies.

You can also use a long washcloth, or turn a short one diagonally, and do a little shimmy with it stretched behind you to better scrub with your exfoliant.

If you’re feeling really sexy, you can also invite someone into the shower with you to make sure that you’re scrubbing your back properly.

How To Use Body Scrub When Shaving

The trick to using a body scrub as a pre-shave is to rinse the scrub off completely before you start shaving.

As long as you get that step right, you’re in good hands. Face and body scrubs are a great way to even out your skin so that the razor blade is less likely to catch and nic you while you’re shaving. That’s why lots of guys tout them as essential pre-shaves.

You’ll want to rinse off the scrub completely because it’ll do the exact opposite if you don’t. The blade will scrape over the little exfoliants and leave you with razor burn or a few cuts.

Do You Use Body Scrub Before Or After Body Wash?

Most experts recommend that you use a body wash before you use a body scrub, but it’s not a crisis if you accidentally switch the two. (It WILL be a crisis if you moisturize before you use a scrub; that’s the vital step to remember. Moisturizer always comes last.)

It’s good to use your body wash first because it clears away basic dirt and grime. That allows the scrub to step in and reach the stubborn dead skin and clogged pores.

How Often Should You Use A Body Scrub?

Most dermatologists suggest using body and facial scrubs no more than 2-3 times per week, but the answer can vary depending on your skin type and the scrub you’re using.

Grittier scrubs do a more thorough job, so most people won’t need to use them as often (for fear of irritation). Softer scrubs with fine, round grains are so gentle that some people can get away with using them every other day.

Oily skin, or guys who tend to accumulate a lot of grime throughout the day, typically need to use a scrub more often than those with sensitive or dry skin. The exfoliation that a scrub provides is good for those dry skin flakes, but since dry skin tends to go hand in hand with sensitive skin, you’ll want to use the scrub less.

The best way to figure out what routine is right for you is by picking a scrub you think you’d like, and experimenting. You can use it less or more as needed.

I’ve reached the point where I don’t keep track of how often I use my scrub. I know what my skin feels like when I’ve reached the point where a scrub is necessary and will feel good. 

How Many Minutes Should I Scrub My Body?

You don’t really need to scrub your body for more than a minute or two, unless you’re being incredibly gentle and just want to make that pleasant scrubbing sensation last.

As for your face, you should only scrub that for 30 seconds or so. Keep in mind, the scrub will continue to exfoliate your skin while you’re trying to rinse it off. So don’t wait until your skin is feeling raw to rinse the scrub. You should take it off your face long before then.

Most face and body scrubs work rapidly on your skin, so you don’t need to leave them on your body for too long.

When Should I Shower With Body Scrub?

If you let the water rinse over you for a few minutes (and go through the motions of your other shower products checklist), your scrub will be more effective.

Warm water softens the skin and opens the pores, giving your body scrub better access to flakes, grime, and clogged pores. Most skincare gurus agree that 5-10 minutes under lukewarm to warm water is the perfect amount of time to get your skin ready for that scrub.

If you’re washing your face outside the shower and want to show it a little extra love, you can drape a warm washcloth over it for a minute or two before you cleanse, scrub, and moisturize.

Do You Use Body Scrub Wet Or Dry?

Unless the package specifically instructs you otherwise, always wet your skin before you use a body scrub.

Using scrubs on dry skin is the skincare equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. It’s uncomfortable, irritating, and will do more harm than good. Water gives the exfoliating bits in your scrub the perfect amount of lubrication to glide across your skin while still being effective scrubbers.

What Should I Look For In A Body Scrub?

Lots of scrubs these days are overdone. I love looking for a short, sweet ingredient list with some natural grittiness, an oil of some sort to help with the texture, and maybe a natural scent if I’m feeling fancy.

Those are the basics of a great scrub. Take sugar scrubs with coconut oil and a few drops of lemon juice. That short ingredient list creates one of the most effective yet gentle face and body scrubs out there, but it’s so basic that plenty of penny pinchers make their own at home.

Simplicity, and all-natural ingredients are the top two things to look for in a great body scrub.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.