Using a good face scrub isn’t just about revealing new skin and getting a deep clean. Some are excellent to use before a shave and even addressing certain skin concerns like acne or hyperpigmentation. In this article, we’ve rounded up the best face scrubs and exfoliators for men.
Best Face Scrub for Pre-Shave: Clinique For Men Face Scrub
To get the smoothest and closest shave possible, prepping the skin with a face scrub is the best thing you can begin with. This is because a physical scrub is able to lift the hairs on the skin, allowing you to shave closer to the skin without irritation. The Clinique For Men Face Scrub effectively exfoliates the skin with a minimal, no-fuss ingredients list.
This product uses Silica as its scrubbing agent. Silica is derived from sandstone, clay and granite, frequently used as a physical exfoliant due to its fine texture. When applied to the skin, it feels non-abrasive - almost like rubbing small grains of soft sand onto the face. It also includes Menthol, so you'll feel a pleasant cooling sensation on the skin too. Despite its gentleness, the micro size of the Silica ensures the face scrub gets into every nook and cranny for a thorough cleanse, de-flaking it while lifting beard hairs and whiskers ready to be shaved off.
With the addition of Salicylic Acid, this face scrub reduces the probability of getting ingrown hairs after you shave. Being an oil-soluble beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), this ingredient deeply penetrates pores to remove any dirt stuck inside that can clog pores and create ingrown hairs.
To top it off, this product is allergy tested and fragrance-free. It’s certainly a popular choice in the grooming space, earning itsef a Prix de Marie Claire Beauty Award for Best Men's Grooming Product.
Best Face Scrub for Uneven Skin Tone: Jack Black Face Buff
Uneven skin tone can give your face a dull, lifeless complexion. The most common culprit is an excess buildup of dead skin. Jack Black's Face Buff uses Bamboo Stem Powder to slough off dead skin buildup. Being small, eco-friendly scrubbing particles, it’s got a fine gritty texture but isn’t too overpowering or rough which is perfect for sensitive skin. With the inclusion of Peppermint Oil and Mint, tired skin will feel invigorated with the natural cooling sensation they create.
The reason we recommend this for uneven skin tone is that it contains Ascorbic Acid, a potent form of Vitamin C. From protecting your skin from air pollutants to firming skin over time, Ascorbic Acid has strong refining and clarifying properties, enlivening dull skin while evening out your skin tone. This is especially helpful if you're trying to remove any hyperpigmentation. Its brightening qualities are further enhanced with Licorice Root Extract. This unique ingredient is an excellent natural option to brighten, being able to control redness, flushing and inflammation. Licorice Root Extract contains an active called glabridin, which inhibits tyrosinase, the enzyme that causes pigmentation from sun exposure.
Aside from those key ingredients, Jack Black has included an array of soothing ingredients like Aloe Vera Juice, Cucumber Extract and Calendula Extract, to name a few. All of these natural ingredients have calming properties to balance out the potency of the other strong ingredients like Ascorbic Acid. Free from parabens, sulphates, colourants, alcohol and gluten, the Jack Black Face Buff is dermatologist tested to ensure it’s safe to use on sensitive skin.
Best Multi-Tasking Face Scrub (Scrub and Mask) - Triumph & Disaster Rock & Roll Face Scrub
For a lot of men, the idea of using many products in one routine is enough to put them off grooming forever. This is where multi-tasking products come in handy. Triumph & Disaster's Rock & Roll Face Scrub is a great choice if you’re seeking a face scrub that doubles as a face mask. Compared to other scrubs on the market, this one is grittier and granular than most. This certainly isn’t a bad thing, as this level of grit will work great for men with thick, resilient and normal skin.
With a 2-in-1 formulation, it’s up to you with the way you want to use it. We recommend using it as a scrub first, then leaving it on for a few minutes more so it can harden into a clay mask. Volcanic Ash is the main exfoliating agent in this product, while Green Clay is what creates the absorbency when used as a face mask. What both of these ingredients have in common is their detoxifying qualities, removing unwanted dirt and debris while absorbing excess oil and blackhead build-up.
The fragrance of this face scrub can be likened to a ‘smoke and wood’ aroma with a blend of Cedarwood, Patchouli, Pepper, and Bergamot. Meanwhile, Salicylic Acid is employed to dig deep into pores and clean out any dirt that’s contributing to the growth of dead skin. For a bit of moisture to balance out the detoxifying properties, Glycerine is included. As a humectant, it absorbs moisture and keeps it in.
Best Natural Face Scrub - Urth Face Scrub
Using a trio of naturally derived micro exfoliators - that is, Walnut Shell Powder, Wheat Germ, and Rice Granules - this combination effectively removes dead surface cells and clears out blackheads. Texture-wise, it’s a soft clay scrub and with inclusions of hydrating ingredients like Glyceride and Algae Extract, this product is a good choice for those with dry skin. When left on the skin after scrubbing, it can work its magic and absorb excess oil and pollutants, leaving the skin clear and quenched.
Meanwhile, Green Tea is a proven antioxidant that helps reverse damage caused by air pollutants, reviving dull skin. At the same time, Ginseng improves the complexion of the skin, giving it a brighter and healthier look. Paraben, alcohol and fragrance-free, this face scrub features a fresh aroma (Bergamot Oil, Lavender Oil, Rosemary Oil) that provides you with a pleasant and energising feel when applied.
Best Face Scrub for Acne - Jack Black Power Peel Multi-Acid Resurfacing Pads
If you’re prone to encounter a spot or two (or three), alpha-hydroxy (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHA) are your best mate. Physical face scrubs (with granules and beads) have the potential to irritate active breakouts even more due to their grittiness. Therefore, we recommend using a non-abrasive option in the form of pads.
Jack Black Power Peel Multi-Acid Resurfacing Pads are soft pads that are pre-soaked in product, so all you need to do is grab one and swipe it gently across the areas of the face. To maximise its efficacy, don’t wash it off. It’s a powerhouse combination of Glycolic Acid (AHA), Salicylic Acid (BHA), as well as Niacinamide (Vitamin B) and Bilberry Extract, to name a few.
You could think of this product working in phases on your acne-prone skin. Firstly, the AHA gently sloughs away dead skin on the surface while opening up the pores. This gives more room for the BHA to get inside the pores, clearing out any dirt and debris that can cause breakouts. Meanwhile, Niacinamide regulates your skin’s oil production after being cleaned out to prevent excess shine. Then, you have the combination of brightening agents like Bilberry Extract, Lemon Extract and Orange Extract that work together to refine the skin tone and hyperpigmentation caused by past acne marks.
Jack Black have balanced this product by including Sodium Hyaluronate, also known as Hyaluronic acid. Able to hold 1000x its weight in water, it prevents excess moisture loss and stimulates collagen production to promote softer and plump skin. With their unique UGL Complex, an age-defying complex shown to improve skin firmness by 45% and diminish wrinkles by 33%, this non-abrasive face scrub is great if you want something gentle yet packs a punch.
Best Face Scrub for Anti-Aging - Patrick's FS1
The reality is that skin ages over time, regardless of the products you use. But that doesn’t mean a grooming routine is pointless. Rather, they ease the visible signs of aging. Patrick’s FS1 Face Scrub is recommended for men concerned with ageing, as its ingredients list features an array of anti-ageing peptides, multivitamins and anti-irritants.
What’s unique about this product is that it’s dual-action, chemically exfoliating the skin with Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA) in the form of Lactic Acid, while physically exfoliating with Volcanic Sand and Crushed Diamond. This means you’ll get a deep clean with a small amount of product. The physical exfoliating agents are a blend of microparticles in three different sizes. The various sizes enhance its exfoliating abilities, with the bigger particles able to tackle more stubborn dead skin on the surface while the smaller ones can get deeper into the pores.
As for its anti-ageing claims, this is evident with Retinyl Palmitate, a vitamin A derivative. Vitamin A is well documented in minimising, and sometimes even reversing, signs of ageing. This is due to its ability to accelerate the cell renewal process. We previously mentioned that your skin does this naturally every thirty days, but with Vitamin A, this cycle happens much more frequently. The frequency of the cycle comes with many benefits such as preventing the chance of dry flakes collecting dirt and clogging the pore, and of course, having softer, healthier skin for longer.