How to Use Facial Scrubs: The Dos and Don'ts

Do you have trouble keeping your skin smooth? And no matter what you do, you are constantly covered in bumps and blemishes? If so, facial scrubs may be the answer. 

Facial scrubs are a type of exfoliant that remove the build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin and they range from physical scrubs to exfoliating acids, and enzyme exfoliants. 

Facial scrub products can leave your skin smoother and more radiant. But, choosing the right facial scrub is vital and with so many options around, it can be tricky to know where to start. 

You may see facial scrubs as a purely physical product, perhaps from St. Ives or even a “DIY” scrub, but as the industry has evolved so have the products - now available for all skin types and tailored to your specific needs both physically and chemically.

We are going to explore how to use facial scrubs for the smoothest skin possible, debunk some myths, and help you find the best exfoliant for your personal skincare routine. 

Exfoliating Myths

Facial scrubs can get rid of blackheads.

One common misconception is that you can scrub away blackheads and pimples. This is simply not true. While facial scrubs can remove the build-up of dead skin cells, they will not get rid of blackheads or pimples caused by clogged pores. 
To stop these nasties from forming, you need a consistent skincare routine that includes cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing.

We also recommend considering an exfoliating acid like BHAs to get to the root of the problem. Beta-hydroxy acids (BHA) are oil-soluble chemical exfoliants, meaning they can penetrate the skin through sebaceous glands, and help clear out the buildup that causes pimples in the first place. 

Natural face scrubs are the best for you.

Another common myth is that natural face scrubs are always best. This is false too. Natural facial scrubs are often made from charcoal, sugar, coffee, apricot and walnut shell. These sound great but in reality, natural scrubs scratch the surface of your skin and can damage it. 

It’s more important to choose a facial scrub that exfoliates gently. Remember to avoid using any type of facial scrub on open wounds or broken skin unless you want to make them worse. 

You may have also heard this one - the more you scrub, the smoother your skin. No matter how hard you scrub, simply scrubbing is not going to get you that smooth skin you’re looking for. There is no quick fix for celebrity smooth skin - for the best results you need a consistent routine.

You shouldn’t exfoliate before shaving.

The answer to this is: it depends. The right exfoliant exfoliating help get a smooth shave and prevent razor bumps, and the wrong facial scrub will make it worse. 

If you don't properly cleanse and exfoliate skin regularly, dead skin cells can clog hair follicles and trap facial hair under the skin. This is the cause of ingrown hair. Shaving over ingrown hairs and rough skin causes micro-cuts and razor burn. Using a gentle exfoliant before shaving helps prevent razor bumps.  

The grittier the scrub, the better the exfoliation.

False. Gone are the days where harsh scrubbers were the go-to item at the drug store. Over the last 20 years, exfoliation technology and options have advanced greatly. Today’s exfoliants come in 3 types: Physical Exfoliants, Chemical Exfoliants, and Enzyme Exfoliants. The newer types of exfoliants can give you a deeper exfoliation, with less skin damage than traditional facial scrubs. 

Exfoliation Types

Physical Exfoliation

A rough scrub can actually damage skin, causing redness and inflammation. If you love the feeling of a good scrub, save it for your body, which has less delicate skin than your face. 

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliate the skin by promoting cell turnover. 

AHAs are water-soluble acids, often derived from fruits, that break down the intercellular bonds between dead skin cells. Popular AHAs include citric acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid. These can be found in anything from cleansers, toners, serums to moisturizers.

The most common BHA is salicylic acid, and it works by getting deep inside pores to dissolve cellular build-up. Chemical exfoliation must be used in moderation, because too much or too often can be irritating to skin. If you have sensitive skin, use a gentle, low concentration chemical exfoliant. 

Enzymatic Exfoliation

One of the options for smooth skin is an enzymatic exfoliant. This method is milder and best for sensitive skin types, especially before shaving. Enzymes are derived from fruits like pineapple and papaya, and work like chemical exfoliants to break down dead cell structures. 

Shake And Wake, our powder enzyme cleanser, turns into a silky foam when you add water. It provides the perfect gentle exfoliating cleanse without harsh scrubbers or any roughness. Plant based fibers to gently remove dead skin cells, pineapple and papaya enzymes polish with no harshness, and vitamins B3, B5, and C restore skin.

Choose the right facial scrub for your skin type. 

When choosing, do go for a facial scrub that is right for your skin type. 

Facial scrubs for sensitive skin. 

If you have sensitive skin, a gentler scrub is better. It might seem obvious, but any scrub exfoliant, especially anything DIY or homemade, can easily cause more irritation than exfoliation to sensitive skin. For sensitive skin, opt for infrequent exfoliation using gentle, non-abrasive facial scrubs. Enzyme powder exfoliant is great for this purpose. A gentler PHA (poly hydroxy acid) exfoliant, such as gluconolactone and lactobionic acid, can also work. 

Facial scrubs for oily skin. 

On the other hand, if you have more of an oily skin type, you may prefer a more intense scrub, because you may have to work harder to cleanse your face than people with a different skin type. Try a chemical exfoliant that clears out skin’s oily sebum at the root. 

BHAs (beta hydroxy acids), like salicylic acid, are great for oily or acne-prone skin, due to their pore-unclogging properties.

Facial scrubs for dry skin. 

And if you think you have dry skin, we often recommend simply staying away from physical cleansers, as they can just make things worse. Enzyme powder cleansers are the secret here! They restore the moisture in your skin and provide you with a radiant smooth look, using naturally occurring enzymes that react with the water and help gently exfoliate away the dead skin cells. 

Facial scrubs for aging skin. 

AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) are often used to improve skin tone and mild sun spots. These are often fruit-derived, and include chemical exfoliants like glycolic, lactic, citric, and malic acid. Sun protection is also key here, to prevent further skin damage from the sun. 

How to include facial scrubs into your skincare routine. 

Once you have chosen the best facial scrub type for you, ease it into your skincare routine and observe how your skin reacts to it. We recommend starting with using it once or twice a week at first, to work out if it's really right for you.

Shake And Wake Enzyme Powder Face Wash

Don’t have time for a 2-step cleanse? We took the hassle out of the process with Shake And Wake, an exfoliating enzyme powder wash that can be used daily for smooth, soft skin for all skin types. This enzyme powder cleanser is packed to the brim with fruit enzymes and antioxidants. Simply add water and the silky foam will gently clean and exfoliate with zero irritation. Bonus: it’s leak free and travel friendly. 

For best results, always compliment your facial scrub with a moisturizer at night and sunscreen during the day.

Relax And Repair Ultimate Anti-Aging Moisturizer

We designed the Relax And Repair anti-aging moisturizer for daily use. It is easily implemented into your routine regardless of skin type. Relax and Repair hydrates without being oily, and is chock full of ingredients scientifically proven to prevent and repair the signs of aging. Winner of the GQ Award for "Best Moisturizer", why not check it out and take the first steps towards smoother, more youthful-looking skin?

Rain Or Shine Daily Moisturizing Sunscreen

As for sunscreen, we’ve got you covered here too. Rain Or Shine is non-greasy, leaves no white film, and is great for daily use for all skin types. Providing SPF50 UVA and UVB protection, it’s the perfect way to round out your skincare routine and protect your healthy new skin. 

Once you've got smoother skin, the last thing you want to do is damage it and undo all of your work!

There are several things you can do to maintain smooth skin, such as not using retinol products (which boost collagen production), using barrier protection products after scrubbing and shaving correctly - for shaving tips check out our blog here.

We hope this article has helped you to learn more about how to use facial scrubs for the smoothest skin possible. If you have any questions, just reach out to us. We love chatting about all things skin!