After 25 hours of research evaluating 60 products, we picked Jack Black Face Buff Energizing Scrub as our top choice.
Men’s grooming has come a long way. Gone are the days when you had to steal your wife’s facial scrub to get a really good clean. We’re almost gobsmacked by the number of exfoliators for men. (Never mind the number of moisturizers for men.)
And, we’ve taken the time to consider the best of the best.
More than that, we’ve looked at factors that many review sites haven’t – like whether products are safe for men with tree nut allergies or are completely vegan and cruelty-free. Although the jury is still out on parabens, we’ve included that information too. (Take a look here if you’re very concerned about the ingredients in facial cleansers that could cause allergic reactions.)
Whatever your needs, take a look at the best exfoliators for men. They may just change your life. At the very least, they’ll refresh your face, leaving it smoother and cleaner than ever before.
The price for this exfoliator is unbeatable (and it’s available as part of Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program). It’s gentle enough for daily use.
It’s less of an exfoliator and more of a deep-cleaning cleanser. Plus, you’ll find parabens in this formula.
If price is the biggest concern for you, this is the facial scrub you’ll want to look at first. But, we need to put a few disclaimers on that. This isn’t the scrubbiest of exfoliators and more like a wash with gentle exfoliation.
The good news? That means it’s gentle enough for daily use. Given the price, that’s not a problem. And, given the fragrance, you’re likely to look forward to your daily scrub. Users definitely feel it’s effective.
But, there are parabens in this product – and Dove isn’t a cruelty-free brand either. That’s going to put some people off. And, although there aren’t any nut extracts listed in the ingredients, it’s not marketed as tree nut free. But you just can't forget about the price – and the ability to add it to your Subscribe and Save order.
This exfoliator offers a strong scrub that rejuvenates skin effectively – more like a peel than a mask. It smells wonderful and also helps to prevent ingrown hairs.
It’s definitely not cheap and it does contain a couple of parabens.
This doesn’t just clean your face, it scrubs away all the dead skin cells and promotes cell renewal while doing so. You’ll be left with an amazingly refreshed face. It’s the thick, grittiness of this facial scrub that does it.
Sadly, it does it with some parabens and walnut powder which means there are plenty of men that won’t go for it (or can’t). And, sensitive skins should count themselves among those numbers; it’s a little too powerful.
It’s really strong and effective for those that can use it – but it costs a pretty penny too.
This facial scrub has a lot of good stuff in it and none of those nasty elements. The container is large and carries a 60-day 100% guarantee.
You’ll need to shell out quite a bit to cover the 8 ounce size, though the price per ounce isn’t terrible. Also, some users feel the scent is a little too much like Pinesol for their liking.
Okay, this isn’t 100% natural as you might expect given the branding. But, it doesn’t include the ingredients that will make your skin crawl, like parabens and toxins. It’s also cruelty-free and vegan. And free of tree nuts. Really, what more could you ask for?
Better still, it’s strong enough to battle acne-causing bacteria and overproduction of oil, though it’s definitely mild enough for sensitive skin.
It would be nice if this was sold in smaller packaging – or at least if that option was available. Then again, most users – especially those with sensitive skin – don’t worry about that at all.
Packed with mostly organic ingredients, this facial exfoliator has a rather manly aroma and the finer texture is effective at preparing your face for a smooth shave.
Many find the container to be too small, especially given the price.
Mostly, it’s all pros for this facial scrub. Inside the bottle, you’ll find 98% natural ingredients and 70% of them are organic. And, it’s one of the best smelling exfoliators that you’ll ever come across.
It’s definitely the best at creating a smooth surface for clean shaves, even though there are other facial scrubs that make this their primary objective. You also don’t need to use a lot of it and, although there are plenty of comments regarding the packaging, it should last about two months if used as directed.
Okay, now for the price. That’s where this facial scrub looses a few points. Even when you don’t need to use a lot, the $5.50 per ounce that you’ll pay is a little too much for many men. At $22 per tub, that’s $132 on a facial scrub per year. Ouch.
This rich formula offers a 90-day money back guarantee. It’s great at deep cleaning pores and ridding men from pesky blackheads.
Besides being on the pricey side, it can also be a little drying.
This men’s facial exfoliator is an award winner (Men’s Health, Esquire, and GQ magazines) for a reason. It does more than strip away dry skin; it’s really fantastic at opening pores and preventing ingrown hairs.
The interesting array of ingredients is complimented by its dreamy, manly scent. The composition actually works to balance your skin’s pH levels and promotes elasticity.
Overall, the price is right down the middle with an Amazon Subscribe and Save option and a 90-day money-back guarantee. It’s paraben-free, which we appreciate, but it’s not entirely free of nasties nor is it safe for vegans or men with tree nut allergies.
Works with most skin types, including oily and sensitive skins. Thick texture and a non-drying formula from a respected brand.
It can be pricey if used every day. And, some men find the minty menthol scent too strong.
This product is an awesome all-rounder. It works fantastically on most skins and offers excellent pre-shave protection. It’s perhaps not the best for men with dry skin, but it works well with sensitive skins.
It’s the menthol in this men’s facial exfoliator that makes you feel refreshed, but it’s the excellent pore opening qualities that also makes you look fresh and clean.
What do we really love about this? It’s paraben-free, cruelty-free, vegan and safe for guys with tree nut allergies. On top of that, it smells incredible. It works like a dream – and you can expect your wife or girlfriend to steal it. Sorry.
It’s really easy to think of yourself as a single living organism. You are that, make no mistake. But, you’re made up of all sorts of tissues and organs - and even though it may have been awhile since you studied biology, we’re certain you can name a lot of them: liver, heart, lungs, and one of the largest, skin
Not only is your skin an organ, it’s one that everyone sees. So, you shouldn’t be ashamed that you want to care for it. And, whether you’ve consciously used an exfoliator in the past or not, these products definitely play a role.
Your skin is continually rejuvenating itself. The top layer dies off and flakes away (rather than shedding like a snake) as new skin grows underneath. New skin feels soft and looks young and radiant, while dead or dying skin appears just as dry as it feels. Exfoliation scrubs off the old skin, to make room for the new skin. In addition to this glow, it also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It can also help to even out dark spots and skin tone.
And, don’t worry, unless you’re using chemical peels, you’re not going to exfoliate your skin faster than your body can produce it. Indeed, because men’s skin is thicker and has more collagen than women’s skin, you’re going to reap more benefits from the process than your girlfriend will.
Not sold on the generalities of exfoliation? How about some specifics? You can also expect:
And that’s on top of removing those dead skin cells and making your face appear more vibrant and healthy.
Face wash is there to cleanse; that’s its job. It removes the impurities from your skin. An exfoliating scrub also cleanses, but it works to remove dead skin cells at the same time.
In case you’re wondering, there is a difference between a scrub and scrubbing your face with cleanser and a washcloth. A washcloth can only go so deep whereas a scrub can get into your pores and cleanse extra deep. Nice, right?
Why should I choose a facial exfoliator for men?
Don’t feel bad about borrowing your girlfriend’s exfoliator for the first time or two that you use one. But, eventually, you’ll want to get one of your own. There are a couple reasons for that.
The first reason has to do with the composition of your skin. Because it’s thicker and has more collagen than women’s skin, you want a product designed for men so that it’s actually effective when you use it. Scrubs designed for women won’t be as effective as those created for you.
And, there’s another benefit you don’t want to miss. Men’s exfoliators will help to prepare your skin for shaving. Good, right? You may find that razor burn and ingrown hairs are a thing of the past.
You’re probably sold on the benefits of facial exfoliators already - and maybe even took a moment to order one of our top faves, but you need to hold your horses before you begin with your new scrubbing routine. It’s not something you want to do twice a day; not even once a day. If you exfoliate too often, it’s very likely that you’ll mess with your skin’s natural balance. You don’t want to muck with the oils that should be in your skin or you may find yourself with a case of acne. At the very least, you’ll experience some dryness and irritation.
When you begin using an exfoliator, you should use it once a week. It’s enough to get your face used to increased cell turnover rates. After awhile (at least a couple of weeks), you can work your way up to three times a week, but dermatologists recommend that you don’t exceed that frequency. And, don’t forget to cleanse your face twice a day, every day - whether it’s a scrubbing moment or not.
There’s no hard and fast rule for which days of the week or what time of the day you should exfoliate your skin. But, you should keep in mind that scrubs are, obviously, more abrasive than cleansers and you may want to do it with your nightly wash, rather than your morning wash.
That said, if your facial scrub specifies that you should use it in the evening rather than in the morning, pay attention to those directions. Your exfoliator may contain retinol or another ingredient that makes you more susceptible to sunlight.
It’s not exactly rocket science, but you should pay attention to what you’re doing when you first begin using a facial exfoliator. It’s not really that you can do it wrong, only that you want to do it right so you can reap the benefits of the product and the process.
Begin by washing your face with a mild cleanser, and rinse as you normally would. Squeeze a small dollop of exfoliator onto your fingertips (about the size of a dime - maybe even less to start) and massage this slowly onto your face. Work from your chin upwards and outwards along the jaw to your forehead. Use circular motions and don’t press too hard - especially in sensitive areas or across acne spots.
When you’ve worked in the product, rinse with warm water first - remember that you’ve just gotten into your pores and you don’t want to shock your skin with a blast of cold water. But, you do want to do a final rinse with cold water before applying a quality moisturizer.
Apart from the exfoliating agent - which shouldn’t be microbeads (see below), you’re looking for pretty much the same things as you would in a regular facial wash. (You can find a complete list of amazing ingredients in the tips section of our Best Face Wash Cleansers for Men list.)
As for the exfoliation ingredients you do want, consider the best natural options including:
And, you want to consider your skin type when choosing the best exfoliator for your face as well.
You should already have a vague idea about your skin type and whether it is oily or dry, a combination or somewhere in the middle.
You’ll find there is a range of scrubs ranging from super fine to super coarse and everything in between.
If you take a razor to your face every day or every other day, you want to stay away from coarse grains as they will be too abrasive for your face. The same goes for those that want to use their exfoliator a couple times a week; the larger the grain, the more likely it is to irritate your skin.
Fine grains are great for more frequent use and for men that don’t shave regularly (those that trim only or keep a full beard).
You may have heard that scrubbing beads are bad news when it comes to the environment. And, you should be concerned about microbeads, but that doesn’t mean you should steer clear of all exfoliators. The situation has changed rapidly over the past few years, and the products available now shouldn’t pose any problem.
Microbeads made of polyethylene plastic were widely introduced in the 1980s and soon found themselves in many of our cosmetic products. The trouble with these plastic bits is that they don’t decompose. And, to make matters worse, water sanitation plants weren’t designed or equipped to filter microbeads. In some cases, they became part of the sludge left behind at these plants - which is used to water and fertilize crops. But, more often than not, microbeads just find their way into lakes, streams, oceans, and our water systems in general.
Besides the fact that they don’t decompose and, therefore, pollute our environment, microbeads look and feel a lot like fish eggs. Marine life has been consuming these microbeads for decades. Indeed, at least one study shows that one-quarter of fish for sale at California fish markets consumed these microbeads - which means you may have consumed them. Yuck.
The situation was so serious that President Obama signed a law banning these plastic microbeads in 2015. Most major companies complied quickly and changed their formulations and over the years, you can bet they will be safer. Still, if you’re very concerned (or travel overseas often), you may want to check out the lists of clean (and not so clean) products at BeattheMicrobead.org.
In the best products, you’ll find natural, biodegradable scrubbing alternatives. So, you shouldn’t need to worry, but you do need to be aware.
While exfoliation should be a part of your skin care routine, it shouldn’t cause you any grief. If you experience any negative reaction to a product, you should discontinue use immediately. And, if problems continue, then you must consult a GP or a dermatologist.
Additionally, although far less scary, is the necessity of moisturizer. You should be using an amazing facial moisturizer every day, but you definitely need one after exfoliating. You don’t want to damage the new skin you’ve revealed. So, if you don’t have one, make sure you pick up a moisturizer along with one of our fave facial exfoliators.