The Right Way to Apply a Body Scrub

A young woman in a shower
i love images / Getty Images

One of my greatest indulgences is a Korean body scrub. You literally get all the dead skin scrubbed off you in what seems like layers until you're left with baby smooth skin. To get the same results in your own bath, follow these tips on how to use a body scrub. Plus, find out if dry brushing is worth a try. 

The Right Scrub is Key

Some prefer sugar scrubs to the drying salt scrubs. Be careful with the type of scrub you get, some cheap versions have large granules that can tear at the skin.

Others contain microbeads that are bad for the environment. 

See this list of the Top 11 Body Scrubs & Bath Salts. You can make your own for super cheap. Get recipes in ​Best Body Scrub Recipes.

Use a Bath Mitt or Bath Gloves

I first tried bath gloves back in 1996 when I was visiting my friend Susan who was in grad school. She insisted I try hers (which in hindsight is kinda gross) because she swore they would change my life. They did. I've had a pair in my own shower ever since.

Nothing works better and you can throw them in the washing machine (let them air dry) when you need to.

Try our Earth Therapeutics.

The Dry Brushing Craze: Does it Work?

When I was growing up my family had a long-handled brush with natural bristles hanging in the shower. It was meant to be a way to scrub your bath in the shower, but really it was a mold collector and nothing more. No one ever used it and no one ever threw it away until we moved and into the trash bag it went.


Turns out that mold collector is one of the hottest things in beauty at the moment. 

If you want to get on the dry brushing bandwagon, I recommend investing in a good brush and trying it out for a month. Dry brushing not only exfoliates your skin, it helps your lymphatic system drain out the bad stuff (science has yet to back this claim, but science is behind on a lot of hippy-dippy natural stuff) and some people claim it helps diminish the appearance of cellulite (I'm skeptical).


Here's how it works:

  • Dry brushing means no water. Do not keep your wooden brush in the hot bathroom where it will become a mold collector. 
  • Get naked and step into the shower. 
  • Starting at your feet, brush your skin from your toes on up to the top of your thighs. Short, swift brush strokes are best. You always want to move towards the heart. 
  • Now go over the same area but do slow, circular motions. 
  • Brush from your stomach up to your chest. This is an extra sensitive area but will get desensitized as your master dry brushing. 
  • Move on to your arms, going from the fingertips on up to the shoulders. 
  • Brush the skin on your buttocks from bottom to top. 
  • Brush the lower back on up to the shoulders. 
  • Take your shower. 
  • Out of the shower, slather on moisturizer. At first, you'll find your skin, will really need a lot of moisture.

After a month, you should see a difference: softer skin, a glowy complexion, and no more roughness. 

Scrub Towards Your Heart

This beauty secret of spas makes sense to me. Start at your feet and massage the scrub in a circular motion up the legs and the torso. Continue at your fingertips and massage up the arm.

Don't Scrub Every Day

Avoid over-exfoliating by scrubbing just a couple times a week.

If you have sensitive skin, consider a lighter touch.

Don't Scrub After You Shave

You risk stinging your skin. I do, however, suggest a good scrub before you shave which will remove dead skin cells so they don't clog up your razor.

Slather on Oil After Your Bath

After a great scrub in the bath, I like to slather on extra virgin coconut oil. Any thick moisturizer or oils will work, but it's important to apply moisturizer after a good scrubbing.

Liked this? There's more

  • My Best Body Scrub Recipes
  • How to Make Salt and Sugar Scrubs
  • 17 Ingenious Beauty Uses for Average Kitchen Items
  • How to Save $$$ on Skincare With These 12 Tips