The best body scrubs for getting soft, smooth skin this summer

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We all know how important it is to regularly exfoliate our face – it helps to increase cell turnover and reveal a brighter, more radiant complexion.

But how many of us frequently exfoliate our bodies? Probably not that many, until summer is suddenly upon us and we realise our scaly shins needs some serious TLC. But it’s just as important to keep the skin below the neck healthy, and using a body scrub once or twice a week will do just that.

And there are more benefits to using a scrub than just smoother limbs – they also help ease dry skin conditions, reduce the likelihood of getting ingrown hairs after shaving, and make your fake tan sit more evenly.

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Here is OK! beauty editor Laura's pick of the best body scrubs to buy this summer…

Best for… serious sloughing

Dove Exfoliating Body Scrub Kiwi Seeds & Cool Aloe Scent, buy it here for £5.99

This contains micro-fine scrub particles, kiwi seeds and hydrating aloe vera, and has a fresh, fruity, slightly yoghurty scent.

Laura says: "With its thick, creamy consistency and just a slight scattering of kiwi seeds visible, I expected this to have a rather puny scrubbing action, but in fact it was surprisingly abrasive, in a satisfying way. Excellent on rough areas such as elbows, knees and feet – not so comfortable on patches of sunburn…"

Best for… pre-tan prep

Amanda Harrington New Skin Advanced Glycolic Body Scrub, buy it here for £22

Biodegradable castor beads in this creamy scrub provide a physical exfoliation, while glycolic and fruit acids perform a chemical one.

Laura says: "You don’t feel the scrubbing particles much in this, but my skin was left feeling smoother afterwards. Previously I would never really bother to exfoliate before tanning but I did notice that my fake tan looked a lot less patchy after using this."

Best for… a salon-worthy scrub

Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Body Scrub, buy it here for £65

A new body version of the brand’s best selling face scrub, this aims to emulate a microdermabrasion treatment with a blend of fruit enzymes, ruby crystals and skin-softening bamboo extract.

Laura says: "A fairly runny texture with super-fine particles, this glides over the skin, sloughing away at scaly patches without any elbow grease required whatsoever. At £65 it’s a big expense, but I did leave the shower feeling like I’d had a salon treatment."

Best for… a tropical holiday in a tub

Sol de JaneiroBum Bum Body Scrub, buy it here for £39

Made with Brazilian ingredients guarana extract and coconut oil, plus crushed cupuaça seeds to buff, this will get your skin beach-ready in seconds.

Laura says: "This has the exact colour, texture and smell of brown sugar, and I love the caramelly fragrance. I greatly enjoyed rubbing it in and imagining I was rolling around on a sandy Brazilian beach instead of wallowing in the bath tub of my London flat."

Best for… a long-lasting scent

Rituals The Ritual of Happy Buddha Sugar Scrub, buy it here for £14.90

This sugar scrub has an uplifting blend of sweet orange and cedar wood to perk up the mind as well as the body.

Laura says: "I used this in the bath, applying to damp limbs lifted out of the water, and when I dunked them back in, the sugar crystals dissolved to create a heavenly bath oil that nourished my skin for hours afterwards, with a scent that lingers just as well as a good body lotion. The product does separate slightly in the tub so give it a good stir before using."

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Best for… nourished skin

Beauty Pie Soul Providers Re-Energizing Dry Oil Sugar Scrub, buy it here for £10.54 (member’s price)

This one has demerara sugar added in to an intensely moisturising blend of sweet almond, apricot kernel and evening primrose oils. It also comes with a little wooden spoon for easy mixing and scooping.

Laura says: "One of the few body scrubs I’ve tried where you really don’t need to moisturise afterwards – which, as someone who hates applying body creams, pleases me greatly. The fragrance of grapefruit and black pepper is zingy but won’t overpower your perfume."

Best for… gleaming limbs

Frank Body Rose Gold Shimmer Scrub, buy it here for £15.94

This cult favourite scrub has had a serious glow-up, with tiny mica particles that glistening on the skin.

Laura says: "'How shimmery can a wash-off scrub REALLY make you?' I thought. Very, it turns out. Upon first application I turned an alarming tin-man shade of metallic. Fortunately most of this rubbed off onto the towel (so best to have old ones to hand), leaving a light smattering of gold shimmer on the skin. Despite the mess, the final effect was rather pretty."

Best for… a sugary smell

& Other Stories Perle de Coco Body Scrub, buy it here for £11

This sugar-based scrub has the most scrumptiously decadent scent of coconut, caramel and vanilla.

Laura says: ‘This has a thick, sticky consistency that makes it easy to really work into problem areas, and the fragrance is sweet but not sickly. There are shimmer particles in this scrub but they don’t really stay on the skin, instead just making your bath water look a bit more magical.’

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Expert tips:

  • Sol de Janeiro advises focusing your scrub on the elbows, knees, shins and feet, even massaging right in between your toes.
  • Regularly exfoliating can help with skin conditions such as xerosis (dry skin), keratosis pilaris and breakouts on the body, explains Dr. Gary Goldfaden, founder of Goldfaden MD.
  • “You need to create an even base for tan but don’t scrub too hard,” says celebrity tanning guru James Harknett. “Self tan works with our top layer of dead skin, so if you have sloughed away at your body, your tan may not develop as dark as you had wished for. Do the exfoliation 24 hours before tanning.”

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