Exfoliation Products

Using Scrub Before or After Face Wash? (Here’s The Answer)

Written by: Anastasija

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Exfoliating scrubs are one of the many different ways you can achieve an even, glowing complexion at home, and they’re not difficult to use at all. Once you’re familiar with the process, it’ll become second nature and you won’t even need to think about it, but let’s start with the basics.

How do you use a face scrub?

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The most important thing to know before you throw a face scrub into your skincare routine is how it works, and even more importantly, how to use it. Until you know exactly how to use the product on your face, it’s not worth expecting the best results.

Firstly, unless the individual product states otherwise, a face scrub should always be used with water, meaning your face should already be pre-rinsed using warm to lukewarm water. This allows your skin to soften and your pores to open, as well as a medium for the scrub to lather within.

Exfoliates and removes dead skinMay cause irritation or dryness
Enhances the effectiveness of face washOveruse may damage the skin barrier
Improves skin texture and brightnessUnsuitable for sensitive skin
Table 1: Pros and Cons of Using Scrub Before Face Wash

Further exfoliates and deep cleanses the skinMay cause excessive dryness
Enhances the effects of face washPotential irritation or sensitivity
Helps remove remaining impuritiesUnsuitable for certain skin types
Table 2: Pros and Cons of Using Scrub After Face Wash

Once you’re ready, take a small amount of your scrub onto your first two fingers on each hand, and gently massage it into the skin. The essential thing to keep in mind here is to avoid being overly rough, and just apply very gentle pressure. The process shouldn’t be painful at all.

Continue scrubbing for around 60 seconds, ensuring you cover all desired areas of the face.

Once you’re finished, use warm or lukewarm water to rinse the product off your hands and face. Face scrubs tend to be made of scratchy particles, so make sure you’ve rinsed these off completely before moving on, otherwise they could irritate your skin later on.

Finally, pat dry with a clean towel (remember, gently pat dry, pressing into the skin with a towel, rather than scrubbing, to reduce damage), before moving onto the rest of your post-cleansing routine.

When should you use a face scrub in your routine?

Using Scrub Before or After Face Wash featured

Now you’re familiar with the process of using the scrub itself, it’s time to find out where you can slot it into your existing skincare routine. Should you use it before or after cleansing?

The best time to use your facial scrub is after cleansing, as this allows it to work to its optimum effectiveness. When you cleanse the face, you remove all the surface oils, grime and dirt which have built up in the past 12+ hours. This gives you a blank canvas to work with.

Rather than drying your face after cleansing, instead use lukewarm water to further rinse your cleansing product off your skin, and thoroughly wet your entire face. Use your face scrub here and pat dry using a clean towel once you’re finished.

Skin TypeScrub FrequencyFace Wash Frequency
Normal to Combination2-3 times a weekTwice daily
Dry or SensitiveOnce a weekOnce or twice daily
Oily or Acne-Prone3-4 times a weekTwice daily
Table 3: Recommended Frequency of Using Scrub and Face Wash

Because the layer of oils and dirt was already removed by your cleanser, your scrub will work even better as it has improved access to the deeper layers of skin and can remove dead cells.

Also read: Are Cleansing and Exfoliating the Same Thing? (Explained)

What face scrub should I use?

There are so many different options out there, that sometimes it may seem overwhelming to choose one. We’ve narrowed down three of our top picks to help you decide.

La Roche-Posay Ultra-Fine Scrub for Sensitive Skin

La Roche-Posay Ultra-Fine Scrub for Sensitive Skin, Gentle Exfoliating Face Wash with Ultra-Fine Pumice Particles to Remove Dead Skin
  • This gentle face scrub exfoliates and purifies skin. With ultra-fine pumice particles, it gently helps remove excess dead skin cells, while respecting the sensitivity of the skin.
  • Formulated with Perlite, a powder derived from volcanic rock. It is able to absorb water or oil and is known to provide a matte finish on skin and glycerin to help hydrate skin.

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La Roche-Posay are known for their targeted formulas, which get the job done without sacrificing your skin health. This face scrub uses ultra-fine particles, which are just abrasive enough to slough off dead skin cells, whilst simultaneously being small enough to glide right over your skin, preventing damage.

Being designed specifically for sensitive skin, you can have peace of mind that your face won’t be irritate by this product, as it’s safe in the hands of skincare experts.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Exfoliating Daily Facial Scrub

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Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Exfoliating Daily Facial Scrub, Moisture-Rich Soy Extract, helps improve skin tone & texture, Oil-& Soap-Free, Hypoallergenic, 5 oz
  • 5-ounce tube of Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Face Scrub cleanses & buffs away dead skin, surface impurities, & oil for softer, brighter skin. This scrub helps improve skin's tone & texture & reveals radiant-looking skin
  • The unique formula of this brightening facial exfoliant scrub contains moisture-rich soy extract & naturally derived granules designed to gently exfoliate & cleanse, while removing dirt, oil, & bacteria

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Next up, we all know Aveeno for their gentle, sensitive skin-friendly formulas that promise to take care of even the most delicate faces. This product is no exception, with its hypoallergenic formula designed for daily use.

As the product is non-comedogenic, those with acne-prone skin can rest assured that it won’t clog your pores, and therefore won’t lead to unwanted breakouts. Not to mention, it also contains soy in order to help tone and even your complexion, adding to its long list of benefits.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Facial Scrub Powder Exfoliator

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, Face Exfoliator Scrub Powder with Salicylic Acid and Papaya Enzyme, Achieve Brighter, Smoother Skin Daily, 0.45 Oz
  • Achieve brighter, smoother skin every day with this iconic exfoliating powder that gently removes dulling surface debris and polishes skin to perfection.
  • Formulated with Papaya Enzyme, Salicylic Acid, and other powerful ingredients, this dermatologist-recommended face scrub provides a thorough exfoliation without irritating your skin.

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Finally, this scrub is a little different to your traditional exfoliator, with a powder formula rather than a gel. Its rice-based formula is proven to be significantly gentler on the skin than many alternative scrubs, and its less abrasive texture means you can scrub away without worrying so much about over-exfoliation.

Not only is its powder formulation impressive, but it also contains papaya enzyme, a fruit-based plant enzyme to help the exfoliation process, alongside salicylic acid, known to help unclog pores and reduce breakouts.

Final thoughts

If you’re still curious about when you should use a facial scrub, the answer is straight after your cleanser. This allows for maximum effectiveness from the scrub, as well as a smooth, easy session.

About Anastasija

Welcome to my website! I'm Anastasija, and as a redhead with a sensitivity to the sun, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect sunless tanner six years ago.

After extensive research and four years of personal experience, I'm here to share my wealth of tips and tricks for achieving a beautiful, sun-kissed glow.

Whether you're interested in self-tanners, spray tans, or safe sun exposure, this website covers it all.

Join me as I provide valuable insights and guidance for various methods of getting that desired tan.

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