After years spent struggling with messy, hard-to-use body scrubs, beauty director Shannon Peter finally discovers the wonders of body scrub bars. 

Maybe it’s just my technique, but I can’t seem to use body scrub without getting it everywhere. I scoop out a handful out of the pot and somehow manage to lose half of it by the time my fingers reach my thighs. And as for the grains that do reach my skin? Even the lightest buffing action seems to send them flying off in every direction, practically pebble dashing the insides of my shower.

But the thing is – between the satisfying sensation of the exfoliation itself, to the glowing and impossibly smooth skin it leaves behind – body exfoliators are simply way too good to give up.

The solution? Body scrub bars. 

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All the grittiness of a loose scrub contained in a palm-sized mess-free bar of soap? I can’t quite believe it’s taken me so long to wise up to the wonders of this ingenious invention. Now, I can buff away dull, dry skin without wasting a single grain. And even better still, my shower walls remain unscathed. Not to mention the fact that solid skincare products like this help to cut down on plastic and waster usage. It’s a no brainer.

I have Glossier’s incredible Body Hero Exfoliating Bar to thank for my conversion – more on that later. It’s so brilliant, I’d ground my first bar down to a teeny tiny pebble in matter of weeks. But since then, my shower has been a revolving door of formulas, as I’ve buffed and polished my limbs in search of the best body scrub bars around.

Want in on my findings? Below, I’ve shared my edit of the greatest exfoliating soaps the beauty world has to offer.

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The best body scrub bars

  • Glossier Body Hero Exfoliating Bar

    Best body scrub bars: Glossier Body Hero Exfoliating Bar

    I’ve yet to come across a body scrub bar as satisfying to use as Glossier’s. The grains are small, but densely-packed and seriously coarse, which means every swipe seems to chip off an entire layer of dull, dead skin cells with little-to-no effort on my part. Even after just one use my usually bumpy arms were a hell of a lot softer and smoother. It’s 100% my favourite of the lot, and I’ve already got multiple friends and colleagues hooked on it too.

    Shop Glossier Body Hero Exfoliating Bar at Glossier, £12

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  • Carbon Theory Body Bar

    Best body scrub bars: Carbon Theory Body Bar

    If you ever experience breakouts anywhere on your body, this bar could be for you. Blending charcoal (to draw out dirt, oil and toxins) and tea tree oil (which has natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefits), this bar is an excellent antidote to blemish-prone or excessively oily skin. As for the scrubbing action? That comes courtesy of tiny vitamin E beads which manage to flick away flaky skin before its even had a chance to block pores.

    Shop Carbon Theory Body Bar at Boots, £7.50

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  • Okiki Extreme Wake Up Soap

    Best body scrub bars: Okiki Extreme Wake Up Soap

    All of Okiki’s artisanal bar soaps are heavenly, but if you want your morning cleanse to come with a bracing wake-up call, try this one. It’s laced with a ton of coffee to perk you up before you’ve even laid a finger on the kettle, but it’s the addition of the coffee grounds that gives the bar its exfoliating power. 

    Shop Okiki Extreme Wake Up Soap at Okiki, £5.50 

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  • Haeckels Small Exfoliating Vegan Seaweed Block

    Best body scrub bars: Haeckels Small Exfoliating Vegan Seaweed Block

    Softly-foaming, Haeckels’ exfoliating bar is milled with seaweed and aloe vera to nourish and condition the skin, but the main thing I love about it is the scent. It uses pretty large flecks of crushed up coriander seeds and peppercorns, making the aroma spicy and herbaceous in equal measure. 

    Shop Haeckels Small Exfoliating Vegan Seaweed Block at Haeckels, £4

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  • Superdrug Vitamin E Body Scrub Bar

    Best body scrub bars: Superdrug Vitamin E Exfoliating Massage Body Bar

    Superdrug’s vitamin E range (and the moisturiser in particular) has amassed something of a cult following, with fans waxing lyrical about its ability to calm down sensitive or eczema-prone skin. But one lesser sung hero of the range is this body scrub bar, that uses almost the entire vitamin alphabet (vitamins A, B, E, F and H) to nurture skin while it ever so gently exfoliates. 

    Shop Superdrug Vitamin E Body Scrub Bar at Superdrug, £3.99 

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  • Molton Brown Re-charge Black Pepper Bodyscrub Bar

    Best body scrub bars: Molton Brown Re-charge Black Pepper Bodyscrub Bar

    Loved by senior beauty writer Hanna Ibraheem, Molton Brown’s hefty bar has a fiery, peppery smell that can help lift you from any lockdown-induced funk. Yes, it’s a powerful exfoliator, but it’s also the best bar out there if you’re looking for a scent that lingers on the skin, long after you’ve left the shower.

    Shop Molton Brown Re-charge Black Pepper Bodyscrub Bar at Molton Brown, £18

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  • Lush Buffy Body Butter

    Best body scrub bars: Lush Buffy Body Butter

    A real time-saver, Lush’s formula is where body lotion meets body scrub. Laced with powerful ground rice, almonds and aduki beans, it buffs thighs, bums and arms brilliantly, while also nourishing and hydrating the skin at the same time, thanks to a decadent blend of three incredible skin softeners: lavender oil, cocoa butter and shea butter.

    Shop Lush Buffy Body Butter at Lush, £8

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  • Sanctuary Spa Salt Scrub Bar

    Best body scrub bars; Sanctuary Spa Salt Scrub Bar

    I’ve long been a sucker for Sanctuary Spa’s deliciously-scented, industrial-strength salt scrub ever since my mum bought me my first pot in my teens, so I was thrilled to find out it comes in a solid version too. Thankfully, it’s just as gritty as the original, and has that same nostalgic scent.

    Shop Sanctuary Spa Salt Scrub Bar at Boots, £4.50

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  • The Body Shop British Rose Exfoliating Soap

    Best body scrub bars: The Body Shop British Rose Exfoliating Soap

    Rosy, fresh and far from old-fashioned, The Body Shop’s scented soap froths up to a satisfying foam, making it a brilliant soap to use in lieu of shower gel. In terms of an exfoliant, it’s super gentle, ideal for anyone whose skin is either easy-to-aggravate or just naturally soft. In which case, lucky you!

    Shop The Body Shop British Rose Exfoliating Soap at The Body Shop, £4

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