Smooth Operators: 13 of the Best Vegan Skin Exfoliators

By Lora O’Brien

Springtime is coming! Springtime is coming! And that means shedding heavy coats, scarves, gloves…and gross, flaky, dry skin.

How many of us consider exfoliation a vital part of our beauty regime? I know for years I didn’t; it was just something I did on the odd occasion I happened to have a body scrub and wanted to use it up. But I was wrong. Exfoliation should be part of your skincare routine always (not just in springtime!) And here’s why.

Healthy, Glowing Skin

Our skin goes through a lot in a day. We put make-on on, take make-up off, we go out in toxic, polluted air and all kinds of nasty things end up on our skin. Exfoliating takes the top layer of crap off, which is great. It also removes dead skin, revealing fresher, younger looking skin beneath. This means makeup will go on much smoother, and if you’re applying fake tan, this is a vital step to prep the skin and maintain the tanning product for longer.

Minimise Pores

Pores are a nightmare for so many of us. No one wants to see them at all , and when there’s a buildup of dirt and dead skin, pores will open up even further. If you feel your pores are competing with your nostrils in size, you probably need to exfoliate to remove the dirt from those pores and use products to minimise them. And remember: after cleansing with warm water, splash with cold water to close those pores.

Reduces Acne and Break-outs

At some time in all of our lives we’ve had to deal with a break-out. Whether it’s been on a rare occasion or a recurring problem it still makes us feel like rubbish. Many of us plow money into products hoping they’ll be the miracle our skin needs, but we never think to exfoliate and this could really help to reduce and manage further breakouts and acne. A deep exfoliation will help to un-clog those pores and remove both dirt and built up excess oils from the root cause, which if left will lead to break-outs.

Allows Other Products To Work

If you have a skincare routine yet you fail to exfoliate you could well be missing out on the benefits of your beauty products. Failing to exfoliate means that your pores can remain blocked, and so other skincare products won’t be properly absorbed, rendering them fairly inefficient. Once you start to exfoliate, you’ll not only feel the difference on your skin, but you’ll notice that your other products will start doing their job much better.

How To Exfoliate

We’re given so much conflicting advice: exfoliate rarely. Exfoliate daily. Don’t exfoliate sensitive skin. The truth is, so long as your exfoliant of choice isn’t extremely abrasive (you want it to exfoliate but not strip your skin entirely) you can use it a few times a week with no issues. Don’t be afraid to exfoliate your body, too – just be sure to moisturise afterwards.

One caveat: when exfoliating the skin on your lips, be extra gentle as the skin here is incredibly thin and fragile and could tear. Try gently brushing lips with a toothbrush after you clean your teeth, and prevent dry lips by using a lip balm at night.

One of the best perks of my job is when we get to try products ourselves so that we know how great (or not) they are. I’ve personally tried and tested each and every one of these vegan exfoliators myself and allow me to tell you which of these you’ll be needing, what area of your body they’ll fix up, and where you can get your hands on them yourselves.

1. REN Skincare ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser

I started using this cleanser around the same time I discovered more about using clay face masks (more of that coming up below) and boy am I glad I did. You apply this to damp skin and massage it in, really taking the time to give your skin some TLC whilst doing so. Once washed off, my pores always look more refreshed and tighter after using this.

Get it  here.


2. Frank Body Creamy Face Scrub

I’m a huge fan of Frank Body products. I’ve re-purchased their body scrub too many times to count now. So I was excited to give their facial scrub a go. Firstly, I know it says ‘creamy’ on the label, but this product was super creamy. It was like massaging a grainy coffee mousse into my skin. I left it on for five minutes and then washed it off with warm water, splashing my face with cold water one finished. It felt so hydrated, and my skin was glowing with good health. Plus there was way less mess than when I use a their Frank Body body scrub on my face so yay for less mess.

Get it here.

3. Vanity Planet Spin for Perfect Skin Brush

I was once told to never use anything harsh like a spin brush on the skin because it would leave it raw. If I remembered who told me that, I’d send them one of these brushes to prove them wrong. This brush has been such a lifesaver and I could never think about a skincare routine without it now. I use this twice weekly, and I use it to really deep cleanse my skin. I add some Ren cleanser onto the spin brush and really work it into my skin. I feel like not only does my skin become clean and nourished, but the brush on this is so soft and buzzy, I feel like the circulation to my face is improving, too. The best part is that this comes with a range of brush heads and tools, so you can use to smooth out your body and feet, too.

Get it here.


4. Root and Flower Coconut & Rose Body Scrub

As a huge fan of both coconut and rose, I thought the scent alone of this scrub was gorgeous; I could smell it as soon as I opened the box it came in. I can’t explain to you how silky smooth my skin felt after using this. I’m sometimes wary of using anything with coconut oil in the bath as I’ve slipped way too many times now but I had no problems at all using this. And for once, after shaving my legs, my skin was still baby soft and dare I say it – radiant. Yep, ladies, you read that right: RADIANT! I had the glow!

Get it here.

5. The Konjac Sponge Co Bamboo Charcoal Sponge

I’ve been debating whether to try a Konjac sponge for some time now, but I’m glad I took the plunge. The first time I used this sponge, I used it with a little Ren cleanser and I was not expecting my skin to feel so clean from such a small item. It glided over my skin, giving an ever so slight exfoliation that made moisturising easier after my bath. My cream soaked in well and my body was left feeling truly hydrated. It may be worthwhile noting as well that the Konjac Sponge Co sell various sponges for different skin types, so it’s great if you find you have greasy skin or you’re prone to break-outs.

Get it here.

6. Berber’s Treat Black Eucalyptus Cleansing Gel

This is a really powerful cleanser, especially when used with the Berber’s Treat scrubbing glove as it gives extra exfoliation to the skin. I use this around once a week now. I simply love it. I especially adore the eucalyptus scent, and the gloopy gel texture. This makes my body feel both exfoliated and clean, and it works to remove toxins, impurities and dead skin cells whilst nourishing and revitalising the body.  Even after using this your body feels so silky smooth, you won’t even need to moisturise: your skin is already perfect!

Get it here.

7. Joik Coffee Sugar Scrub

The coffee here works to not only energise your mood (aromatherapy, don’tcha know) and stimulate the skin, but the caffeine rich coffee beans actually work to target cellulite, stretch marks, eczema, acne and even scarring. I’ve used a body scrub for some time now and it’s helped to fade the appearance of stretch marks – which I did not expect at all. Plus the coconut oil leaves your recently exfoliated skin super soft.

Get it here.


8. Grace Green Beauty ReAct Self-Activating Facial Mask

I adored using this facial mask purely for its versatility. It’s one of those products that can be used for different reasons, and that’s so great for when you get breakouts. I’ve used this as both a scrub and a face mask and each time I mixed it with a dab of water and it worked brilliantly, leaving my skin almost blemish free. You activate this mask by adding liquid to it yourself, and those fluids can be changed to suit different skin types or skin problems. For example, if your skin is feeling dull, try mixing it with diluted pineapple juice. If it’s looking puffy or lifeless you can use a bit of cold coffee. And if you’ve got inflamed skin, try mixing it with some soothing aloe vera. Genius!

Get it here.

9. Natalie Bond Organics Lemongrass Body Scrub

If I even see the slightest patch of flaky skin it just makes me feel horrid. Well, I won’t be suffering anymore, not after using this delightful body scrub. It’s the perfect way to bring your skin back to perfection after a day out battling the elements. The exfoliating blend left my skin feeling fresh and super soft. I love the fact it comes in different scents. I used lemongrass but the peppermint and eucalyptus made my bathroom smell so gorgeous.

Get it here.

10. Laila London Chamomile & Lavender Face Mask

I’ve always known that scrubs work to exfoliate, but I never thought that face masks could do, too. But yep: clay masks help stimulate circulation, tighten the skin and gently exfoliates by removing dead skin and unclogging pores. Not bad for a mask, huh? Clay absorbs and removes toxins, heavy metals and other serious impurities from our skin, which is essential now more than ever. And this stuff is pure: you can even drink water infused with Bentonite clay to help draw toxins out of your body! I love how well this mask works, and the little spoon that lets you mix it up before applying. Sensitive skin may go a bit red after using this, but the addition of chamomile really works to soothe your face.

Get it here.


11. Poppy Austin Rhassoul Clay

Rhassoul is a different type of clay to Bentonite, yet it still works the same to extract impurities from the skin. The only difference I find is that Rhassoul is a softer type of face mask than those based on Bentonite clay; Bentonite seems to dry and harden completely, whereas Rhassoul stays a little damp, so you can almost peel it of after awhile. To go really deep with your mask, steam your face lightly beforehand by placing your face a few inches away from a basin or bowl full of near-to-boiling water, and throw a towel over your head to intensify the steam. Once your pores are nice and open, slap on the mask – you’ll feel and look like you just took a quick trip to a spa!

Get it here.

12. Fairypants Lip Scrub

Winter is hell on lips. Wind, snow and central heating all equal flakes and a lack of fresh pinkness to your kisser. Scrubs like this gently buff away dry skin leaving your lips smooth and ready for lipstick. I mean, don’t even try to apply a dark lippy if you have a single flake on your lips, please!  I love the different flavours these come in, and the Parma Violet scent threw me right back to my childhood. As I mentioned before, our lips are really sensitive, so don’t be too abrasive when using a lip scrub. Just use soft circular motions before washing the scrub off and then nourishing with a lip balm.

Get the recipe here.

13. Neal’s Yard Remedies Pumice Stone

When we think of exfoliating, we tend to think of our faces and body, whilst forgetting one of the potentially flakiest parts of us all: the feet. I keep this totally pure, traditional pumice stone on the side by my bath and I use it on my heels once they’ve soaked for a while – that’s the perfect time to buff away dead skin. Afterwards, slather your feet with a rich cream and put put on some socks overnight. When you wake up, voila! Summer sandals, here you come.

Get it here.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Jenny @ Support Your Beauty
    Sep 17, 2017 at 2:37 am

    Thanks for sharing. I am also planning to buy Konjac Sponge Co Bamboo Charcoal Sponge, I hope it works for my acne-prone skin.

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