Beauty Debate: Do You Use a Body Scrub Before or After Body Wash?
Despite different preferences, there are certain steps in every shower routine that you can assume everyone does. Whether you’re someone who washes their hair every day or you like to push your limits (guilty as charged), everyone will likely wash their hair at one point or another. Most people also use a body wash or bar of soap to wash away the dirt and grime that’s on their skin. One shower step that’s always up for debate, though, is body scrub. More specifically, should you use a body scrub before or after your body wash? I’m someone who prefers to cleanse my body of impurities before I go in with a body scrub to exfoliate. But there are many who look at me sideways for doing so. To find out if there is a benefit to choosing one method before the other, I discussed the topic with Josie Holmes, an esthetician at SKINNEY Medspa, and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King.
The Benefits of Using a Body Scrub AFTER Body Wash
If you ask me why I prefer this method, it’s because I feel that by cleansing my skin of that first layer of dirt and impurities, I’m getting a deeper level of exfoliation. As it turns out, my rationale isn’t that far off either, according to the experts. “With this method you will be washing away any dirt, grime and sweat off the surface of your skin before deeply exfoliating away dead skin cells and impurities,” says Holmes. But that’s not the only benefit. Many body scrubs work to exfoliate your skin without stripping it of essential moisture, which is another reason why I like to use it after I cleanse. “If you start with a body wash and follow with the scrub, the advantage is that you will leave behind the moisturizing base of the scrub on your skin by not washing it off,” says Dr. King. One of my favorite body scrubs is the Urban Hydration Vanilla Body Scrub because its formula is infused with vanilla extract, coconut oil and moisturizing vitamin E, so not only does it slough away dead surface skin cells but it also deeply moisturizes and leaves my skin feeling super soft. Not to mention, the sweet vanilla scent is amazing.
The Benefits of Using a Body Scrub BEFORE Body Wash
On the other hand, there are benefits to using a body scrub before your body wash as well. For instance, Dr. King explains that if you’re someone with an oily skin type, the moisturizing finish left behind by most body scrubs may feel too heavy and greasy against your skin, which is why it might be better to wash it away with a body wash after the fact. She also says, “if you start with a scrub and follow with the wash, then you will be sure to remove any residue from the scrub, including fine particles.” Holmes also says that the benefits of using your body scrub before your body wash include having a freshly exfoliated surface to cleanse. “This also means after exfoliation, you can wash away all of those impurities and dead surface skin cells down the drain.”
So, What Method Should You Use?
Ultimately, it all comes down to preference. “There are really no major drawbacks to doing it one way versus the other,” says Holmes. Whatever you choose, just be sure to use both a body wash and a body scrub in your routine as they both have very different uses but are necessary for skin that is clean and smooth. If you’re new to this idea altogether and you need a recommendation, try the Kiehl’s Made for All Gentle Body Cleanser with the Kiehl’s Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub as they are both gentle formulas made with soothing ingredients, like aloe vera, so that they won’t irritate your skin. Pro tip: Dr. King says, “when starting a new form of exfoliation, I generally recommend starting twice per week and increasing the frequency as tolerated.”