5 Scrubs for Smooth Skin (Without the Environmental Controversy)

by Stephanie Saltzman

David Cook and Roger CabelloDavid Cook and Roger Cabello

Lawmakers have proposed new legislation in New York banning the tiny plastic exfoliating beads used in many scrubs. The reason for the proposed ban? Scientists have found that the beads can slip through water treatment plants, become coated with toxins, collect at the bottom of lakes, harm marine life, and even work their way back up the food chain to humans. Yikes. Soft skin is important and all, but the environmental implications sound downright scary. Thankfully, there are plenty of scrubs on the market that don't contain the questionable plastic granules. Here, five of our favorite products that deliver soft, smooth skin--minus the environmental hazard.

Laura Mecier Body & Bath Ambre Vanillé Scrub
Exfoliant: Crushed vanilla seeds

The thick, velvety cream has a sugary-sweet vanilla scent that's so good it almost makes me want to scoop it out and eat it for dessert (don't worry, I won't). It's gritty enough that it feels satisfyingly scratchy, but it's also moisturizing enough that your skin isn't left feeling raw.

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Origins Incredible Spreadable Smoothing Salt Body Scrub
Exfoliants: Sugar and salt

It won our 2013 Best of Beauty award for best body scrub, so you know we're obsessed. In fact, we have trouble deciding what we love most: the invigorating orange-spearmint scent, the shower-friendly squeezable tube, the graininess of the formula against our skin, or the crazy-soft results. In short, it's all-around great.

Red Flower Isla das Rocas Revitalizing Sea Salt Body Scrub in Italian Blood Orange
Exfoliant: Sea salt
This body scrub doesn't feel the least bit coddling--it's best saved for very dry, rough spots like elbows, knees, and heels. But if you don't have sensitive skin, it works (we'll be reaching for it as we start transitioning to spring). Because it's also loaded with moisturizers, the natural formula leaves skin feeling quenched, not stripped. Another bonus: the fancy blood orange scent (which to us reads more as orange popsicle--in a good way).

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Tata Harper 100% Nautral Regenerating Cleanser
Exfoliants: Willow bark and apircot seed
Sensitive types, take note: This is the type of facial scrub you should be using. The natural, lotion-like formula is supergentle, but the tiny bits of apricot seed provide just enough buffing action to help soften skin and de-gunk pores. It's also spiked with sunflower seed oil and aloe vera to moisturize and calm skin.

Arcona Cranberry Gommage Exfoliate
Exfoliants: Volcanic minerals, sucrose, and salicylic acid
Another natural option, this thick, densely grainy facial scrub sloughs away dead skin cells and rough patches with ease for an all around smoother, glow-ier complexion. Plus, it uses both physical exfoliants (the volcanic minerals and sucrose) and acid (salicylic) to provide a double-whammy of exfoliation.

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