There are few things that emanate the feeling of luxury more than a full bath routine. You know what we mean – when a shower is more than just a quick rinse-off or body wash. We’re talking candles, music, bubble bath, and, of course, a whole cocktail of self-care products!
A couple of options you’ve probably pondered upon adding into your shower or bath routine are a body polish and/or a body scrub. Though you may have heard of the names of these products being used synonymously, they’re actually two entirely different items- and are meant to be used for different things!
So, body polish vs. body scrub – what’s the difference? The main difference between a body polish and a body scrub is that the former is meant for nourishment, and has a more hydrating formulation, whereas the latter offers a deep, penetrating cleanse and a more exfoliating formula.
We’ll go deeper into the differences, as well as break down which product is better for you, right here! Let’s dive in.
When it comes to choosing which product will accompany you to your nightly shower/bath time routine, it’s important to talk about where these two self-care items differ. We felt that the most important attributes to touch base on are:
- Who’s It Good For?
We’ll talk about where body polish differs from body scrub for each one, so that you can make the best fit for your personal lifestyle, skin type, and more!
Though both items are fairly similar in terms of what goes inside of them, what makes them two drastically different products lies in the ingredient ratio.
A body scrub is exactly what its name is – a scrub. In the same way a household scrubbing tool cuts through dirt and grime with a rough surface, a body scrub cuts through oil and sweat with an exfoliating additive.
Since microplastics are 100% out when it comes to good-for-you skin care, the most common exfoliants that you’ll find listed in your body scrub ingredients are sugar and salt. They’re biodegradable and all-natural, making them a great choice for your body and the planet!
The exfoliant will make up a majority of the product, followed by a base oil that the sugar or salt will stay suspended in. This oil can vary, and may not even be an oil at all (i.e. shea butter).
A lot of scrubs will also amp up the luxury treatment by adding skincare ingredients that you’re probably used to using on your face. AHAs and BHAs are popular additives, especially if the scrub is catered to those with hyperpigmentation and the like, as well as mandelic or lactic acids.
The most important part to note is that body scrubs have a higher exfoliant to oil ratio than body polishes.
Taking a look at the ingredient list for a body polish may come off kind of confusing at first since they’re made up of almost the exact same items as a body scrub, but when you look at the proportions of each one, you can tell just what makes the body polish, well, a polish!
Body polishes do indeed have an exfoliant, and yes, they’re typically made up of sugar or salt, but the amount of exfoliant is nothing compared to the content in a body scrub. Instead, a vast majority of the polish content goes to the base oil or wax. Most polishes will use a deeply nourishing base.
But it doesn’t stop there – a large portion of the polish will be moisturizing agents! Nourishing oils, butters, and waxes add to that luxurious feel- and really keep your skin feeling healthy and silky soft during the washing process.
Simply put, body polishes have a higher oil to exfoliant ratio, making them less “scrubby” and more silky or creamy.
Odds are you can go to your local grocery store and pick up both a body polish and a body scrub right now, but which one will be more readily available is the question.
The classic body scrub has been around for forever and a day, and it’s so easy to whip up that it’s also one of the most popular DIY beauty products. There are recipes for body scrubs in just about every magazine out there, so it’s no wonder why they’re one of the most popular self care items on the market.
You can find a ton of different body scrub options in store, arguably the most popular one being the Tree Hut Sugar Scrubs (that go TikTok viral all the time for a reason). There are high end options, clarifying options, scrubs catered to those with KP (keratosis pilaris), and more. There are even body scrubs that double as body washes!
That being said, body scrubs are definitely more readily available than polishes, so it’s no wonder why most people are more familiar with them.
Body polishes, on the other hand, have only gone into the market in recent years. The most notable product at the ready being the Dove Body Polish. Though the chances of you finding that particular item in stores is high, you probably won’t be left with many other options to choose from.
Because these formulas in particular take a little bit longer to recreate, and a little more time and knowledge to formulate in the first place, you likely won’t come across them as often as you would a body scrub.
However, if you decide to treat yourself to a spa or salon experience one day, you’ll likely find that a body polish is on the menu! They’re quite popular in luxury treatments like this, and usually are acommpanied by a seaweed wrap, steaming treatment, etc.
Though similar, these two beauty items do two completely different things.
If cleansing is what you’re trying to achieve, a body scrub is definitely the way to go. Due to the high amounts of sugar, salt, or other exfoliants in the mixture, the formula can easily cut through sweat and dirt easier than a traditional body wash, and especially a body polish.
Scrubs are fantastic for deep exfoliation, and are beloved for their ability to circulate blood due to the rougher texture. They’re great for that healthy, dewy glow post-rinse, and can treat a lot of existing skin issues as they improve the health of the skin overall.
Body polishes are a good choice for lighter exfoliation- mainly in part to the fact that they don’t have as many exfoliating agents in their ingredient list. However, if moisture is your game, a body polish should be a beauty product you don’t think twice about!
Polishes will inject your skin with moisture, and due to the light exfoliating agents, can more effectively penetrate the surface and nourish your skin from the inside-out. That means you’ll be rewarded with moisture that lasts, not moisture that goes down the drain while you rinse off.
These are awesome if you’re yearning for intense nourishment and hydration, whereas a body scrub may leave you feeling a little dry, albeit smooth, post shower-routine.
Who’s It Good For?
With all of those previous points in mind, let’s delve into who each product is better for (at least, in our personal opinions). We’ll talk about what conditions, skin types, and other qualities will make you better suited for a polish or a scrub!
Do you workout on the regular? Or maybe you’re prone to body acne or clogged pores/follicles due to an excess of sweat, etc. If that’s the case, a body scrub can be an incredible thing to reach for in the shower!
Scrubs will improve blood circulation to the skin, speeding up the skin cell renewal process and allowing existing conditions to heal faster. Because they cut through dead skin too, scrubs are also a fantastic pick if you have thicker skin (around the heels, hands, etc.).
Perfect for a deep clean, body scrubs can be a welcome addition to anyone’s self-care day, but they shouldn’t be used more than once a week since they can be a bit drying.
For those who live in drier climates, have eczema, psoriasis, or are simply in need of an extra boost of nourishment and moisture in their lives, a body polish is definitely the way to go!
The formulation is fantastic for dry skin types as the exfoliating properties will lightly buff the skin, while the nourishing properties help rebuild the moisture barrier and ensure that hydration is retained rather than lost. If your intention is finding healing products, a body polish will surely make the cut.
Due to the radiance that they give, they’re also a fantastic choice for aging skin. The overuse of physical exfoliants can actually exaggerate the look of wrinkles and lines, whereas moisture will plump the skin and make you look younger!
That was a lot of information to take in all at once, so let’s break it down even further:
|Ingredients||Availability||Purpose||Who’s It Good For?|
|Body Scrub||Exfoliant, base oil, and actives||Lots of options at the store/online|
|Exfoliate and cleanse skin||Oily or acne-prone skin, thick skin|
|Body Polish||Base oil, moisturizers, light exfoliant||Only a couple of options in store/online|
Can find in spas and salons
|Nourish and hydrate skin, not cleansing||Dry skin, mature skin, those with skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis, etc)|
Whichever product you end up choosing, there’s no doubt that your skin will be super thankful you took the time to do your research so you know how to treat it best.