Face scrub vs face wash: The ultimate guide

As the summer approaches, we're gearing up to beat the heat and keep our skin feeling fresh. After all, no one likes the feeling of sweat and grime sticking to their face! It causes conditions like black and whiteheads, acne and rashes. Now the question arises- how do you deal with it? Should you use a face wash or a face scrub? Can you use both? What would fit your skin type?

Well, it's a lucky day for you because this article covers just that! If you're at the devil's crossroads of face scrub vs face wash, this article is your guide!

What is a face wash?

Traditionally, when we think of cleaning our face, we imagine grabbing a bar of soap or gel and going to town! But did you know there are different types of cleaners with different cleaning methods? It turns out that you can clean your face in more than one way with more than one product!

Most people have experienced using a face wash at least a few times. But what exactly is it? A face wash is a type of cleanser that uses a variety of surfactants to remove excess sebum, dirt, and makeup from the top layer of your dermis. Depending on how they are formulated, they come in various textures, such as foamy, gel, creamy, etc..

They're great for daily cleanses and controlling daily oil build on your dermis. Most people use a face wash around two to three times daily, depending on the skin's needs. They can also help remove makeup from larger surface areas of your face. Some cleansers are also formulated to treat skin conditions like acne, dermatitis, heat rashes, etc.

Also read: What is a Face wash? Complete Guide to Uses, Benefits and Types of Face Wash

What is a face scrub?

Do you ever grab your mother's face scrub as a kid only to be told that your skin is too young and fragile to use? If you did, then your mother was right! While a face scrub also cleans your face, its main purpose is exfoliation.

What's that, you ask? It's the physical or chemical process of removing dead skin from your dermis layer. This allows new skin to peek through and prevents bacteria from feeding on the dead skin, which is one of the most common causes of acne. A face scrub uses mechanical force to expel this dead skin. Its texture is generally creamy, with grainy beads in it that help break the buildup in your sebaceous glands and epidermis.

The purpose of a face scrub, then, is to remove the accumulation of dirt, sebum and dead skin and smoothen the texture of your skin. This is also a more robust formula that can remove makeup better than face wash. The beads can help increase the surface area of access and break down substances even in crevices that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Face scrub vs face wash: Main differences

Now that we know what a face wash and face scrub is, let's get into the difference between face scrub and face wash.

A face wash is used to clean your epidermis from superficial accumulations daily. On the other hand, a face scrub aims to exfoliate the epidermis, which is a more intensive process.

A face wash can be used across all ages, with formulations for diverse skin types and conditions. A face scrub, however, should be used only a few times a week, depending on your skin type and tolerance. Overdoing it can cause premature ageing and damage your epidermis.

Did you know a face wash can also have healing purposes? Often, face washes are formulated to treat specific skin conditions like acne. A great example is Pink Foundry's Clearing & Calming Acne Face Wash, which is soap-free and suitable for all skin types!

A scrub, on the other hand, acts as a preventative measure but can also aggravate these conditions if used in excess.

When to use face scrub vs face wash

With the face scrub and face wash difference out of the way, let's get into when you should use either of these products! Most people use face washes on the daily and face scrubs around two or three times a week. This is because scrubs can be quite abrasive when used daily!

However, they really shine in hot and humid climates to help you deal with sweat and grime buildups! However, they can be used all year round to improve skin texture and prevent dead skin accumulation!

People generally use face washes in the morning and night as the first step of their skincare routine. On exfoliation days, you can follow up your wash with a scrub!

How to use face scrub vs face wash

Here's how to use both products to get the best of both worlds! Always wet your face before using a face wash or scrub. This is to activate the formula and help it glide better on the skin!

Use circular motions to work the face wash into your skin, getting into all the nooks and crannies of your face! Was it off once you've covered all surfaces?

For a face scrub, make sure you have wet and washed skin! Use similar concentric motions, but this time, focus mostly on areas that have more texture or oil. As a rule of thumb, steer clear of your eyes! This is because the skin there tends to be thinner than the rest. As usual, wash it off with water.

Wrapping Up

A lot of skincare products tend to appear similar but have vastly different applications. It always helps to look into the details before incorporating them into your routine. Now that you know the difference between a wash and a scrub, skin care is your oyster and your radiant face the pearl!

Also read: Face Wash vs Cleanser – What is the difference between Cleanser and Face Wash


1. Who can use a face scrub?

Generally, mature skin deals well with scrubs.

2. Can teenagers use face wash?

Yes! Using a face wash daily is a part of personal hygiene and can help with acne.

3. Can I use both face wash and face scrub?

Yes! These products perform different functions so that you can benefit from both.

4. Can I use a face scrub daily?

No. It's advisable not to use scrubs more than 3 times a week.

5. Can you exfoliate during the day?

It's advisable not to go out in the sun after exfoliating your skin.

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