Coffee scrubs are body washes that nourish, energize, and exfoliates your skin. You can use a coffee scrub like any other exfoliant; the coffee grounds provide a mechanical means of removing the layer of dead skin that accumulates if you do not exfoliate.
The biologically active compounds in coffee might help energize and protect your skin to a better extent than a regular exfoliant, thanks to the favorable biochemical reactions inside your body to some of the compounds contained in coffee.
A coffee scrub is a great way to exfoliate your skin while also increasing blood flow, energizing your skin, and even delivering antioxidants to the surface of your skin.
Coffee scrubs can leave your skin feeling younger and smoother, and offers some distinct benefits compared to other ways to exfoliate your skin.
Need an extra caffeine boost with your daily skin care routine? Here’s a run-down on the benefits and side effects of coffee scrubs.
1. Organic Feelings The Coffee Scrub
If you want to leverage all of the benefits of a coffee scrub, The Coffee Scrub from Organic Feelings is a great choice thanks to its focus on pure ingredients and the primary benefits of coffee.
Ground, organically certified arabica coffee beans are the number one ingredient; this coffee scrub does not rely on salt, sugar, or any other mechanical exfoliant.
In addition to ground coffee, The Coffee Scrub boasts several antioxidant-rich moisturizing oils like almond oil, macadamia nut oil, and olive oil. With its coffee-centered composition and excellent moisturizing oils, it’s our number one pick.
2. First Botany Cosmeceuticals Arabica Coffee Scrub
First Botany Cosmeceuticals Arabica Coffee Scrub uses a combination of dead sea salt and coffee grounds for mechanical exfoliation of dead skin, plus the moisturizers olive oil, almond oil, grape seed oil, and shea butter oil to soothe and protect skin after it’s been exfoliated.
The lipids in the moisturizing oils may help the caffeine in the coffee grounds get absorbed more efficiently into your skin, and several of these oils are potent antioxidants in their own right. For all of these reasons, First Botany scores well.
3. Premium Nature Arabica Coffee Scrub
Like many top-rated coffee scrubs, Premium Nature Arabica Coffee Scrub comines mechanical exfoliation from dead sea salt with organic kona coffee for optimal exfoliating power.
Alongside these mechanical exfoliants, you’ll get sweet almond oil, arabica seed oil, and shea butter.
Several of the ingredients are certified organic, which is great if purity is important to you. On top of that, all of the ingredients are all-natural, making this a strong overall pick.
4. Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals Coffee Scrub
Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals Coffee Scrub puts its own spin on the traditional combination of dead sea salt and coffee grounds by adding cacao extract, which comes from the same plant that produces chocolate.
This ingredient adds a small boost of additional antioxidant power, though in large part this coffee scrub is quite similar to several of its close competitors.
5. Luvbod Coffee Scrub
Luvbod Coffee Scrub is a super simple coffee scrub with just five ingredients: coffee, sugar, coconut oil, vitamin E, and frankincense oil. It’s another great option for a coffee-centric coffee scrub.
The only downside is that you lose some of the moisturizing benefits you’ll see in other coffee scrubs that use several high-quality oils.
While coconut oil is nothing to snub your nose at, other coffee scrubs offer the added benefits of ingredients like olive oil, sweet almond oil, or macadamia nut oil.
6. Herbavana Exfoliating Body Scrub
Herbavana Exfoliating Body Scrub has a unique take on coffee scrubs thanks to the addition of hemp oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil as prominent ingredients.
It too uses dead sea salt and coffee grounds for exfoliation, but the unique oils included in this coffee scrub make for a more potent moisturizing blend.
7. Buena Skin Cosmeceuticals Arabica Coffee Scrub
Buena Skin Cosmeceuticals Arabica Coffee Scrub is a pretty solid coffee scrub that uses a combination of dead sea salts and kona coffee grounds for exfoliating action, plus sweet almond oil and other quality moisturizing oils to protect the newly exfoliated skin.
While Buena Skin Cosmeceuticals Arabica Coffee Scrub doesn’t stand out much from the crowd, it’s still a decent choice.
8. Baebody Arabica Coffee Scrub
Baebody Arabica Coffee Scrub has many of the typical ingredients you’ll see in competing coffee scrubs, like dead sea mineral particles and arabica coffee, but just from a visual inspection you can tell that the coffee content is much lower.
While other coffee scrubs are a deep, almost-black hue Baebody Arabica Coffee Scrub takes on a tone closer to brown sugar, with the occasional coffee ground speckle here and there.
The lower coffee content means you’re less likely to get much in the way of benefits beyond mere exfoliation.
9. Calily Life Arabica Coffee Scrub
Calily Life Arabica Coffee Scrub has a pleasant scent thanks to the inclusion of several natural fragrances, but it relies on mineral salts to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to exfoliation.
Unfortunately, coffee does not appear until pretty far down in the ingredients list, and most of the lubrication comes from paraffin and mineral oil, not high-quality antioxidant-rich plant and seed oils.
10. Slender Body Original Coffee Scrub
Slender Body is a fairly popular coffee scrub, it it appears to derive most of its exfoliation power from sugar, not coffee grounds.
Coffee is listed pretty far down in the ingredients list, so it’s not likely to contribute much to the power of this exfoliant.
Unlike some of its other competitors, most of the moisturizing agents are nothing to write home about either, leaving it hard to rank Slender Body Coffee Scrub any higher in the rankings.
Who Should Buy Coffee Scrubs?
Coffee scrubs are safe for most individuals looking to improve their skin. Due to its antioxidant content, coffee scrubs can help calm inflamed skin and reduce dark circles under the eyes. The caffeine content will also help improve blood flow and tighten loose skin.
Pregnant women and children should avoid coffee scrubs due to the high caffeine content.
How We Ranked
The first thing we looked at, when formulating our rankings, was the quality quality of the ingredients. Calily Life Arabica Coffee Scrub ranked near the bottom of our list because while it did include only all-natural ingredients, the actual coffee scrubs were limited. Furthermore, this product uses paraffin as a lubricant over ore antioxidant-rich plant oils like coconut. Baebody Arabica Coffee Scrub also ranked quite low for an included limited amount of actual coffee scrubs in their product.
Next, we looked for products that included prominent moisturizing ingredients, to offset the exfoliating properties of coffee scrubs. Luvbod made the top 5 for providing a simple coffee-centric coffee scrub. However, it failed to include prominent moisturizing ingredients that you’d want in an exfoliating product. Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals Coffee Scrub ranked slightly higher for its addition of moisturizing olive oil and antioxidant-rich cacao. First Botany Cosmeceuticals Arabica Coffee Scrub took second for its addition of dead sea salt to maximize exfoliation. Furthermore, it included moisturizing oils like olive and almond to soothe skin.
Lastly, we looked for products with an organic formulation. Organic Feelings Coffee Scrub is our number 1 pick for providing a 100% organic coffee scrub that only includes one exfoliant: organically certified Arabica coffee beans. It also includes antioxidant-rich moisturizing oils like macadamia nut designed to soothe your skin after exfoliating. Furthermore, the addition of these fatty oils helps the antioxidants to absorb better, further improving the effectiveness.
Exfoliating skin with a coffee scrub can help improve the efficacy of other skin treatments, like moisturizing. At first glance, the only purpose of including a moisturizer along with an exfoliant like coffee grounds seems to be to nourish the newly revealed skin layers.
However, there’s more to it than that—cosmetics research suggests that exfoliating skin can actually improve the performance of a moisturizer, compared to just applying the same moisturizer to skin without exfoliation.
A team of cosmetics researchers in China published a scientific report that detailed how exfoliation helps other cosmetic agents penetrate skin to a greater degree (1).
According to the authors, the thick cells in dead skin prevent cosmetic agents from penetrating through to deeper layers of skin below, and as a result, a cosmetic agent like a moisturizer can’t fully hydrate additional layers of skin.
Exfoliation alleviates this problem by removing the dead skin, allowing for better penetration by other skin treatments.
When exfoliation and moisturization are paired together in a coffee scrub, these two actions can happen in tandem.
The caffeine in coffee scrubs can be absorbed directly through your skin. People mostly think of caffeine as something you consume orally—either in the form of coffee and tea, or through caffeine pills.
However, caffeine has the capability of being absorbed directly through your skin. Research published in 2004 in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology suggests that caffeine can be absorbed through skin equally well, or perhaps even better than, common transdermal medications like testosterone (2).
These findings suggest that some of the tissue-level benefits of caffeine, like increased fat metabolism and thermogenesis, could possibly be generated locally in areas where you use a coffee scrub.
While some of the more grandiose claims made by coffee scrub manufacturer, like its ability to melt away cellulite, might not be substantiated, there is at least some biochemical plausibility that could support the idea that your skin cells may have altered metabolism thanks to the caffeine content of a coffee scrub.
A coffee scrub can increase blood flow to your skin. Caffeine has potent effects on many cells in your body, including those that make up your blood vessels.
Research published in the International Journal of Vascular Medicine by a team of researchers in Colombia detailed exactly how caffeine affects blood vessels (3).
Caffeine interacts with endothelial cells, which form the lining of blood vessels, to increase production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, in turn, creates vasodilation, or a relaxing of the blood vessels. This allows more blood to flow into the area.
Combined with the fact that caffeine is strongly absorbed through the skin, it’s easy to see how a coffee scrub can help nourish skin: caffeine is absorbed through the skin, which stimulates the production of nitric oxide, leading to greater blood flow and more nutrients delivered to the skin.
This mechanism also helps explain why your skin is red after even a gentle coffee scrub exfoliation: in addition to the mild irritation caused by the mechanical exfoliation, the increased blood flow could be causing a flushing-like reaction.
While this means you might not want to use a coffee scrub right before going out, the net effect is a good one.
While the ingredients in a high-quality coffee scrub are fairly well-tolerated and unlikely to create any allergic reactions, mechanical exfoliation does have a tendency to create skin redness and irritation.
Keep in mind that some degree of redness is to be expected due to the vasodilating effects of the caffeine in a coffee scrub.
Even so, you’ll want to start using a coffee scrub gently, and only exfoliate a few times a week for starters. If your coffee scrub is not replete with moisturizing oils already, make sure you moisturize your skin well after using a coffee scrub.
The other potential side effects of coffee scrubs are mostly practical: it’s easy to get coffee granules into your hair if you aren’t careful, and it’s also very easy to stain towels and clothes with coffee scrubs—once mixed with water, they’ll stain fabric just as bad, if not worse, than spilling a cup of coffee.
What is the main ingredient in a coffee scrub? A coffee scrub is an exfoliator that uses ground up coffee beans as one of its primary ingredients. Coffee scrubs act first as a mechanical exfoliant, meaning they use the scrubbing action of the coffee beans to lift away layers of dead skin, revealing healthy skin underneath.
This helps give your skin a more vibrant and youthful look than before. Mechanical exfoliants can avoid some of the burning sensations or reactions you can get with chemical exfoliants, like salicylic acid, which you might find in a body wash.
In addition to the exfoliating benefits of the coffee grounds, the caffeine and antioxidant content of coffee can have added benefits for your skin. Moreover, many of the best coffee scrubs feature moisturizers that help soothe and protect the newly revealed skin after exfoliation.
Do coffee scrubs work for improving skin health? Yes, there is incredible evidence showing that coffee scrubs work to improve the overall health and appearance of the skin. When applied topically, coffee scrubs can help to remove dead skin cells and give your skin a more youthful appearance. It can also be used to extract impurities from your skin, leaving a smoother and brighter skin surface. The best way to guarantee long-term results is to add a coffee scrub into your daily routine and keep up with your daily hygiene practices.
Do coffee scrubs help with cellulite? No, coffee scrubs don’t help with cellulite. While you might notice some short-term effects on your cellulite, the results are purely temporary.
What are coffee scrubs mainly used for? The main reason people use coffee scrubs is to remove dead skin cells and improve the health of their skin. Coffee scrubs can also help brighten the skin, make it smoother, and exfoliate it. A study conducted in 2016 analyzed the effects that ground coffee extract had on mice when exposed to UVB rays. The study showed that the ground extract, similar to coffee scrubs, was able to protect the mice from the adverse effects of the sun, such as sunburn and photoaging (4).
Another study released in 2000 compiled a list of spa skincare products and what they were used for. Coffee scrubs (as well as other types of scrubs) release dead skin cells and can smooth out skin impurities (5).
Does coffee scrub help with stretch marks? It’s entirely possible to help minimize the appearance of your stretch marks by adding a coffee scrub into your daily routine. Coffee scrubs work to remove impurities and develop a more youthful appearance, which can cause loose skin (like in the case of stretch marks) to tighten up. There also appears to be some evidence that the caffeine found in the coffee scrubs may play a role in skin tightening. It’s believed that caffeine directly targets the collagen in the skin and helps to lighten the color of the skin. This can be monumental for helping to fade your stretch marks.
Is coffee good for your skin? Coffee can be useful for your skin since its very high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help to reduce inflammation of the skin and help to achieve a more youthful appearance.
By applying coffee topically through products like coffee scrubs, you’re effectively slathering your body with antioxidants to lower inflammation. As a result, coffee scrubs can help address dark circles under your eyes, reduce typical age-related effects like wrinkling, and even lighten your skin. Since coffee scrubs are used for exfoliation, you should use them in moderation to prevent drying out your skin.
Can I use coffee scrubs every day? While you can use coffee scrubs every day, you should be monitoring the effects that it’s having on your skin. If you have more sensitive skin, your skin may begin to dry out or become red if you use the coffee scrub too often. In that case, you could start using the coffee scrub every other day or every few days to get the benefits and avoid the adverse effects. Coffee scrubs should not be used more than once per day.
How do you make coffee scrubs? Coffee scrubs are relatively easy to make at home. To make coffee scrub, you’ll need ground coffee beans, brown sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. After combining all of these ingredients, you can begin applying it on your skin.
Do coffee scrubs help remove dark circles? Yes, coffee scrubs can help remove dark circles. When caffeine interacts with the skin, it can help to tighten the skin, reduce inflammation, and smooth it out. Coffee scrubs contain a high amount of caffeine and can help treat dark circles under your eyes. To treat dark circles, put the coffee scrubs beneath your eyes, let it sit for several minutes, and then wash it away with warm water. Remember to exhibit extreme caution when using products around your eyes and avoid direct contact with your eyes.
Does coffee scrub darken skin? Coffee scrubs may darken the skin temporarily since it can act like a dye. It’s impossible to use coffee scrubs to change any aspect of your skin permanently. In the case of dark circles and stretch marks, coffee scrub may lighten your skin for a longer period of time.
Where can you buy coffee scrubs? Since coffee scrubs have become extremely popular in recent years as a result of a focus on skincare and health, coffee scrubs are widely available both in-stores and online.
Because of its use as a skincare product, you’re more likely to find this type of product at makeup and beauty stores. To have the widest assortment of products to choose from, your best option would be to use websites like Amazon or Walmart.
Can you use coffee scrubs as a skin exfoliator? Coffee scrubs are viewed as some of the most beneficial skin exfoliators on the market. When a coffee scrub is applied to the skin, the product begins removing dead skin cells and clearing the skin of dirt and debris. When the coffee scrub is rinsed-off after several minutes of skin contact, you’ll notice that your skin is clearer, has less dead skin cells, and looks smoother overall. You should limit your use of coffee scrubs to once a day because consistent exfoliation can lead to inflamed and dry skin.
Can coffee scrub keep you awake? Whether or not coffee scrubs can keep you awake depends on the sensitivity of your skin. For the most part, coffee scrubs contain caffeine, which can also be absorbed by the skin. Caffeine can improve energy levels and keep you awake when consumed in excess, but it’s unclear how strong these effects would be when applied topically. In larger amounts, you might notice that you’re unable to sleep, have higher energy levels, or even have a faster heart rate.
Does scrubbing your body with coffee scrub help with sunburnt skin? There are two opposing views when it comes to the effects of coffee scrubs and sunburnt skin. The first belief is that nothing other than aloe vera or other soothing gels should be used on sunburn. When the skin is sunburned, it’s extremely sensitive. Adding a harsh coffee scrub that’ll exfoliate your skin might cause extreme pain and more inflammation.
Others, however, believe that coffee scrub is the perfect solution when your skin is sunburned. As a potent exfoliator, coffee scrubs can help to remove dead skin quicker and return your skin to normal faster.
How do you apply coffee scrubs to the skin? The general process of using scrubs is simple. Apply the scrub directly to your skin and massage the product into your skin. Depending on what your goals are, you can either allow the coffee scrub to sit on the surface of your skin for several minutes, or you can immediately wash it off after you’re done massaging it in. You should make every effort to avoid rubbing your skin dry, as this can irritate your skin further.
How long do coffee scrubs last? Generally speaking, you can expect your homemade coffee scrub to last for a few months. If you purchased the product, it might contain some type of preservative to help extend its shelf life. You can significantly extend the lifespan of your coffee scrub by storing it properly. This means storing the coffee scrubs in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Where are you supposed to store coffee scrubs? A dark place is ideal since exposing the scrubs to heat, sunlight, or humidity may potentially affect the quality of the scrub. Storing them inside a pantry, cabinet, or underneath your bathroom sink is ideal.
Do coffee scrubs improve skin treatments? The outer layer of your skin is often comprised of thick dead cells that block cosmetic treatments from properly penetrating the skin below and affecting change. Exfoliating agents, like coffee scrubs, help to remove this dead layer allowing for deep penetrating cosmetic treatments, which improves their efficacy.
Does the caffeine found in coffee scrubs get absorbed in your skin? Yes, 2004 research showed that caffeine could get absorbed topically just as well as transdermal pharmaceutical medications (6). Based on this research, the caffeine from coffee scrubs is certainly absorbed by your skin, resulting in an increase in fat metabolism in specific areas. While effective fat loss creams don’t currently exist, one could make the argument that a caffeine-based cream could be very effective.
Do coffee scrubs increase blood flow? Yes, coffee scrubs can increase blood flow due to the caffeine that’s absorbed topically. Coffee scrubs increase blood flow by increasing the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes the blood vessels, allowing for more blood to flow into the specific area. This is one of the reasons why using coffee scrubs as an exfoliator leads to slightly red skin for a little bit.
Do coffee scrubs dry out the skin? Yes, coffee scrubs can dry out the skin if used too frequently. However, high-quality products like the ones found on our list, tend to include moisturizers to combat this.
Do coffee scrubs cause caffeine like side effects? Coffee scrubs may cause side effects similar to a caffeine overdose. Excess caffeine consumption can cause jitteriness, anxiety and rapid heart beat, which can be dangerous for certain individuals. It may also increase blood pressure to a level that unsafe for certain people. In general, caffeine absorbed topically should not cause such drastic effects, but it’s something to be aware of if you are using coffee scrubs and consuming other caffeinated beverages like coffee or energy drinks.
Coffee scrubs are a great way to combine the benefits of mechanical exfoliation with some of the favorable effects of caffeine and antioxidants in coffee grounds.
Most high-quality coffee scrubs also contain top-notch moisturizing oils, and the combined action of exfoliation and moisturization is much more effective than merely moisturizing alone.
Coffee scrubs can energize and help deliver more nutrients to your skin, thanks to the vasodilating effects of caffeine, which is easily absorbed through your skin.
While you can irritate your skin if you use a coffee scrub too vigorously or too often, when used correctly, they are a great way to make your skin younger, smoother, more vibrant, and healthier.
For Body Nutrition’s #1 coffee scrub recommendation, click here.