Jun 05, 2023
13 Best Exfoliating Gloves in 2023 (Tested & Reviewed)
We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we love. Promise. They’re basically the hack to a super-soft body. Fact: Few things annoy me more than splotchy
We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we love. Promise.
They’re basically the hack to a super-soft body.
Fact: Few things annoy me more than splotchy self-tanner, ingrown hairs from shaving, or speckled ~strawberry legs~ that never seem to go away. This is why I'm the queen of trying new exfoliating products, whether it's a body scrub, chemical exfoliant, or a cleansing brush. And my new favorite go-to? Exfoliating gloves—i.e., the easiest, laziest tool for getting ridiculously smooth skin without the mess of products.
Exfoliating gloves are exactly what they sound like: gloves that mechanically exfoliate your skin with their abrasive texture, helping to buff away dead skin cells, break down bumps, and smooth uneven texture on your arms, legs, and butt, says board-certified dermatologist Karan Lal, MD. Just slip one over your hand in the shower and gently massage it over your wet skin. Easy, right? There's just one catch: Some exfoliating gloves can seriously irritate your skin barrier (especially if you're dealing with active acne breakouts, psoriasis, eczema, or keratosis pilaris). So to help you choose the best exfoliating gloves for your skin type, I tested and reviewed a few of my favorites below:
Now keep reading for the full breakdown of the best exfoliating gloves, according to my own testing and product reviewers, along with tips from dermatologists on how to choose the best gloves and what to look for before you buy.
Chances are that you’ve heard of the brand Face Halo, thanks to their super-popular and environmentally conscious reusable makeup remover pads. Well, they were so buzzy that the brand then launched these reusable body exfoliator mitts, which reduce waste by being machine-wash-friendly (up to 200 times!). The white side of the mitt has the same soft fiber material as their makeup remover pads, and the black side has a slightly nubbier texture to help you buff dry patches with a bit more intensity. And remember: Because it's reusable, you'll need to wash it after each use (ideally) or, at the very least, once a week.
THE REVIEW: “Great for a gentle exfoliation!” writes one tester. “Exactly what I was looking for—not too rough on sensitive skin.”
I’m all about testing top-rated Amazon beauty products, including this “Korean Italy'' exfoliating glove with more than 30,000 reviews. While traditional Korean Italy towels have been routinely used in Korean spas to deeply buff and polish the skin on your body (you may have seen them online in the form of a bright- green abrasive mitt), this one takes a similar fabric and makes it more durable in the form of a fitted glove. Just note that it’s on the rougher, harsher side, so limit it to once-weekly use, and skip it altogether if you’ve got inflammatory skin conditions, breakouts, or sensitive skin.
THE REVIEW: “These exfoliating gloves work really well!” one review reads. “If you have sensitive skin though, I do not recommend this product.” Another reviewer writes, “It removed so much dead skin all over my body.”
Every Thursday night, I whip out a self-tanner for my pale skin (my favorite is the new St. Tropez body serum, FYI), slather it on my body, and spend the weekend with a bronze-y glow. All good things, until Monday hits, and I’m left with tanner that’s patchy, faded, and uneven. Enter: This tan-removing glove that’s designed with a four-way mesh material to help even out or buff off your fake tan. I like to suds up the glove with a body wash in the shower, gently massage the patchy areas on my skin (see: elbows, knees, ankles, feet, and hands), then rinse off and layer on a gradual-tan moisturizer to help prolong my tan until Thursday.
THE REVIEW: “This is the best exfoliating mitt ever,” one tester writes. “Literally takes off your whole tan. Absolutely amazing, everyone who fake tans needs this!”
As a refresher, ingrown hairs are caused by hair getting trapped under your skin during growth, leading to an inflamed, irritated bump. The fix? A combo of chemical exfoliation (with an acid-based body wash or an acid-based body pad) and physical exfoliation, like an exfoliating glove. This set by Fur includes three mitts—made with cotton and nylon—that have a textured side for buffing the “tougher” areas of your body (see: legs, arms, and butt) and a softer side for exfoliating your sensitive zones (see: bikini area, armpits, and inner thighs). Just remember: Exfoliating gloves can worsen active ingrown hairs, so skip the inflamed areas and spot-treat the irritation with 1 percent hydrocortisone cream instead.
THE REVIEW: “These fiber mitts are great for exfoliating ‘downstairs!’” one review reads. “They have a soft side, and a more rough side, and keep you ingrown-free.”
If you’re a natural beauty stan, you need to try this 100 percent cotton-and-linen exfoliating glove from The Honest Company (ahem, Jessica Alba’s clean beauty brand). It's large enough to slip over any hand (yet has a fitted wrist so it won't slide off), and thanks to its soft fabric combo, it's gentle enough to use on most skin types once or twice a week—though, again, skip this one if you have inflammatory skin conditions, like psoriasis or cystic acne nodules.
THE REVIEW: “I love these organic, clean exfoliating gloves because they are gentle yet get the job done!” my friend says. “I feel good rubbing this on my skin knowing they’re made from only cotton and linen.”
If you've got keratosis pilaris, you already know that scrubbing the hell out of your skin only makes your bumps and inflammation worse. The best KP treatment will always be a gentle chemical exfoliant and a rich moisturizer, but if you still want a little manual exfoliation, try this 100 percent silk mitt that's surprisingly gentle, even on sensitive skin. It's the least-abrasive exfoliating mitt on this list, which is exactly what you want for minimizing potential irritation.
THE REVIEW: “Tried it out and I’m impressed with the results!” one reviewer notes. “My skin is so soft and glowing, it took off all of the dirt I had on my skin, and it’s so satisfying to use.”
Got yourself some sensitive skin? Sorry, but that’s your first sign not to exfoliate the hell out of it with an abrasive glove. Instead, try this cloth from Kitsch that mimics a washcloth for a (more) gentle approach to exfoliation. It’s extra wide so you can fold it or ball it up for a more customizable buffing, and there’s also an attached pocket so you can slip in a bar of your favorite fragrance-free soap.
THE REVIEW: “This product is incredible,” one review reads. “I originally bought it to travel with a bar of soap, and now it has replaced my loofahs at home—the ease of washing my back and how big it can be stretched out is so nice!”
Listen, using a physical exfoliator—like a scrub or cleansing brush—on your face is almost never a good idea since it can create micro-tears and damage your skin barrier. But if you’re dealing with flakes around your nose and chin, whether from dry skin or retinoid use, and you feel like you need some manual exfoliation, grab this silicone face scrubber and gently (gently!) massage away the flakes on wet skin with a creamy cleanser, making sure to avoid your eye area.
THE REVIEW: “It's enough of a texture that you feel like you are getting in all the little spots on your face, but it's not abrasive,” one tester notes. “Works with any kind of face wash; I tried with gel, liquid, and cream ones.”
Fact: Attempting to exfoliate your back by yourself is hard as hell, which is why I love this best-selling microfiber and linen cloth from Amazon. Not only is it super long, but it’s also equipped with two easy-to-grab handles that allow you to shimmy it up and down your back in the shower. On one side of the cloth is an abrasive, loofah-like material to help slough off dead skin, and on the other side is a gentle, microfiber fabric to massage around sensitive areas. Just FYI, if you’re dealing with back acne, use only the microfiber side, or skip your back altogether to prevent inflammation or bacterial spread.
THE REVIEW: “The skin on my back feels cleaner and softer after using Aquis,” one reviewer writes. “The product seems to be well made, and is definitely one of the best purchases I've had.”
If you choose to wax or shave your bikini line (or pubic hair in general), or you’re just someone with naturally curly hair, you already know how prone the area is to ingrown hairs—especially if you’re not properly exfoliating. So before your next wax or shave, grab a soft exfoliating mitt (like this one from Amazon), and gently buff and massage your skin to remove any follicle-blocking dead skin cells. Follow with a post-shave serum or moisturizer to soothe your skin, then put the exfoliating mitt down for a few days to avoid irritating your follicles.
THE REVIEW: “So happy I found this!” one tester writes.” I used to get ingrown hairs after every bikini wax, and by using this for only two weeks, they have drastically reduced.”
My trick for super-soft legs is to exfoliate first to remove any dead skin, dirt, and oil for a closer and smoother shave. But because shaving is technically another form of exfoliation (it can also remove skin cells), I purposely prep with gentle exfoliators—like these soft gloves—to minimize the risk of over-exfoliating. At the end of showering, when my skin is soft and pliable, I'll slip on the gloves and massage and buff my legs with a squeeze of body wash, then lather up with a moisturizing shaving cream. The end result? Ridiculously smooth and soft skin that actually looks healthier, too.
THE REVIEW: “These gloves made my skin so smooth!” one tester notes. “I do have sensitive skin but I don’t find these to be harsh.”
If you've never been to a hammam (a traditional bathhouse) in Morocco or Turkey, just know that the exfoliation process is next-level intense. Like, shed-five-years-of-your-skin intense. But short of hopping on a private jet, these Moroccan hammam gloves are the next best thing to getting baby-seal skin. Just make sure to go slowly and be gentle to avoid tearing up your skin. In the shower, wet the mitt, squeeze on your shower gel, then gently massage your skin in circular motions (avoiding any sensitive spots).
THE REVIEW: “I’ve always wanted to try one of these because I’ve heard great things about them,” one reviewer notes. “I’m more than delighted to say that I’m ashamed I waited so long to buy one. It’s absolutely, by far, hands down the best exfoliating experience to date.”
Yes, this looks more like a honeycomb than it does an exfoliating glove, but its unique design is also what makes it so gentle on your skin. Just slip the silicone sleeve over your fingers, then lightly buff it around your wet skin to help lift flakes and dead skin cells. The squishy silicone helps prevent you from applying too much pressure, while the vented design helps it dry quickly without mold. Just remember to sanitize it at least once a week with soap and water—or, even better, throw it on the top rack of your dishwasher for a quick clean.
THE REVIEW: “It's easy to control in order to get all the spots around the hairline and face, as well as neck, arms, and legs without scratching sensitive skin,” one tester writes. “Other added benefits? It dries quickly and doesn't smell, and it's easy to pack for travel.”
No, exfoliating gloves aren’t necessarily better than body scrubs. Both are types of mechanical (or physical) exfoliation, and both do the same thing: remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. While exfoliation gloves may give you a more even exfoliation—thanks to the uniformity of the material's texture—they can also be more abrasive than scrubs and difficult to keep clean, depending on the fabric and design.
Reminder: You absolutely should not be using an exfoliating glove if you have sensitive skin or inflammatory skin conditions (like psoriasis, eczema, or active cystic acne) since the abrasive material can trigger even more inflammation and flare-ups. Exfoliating gloves should also not be used on your face or on skin that’s covered in acne, folliculitis, or cuts, says dermatologist Karan Lal, MD, because they can easily spread bacteria and/or result in infection.
This being said, if you have relatively ~chill~ skin (i.e., you have none of the conditions above), you can try using an exfoliating glove on your body once a week. Yes, just once a week. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, over-exfoliating can still cause irritation, dryness, inflammation, and even rashes, says Dr. Lal. So if you're someone who has a bad habit of going overboard with skincare, store your mitt or glove in another room so you're not tempted to use it every time you're in the shower.
FYI: The dead skin cells, old oils, product residue, and gunk that you exfoliate from your skin can get trapped in fabric-based exfoliating gloves, which is why they must be cleaned so frequently. So if you know you're someone who can't be bothered to wash a reusable glove on the regular, skip them altogether and instead try one of the silicone exfoliating brushes or disposable exfoliating gloves on this list. Yes, they’ll still need to be washed with antibacterial soap and water, says Dr. Lal, but less frequently than reusable alternatives.
Siena Gagliano is an associate editor who writes beauty at Cosmopolitan and has three years of experience writing about beauty, fashion, and lifestyle news. She’s an expert at researching and writing skincare stories, like the best blackhead removal tools and the best clear sunscreens, and feels especially knowledgeable about exfoliating thanks to struggling with KP and dry skin. She regularly tests and analyzes exfoliating gloves on her skin for efficacy while working with the industry’s top dermatologists to assess new products and brands.
Siena Gagliano is the associate editor at Cosmopolitan, where she primarily covers beauty in the makeup, skin, and hair spaces, as well as some fashion and lifestyle. Wanna know how to get the best brows of your life? Gotchu. What about how to achieve ridiculously glowing skin, a super bouncy blowout, or exactly how to use that viral face mask? Check, check, and check. Before joining Cosmopolitan, Siena was a writer at Bustle and several other media outlets. As NYC's newest resident, she has vowed to find the best (extra) dirty martini this city has to offer—and yes, that means ~attempting~ to try every cute cocktail spot in the city (hit her up with some recs, pls). Follow Siena on Instagram where you'll see that her account is mostly dedicated to pics of her cute dog and that magazine life.
24 Days of Chocolate? Yes, Pls.
Pro Tip: Use Our Discount For a New Saatva Mattres
These Are the Cutest Gifts for Your Vegan Friends
Super Chic Advent Calendars for Adults Do Exist
These Non-Crunchy Hairsprays Have the Best Hold
Glitter Eyeshadow = ✨ Pure Sparkly Heaven ✨
BTW, Amazon's Labor Day Deals Are H-O-T
So, What Do Women in Their 30s Actually Want?
8 Recliners for Small Spaces That Have Big Energy
Summer Time Sandals in Fall? Yes, Pls!
Your Official Guide to the Best Hair Extensions
The Absolute Best Lululemon Dupes to Shop Nowthe easiest, laziest tool for getting ridiculously smooth skinbuff away dead skin cells, break down bumps, and smooth uneven texture on your arms, legs, and buttmy own testing and product reviewers the same soft fiber material as their makeup remover padsTHE REVIEW:routinely used in Korean spas to deeply buff and polish the skin on your bodyTHE REVIEW:four-way mesh material to help even out or buff off your fake tanTHE REVIEW: Exfoliating gloves can worsen active ingrown hairsTHE REVIEW: 100 percent cotton-and-linen exfoliating glove THE REVIEW: gentle chemical exfoliant and a rich moisturizerTHE REVIEW: mimics a washcloth for a (more) gentle approach to exfoliationTHE REVIEW: flakes around your nose and chin, whether from dry skin or retinoid useTHE REVIEW: allow you to shimmy it up and down your back in the showerTHE REVIEW: gently buff and massage your skin to remove any follicle-blocking dead skin cellsTHE REVIEW: remove any dead skin, dirt, and oil for a closer and smoother shaveTHE REVIEW: the exfoliation process is next-level intenseTHE REVIEW:buff it around your wet skin to help lift flakes and dead skin cellsTHE REVIEW:types of mechanical (or physical) exfoliation, and both do the same thingDecide what your skin can toleratethe abrasive material can trigger even more inflammation and flare-upstry using an exfoliating glove on your body once a weekgunk that you exfoliate from your skin can get trapped in fabric-based exfoliating glovesKaran LalSiena GaglianoSiena Gagliano is the associate editor at Cosmopolitan, where she primarily covers beauty