Dry body brushing has become increasingly popular because of its elegant simplicity. It is a low-cost, pollutant-free means to achieve healthier skin and a healthier body that can be practiced at home or in the luxury of a spa.
So what is dry body brushing?
Dry body brushing is the practice of regularly massaging the skin with a soft brush in order to condition the skin and stimulate the lymphatic system. It can be used to exfoliate, tighten skin, reduce pore size and cellulite; as well as to help your body eliminate toxins, thus increasing energy and overall health.
The obvious benefits to your skin are really no different than what you probably already do with your face. By massaging and stroking the skin, you remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. This reduces the appearance of marks and also helps with ingrown hairs from sharp razors. Brushing the skin also improves blood circulation to the stimulated site, encouraging faster healing and cell regeneration everywhere that it is engaged. This flow makes skin brighter, healthier, and also firmer. Body brushing can also greatly reduce stretch marks, both before and after they occur. By helping the skin to regenerate more quickly, you are less likely to have unsightly lines from weight gain and pregnancy.
The second major benefit to dry body brushing is in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is responsible for fighting infection in your body and removing toxins. When you have a cold and your tonsils swell up, that is your lymphatic system in action! This system transports a liquid called ‘lymph’ that contains the white blood cells that fight disease. Lymph nodes, such as your tonsils, spleen, and hundreds more, then filter the lymph and remove the harmful material from your body. The theory with dry brushing is that it not only works to beautify your skin, but also engages these lymph nodes and their pathways and helps your body to flush any stagnant liquid. In essence, dry brushing is a way to detox without the smoothie.
Dry body brushing isn’t rocket science and anyone can do it with only one or two simple tools. You need a natural bristle brush, preferably with a strap for your hand and a long handle so that you can reach your back. Some people prefer to have two brushes of differing stiffness for different areas of their body, or as their skin becomes accustomed to the brushing. Other people prefer one brush for their body and a smaller one for their face.
Dry brushing should not hurt your skin, so start with a brush that has very soft bristles and begin by brushing the bottoms of your feet. Most people prefer to do this in the bathroom, before showering, because it is easiest to do when you are already naked and it is doubly beneficial to jump in the shower and wash your skin directly afterward. Dry brushing can be invigorating though, so be careful not to do it too soon before you plan to go to bed.
Once you have brushed the bottoms of your feet in long, firm strokes, move on to the tops of your feet. Always move the brush up toward your heart, as that is the direction that you want the lymph fluid to be moving. Do several strokes over each area, moving around your calf and up around your knee and thighs. All of your skin should be touched multiple times, all moving up toward your heart.
Most people spend an extra amount of time on their thighs and buttocks, because this is often where cellulite is most pronounced and the dry brushing can help fade it. Continue to move upwards, doing long strokes up and around your belly and lower back, and then switching to large, clockwise circles. If you are ticklish, firmer pressure can be less tantalizing! Brush up your sides and up and over your breasts, being very delicate.
Start again with your palms and then the tops of your hands, moving up your arms the same way that you did your legs. Make sure to be extra thorough with the backs of your knees, the inside of your elbows, and your armpits, as these all have major concentrations of lymph nodes. For your armpits, do short strokes and then switch to circles. From here, you can use the long handle to reach down and stroke upwards on your back, always bringing each stroke toward your heart. Use the handle to do strokes on each side, leading upward, as well as straight up the center of your back. Use short, downward strokes on your neck and shoulders.
It shouldn’t take you more than five minutes to thoroughly brush your entire body. Remember to change the pressure depending on the firmness of skin. In delicate areas, be gentle! In areas like knees and elbows that tend to be thick, be firm!
When to See Results
The effects of dry brushing can vary in time, some of them happening very quickly. You should notice a softer and more even skin tone with only several brushes. The effects of a detoxed body can take more time and vary from person to person. The most important thing is that you find what works best for you. Maybe you will want to dry brush every morning before your shower. Or maybe you find that twice a week accomplishes what you’re looking for. The frequency and personal style are up to you.
Below we review three of the best brands on the market. Each one is a little different.
Wincan sells a very popular dry body brush that is made with polished wood and high-quality boar bristles. The Wincan body brush is a great value and has a long handle for easy reaching everywhere. The boar bristles are the perfect firmness and are the same quality as a classic hairbrush. The brush itself is very wide and covers a thick stretch of skin at one time.
If you want quality, but aren’t into boar bristles, then Sano Naturals has a completely vegan body brush. The brush still has a firm brush and a long, wooden handle, but the bristles are synthetic. The opposite side of the brush is also a cellulite massager, so you’re really getting two tools for the price of one. The Sano Naturals brush, like the natural ones, can be cleaned easily with soap and water.
Your third option is the most diverse. Essential Living’s 3-piece brush set has every option you could need. The set comes with two different full-sized brushes, one soft and one firm. The wooden handle is removable, so you can attach it to whichever brush you feel like using. Many people find that they start with the soft brush, and then need to switch after several months of brushing. A smaller, facial brush is also included.
You already brush your hair and teeth, so why not try brushing your body as well? It shouldn’t take more than a few weeks for you to see results and know if body brushing deserves a place in your coveted beauty routine. For some, it’s an unnecessary addition. For others, it is the essential part of their skin and body care. For something so easy and clean, why not give it a try?