Dry brushing is the old school exfoliation technique that is the secret to smooth, shiny skin for the spring. If you aren’t already dry brushing, here are the top 3 reasons that you may want to start, and how to do it properly.
#1 Buffs the skin.
Dry brushing is an effective way to exfoliate. It removes dead skin cells from the top layer of skin, improving the appearance and making topical treatments more effective.
#2 Encourages circulation.
Lymphatic drainage and circulation is the most often cited benefit of dry brushing. Your lymphatic system works alongside your circulatory system and removes waste in the body, which is why you might hear people say that dry brushing is “detoxifying.” Improved circulation is better for skin overall.
#3 Offers a moment of self-care.
If anything, dry brushing encourages you to take a moment and focus on your body. Even if aesthetically there’s no life-changing improvement, feeling good about the body you live in is always a goal worth achieving.
How to Dry Brush
You want to find a body brush that has a stiff bristle, but nothing too abrasive. There are options that have a long handle or no handle at all. It’s up to personal preference, but many find it easier with a handle so you can hit those hard-to-reach places, like on your back.
It’s best to do before a shower, as you’ll be lifting up dead skin cells that you’ll likely want to wash off right after. On that note: Consider standing in the shower itself, so flakes don’t go flying all over your bathroom. Also, many claim it’s energizing for them—if you’re one of those people, make this part of your morning routine.
The strokes should be medium pressure—you want to feel something happening without irritating the skin. Long strokes are the best since you are trying to push up lymph fluid, and that requires a delicate and rhythmic touch. You’ll also want to do each pass more than once and overlap sections while brushing. Think of it like moving along each limb like a spiral staircase. Along bends (like your joints) or smaller areas, you will switch to shorter, quicker movements.
Start at the feet and move upward. The point of dry brushing is to encourage lymph toward your upper torso and chest, where the lymphatic fluid will re-enter the bloodstream: You always want to follow the circulatory system. You will take the legs in sections. Start with the top of the feet, then target the lower leg, the knee, and the thigh. When you work on the back of the thigh, treat the butt as an extension of your thigh and continue upward onto the small of your back. As for your stomach, some recommend making circular motions, while others prefer long strokes. You can find what feels right for you.
When treating the upper body, start with the hands and go across toward the heart. Do a similar routine as you did with the legs: Brush the back of your hands, work around the forearm, and then around the upper arm. Be mindful to treat under the upper arms with extra attention, as that’s where many lymph nodes are.
Then finish with neck and chest area. You’ll want to be extra gentle, as it’s more delicate skin. Also, here you’re deviating from the bottom-up technique—as you are above heart level. Start at the jawline and move down toward your chest. Finish by going over your heart in a circular motion to end your routine.
Afterward, you should take a shower to clean the body of the dead skin cells that have come loose during the brushing process.After the shower, hydration is key. Because the skin will absorb product more readily, it’s important to use healthy, high-quality ingredients after dry brushing sessions. Do it while your skin is damp, as smoothing on an oil or cream will seal in water from your shower. Always moisturize with damp skin!