Everyone knows that brushing your teeth helps keep your smile healthy and beautiful—so why not extend that brushing benefit to the body’s largest organ, your skin? Dry brushing the skin is one of the simplest and most affordable ways to support well-being and gorgeous skin naturally—and it feels absolutely heavenly.
Here’s all you need to know about this time-tested, holistic technique, and how to make it a regular part of your personal beauty regimen.
Dry Brushing Through the Ages
Dry brushing is getting lots of buzz in the news lately, but it’s hardly a new technique. Numerous cultures from around the globe have actually embraced some form of this basic practice for hundreds—and even thousands—of years. For example:
- Scandinavians, Russians, and Turks have a centuries-old tradition of body brushing.
- Dry brushing has been part of India’s Ayurvedic practice for about 5,000 years.
- In ancient Greece and Rome, people used a strigils (a spoon-shaped instrument with a curved blade) to gently scrape away sweat, oil, and dirt before bathing.
- Traditional Chinese cultures used dried gourd fibers (loofahs) to exfoliate and stimulate the skin.
- Ancient Egyptians dry brushed along with a mix of sour milk and wine to exfoliate.
- Long before the arrival of the European settlers, various Native American nations dry brushed their skin with dried corn cobs or sand.
Now that the ancient wisdom of dry brushing has been rediscovered in this time and place, its many benefits are available to everyone willing to devote just a few minutes to the practice.
Why Dry Brush?
The art of dry brushing never would have endured for so many millennia if it didn’t have so much to offer. Once you give dry brushing a try for yourself, you’ll come to understand why people from so many places and generations remained committed to this practice. For starters, dry brushing can help you:
- Enjoy waking up. Dry brushing energizes your skin from head to toe. That invigorating feeling can really give you a boost when you’re feeling sluggish in the morning.
- Support healthy circulation. There’s nothing like the stimulating rub of a dry brush to encourage circulation throughout every inch of your skin.
- Exfoliate and cleanse pores. Slough away grime and dead skin cells to unclog your pores while complementing nature’s process of skin renewal for a youthful freshness.
- Reduce the appearance of cellulite. Dry brushing supports your skin’s natural detoxification processes to keep your face and body looking lusciously, touchably smooth.
- Get your glow on. Brush your way to a bright rosy glow for your best complexion ever.
- Feel luxuriously pampered. Relax and unwind into a spa-like experience of self-care without having to pay high spa prices.
How to Dry Brush
Dry brushing is so easy just about anyone can do it—and you can brush your entire face and body in just about three to five minutes. All you really have to do in order to benefit is to brush with gentle, smooth strokes. It’s fine for your skin to look a little rosy after brushing, but if you feel any pain whatsoever, ease up on the pressure, and never brush over broken or tender skin areas. Remember, this is supposed to feel good!
Because it’s such a stimulating and energizing experience, dry brushing is typically done early in the day. And because it’s wise to rinse the skin thoroughly after exfoliation, you’ll want to do your dry brushing right before bathing or showering.
Now that you’ve got the basic principles down, follow these simple steps and you’ll be brushing like a spa professional before you know it:
- Before your bath or shower, use a body brush and begin brushing at the ankles moving upward toward your heart using gentle, circular, upward motions.
- Move on to longer, smoother strokes as you work your way up your lower legs, thighs, abdomen, and arms. Use special care on the delicate skin in the chest area.
- Brush down the back of your neck toward your lower back.
- Once you’ve covered your whole body, switch to a small facial brush. Start brushing at the chin with outward strokes toward the hairline, and finish up with your forehead.
- When brushing is complete, bathe as usual. You may want to experiment with alternating between warmer and cooler water in the shower to further stimulate circulation and glowing skin.
- After bathing, treat your face and body to a loving, moisturizing self-massage with a healthy botanical oil like argan, jojoba, or rosehip.
- Repeat at least once or twice a week to maintain fresh, vibrant skin.
Selecting and Caring for Your Dry Brushes
It’s easy to find dry brushes online and in lots of local stores, but unfortunately their quality can vary greatly. If you’ve decided to give yourself the gift of dry brushing, it really pays to purchase the quality tools your skin deserves. Thankfully, a high-end dry brush set shouldn’t set you back more than about $20, which is all the more reason not to settle for poorly made products that contain plastics, artificial dyes, or synthetic chemicals of any kind.
When shopping for dry brushes, seek out environmentally friendly companies like Valentia, with brushes crafted from only natural, ethically sourced materials—and specifically designed to provide the perfect levels of stimulation and exfoliation. It’s also helpful to opt for a boxed set with separate brushes for face and body, along with an extension handle to help you access all those hard to reach areas.
With proper care your dry brushes will serve you for a very long time. To keep them fresh and in top shape, wash them with mild soap and water once a week—and if you also use your brushes for alkaline baths, rinse them well with clear water after each use. Because prolonged exposure to water can warp wooden handles and damage natural bristles, allow your brushes to air out in a sunny, warm spot, and then store them someplace where they won’t be exposed to moisture until you’re ready to use them again.
Dry brushing is a natural, easy, and inexpensive way to enhance any healthy lifestyle. You’ll feel totally energized—and your skin will look radiantly smooth and fresh, no matter what your age. With all that benefit in only a few minutes a day, you’ll be glad you made dry brushing a part of your regular morning routine.