What Dry Brushing Is—And Why You Might Want To Be Doing It

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Dry brushing, a.k.a. body brushing, might be a classic ritual, but it’s been increasing in popularity lately. Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Miranda Kerr are singing its praises. But we wondered, what does dry brushing actually do to the body, and is the process worth all the hype?

The roots of dry brushing stem from a traditional ayurvedic medicine method of brushing your entire body with a special bristled tool. Other cultures, from Japan to Greece, have been known to partake in dry brushing rituals as well. While there are an abundance of claims out there about how dry brushing is as good for you internally as it is externally — for example, reducing cellulite and improving immune system function — not much, if any, has been studied scientifically.

However, there are some clear healthy skin benefits.

Dry Brushing Exfoliates The Skin

Dry brushing is, indeed, an excellent physical exfoliator, meaning it manually removes dead skin cells from the top layer of skin. This act does improve the appearance of the skin by getting rid of dry, flaky skin and can make topical treatments more effective. Exfoliation can make your skin feel soft and look radiant.

Woman Dry Brushing Legs In Bathroom
Adobe

It Offers A Self-Care Experience

Dry brushing helps establish a ritual for self-care, encouraging you to connect and focus on your body. Self-care can help you get a leg up on stress, which can have a negative effect on the body.

Dry Brushing May Increase Circulation

Because your lymphatic system works with your circulatory system, removing waste from the body, this might be what people are referring to when they say dry brushing is detoxifying. As the brush exfoliates, it helps to unclog pores and it can detox the skin by increasing blood circulation. When your pores are unclogged, you make it easier for your body to eliminate toxins in your system when sweating. However, the verdict is still out whether dry brushing truly stimulates the lymphatic or immune systems or detoxes your body in other ways, such as a connection with the liver or kidneys. There just isn’t enough research right now to prove that.

It May Stimulate Relaxation

Dry brushing can feel just as relaxing as a massage. It can also feel energizing which could be a response to the brisk brushing that stimulates circulation.

Ready to give it a try?

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How To Dry Brush

To dry brush, you’ll need a natural fiber brush with or without a long handle. (A handle can help you reach all areas of your body, like your back.)

  • Start at your feet and move your way up toward your heart. Use light pressure on thin-skinned areas, like the backs of hands, and harder pressure on thicker skin areas, such as feet.
  • Brush in wide, circular, clockwise motions.
  • After you’ve brushed your feet, legs and mid-section, move to your arms, brushing upward toward your armpits.
  • Stop when you reach your neck. If you want to dry brush your face, you want a firm brush similar to a stiff makeup brush, not a body brush.
  • Rinse off your body to remove the dry skin. (Dry brushing is a great pre-shower routine.)
  • After your shower, towel off and moisturize your skin well.
  • Avoid wounds, rashes, cuts, etc.

Dry brushing isn’t right for people who have easily irritated skin. It can leave your skin feeling parched, so it’s important to moisturize shortly after.

If you’d like to give dry brushing a go, here are three highly-rated brushes available on Amazon.

MainBasics Dry Body Brush Exfoliating Body Scrubber

MainBasics hand dry brush exfoliator
Amazon

Brush your way to beautiful skin with the MainBasics Dry Body Brush and Scrubber with boar bristles for $7.99. Rubber massage nodules placed throughout give your muscles a massage as you gently scrub. With more than 6,500 global ratings, this brush averages a solid 4.5 out of 5-star rating.

“Just started dry brushing, in winter, in a dry climate – yikes,” wrote reviewer Annette S. “I thought for sure this brush might be too coarse for slightly dry skin. Buuuut I’m on my 6th day using now & it works GREAT! The whole ‘dry brushing’ thing only took about 3 days to get used to & now I love it. This brush works perfectly & the little rubber knobs I think add to the smoothness of the brush. Also, the hand strap is sooooo necessary!”

Reviewer Ashley wrote that “dry brushing is everything!” She gave this brush a 5-star review and said it takes her about three minutes to do her whole body.

Temeaye Brush Set

Temeaye Dry Brush Set
Amazon

This $16.19 dry brush set is constructed of 100% natural bristles and smooth polished wood. It includes one long brush, one short brush and two wall hooks so you can hang them in your bathroom. With more than 3,300 ratings, this set averages 4.6 out of 5-stars, ranking highly for being sturdy, easy to use and a good value for the money. Several customers said they “definitely recommend” it. We like that the company provides a one-year warranty.

Scala Wet and Dry Brush Exfoliator

Scala wet or dry brush
Amazon

This Scala $8.99 natural bristle brush can be used for both wet and dry brushing. Customers really love this brush! With more than 16,500 weighing in to rate it, averaging at 4.4 out of 5 stars. Several people have mentioned that they can “see the difference” on their arms, thighs and stomach after repeated use.

“I was surprised to read all the positive reviews about this item, and even more surprised to see this thing actually works,” one reviewer shared. “I used it on my thighs, mainly on one problem area. After 3 days I saw a noticeable difference. I use it every other day now. I just use it with my everyday lotion. Great product, really works!”

How do you exfoliate? Do you think dry brushing might be right for you?