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Dry Brushing 101: How to Get Started & Why it’s Important

Author - Alyssa Rimmer

Interested in learning more about dry skin brushing? Learn how to get started, the types of brushes to purchase and the personal results I've seen from having a consistent dry brushing routine.

how to dry brush and benefits of dry brushing

In our second installment of Self Care Sunday, we're going to be talking about one of my latest obsessions: dry brushing!

I first found out about drying brushing a few years ago from Kris Carr who talked about the benefits of dry brushing and why she loved it. I kind of pushed it out of my head for a while, but within the last year, I feel like it's come up more and more, so I decided to dive in and try it myself.

In today's post, we'll talk all about what dry brushing is, how to get started, how to dry brush, I'll share some different dry brushes and we'll talk about the health benefits of dry brushing. I'll also answer some of the questions you sent in via Instagram and share what I've noticed since dry brushing consistently.

Hint: I freaking LOVE it!

What is Dry Brushing?

If you're not yet familiar with dry brushing, it's pretty much as it sounds, but on your skin! We use a skin brush to gently brush the skin while it's dry (either pre- or post-shower).

Benefits of Dry Brushing

There are a whole host of benefits for dry brushing! First, our skin is are our largest organ and we excrete loads of toxins through the skin, so dry brushing is a great way to unclog your pores as well as get rid of some toxins that might be stuck under or just on top of the skin's surface.

Other benefits of dry brushing include:

1. Exfoliating dead skin. When we use a dry brush we're brushing dead skin away.

2. Stimulating the lymphatic system. The motions you use (more on that in a sec0nd) help to stimulate your lymphatic system and helps to flush toxins from the body.

3. Reducing cellulite & stretch marks. First, cellulite is quite common for women (and some men), so I don't want you to be too hard on yourself if you have a bit on your body. Second, is that dry brushing can actually help soften those fat deposits under the skin and help distribute them more evenly, which in turn reduces the appearance. For stretch marks, it's similar. The brushing helps the skin produce more collagen and helps reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

4. Increases the absorption of lotions/oils. If hydration is something your skin is craving, dry brushing before you moisturize can really help. We're opening up the pores allowing for deepener of the products you're putting on top!

5. Stress relieving. Just as many of our other self-care practices should be, skin brushing is a great way to reduce stress as the process is somewhat meditative.

how to dry brush and benefits of dry brushing

How to Dry Brush

There are really two options when it comes to dry brushing so I'll start there and then walk you through the actual process:

Step 1: purchase your brush. More on that in the next section!

Step 2: decide when to dry brush. You can either brush before or after you shower. I like to do it before I shower as I feel like it gets the most off and I like the fact that I can also wash the remaining dead skin cells off my body in the shower.

Step 3: time to brush! Starting at your feet and working your way up, brush the skin in small circular motions towards your heart. I do my legs first, then my stomach and chest and then each of my arms (starting at my hands). One thing I like to do is spend a little extra time on the areas with a lot of lymph nodes (back of knees, armpits, inner elbows) and also my bum because that's where I have some cellulite. For timing's sake, I spend about 30 seconds in each area and just go over each are once.

Step 4: jump in the shower. Once you've brushed your whole body, hop in the shower and wash all those dead skin cells off.

Step 5: moisturize. Since your pores have been opened from the brushing and the shower, it's time to slather that bod of yours in your favorite moisturizer (lotion, oil or whatever you like). Make sure to pat your skin dry first and then lather up!

Step 6: and repeat! For best results, dry brush daily. This was actually one of my 2018 intentions, and I've been really enjoying it. I even take a brush with me when I travel!

Types of Dry Brushes

Now…let's talk brushes! There are quite a few different types of brushes you can get for dry brushing, and luckily, they're fairly inexpensive. You want to make sure that you're getting a brush with natural stiff(ish) bristles and a wood handle.

I've gotten most of mine on Amazon and after doing a lot of browsing, there seems to be three main types. Long-handled, medium-handled and hand-held.


I've tested all three and my favorite is the first one. I also have the little small one for travel and I really like it!

My Dry Brushing Results

The fun part! The results that I've personally seen from consistently dry brushing.

I've been regularly skin brushing for about 30 days now and I'm really loving it! Not only has it become part of my stress reducing morning routine, but I've definitely noticed a difference, primarily in the smoothness of my skin.

I can't say that I've noticed a tremendous difference with cellulite or stretch marks (although I'd like to tell myself I have!), but the biggest thing I notice is acne. This might be a bit of TMI, but I sometimes experienced pimples on my bum and back and now that I've been dry brushing, those have completely gone away. And that change was almost immediate!

I will be sure to report back in another few months to let you know if I notice any other big changes!

Dry Brushing FAQs

1. Can you dry brush your face?

I've heard mixed things about this. I personally don't brush my face as I have somewhat sensitive skin and feel that it's a bit too rough for my face. I would personally recommend using an exfoliator rather than brush your face. Here's the non-toxic exfoliator that I use and really like!

2. How do you brush your back?

The only real way to brush your back is if you have a brush with an arm/handle. If you have a long-handled brush, you can go over your shoulder and try to follow the same manner as described above (in circles towards your head). If you have a medium handle, I recommend around your waist for your lower/mid-back and over your shoulders for your upper back.

3. How do you brush your chest & bust area?

Very gently! I do brush my chest and bust area, but I just make sure to be very gentle as the bristles can be a little much. If you're a lady, I recommend going around your breasts in a circular motion, avoiding the nipple area.

4. Do you clean your dry brush?

You actually should clean your dry brush (although I'm not the best at this). If you dry brush daily, I've read you should be cleaning it about once per week. If you dry brush weekly, then once per month should be fine.

To clean your dry brush, water and soap should do. You can add in some tea tree oil as well which I quite like. Use wash it under cool water with a liquid soap (trying not to get the wood handle wet) and dry it with the bristles face down on top of a towel.

5. How often should you replace your dry brush?

I don't think there's any “rule” here as it depends mostly on how often you're using it. If you're using daily and cleaning regularly, I would just replace once the bristles start to fall out.

6. Why do you brush towards your heart?

One of the main benefits of dry brushing is supporting your lymphatic system, and brushing towards your heart is best for circulation and your lymphatic system.

Anything else you want to know?

Ask away in the comments below! And if you are dry brushing already, I'd love to hear how you like it and what differences you've noticed in your own skin!

 

 

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  1. How long should you spend dry brushing each area? Do you just go over it once or do you need to do repeated minutes on an area to get the full impact?

  2. Can you dry brush without taking a shower before or after? I’ve just started dry brushing but don’t take a shower every single day. I’m wondering if I can still dry brush on the days I don’t shower?

    • I think you could, but I personally wouldn’t just because I’d want to get those dead skin cells off my body. If you do, I’d definitely make sure that you use an oil or moisturizer after!

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