Why is it that some of the healthiest habits make us look kind of ridiculous? (See: oil pulling, yoga, turmeric masks.) Dry brushing is no exception, but just like sloshing oil in our mouths, hanging out in downward dog, and slathering our faces with neon-yellow paste, it’s totally worth it.
The Benefits of Dry Brushing
The idea behind dry brushing is to get your lymphatic system moving, which helps your body metabolize and get rid of toxins lingering inside. It also helps circulation and digestion, and flushes the toxins that build up in fatty tissue under the skin (which, when coupled with other lifestyle changes and home remedies, can minimize the appearance of cellulite). A dry-brush routine is also great for skin exfoliation too, as you’ll be sloughing off dead skin and unclogging pores. Not too shabby for a super-easy practice that takes about two minutes—and costs about $5!
Dry Brushing 101 – 8 Things You Need to Know
1. Pick a brush that has natural, not synthetic, bristles.
I use this $5 one from Target, although there are fancier ones on the market (like the one pictured above from Anthropologie). Make sure the handle is long enough for you to reach down to your feet, and around to your back, with ease.
2. Make sure your skin is dry.
The optimal time to do it is right before you bathe. I usually shower at night, so I’ve just worked it into my shower routine. Some people like to do skin brushing in the morning because they feel it energizes them, or both in the morning and at night, but it’s totally up to you when you want to schedule your date with the dry brush :)
3. Start at your feet and work in circular motions toward your heart.
To be honest, this took a little practice to make me not feel totally weird. Just go with the flow and make sure you’re getting your entire body, front and back (avoid your face, though).
4. Use gentle pressure.
This is different for everyone, but medium pressure is about as intense as you should get. Think of it as a light sweeping of your skin versus scrubbing.
5. Take as much time as you need.
It might take two minutes, or it could take 20 if you’re going slowly and focusing. Some people like to make dry brushing a meditative practice. Just make sure you’re not rushing yourself.
6. Make sure to get your armpits and inner thighs.
These are prime lymphatic drainage spots, so dry brushing will be extra helpful here in releasing toxins from your body. I have a bad habit of crossing my ankles at my desk (which I know is bad for my circulation), so I try to spend more time there, too.
7. You might feel tingly or itchy afterwards.
If that doesn’t feel good, use less pressure next time. If it feels like you’re shedding a lot of dead skin and your circulation is improving, keep doing what you’re doing! The first time I did it, I was extremely itchy afterwards, but the more I tried it the less I had that feeling.
8. Make sure you’re supporting your skin brushing with other detox practices.
Dry brushing will only do so much if you’re not eating right, drinking water, getting enough sleep, exercising and taking care of yourself. We’ve got all sorts of detox recipes, guides and how-to’s to help you do just that!