About a year ago, I chucked ten years worth of beauty and skincare products acquired during my years working as a beauty editor. Then I completely Marie Kondo-ed my routine down to only the all-natural essentials: rose water, a cold pressed serum, an organic tinted moisturizer, my all-time favorite Swedish toothbrush, and the biggest bag of cheapie Epsom salts. New products promising big miracles no longer had the same allure for me. I was set.
Still, I kept reading about dry brushing everywhere. For those not in the know, dry brushing is a combination of exfoliation and massage that involves moving a natural dry brush over your body in slow, circular motions in the direction of your heart. The bristles of the brush help to exfoliate the skin and the pressure stimulates circulation and lymphatic drainage.
The benefits? It’s said to reduce cellulite, boost circulation, help skin to look more even and radiant, stimulate the lymph nodes, and to improve digestion. Although the process doesn’t look as enjoyable as say, slathering myself with lavender-scented body oil, its pay-offs piqued my interest and I decided to devote a month to testing it out for myself.
The good news: dry brushes are everywhere and they’re pretty cheap. A good, quality brush shouldn’t cost you more than twenty dollars. You can order one cheaply on Amazon (like this one or this one) or pick one up at a place like Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I’d recommend purchasing a dry brush with a longer handle. The one I used didn’t have one and it made it especially challenging to dry brush my back.
While some people only dry brush a few times a week, it can be done every day. I opted for the latter. I started at my feet, brushing the bottoms and up my legs in long, smooth strokes for about thirty seconds, moving toward the center of my body. Then, I repeated the process with my arms, stomach, and back. The first time I dry brushed was at night before a bath. The prickly brush felt a little intense, but it didn’t hurt. If it does, you’re using too much pressure. The most surprising part of the experience for me was how energized I felt, especially after dry brushing my arms. Because of this invigoration factor, I switched my dry brushing to mornings.
The second week was the most noticeable in terms of results. Not only did my skin feel much smoother, the little red bumps I sometimes get on my upper arms or thighs disappeared. I also felt like sloughing off that layer of dead skin helped my serums and moisturizers to soak in better, leaving my skin more hydrated and glow-y. I absolutely love rosehip oil and you can get one of my favorite brands right on Amazon.com: InstaNatural Organic Rosehip Seed Oil.
It supposedly takes forty days to form a new habit, but by the third week, it felt natural to spend the extra five or so minutes brushing my skin before I hopped in the shower. I can’t say the results were drastic enough where I’d rave about the practice with cult-like enthusiasm, but by now I enjoyed the tingly sensation and noticed my skin was softer than usual.
After a month of dry brushing, I can say my skin felt softer and looked better, but I didn't notice any drastic medical benefits. So, does it really work? Dry brushing isn’t meant to be a medical treatment. I did appreciate the exfoliating benefits, and considering how much time I regularly devote to caring for my complexion—masks, exfoliators, creams, cleansers—it felt nice to dote on the rest of my body for a change, especially with summer on the horizon.
I'd definitely recommend dry brushing. Try it for a month and see how you like it. It's easy (and inexpensive!) and will at the very least give you an energy boost and much smoother skin. To get started, pick up one of the dry brushes recommended above, or find one at a local health-oriented grocery store or specialty shop; and to maximize the skin-smoothing benefits, follow each brushing session with a high quality serum or moisturizer.
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