How to Dry Brush Your Whole Body
Our skin is our largest organ so naturally, it’s important that we take care of it. Just how you would take vitamin D for a sun deficiency or brush your teeth twice a day to prevent cavities, your skin needs to be shown some love too. Did you know that the skin is an eliminative organ? That means — like the liver and kidneys — the skin’s job is to excrete leftover, unneeded toxins from the body. Dry brushing is a skincare technique that helps your skin get rid of toxins more efficiently and it’s super easy to do.
First thing’s first: Which dry brush do I use? I ordered a vegan dry brush from Amazon, which you can find here. It has two sides: one for dry brushing and the other for cellulite massaging. I like to go over my entire body with the dry brush side, then go back over my thighs, butt, and other areas that are known to store fat cells, with the cellulite massager. I’ve found the bristles on this particular brush — which are 100% vegan and designed for sensitive skin — to be super soft and comfortable. My brush has never caused any discomfort, scratches, tears, nor has it ever been too rough to handle. I recommend brushing lightly when first getting into dry brushing. As you get more used to the pressure, you can always brush harder, but at first, it’s important to get your body used to the sensation.
There are many benefits to dry brushing the skin. Dry brushing, a quick five-minute process that removes dead cells, is great for dry winter skin. It also encourages cell turnover, which is crucial to formulating soft, young-looking skin with elasticity. There’s a reason we focus on our bum, calf, and thigh areas when dry brushing — it’s because dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system, causing lymphatic drainage and circulation in the body. Why is this a good thing? For one thing, it shrinks cellulite and gives skin a plumper, more glowy appearance.
(Photo Credit: Steph Osmanski)
But dry brushing isn’t just about diminishing cellulite. (And for the record — cellulite is beautiful! You don’t need to dry brush it away unless you want to. I’ve got some cellulite and not ashamed of it. Don’t let anyone tell you differently or make you feel inferior!) Dry brushing has other benefits, too, like removing, dirt, oil, and other residues from the pores. Dry brushing also helps to shrink the appearance of pores. (Again, pores are cute! Only dry brush ’em if you want to.) Some wellness practitioners also suspect that dry brushing can increase energy levels. It makes sense considering that dry brushing stimulates blood flow. With your blood flowing more regularly, it’s quite possible that energy levels might be affected, too.
Some people recommend dry brushing as many times as twice a day. Personally, that’s too much for me and just not realistic for my schedule. I like to dry brush each time I shower but of course, I don’t beat myself up if I skip a day or two (of dry brushing, not showering!). With this in mind, I usually end up dry brushing about three to five times a week.
Dry brushing isn’t for everyone. If you have a sensitive area, tears or cuts in your skin, going over those areas with a dry brush (which can be coarse and a little rough at first), might not be a good idea. When dry brushing, I’d recommend avoiding any open wounds or areas of irritation. Dry brushing over open areas could cause micro-tears, which could potentially cause bleeding or infection.
The most important thing to remember about dry brushing is that, as with any kind of care routine, consistency is key. If you dry brush only once or twice in your life or once a month, the benefits probably aren’t going to be that noticeable. The more consistently you dry brush, the more results you are going to see.
After a few days of dry brushing the entire body, you’re likely to start seeing results. I noticed results after the first time I dry brushed — not so much on my whole body but I immediately saw a difference in my face. Just touching my face directly after dry brushing, I felt a difference. My skin already felt softer and less rough. After dry brushing my face, I go in with my skincare routine of cleanser, toner, serum, and moisturizer.
Keep reading to check out my step-by-step tutorial for how to dry brush your entire body.
How to dry brush:
Step 1: Get nakie! I recommend dry brushing in the nude before showering. Personally, I dry brush in the shower (with the water turned off, obviously) so the drain catches any gross dead cells that fall off my body. Now, start by dry brushing the soles of your feet. I do this part super delicately because a) the bottom of my feet are oh so ticklish and b) it’s a sensitive area susceptible to micro-tears.
Step 2: Work your way with the dry brush up the body in long, even strokes that point toward the heart.
Step 3: Repeat the same process with the arms, working in long, upward strokes toward the heart.
Step 4: For the abdomen, you can either continue brushing upward toward the heart or you can brush in a circular motion. If you have a dry brush like mine (pictured above), switch the other side of the brush when working on the buttocks. This side better stimulates the fat cells that are often stored in the butt and thigh areas, so they curb the appearance of cellulite.
Step 5: Very softly, brush the skin on your face in circular motions. The entire process should take only five minutes, pre-shower. What I normally do before I start dry brushing is set the timer on my phone. When it buzzes, I know it’s time to quit and start the water for the shower.
Step 6: After getting out of the shower, follow up the dry brushing by slathering almond oil on all the parts of the body that you brushed.
Tips for dry brushing
- Use a gentle hand at first. You can always add more pressure as your skin becomes more accustomed to dry brushing.
- Always brush in long, sweeping motions.
- Always brush toward the heart.
- Moisturize with almond oil after dry brushing.
- Always start at the ankles or bottom of the feet.
- Brush your face in soft, circular motions.
- Brush down the neck, toward the heart.
- Either use the dry brush or cellulite massager on the rump.
- If you want, invest in a smaller, more delicate brush for dry brushing your face. (I do not do this however, some people like to.)
- Never wet your dry brush.
- However, you should keep it clean by spritzing tea tree oil on the bristles.
Want to learn more about the skincare technique of dry brushing? Keep reading for answers to the most frequently-asked questions about dry brushing.
Is dry brushing exfoliation?
Yes, in a nutshell, dry brushing is a form of exfoliation. There are two types of exfoliation: wet and dry. While exfoliation is often thought of as a wet process, the opposite is actually true. Dry exfoliation is considered more effective than wet exfoliation; this is because water causes skin cells to “plump up,” which can make it more difficult to shed dead skin cells. When skin is exfoliated dry, more dead skin cells are jettisoned.
Is dry brushing good for you?
There are many reasons that people in the wellness community have become obsessed with dry brushing. Because dry brushing is a way to exfoliate dead skin off the body, it has the effect of leaving skin glowy and clear. It’s also been said to heighten energy levels, reduce the size of pores and cellulite, and to stimulate blood flow. In short, many people seem to think that the benefits of dry brushing outweigh the negatives.
Is dry brushing effective for cellulite?
Many people looking to shrink the appearance of cellulite turn to dry brushing, as it stimulates the lymphatic system. This causes a temporary reduction in the appearance of cellulite. However, it requires time and effort. If your main motivation for picking up dry brushing is to reduce cellulite appearance, then consider dry brushing several times a week to maximize results.
Is dry brushing safe during pregnancy?
I decided to answer this question because it is one of the most frequently-asked questions about dry brushing. However, I feel it is important to preface my answer with this: I have never been pregnant, I don’t have any children, and I am not a physician nor do I have a medical degree. The information I gathered below was aggregated through online research. It should not be used to make any medical decisions and I highly suggest consulting your doctor if you are pregnant and considering dry brushing.
Some pregnant women swear by dry brushing during pregnancy, finding that it was effective in preventing stretch marks and that it made it helped skin tighten back up postpartum.
Can dry brushing help spider veins?
“Spider vein” is a slang term for varicose veins, which are gnarled, enlarged veins visible in the legs and feet. They often appear purple or blue through the skin.
There is no medical data to support that dry brushing is either beneficial or harmful for those with varicose veins. Although, people with varicose veins should be cautious of dry brushing, as the pressure applied with a dry brush could cause micro-tears. This could potentially lead to bleeding and infection — never a good thing. Consider consulting your doctor if you have varicose veins and are considering dry brushing.
Can dry brushing help eczema?
I want to reiterate here that I am not in any medical field of any sort. I’m not a physician or a dermatologist. All of the advice and suggestions I provide here are just that, from my own experience and from some research online. Always consult a doctor with your medical questions.
After doing some research about the link between dry brushing and eczema, it appears that some people with the skin disorder enjoy dry brushing. For more on how dry brushing can heal (and prevent!) eczema, check out this article.
Can dry brushing cause a rash?
Dry brushing should not cause a rash. If you experience a rash after dry brushing, consider consulting a physician.
Dry brushing is supposed to help clear up and prevent skin issues such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and more. It can even help dissipate rashes, not cause them.
Can dry brushing help you lose weight?
Dry brushing isn’t a quick fix to weight issues. While it’s true that the process of dry brushing can stimulate the lymphatic and digestive systems, there isn’t a real, scientifically-backed reason to take up dry brushing solely in the interest of losing weight.
What’s your experience with dry brushing? Do you swear by it or are you totally skeptical? I’d love to hear your insight on dry brushing and your experience with the skincare technique. Let me know in the comments below!