Dry body brushing is easy, inexpensive, and effective. Learn the benefits and how to do this spa beauty treatment at home.
This time of year, when it’s cold outdoors and the heat is cranking inside, my skin starts feeling a bit dry. Those long, hot baths I’ve been trying to take more often only exacerbate it. Thankfully, I’ve learned ways to keep my skin hydrated in winter.
Aside from drinking more water (and coconut water) and using body oils, I dry brush. It sounds counterintuitive, but exfoliating is an important step when it comes to moisturizing. In addition to gently buffing away dry skin, it helps skin better absorb moisturizer.
Dry body brushing only takes a few minutes, which I appreciate even more now that I’m a mom. It’s easy to quickly integrate it into your routine. Once you get in the habit of dry brushing, it will be like brushing your teeth or hair.
Dry brushing dates back to ancient times, and similar practices were used in many cultures. These days, this beauty treatment is offered at world-class spas. Luckily, it’s just as beneficial to do it yourself at home — and it’s much more affordable, much like my favorite homemade coconut citrus sugar scrub and pumpkin skin care masks.
Several years ago, when I worked at an organic spa in New York City, I learned the incredible benefits of this simple practice. There are anecdotal reports that it reduces cellulite. Many people experience a natural energy boost from dry brushing, so you may want to make it part of your morning routine.
I find it meditative, so I usually dry brush at night. It helps me unwind and shift into a more relaxed state. In my own personal experience, I believe that dry brushing during pregnancy helped prevent stretch marks.
Dry brushes come in various shapes and sizes. Some fit in the palm of the hand, and some have wooden massage nubs. Others are made specifically for the face; however, I choose not to dry brush this delicate skin (instead, I do gua sha facial massage).
I like to use dry brushes with natural bristles made from plant fibers (opposed to boar’s hair or synthetic materials). Usually, I reach for one with a wooden handle, which is helpful for getting those hard-to-reach spots like the middle of the back.
How to Dry Brush
- Begin at the soles of the feet, continue to the tops, and brush up the front and back of the legs.
- When you get to the stomach, brush in a circular, clockwise direction.
- Lift up the arms, start at the fingertips and move up to the chest. Brush the back.
- Cleanse and moisturize the skin.
Dry Body Brushing Tips
- Your skin and the brush should be dry (not wet).
- Use a brush with natural bristles such as sisal.
- Brush in the direction toward the heart for most of the body.
- Be firm, yet gentle, using small, sweeping brushstrokes.
- Do each pass more than once, using overlapping swipes, but don’t overdo it.
- Avoid sensitive areas.
- If you’re pregnant, use light strokes on the belly or don’t brush it at all (listen to your body and talk to your midwife, if you have concerns)
- Wash your dry brush a couple times a month with a non-toxic, gentle soap.
Dry Brushing Benefits
- Exfoliates, which can promote smoother, healthier skin
- Encourages lymphatic drainage
- Boosts circulation
- Clears pores
- Supports relaxation
How often should you dry brush?
This depends on your skin, so do what is right for you. Some people enjoy dry brushing daily, while others find it more beneficial to dry brush once a week. As a guideline, I aim to dry brush two or three times a week. Those with especially sensitive skin may want to dry brush once every few weeks or skip it altogether.
Dry body brushing is an evergreen beauty routine; however, it’s especially beneficial during these colder months. Share your favorite winter skin care secret in the comments.