Dry Brushing 101: Everything You Need to Know

While dry brushing might seem like a relatively new trend, it actually has its roots in ancient times. Many cultures, including the ancient Greeks and Japanese, have used dry brushing for improved skin and overall health. So, what exactly is dry brushing and what benefits does it offer? That’s exactly what we’ll be covering today. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is dry brushing?

Dry brushing is really as simple as it sounds. It involves sweeping a firm, bristled brush across your skin, from toe to head. It’s called “dry” brushing because it’s not performed in a shower or bath. Rather, both your skin and the brush are totally dry.

What are the benefits of dry brushing?

Experts agree that dry brushing offers some clear benefits. Here are the benefits currently known about this ancient practice:

1. It’s exfoliating

Exfoliation is one of the best things you can do for your skin. Proper exfoliation removes the barrier of dead skin cells clogging the skin and uncovers fresh new cells below. Dry brushing is a wonderful, easy way to exfoliate the skin, as the bristles manually sweep away dull, rough, flaky skin cells. You can expect your skin to look softer, smoother and brighter with regular dry brushing.

2. It increases circulation

Sweeping your skin with a dry brush increases blood flow and circulation in the area you’re focusing on and may improve vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels) in the long-term. Research shows that increased blood flow nourishes skin cells and keeps them vital, potentially leading to softer, more radiant-looking skin.

3. It’s energizing

Forget a cup of coffee! Try dry brushing instead. The mechanical action of sweeping the bristles over your skin stimulates sensory nerves, which can be invigorating. For that reason, you should only dry brush when you want to feel alert and energized.

4. It may stimulate the lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is one of the body’s two major circulatory systems. Lymphatic fluid, which works to remove toxins, bacteria and other waste materials, is transported throughout the body via lymph vessels. Many of these lymph vessels run just below the skin. Proponents of dry brushing claim that sweeping the dry brush across the skin helps stimulate the flow of lymphatic fluid, which helps the body detoxify itself naturally.

How to get started

You don’t need much to start a dry brushing routine—just a dry brush! You can easily find a dry brush at your local health food store, beauty supply store or online.

Avoid dry brushes with hard, stiff bristles. Firmer bristles don’t equate to greater effectiveness. Most experts suggest using a natural bristle brush made from softer plant sources like jute, sisal, or cactus fibers. It’s likely a good idea to opt for a brush with a long handle, as this makes it easier to reach those hard-to-reach places like your back. If you’d like to dry brush your face as well, choose a smaller brush with even softer bristles or simply use a washcloth.

How to dry brush your skin

The dry brushing process is easy and shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes. Dry brushing is best done in the morning before a shower. Keep in mind that dry brushing shouldn’t hurt. If it hurts, switch to a brush with softer bristles and/or brush more gently. To dry brush, simply follow these steps:

  1. Remove your clothing.
  2. Starting at your feet, brush upward. Brush the entire length of each leg, working your way up to your hips.
  3. Continue with your buttocks and back (as far as you can reach).
  4. Move on to your arms, starting at your hands and working upward to your shoulders.
  5. Move to your stomach and chest, gently brushing upward. These areas are generally more sensitive, so go a little lighter if necessary.
  6. If you’d like to brush your face, switch to a smaller, softer brush. Brush upward on the neck and gently across the face from your chin to your forehead.
  7. Once you’re done, take a shower to rinse off the dead skin.

Try dry brushing for yourself

Dry brushing offers several important benefits and provides a good opportunity for a few minutes of self-care. Whether you’re looking for a good exfoliation tool, an invigorating morning pick-me-up, or even support for your detoxification pathways, dry brushing is an easy, cost-effective way to care for your well-being.