Do you dry brush your skin?


Do you dry brush your skin?

In my quest for beauty and glowing skin, I’ve tried a fair few things:

  • Fish pedicure (feels weird, but really effective at removing dry skin!)
  • Soaking my hair in beer and sitting in the sun (supposedly to develop red highlights – mainly just attracted insects!)
  • Putting honey on my face (oh wait, I still do that and love it!)

Now there’s a new one for the list: dry body brushing

Actually, I don’t find this weird.  Dry body brushing is a beauty and health boosting technique that’s been used for generations.  But as I discovered recently, lots of people don’t know what it is, or how good it feels!

Oh wow, it feels good.  Invigorating.  Refreshing. Cleansing.  Ahhh.

I admit you may have to try it a few times to get past the ‘scratchiness’ of it all – but stick with me here.

Dry body brushing can help reduce cellulite, boost circulation AND exfoliate, all in one motion.  It’s inexpensive, it’s quick to do – and it just feels good.

Ready to brush your body?  Read on.

What is dry brushing?

As you might guess from the name, dry brushing uses a firm brush which you brush in sweeping motions across your skin.

There are two main styles of body brush – the hand-sized version (my favorite), and the long-handle version (useful for reaching your back).

Dry brushing is a very vintage beauty practice.  While we don’t seem to know the exact origins of dry brushing, it has appeared in traditional skincare throughout the world.  In Japan, they would dry brush with a loofah before taking a bath.  Cherokee Indians used to dry brush with corncobs.   Ancient Greeks would scrape their skin with metal spatulas.  And even today, you can find people hitting their skin with birch twigs in a Finnish sauna.

The idea behind all of these practices is the same:  get the blood and lymph circulation going to cleanse the body!

Your lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system and plays an important role in your immune system response.  Have you ever gotten a cold and had the lymph nodes in your neck swell up? (Or in a more extreme case – have you had mono or glandular fever? If so, you’ll definitely be familiar with your lymph nodes!)  That’s your lymphatic system in action.

With dry brushing, we’re moving the lymph (and all of the waste products its collected) back towards the heart where it can cleanse and recirculate.

So what does that mean for you?


Benefits of dry brushing

  • Increase lymph and blood circulation – this is the key reason why dry brushing improves your skin.  By bringing fresh blood and lymph to the area (and circulating them, to remove toxins / waste products) – your skin cells and collagen-rich tissue are getting maximum nutrition!  You can think of it like house-cleaning – with the body brush, you’re helping your body to sweep and scrub any toxins and waste products out of your body.  Try using the body brush any time you’re recovering from an illness or feeling run-down.  (Of course, drink lots of water too, to flush out any waste products!)
  • Reduce cellulite – almost everyone has cellulite.  Cellulite happens when fat cells push through a stiff network of collagen under your skin, making an uneven appearance.  (source)  Body brushing increases the circulation (lymph and blood) to the area, which both nourishes and softens the collagen, as well as speeds removal of any waste products / toxins.  Both of which are supposed to reduce cellulite.  Increased blood flow often plumps up the skin and makes it look better too – also helpful for disguising cellulite!
  • Brush off dead skin cells – A good dry brush before the shower will loosen and slough off your dead skin cells, to be rinsed away in the shower.  Ahhh, smooth!
  • and oooooh it feels good! 


How to dry brush your skin

The mantra with body brushing is ‘towards your heart!’

If you remember that, you’ll do just fine.

You’ll also want to avoid sensitive areas (you know what I’m talking about), your face, and any broken/damaged skin.  (Don’t dry brush a sunburn – ouch!)

  • The easiest time to dry brush your skin is before a shower or bath (since you’re naked already!  I often dry brush while waiting for the water to get hot.)
  • Use whatever pressure feels good to you.  Start more gently and over time you can increase the pressure.
  • With the dry brush, start at your feet, and brush in long sweeping strokes up your feet and up your legs (go up all sides of your legs, constantly sweeping upwards with each stroke).
  • Brush your thighs (give an extra-firm brushing to the parts with cellulite!)
  • Brush your lower abdomen and buttocks.
  • Once you get to heart level, you need to switch direction.
  • Start with one arm and dry brush long sweeping strokes from the hand up towards the body.   Repeat with other arm.
  • Brush down your shoulders towards your heart.
  • Brush down your upper back towards your heart.
  • Brush anywhere you may have missed – towards your heart!  (Don’t brush your face – it’s too scratchy)
  • Finish with a shower to rinse off any dead skin cells.

Dry brushing tips

  • It’s worth repeating – don’t brush sensitive areas, your face or any broken/damaged skin!
  • Dry brushing is not a competition.  You don’t need to do it ‘the hardest’ or ‘the fastest’ or in a certain way.  In fact, unless you are a dry brushing exhibitionist, no one will see you doing it!  So just dry brush how it feels good to you (towards the heart, of course).
  • You can buy a dry brush at most drugstores or beauty supply shops.  Look for a brush with natural bristles (you can also find vegan-friendly natural bristles made from cactus)
  • Wash your dry brush every couple of months using a gentle shampoo or castille soap.


Now I’d like to hear from you!

Do you dry brush your skin?  What results have you noticed?  Share your dry brushing tips in the comments below!

About the author

Amanda Cook is an author, entrepreneur & alchemist. She helps entrepreneurs, business owners & executives rediscover their inner guidance, so they can create meaning, success & magic in their next stage of life & work.

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  1. Hi! I watched a youtube vid and the lady doing the vid said not to dry brush if you have fair skin that burns easily. Is this true? And why? Thanks! <3

  2. Amanda, I have been Dry Skin (Body) Brushing for two years now and I am so glad I started. The benefits for me are many. However, I had horrible anxiety about starting and two weeks of extreme detox symptoms when I did start. I blog, photograph and make videos about all of that at my site and I wrote the Dry Skin Brushing Survival Guide to help people over this hurdle.

    It sounds like you are part of the majority of people who can start Dry Skin Brushing without trouble, but that is not true for everyone. My site is found frequently by people who also have problems getting started with this wonderful practice due to emotional or physical reasons. I hope any of your readers with the same troubles might be helped if they visit.

    I joined you on Twitter and I hope you will do the same. I think we have very similar ideas. Take care and I am so glad you stopped coloring your hair!

    Sharon at fitinfun

  3. Hi Amanda going to try it,cant open vídeo about workshop;( love all the tips,maybe yoi have something natural to remove unwanted hair in face?

  4. Great reminder. I’ve been dry brushing for several years now, but have seemed to drop that habit over the past year, only infrequently dry brushing. I would usually dry brush first thing in the morning, but have added other things for health in the mornings now, and hopefully this reminder will get me to include dry brushing on a daily basis again. Thanks

    1. HI Ellen, I keep my dry brush right by the shower so it reminds me while I’m waiting for the water to heat up.

  5. I have dry brushed for a couple of weeks. My skin feels soft and more alive. After the bath, I put on a little sesam oil. I love it!

  6. I’ve been dry brushing for a while, off and on. I need to be more consistent because it does feel really great. Great info and reminder. Thanks Amanda!

  7. I just started about two weeks ago, and I love it! I just feel better and cleaner afterward. Great post!

  8. I do dry brush and after my shower I follow up with applying coconut oil to my skin. Wonderful!

  9. I dry brush! Have been since about February. I love it! My skin feels smoother and softer, definitely less cellulite, and after exercise I feel like it helps muscle recovery.

    I also have a smaller, softer brush for facial brushing.

    1. Good idea about the facial brush, I’ve seen those but never tried it before. I imagine you make circular motions with that though?

      1. Yes, just circular motions and not pressing too hard. I have read in a few places that you should set a timer and do it for a minute but I tend to just keep going till my whole face has been brushed.

      2. Awesome! I’m definitely going to try this body brushing, but question: is the facial brushing the same idea in terms of doing it on dry skin? does something like an old, soft toothbrush work? (just saw an image of that pop up when I did a google image search) 🙂

      3. I have read that people do that, or use baby hairbrushes too. I bought a proper facial brush but really only because I happened to see one that wasn’t too expensive (in a supermarket, of all places!). I use it on dry skin, but I have also heard some people do it wet.

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