January is a time for renewal, and one great way to renew your commitment to your health is with a detox. I had planned to be in the midst of this detox plan right now, but my emergency trip to Pittsburgh forced me to focus on other things for a while. (Side note: Anyone interested in a not-so-New-Year detox in February?)
My plans to detox haven’t completely fallen by the wayside, though—one thing I’ve added to my routine over the past few weeks is a technique that helps detox from the outside-in, called dry brushing. I’d heard about dry brushing a few times, but then Spirit Demerson mentioned it was part of her daily routine on No More Dirty Looks. And Keri Waxer mentioned it too.
After a little research, I discovered why dry brushing is such a popular addition to a daily beauty routine. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and also your body’s ultimate defense between you and the environment. It’s also often referred to as the body’s “third kidney” because of the important role it plays in helping your body eliminate toxins. And just look at this list of benefits:
- Helps shed dead skin cells to improve skin texture
- Increases circulation and stimulates your lymph system
- Reduces cellulite
- Strengthens the immune system
- Stimulates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin
- Tones muscles and tightens skin
Plus, as if all of those benefits aren’t enough, it honestly just feels good. I haven’t been dry brushing long enough to start seeing big results, but one thing I noticed right away is that I feel much more invigorated post-shower. Read on to find out how to get started!
- Get a natural bristle brush or loofah. I love my new Hydrea London body brush for dry brushing (thanks, Aunt Jackie!), because I can strap the brush onto my hand for more control, and then add the long handle so that I don’t miss any spots on my back. If your skin is extra-sensitive, look for a brush or loofah that’s on the softer side—you should be able to graduate to a stiffer brush eventually if you think your skin will respond well.
- Brush once a day, preferably in the morning. This is especially important if you have trouble sleeping—I find dry brushing to be so invigorating and stimulating that I doubt I’d be able to fall asleep if I brushed around bedtime.
- Brush immediately before a shower or bath. When you brush your skin, you remove dead skin cells—you’ll definitely want to rinse those off! (It may go without saying, but…you should also be dry. Hence “dry brushing.”)
- Always brush toward the heart. Some people recommend long, smooth brush strokes, while others suggest using a circular motion. Honestly, I don’t think it matters which technique you choose as long as your brushing toward your heart. Start with your feet and brush up your legs (front and back). Then brush your abdomen, up to your chest. For your arms, start with your hands and brush toward the body. On your back, brush up to your shoulder blades (this is where the long handled brush comes in handy), and then down your neck to your shoulders.
- Avoid sensitive areas and broken skin. Dry brushing shouldn’t irritate your skin—you also want to avoid brushing with too much pressure. If it hurts, you’re brushing too hard (or your skin is too sensitive for the brush you’re using).
- Rinse off in the shower. Some people suggest turning the water from hot to cold in three cycles to further stimulate your skin, but it’s not necessary.
- Pat dry and apply your favorite moisturizer or body oil.
- Wash your brush with soap and water once a week.
That’s it! The entire brushing process (not including the shower and moisturizing) should take about 5 minutes, unless you want to spend some extra time on areas with cellulite. So, how about it? Will you try this dry brushing technique? —Aleigh