I Tried It: Dry Brushing to Detox Your Skin

Dry Brushing to Detox Your SkinIf you’re looking to add a new detox technique to your daily beauty routine, one of the best options is dry brushing, which helps detox from the outside, in. 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. The first thing I noticed when I started dry brushing is that I feel much more invigorated post-shower. Read on to find out how to get started!

How to use dry brushing to detox your skin

  1. Get a natural bristle brush or loofah. I love my Hydrea London body brush for dry brushing 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.”)
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Pat dry and apply your favorite moisturizer or body oil.
  8. 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.

Have you tried this dry brushing technique? Share your experiences in the comments!

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18 Comments on I Tried It: Dry Brushing to Detox Your Skin

  1. Ashlie said on

    That does sound like something I would like to try.

    Are there specific techniques for cellulite areas?

    >> Reply

    • indigo+canary said on

      Not specific techniques, per se — but I would suggest spending extra time brushing the areas with cellulite (no need to brush harder). You could try brushing in circular motions on those areas as well. As I understand it, dry brushing basically helps break up those fatty deposits so your body can absorb, process and get rid of them more easily. I’ve read of some people who say they’ve noticed digestive changes after beginning dry brushing, while their bodies are processing the toxins, fat, etc. that the brushing is helping to dislodge. If you notice those kinds of changes, I think that’s a good sign! Does this help? —Aleigh

      >> Reply

  2. Amy said on

    I’m a dry-brushing FANATIC. It’s the best thing ever. Yay!

    >> Reply

    • indigo+canary said on

      That’s awesome, Amy! Do you have any helpful hints or tips to share? Have you noticed a difference in your skin? —Aleigh

      >> Reply

  3. Jan said on

    Natural bristles? Made of what? Please consider a vegan brush!

    >> Reply

    • indigo+canary said on

      Hi Jan, thanks for the comment! The Hydrea brush I use is made with an FSC-certified beechwood body and the bristles are made of sisal. Vegan! :) —Aleigh

      >> Reply

  4. Lauren said on

    I began to dry brush, but I think the brush I have is too harsh, because I started getting bruises and broken blood vessels on my legs, and I PROMISE I wasn’t pushing down like a maniac! I’m too scared to try it again- do you know if anyone carries a softer brush, or if that is even effective? The one I have is from EcoTools, and didn’t seem to be too stiff when I first bought it! I noticed Spirit Beauty Lounge only seems to carry ‘medium’ brushes (not to be negative- I LOVE her site, and order from it frequently! :)). I’ve searched a bit, but do you have any suggestions? Thank you!

    >> Reply

    • indigo+canary said on

      You just have delicate skin, Lauren! I’ve heard of people having good results using a loofah sponge (dry) or a warm wet washcloth using the same technique as the brush. After a little while your skin may get used to the exfoliation and you could try the brush again–but if you see results with the loofah or the washcloth, no need to try something firmer, I would think. Hope this helps! –Aleigh

      >> Reply

  5. Pingback: Going natural… « Just a Titch

  6. Michelle said on

    Dry brushing has been a part of my daily beauty routine for years, and I swear by it. I even have a smaller brush that I take when I am traveling to make sure I keep up with it. Thanks for sharing this post and your step-by-step guide to help others understand the wonderful benefits!!

    >> Reply

  7. Cindy Ball said on

    Where did you purchase the brush?

    >> Reply

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  10. 2ndNatureBeauty said on

    I’ve been meaning to try this! Really helpful post xx

    >> Reply

  11. DominionArtworks said on

    Hi. An older man I used to talk with at the gym had glowing skin. I asked what he was using and yes…he used the drybrush each day. I have purchased the popular used brush. It does take some getting used to. I also bought a less stiff bristled brush to adapt until I could use the coarser brush. Today I took my time and fifteen minutes later my skin was pink and I felt great. I would recommend not pressing very hard the bristles are coarse enough that you really don’t need to. Sometimes I brush before showering but usually afterward. I don’t know if it really matters as long as you are consistent. Happy Brushing! (lol…I am also a dental hygienist).

    >> Reply

  12. Sara said on

    Please help me out! Do you or any of your followers know about dry brushing problems? I have been dry brushing very consistently/once or twice per day for over two weeks now. My skin is much softer, but my back acne and keratosis pilaris on my upper thighs is way worse! I could tell after the first few days that I seemed to be “uncovering” acne/pimples with the brushing. Like they were coming to the surface in response to the brushing. But the acne on my back now is just terrible. Worse than before I started. Could I still be detoxing? Is my brush already dirty? Am I possibly allergic? I cannot find any info anywhere saying that dry brushing made the skin/acne worse. TIA!!

    >> Reply

    • indigo+canary said on

      I would suggest sticking with it for a bit longer, because like most detoxifying treatments, my guess is you’re helping to eliminate/bring that stuff to the surface. But you might be brushing too hard or using a brush that’s too rough — or your skin might just be too sensitive for dry brushing. :(

      >> Reply

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