I know I have been covering the topic of dry body brushing for years here on Nourished Life but trust me, it's for good reason! I have written loads of blog posts like why you should be dry body brushing and how body brushing can help with keratosis pilaris, but I honestly believe it is much more than just a fad!
What is dry body brushing?
Dry body brushing is a special type of skin brushing, part of the traditional Ayurveda approach to health and wellbeing. It involves a dry massage (on fresh, clean and dry skin — no oils or lotions involved) with a brush, sponge or glove, and is designed to help refresh skin, stimulate the lymphatic system and enhance blood circulation.
What does dry body brushing do?
Body brushing is said to have a wide range of benefits for our skin and bodies — here are just a few of the top benefits!
Exfoliation — the gently abrasive bristles can help to buff away dry and dead skin cells on the skin's surface, leaving behind fresh skin. It's also known to help target blocked pores and keratosis pilaris (those annoying bumps on arms), and is a great way to get rid of ingrown hair. On top of all that, dry body brushing is also amazing for prepping skin before fake tan application — the best time to do this is the day before you plan to apply fresh fake tan.
Lymphatic drainage and circulation — the stimulating action of body brushing is said to be a great way to help assist the lymphatic system. Lymph is actually fluid in our bodies which works to remove toxins and waste, and is closely tied to our blood circulation. Dry body brushing may help to boost the lymphatic system by stimulating and encouraging blood flow — basically this massage can help to get things moving again!
Cellulite — thanks to its ability to help support the lymphatic system and circulation, dry body brushing can also be great for targeting cellulite. Cellulite can appear as the result of fatty deposits in connective tissue, so while it can't get rid of cellulite completely, dry body brushing can work to help break down deposits and eliminate excess fluid as part of its lymphatic massage, reducing the appearance of cellulite and leaving your skin more firm, tight, plump and smooth.
Some other benefits that I personally have noticed include that it can actually help with energy levels! I have noticed that the increase in circulation leaves me feeling totally buzzed and energetic after each brush. Another plus is that my body moisturiser seems to absorb so much better after each session, similar to the way that dermal rolling works for our faces.
Dry body brushing technique
The best time to dry body brush is right before a shower, preferably in the morning. This way, any impurities loosened on the skin's surface can simply be washed away in the shower, leaving you with soft, supple and smooth skin afterwards. How often you brush can depend on personal preference — some people love to lightly body brush every day, but others find it's only needed once or twice a week. Dry body brushing is great for all skin types, but if you have sensitive skin or are just starting out, I would recommend body brushing just once per week.
How to dry body brush
When dry body brushing, always use upward strokes, toward your heart. This technique is said to help support the body's natural circulation and lymphatic system.
Remember not to use too much pressure — the aim is not to scratch skin but stimulate it, so just use a comfortable amount of pressure, adjusting it depending on how sensitive each area is. Make sure you only brush lightly on delicate areas, avoiding particularly sensitive areas, as well as any broken or inflamed skin. It's totally normal for some redness to occur after brushing thanks to increased circulation.
Dry body brushing is fast and easy, all you need is a spare 5 minutes pre-shower!
1. Start with the soles of your feet, brushing them in long, quick strokes. Next, move up your legs, brushing from the top of your feet to your thighs and buttocks. You can also do a few short strokes behind your knees.
2. Moving up the body, brush your arms, moving in strokes from hands to elbows, then upper arms to shoulders. You can also gently brush underneath your arms (remember to use only very light pressure on the underarms.)
3. Next, gently brush your chest, stomach, back and shoulders. For these areas you can actually use circular, clockwise movements. Generally, dry body brushing is not recommended for the face and neck since these areas are so delicate and sensitive.
Follow with a shower to wash away any dead skin and impurities lifted by brushing, then apply your favourite body lotion or oil to help lock in moisture and keep your freshly exfoliated skin feeling soft and smooth.
How to clean your dry body brush
To keep your body brush nice and clean, just wash it with a mild, naturally antibacterial liquid soap, like the Dr Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap in Tea Tree. Try to only wet the bristles when rinsing, not the backing. Pat the bristles onto a towel to dry, then leave your brush to dry out completely in a well ventilated area, making sure the bristles are facing down. Also make sure the brush is completely dry before your next use.
Why dry body brushing is still relevant today
I love dry body brushing because it is actually one of the most eco-friendly ways you can exfoliate your skin — perfect if you are following a low-to-no plastic lifestyle. Instead of using packaged scrubs or those awful mainstream body scrubs with microbeads, dry body brushing is a waste-free way to thoroughly exfoliate our skin, not to mention it's totally cost-effective too — made from just natural wood and cactus bristles, one brush can last you a lifetime!
Best dry body brush
Hydrea Vegan Dry Body Brush
An all-time Nourished Life bestseller, the Hydrea Vegan Dry Body Brush is by far the best natural body brush I have found! This deluxe brush is plastic-free, made from vegan Cactus (Tampico) plant bristles and FSC certified Beechwood. What makes this brush so unique is that the bristles have been cut on a special angle to hug the body, providing smooth exfoliation without scratching or pulling at skin. It also features a handy, snug-fitting strap for easy use all over the body — just slide your hand in and brush all over.
Sources: The Chopra Centre, ELLE, Vogue.