Dry brushing involves using a specially formulated brush on your skin. Most dry brushing practitioners recommend brushing your torso, arms and legs in the direction of your heart for a period of several minutes a day up to twice a day.
Why Use a Dry Brush?
Advocates of dry brushing believe that the practice promotes blood flow and circulation, reduces the appearance of cellulite, and exfoliates to leave your skin better toned, softer, and more hydrated.
Dry brushing may also ameliorate the appearance of dry or scaly-looking skin over time by sloughing off the dead skin cells on the outermost surface. Using a dry brush may encourage detoxification in the body as dry brushing increases blood flow and improves lymphatic circulation.
If you’re looking to improve the appearance of unsightly cellulite, dry brushing might temporarily reduce the dimpling typical of the condition by giving the skin a plumper look through enhanced circulation.
Dry brushing can also provide some of the same benefits as a massage, such as sensations of relaxation and rejuvenation, as it involves repetitive movements stimulating the skin.
However, unlike a massage you can simply use your dry brush whenever required from the comfort of your own home without the fuss of booking and paying for an appointment at a spa or with a massage therapist.
Dry brushing might also help to reduce the appearance of visible bloating, and some individuals who use a dry brush regularly claim it assists with relieving stress.
Using a dry brush isn’t for everyone—if you have a dermatological condition (like psoriasis or eczema) that results in inflamed or open areas on your skin, using a dry brush may aggravate the symptoms.
How Does Dry Brushing Work?
Using a dry brush is a relatively straightforward practice to master—all that’s required is you and a high-quality dry brush, preferably with natural bristles as synthetic may cause skin irritation.
Most individuals who use dry brushes have daily sessions, and although dry brushing isn’t harmful if it can cause skin sensitivity if practiced to excess (i.e. more than twice daily).
It’s preferable to follow a dry brush session with a shower, as the dry brushing promotes exfoliation and, depending on the condition of your skin, there may be skin flakes that fall off your body during and after the process.
For this same reason, you may want to conduct your dry brushing session in the bathroom or on a tiled surface to easily clean up any residual falling skin.
Begin brushing your arms, legs and torso in whatever order is preferable to you, always ensuring that you’re motioning the brush in the direction of your heart rather than away from it (i.e. brushing feet to thighs, hands to shoulders, and stomach to chest).
A dry brushing session doesn’t need to last for more than several minutes—brush over each area several times. Take care to apply the amount of pressure that suits you and feels comfortable.
Once you’ve completed the dry brushing session, you may either wipe your skin down with a washcloth or towel, or jump into the shower ; whatever’s your preference.
Depending on how frequently you use it, a dry brush should be washed with gentle soap and water once a week and left to air dry (preferably in the sun) to avoid mildew.
How to Choose the Right Dry Brush
Dry brushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Bristles may be synthetic or natural, and bristle firmness ranges from very soft to firm.
A small, handheld dry brush without a handle is ideal if you’re capable of reaching all areas of your body with your hands, but may not be the best option for individuals with conditions that make it difficult to bend to reach your legs and back (i.e. obesity, back injuries, fractures, etc).
Although more costly, a dry brush with a long handle will allow you to reach all necessary areas of your body with minimal effort. Dry brushes with detachable handles are also available if you want to have the two options.
There are three types of bristles used on dry brushes: boar bristles, vegetable or plant bristles, and synthetic bristles. Natural bristle brushes tend to be a more popular option as synthetic fibers can irritate skin.
When selecting a dry brush, it’s important to consider your personal preference and skin type. Extra-soft and soft bristle dry brushes are ideal for use on delicate areas like your face, or for people new to the dry brushing process looking to get acclimatized to the sensation.
Medium bristle dry brushes are beneficial for body brushing, but should not be used on the face and used gently on tender areas like the chest and stomach.
Finally, dry brushes with extra firm bristles are generally used for body brushing by experienced individuals with skin accustomed to regular brushings who wish to increase sensation.
Quality is also key when it comes to selecting the right dry brush. Ideally, you want to select a brush that’s made from high quality materials, that’s durable, and that will last for a long time.
Poor quality dry brushes tend to shed their bristles, which reduces the effectiveness of the practice as well as being inconvenient. Although dry brush bristle shedding may happen over time with frequent usage, a lower quality brush will shed its bristles rapidly (or the bristles will flatten, which renders the dry bush much less effective).
The materials used for the base and handle (if there is one) of a dry brush is also a key contributing factor to quality. Dry brushes with plastic bases may be more likely to accumulate mildew over time as well as be subject to breakage, and if the brush handle is made with cheap materials it may also be more subject to breaking or cracking over time.
The following video suggests tips on choosing a high-quality, long-lasting dry brush:
What Is the Best Dry Brush?
Although any of the dry brushes we’ve mentioned here will benefit your skin through improving circulation and exfoliating, the ideal dry brush is not just one that gets the job done. Other important aspects of a pedigree dry brush include high-quality materials for base as well as bristles, durability, adaptability, and ease of use.
For these reasons, our recommended best dry brush is the Zen Vitality Body Brush Exfoliation System. Not only is the brush long lasting with a lotus wood base and natural boar bristles, it’s a versatile product that can be used by almost any individual and is even suitable for sensitive skin types.
Purchasing the Zen Vitality dry brush also includes a set of other useful skincare accessories and a descriptive brochure ensuring you know how to use everything to its best advantage. The company itself follows up with each client to through a series of emails detailing further guidelines, tidbits and maintenance instructions.