Change for Good: Dry Brushing

While I was on disability, I went down a bit of an internet rabbit hole (well I went down quite a few because there’s not much else to do when hopped up on Percocet and on bed rest but let’s stay on topic). I was looking into natural looking and gradual sunless tanners (the results can be found in this post), but many articles and reviews I read discussed the importance of exfoliation before application, and a few recommended dry brushing.

the benefits of dry brushing

Oh yeah, dry brushing! I used to do that back when I worked for The Body Shop! I was a trainer for the company so I ended up trying every product we had including the body brush (FYI that painfully stiff natural body brush isn’t for lathering your back even though they advertise it as such) but when surrounded by hundreds of beauty products and being young and able to look fresh after six cocktails and three hours of sleep, I didn’t stick to much of a skincare regimen. But now in my late 30s and full of painkillers and chemicals from surgeries, the detoxification and skin improving properties of dry brushing sounded mighty appealing.

As I mentioned in this post, I read the eBook The 10-Day Skin Brushing Detox after seeing so many rave reviews for it online and purchased this $10 body brush. Once the brush arrived in the mail, I started dry brushing the very next day. I started with a very light touch – that brush can feel pretty scratchy on the skin! But with time, you find you can handle and even enjoy a rougher brushing and may adjust the method to your needs. I wake, use the toilet, and right away dry brush. If I wait, I end up having on clothes or moisturizer or sweat from walking or it just seems like a burden. But keep the brush in the bathroom (it has a loop, I hang it on the back of the door), strip, brush, and move on. Within a week it should be as much habit as brushing your teeth.

I start with my left leg, brushing from the tips of my toes up to my hips, the side, and then my rear. Then the other side. I then do my arms from tips (or cast), to shoulders, putting focus on my elbows which get dry. I then brush my neck from face down, circles from the middle of my breastbone out to my arms, light brushing over the breasts, brushing from below the breasts to the abdomen, counter-clockwise on the abdomen, then from the pubic bone up (over the “mama pooch” and post-baby stretch marks). Sometimes I do my face (light stroke on side of nose from forehead to chin, then three swipes from nose out, then other side), sometimes I just go straight to back of neck and shoulders, try to scratch as much of the back as possible, and another go at the bum to tackle the cellulite.

The Benefits of Dry Brushing

The external benefits: Your skin needs less moisturizer – if you forget to lotion up after a shower it’s not that noticeable. Your skin will look more taut; I noticed this most on my thighs, hips, and upper arms. You will have a glow, thanks to better circulation, and that glow lasts all day. Fewer ingrown hairs and if you have Keratosis Pilaris it can help reduce it without inflammation. Many find their cellulite is reduced and it supposedly helps prevent spider and varicose veins.

The internal benefits: Many of us live pretty sedentary lives sitting at a desk all day and driving in cars. Dry brushing helps the body detoxify itself through the skin and the lymphatic system, something that your body may not do as well as it should with your lifestyle. Pregnant women are encouraged to dry brush to prevent swelling and edema. I find that dry brushing gives me a buzz that works like a small cup of coffee and helps me be motivated to go on my morning walk.

I’ve been dry brushing almost daily since June and my skin looks younger, firmer, and healthier than it has in years. I now look forward to it, and have increased pressure. Oh, and to go back to the original reason I started dry brushing, it does exfoliate the skin perfectly for an even sunless tan or to better absorb any moisturizer!

Have you tried dry brushing? What do you think of it?

What I Wore: Mom Style

wardrobe oxygen what I wore weekend style gap ann taylor wardrobe oxygen what i wore duo boots

wardrobe oxygen what i wore ann taylor cashmere poncho

Poncho: Ann Taylor | Tee: J. Crew Factory (similar) | Jeans: Gap | Boots: c/o DUO Boots | Bag: c/o Fossil (similar) | Bracelet: CC Skye (similar)

It’s starting to feel like fall, so I HAD to whip out this poncho from Ann Taylor and my tall boots! While I’ll miss summer, I do enjoy fall fashion and it’s been great to sleep with the windows open and add an extra quilt to the bed!

This poncho was a splurge, but as I said in this post, it’s a classic that will look great for many years. I knew I’d wear it in a casual manner like this for errands and weekend “Mom Style,” but also think it would look elegant in the office over blouses and trousers. I was excited to see these boots match this bag from Fossil; I haven’t featured it on the blog since this post but am really feeling brown leather this season.  The bag is big enough to carry everything I need for a weekend on the go!

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Ask Allie: Feminine Capsule Wardrobe of Neutrals

I love the idea of capsule wardrobes and minimalism but I can’t seem to make it work. I buy basics but they don’t work with each other so I end up buying more and more. I like neutrals (camel, cream, grey with jeans and brown shoes) and I like a polished and professional but feminine look but I’m buying and looking like a forest ranger instead of Katharine Hepburn. Help me get on the right track!

Oh those must-have closet essentials, they get us every time! The thing is, what is considered a classic or essential to one woman can be useless or terribly unflattering to the other. The best way to figure out your personal closet staples or wardrobe must-haves is to look at what you already wear and love the most. Guessing by your forest ranger comment I’m betting you’re purchasing a lot of structured pieces like crisp button-front shirts, trenches, straight trousers and that may be the problem. I made a capsule wardrobe of very classic pieces, but with a softer, more feminine touch to steer clear of any park ranger vibes.

A good way to make neutrals look luxe instead of uniform is focusing on texture. Leather, denim with strategic fading or distressing, lace and crocheted fabric, silk, cashmere, wool, ruffles and draping, cable knits. Almost every piece in this capsule has some sort of texture to make it stand out. Instead of a crisp button-front, choose a silk blouse or a weathered denim shirt. Instead of a blazer or twill jacket consider toppers in tweed, boucle, denim, and leather. Strategic pleating and ruffles make a simple camel dress or silk shell showstoppers without affecting their versatility.

The best way to make pieces in your wardrobe work with one another is to imagine or write down potential outfits before you shop and as you consider every new purchase. If it can’t be incorporated into at least three outfits with what you already own, it doesn’t deserve space in your capsule wardrobe. The point of a capsule is to have everything work in harmony, and adding items that aren’t versatile can quickly cause your capsule to collapse and have you spend far more than you want. To help, make an album on your phone or jot down in a small notebook the current pieces in your wardrobe that work so you can stay focused when you shop. I also recommend wearing pieces from your wardrobe and the shoes you’ll likely wear with the future garment when shopping so you get a realistic feel for its versatility and appropriateness.

And finally, go slow. It’s not as though your closet is bare, it’s just not what you like. So shop with care, adding slowly so the pieces are ones you love now and will still enjoy a year from now. If you shop slowly and purchase fewer items, you can wait for great sales and invest in higher quality items that will last more than a season. The point of a capsule wardrobe is to have more with less, more style with fewer garments, more options while spending less money, more outfits with less stress of figuring out how to put them together each morning. It’s worth the wait for the right pieces that make you feel and look great and work nicely with one another.

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