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?


  1. Kristin Kane
    September 26, 2014 / 8:13 am

    Thanks for reminding me about dry brushing. I was doing this last summer but got out of the habit. I don’t know why…my skin did feel great and I love that little burst of energy it gives you in the morning!!

  2. Galena
    September 22, 2014 / 10:56 am

    Does it matter what time of day you do it? Is it best to do in the morning, or could I do it in the evening as part of my shower routine (I shower at night)? I am not a morning person and get up at the last possible minute, so my trying to incorporate dry brushing in the morning is probably doomed to fail. But I could easily do it in the evening!

    • September 22, 2014 / 11:02 am

      I recommend doing more research than just my blog post if you want to start, but from what I’ve read doing it at night can affect your sleep because it stimulates your body and increases blood flow. Definitely don’t do the bottoms of your feet because that can really charge up your body, but the book I mention suggests a gentle night brushing in addition to morning.

      • Galena
        September 22, 2014 / 11:05 am

        Thanks for the tip! I bet even just incorporating dry brushing on weekend mornings (when I’m not rushed and can actually see myself doing it) will provide an improvement! And I definitely don’t want to chance having it affect my sleep schedule.

  3. Saniel
    September 21, 2014 / 10:14 am

    Is it necessary to have a different brush for each family member? When your brushing is it on the bath mat, floor-clean up process? Vacuum,sweep. Is it then necessary to use a sugar scrub exfoliate in the shower if doing dry brushing?

    • September 21, 2014 / 7:24 pm

      Yes, each family member should have his own brush. I haven’t seen much come off from the brushing so I haven’t put down a towel or vacuumed more than usual. I don’t use a scrub in the shower but I’d try for a week and see if you may be able to stop it; I know I now can miss a day of lotion and can hardly tell and my skin glows!

  4. Aimee
    September 19, 2014 / 7:51 pm

    I tried it years ago and liked it but stopped at some point. You’ve reminded me about it and it’s on my list of things to get! It really does feel great.

  5. Susan
    September 19, 2014 / 4:24 pm

    I bought a dry brush and I think it was way too soft – it didn’t feel like it did anything. I’m going to have to try it again.

  6. kaijsa
    September 19, 2014 / 2:19 pm

    I have a separate dry brush for my face that’s smaller and softer than my body brush. It squicks me out to think of rubbing my face with a brush that was on my rear and feet, but also I worry about sensitive facial skin. So far I’m getting into a groove of dry brushing after a summer of doing it. I totally agree with Ali that it’s energizing!

    • September 19, 2014 / 2:21 pm

      Good point, hence me hardly ever doing it! Pretty much only when it’s been cleaned, and though they encourage it, I never dry brush the bottom of my feet, I don’t want my feet on the rest of my bod 🙂

  7. September 19, 2014 / 2:09 pm

    I want to try this but my skin is so sensitive. Did you read anything about if people with sensitive skin and eczema are recommended to dry brush?

    • September 19, 2014 / 2:19 pm

      I read that it’s good for it, but that’s via Google, and I wouldn’t trust that alone. Do some research, consult your dermatologist, but many find it helps things like eczema and KP because it gently exfoliates and increases blood flow. Good luck!

  8. Kathryn B
    September 19, 2014 / 1:24 pm

    i’ve tried it once or twice but i’ve not really gotten into the habit. i definitely think i’ll give it another shot now, thanks for all the info!!!

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