What is dry brushing and what are the benefits?
If you’ve ever wanted to know the full scoop about dry brushing — what is dry brushing and what are the benefits? — you”ve landed on the right blog post. But first, let me give you a little context…
I resisted getting into the dry brushing craze.
I thought, “It’s just another fad.”
“I don’t have space in my bathroom for one more thing I won’t use.”
“What on earth is so special about dry brushing anyway?”
And now, I’m hooked.
So what is dry brushing and what are the benefits? Let’s dive in.
Benefits of dry brushing (the short version)
The most immediate benefit of dry brushing is that it feels good. After an intensive dry brushing session (I go hard), my skin feels like it can breathe, and I feel invigorated!
Personally, I like to dry brush AFTER my shower. I know that’s not what most teach, but the thought of dry brushing on sweaty, creamed or oiled skin just doesn’t work for me.
So, I dry brush after my shower, putting 2 drops of essential oils in my hands and rubbing the oils on the brush before brushing from feet to head. More info on that below…
Benefits of dry brushing (the full scoop)
1. Smoothes the look of cellulite
Let’s get one thing straight: there’s no evidence that dry brushing alone will reduce or banish cellulite. You can dry brush day and night, but, if you don’t change your diet and include exercise in your daily routine, your cellulite is here to stay.
Dry brushing does increase circulation to the skin, which could possibly reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Cellulite occurs when fat deposits push through the connective tissue beneath the skin. So, rather than taking drastic, painful and pricey measures like liposuction, how about utilizing dry skin brushing to help break down unwanted toxins?!
Though the evidence is anecdotal at best, I’ve found many accounts of people who claimed that regular dry brushing greatly helped to reduce their cellulite.
Again, dry brushing feels really good and will leave your skin feeling so soft, that alone is worth it!
2. Lymphatic Support
This is probably the least sexy of all benefits, but it’s the most important one for so many reasons.
First, the lymphatic system is a major part of the body’s immune system. It’s made up of organs and lymph nodes, ducts, and vessels that transport lymph throughout the body. Many of these lymph vessels run just below the skin.
Dry brushing the skin regularly helps stimulate the normal lymph flow within the body and helps the body detoxify itself naturally.
On the podcast, we talk a lot about ridding the body of toxins whether caused by pesticides, heavy metal in your water or using toxic skincare products that contain parabens, PHTHALATES, SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCE/PARFUM…
Think of dry brushing as supporting your skin in this final detoxifying process.
Dry brushing is wonderful for exfoliating dry skin gently and effectively.
My skin is usually pretty dry in winter, and I found that dry brushing (because it eliminates dead skin cells) helps absorb a body oil much better. My skin feels more hydrated and supple if I dry brush before applying oil or a body balm.
4. Smoother & Clearer Skin
Dry body brushing helps shed dead skin cells and encourages new cell renewal, which results in smoother and brighter skin. It can also help with any pesky ingrown hairs.
How to dry brush the skin
Dry brushing can be done daily over the whole body, preferably in the morning before showering because it’s so invigorating, but frankly, I mostly dry brush at night, so do what makes sense for your lifestyle.
It’s a good idea to start with a gentle brush and soft pressure. Work up to a firmer brush and more firm pressure over time. I would say that the Goop brush has a medium firmness.
1. Pour 2 drops of detoxifying essential oils in the palm of your hand, and wipe the oil over the entire brush so that it spreads evenly
2. Brush the bottoms of the feet and up the legs in long, smooth strokes. I typically brush each section of skin 10 times. For lymph flow, always brush toward the heart, where the lymph system drains
3. Repeat the process with the arms, starting with the palms of the hands/fingers and brushing up toward the heart
4. On the stomach, breasts, and armpits, brush in a circular clockwise motion
5. Repeat the process at least twice, it feels so good!
The technique of dry brushing
Working from left to right or clockwise is generally favored for massage as it helps release tension.
Use circular motion both clockwise and anti-clockwise on the stomach to energize your digestive system.
Line strokes up against the direction of hair growth to assist with exfoliating the dry skin buildup around the hair follicle and reduce the risk of ingrown hairs while increasing circulation.
Once I’ve completed 2 or 3 cycles, I apply a body oil. I’m currently loving this one called Altogether Oil from Detox Mode.
Does skin brushing actually work?
I haven’t been dry brushing for long enough to notice drastic changes, and I don’t expect dry brushing alone to get rid of my cellulite.
But the immediate benefits of increased circulation, stimulating and detoxifying the lymphatic system, and softer skin thanks to the exfoliation is benefit enough for me.
Selecting a dry brush
I’m currently using Goop’s dry brush, which is made from pure, natural sisal. It’s has an FSC-certified wooden handle and natural, biodegradable sisal fibers. I’m super happy with it.
I’ve read that we should replace our dry brush every 6 to 8 months, but, obviously, that would depend on the frequency of use. 6 to 8 months seems pretty short to me.
Which leads me to…
How to clean a dry brush
I did some research on how to clean a dry brush and was shocked to see that most articles coming up on dry brushing didn’t mention this little but oh-so-important detail!
Since dry brushing exfoliates the skin, where do the dead skin cells go?
Well, most of them end up on the floor (gross), some stay on your skin (hence taking a shower AFTER, Caroline), and the rest remain lodged in the bristles. Yikes.
After going down the Google rabbit hole reseraching dry brushing, I did find an article that recommends we clean our brush after each use.
To clean your dry brush, you spritz the bristles with a blend of essential oils and water, then leaving the brush to hang in a well-ventilated area. I’m not a fan of tea tree which is an oil a lot of people recommend for it s anti-bacterial properties but some of the oil will stay on the bristle, even if you rinse it, and I don’t suggest tea tree for sensitive skin, like EVER. I’ll be using doTERRA’s Purify, or OnGuard, or Lemon. (I have every oil made by doTERRA, so I can afford to make myself all-of-the-sprays my heart desires.)
For an in-depth wash — say, once a month — you wash your dry brush in soapy water. I’ll be using 1/45 of a teaspoon of doTERRA’s Onguard concentrate.
Leave your dry brush to air dry.
If we care for our dry brushes, they’ll last way more than 6 months.
A warning for sensitive skin
As common sense would have it, never dry brush over skin that’s broken, which includes cuts, scrapes, lesions, sores or sunburns.
Stop dry brushing if your skin becomes irritated or inflamed. I also do not recommend using the brush on your face. Use a special face dry brush; it’ll much softer than the body dry brushes.
As always, listen to your intuition, and pay attention to what works for you and your body.
Can I dry brush if I have sensitive skin, eczema or psoriasis?
If you have sensitive skin or a history of eczema or other skin conditions, you may want to skip dry brushing.
Aggressive skin brushing could irritate sensitive skin over time, so pay attention to what your skin is telling you. Extreme redness, discomfort, itchiness and pain after dry brushing is not normal, so keep that in mind as well. I have sensitive skin and have no problem with dry brushing — in fact, it’s helping the texture of my skin.
Dry brushing is safe and effective for most people, but it may not be for everyone, even when using the proper technique and pressure.
Get The (FREE) Essential Radiance Guide
Caroline's top 5 essential oils for glowing skin
Download the (free) Essential Radiance Guide where I share my top 5 essential oils for redness, inflammation, breakouts and dehydration. These pure essential oils are now part of my everyday skincare!
Podcast & Glow Blog
JTG #29 Herbs & Plant Medecine To Support Skin Health With Herbalist Rosalee De La Foret In this podcast episode I have the pleasure of asking my guest, Rosalee De La foret all-of-the-questions about herbs and plants to treat skin issues! Rosalee de la Forêt is...
JTG #28 My 30-Day Celery Juice Cleanse, Skin Reaction to Celery Juice & Can Celery Juice Heal Rosacea I've had so many questions on Instagram about my 30-day celery juice cleanse that I wanted to share all of the details (the good, the bad and the ugly) and answer...
My 30-day celery juice challenge & the (unexpected) impact it had on my skin IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING. I've had so many questions about my celery juice challenge on Instagram and the unexpected effect it had on my skin, that I knew I had to write a...
JTG #27 The DUTCH Test For Hormonal Balance & Clear Skin With Kristen Burkett Ever since hearing about DUTCH Test, I've been fascinated to learn more about how it can give us clues not only to heal our skin but on a deeper level, about our general well-being and...
An interview with Journey To Glow Founder Caroline Frenette I had the pleasure of being interviewed by one of my previous podcast guest and Functional Health Coach, Brigit Danner on why I created Journey To Glow! In this video, Bridgit and I talk about: Caroline's...
Gua Sha For Glowing Skin Move over, jade rollers; gua sha is stealing the spotlight. Gua sha, a method of facial massage with crystal tools, has recently sprung up all over Instagram — but it’s actually been around for thousands of years. With origins in the...
JTG #26 Renegade Beauty With Nadine Artemis Nadine Artemis is the author of two books including Renegade Beauty: Reveal and Revive Your Natural Radiance and Holistic Dental Care: The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums. Nadine is a gifted aromacologist who works...
Supplements For Energy & Vitality doTERRA's LLV Lifelong Vitality PackDoterra LLV Lifelong Vitality Pack Supplements had been on my radar for a while. But before I invest in a supplement I do research on the company, the ingredients, the quality. I ask my...
Peanut Butter Coconut Mango Smoothie This is a delish + super filling + energizing smoothie recipe! I like to have this smoothie mid-afternoon when I need a boost of energy or when I crave something sweet. Peanut Butter Coconut Mango Smoothie (Makes 2) 1 1/2 cup of...
JTG #25 Functional Nutrition To Clear Acne With Sara Korzeniewski In this episode of the Journey To Glow podcast, we answer ALL OF THE QUESTIONS about functional testing and a functional diagnostics + holistic nutrition approach to healing your skin as well as the...
JTG #24 Chinese Medicine To Heal Eczema, Psoriasis, Rosacea & Acne With Toni Balfour In this episode of the journey To Glow podcast I have the pleasure of talking to Toni Balfour about how Chinese Medicine can heal difficult skin conditions such as eczema,...
JTG #23 A Functional & Naturopathic Approach To Healing Skin With Dr. Lynne Racette In this episode we're talking about naturopathy to heal acne and other persistent skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis with Dr. Lynne Racette. Dr. Lynne is a...