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Dry Brushing 101

Everybody raise your hand if your skin is scaly and dry and it’s the winter time and you’re sick of it but using scrubs in the shower is a certain kind of pain in the butt. Are your hands up? Both of mine are.

I hate dry winter skin. It is killing me, Smalls! But more than the hate that I have for dry winter skin is the hate that I have for body scrubs. They use up so quickly, they gum up the shower drain, they leave a salty film on the floor of the tub, they are expensive, and they smell funny sometimes. Gross, unnecessary, disinterested.

I was skimming Instagram a few weeks ago when a friend’s photo of a body brush popped up. “Loving dry brushing!” her caption read. Ten comments from some of my good friends echoed, “Dry brushing is the best!” I was like, oh really now?

So I did some research into dry brushing and decided to give it a try. I’ve been dry brushing at night before my showers for the last two weeks and I am happy to report, it is AMAZING.

Dry brushing is simply that: brushing your skin using short strokes with a dry, natural bristle brush. The benefits of dry brushing go on for days. Smoother skin, clear pores, stimulated lymphatic system, improved skin elasticity, better circulation . . . it is said to increase your cells in the detoxification process and is even reported to reduce cellulite. Well shoot.

The process is simple and can be as quick or take as long as you’d like. First, you need a body brush (how about THIS ONE?). Then, you need some quiet time before a shower. Give yourself five minutes. Lock the door for crying out loud, this would look funny to walk in on.

Starting at the soles of your feet, brush your skin in short, circular motions, always aiming in the direction of your heart. Continue up your leg, then repeat the process starting with the other foot. Next brush up your abdomen (feel free to take it a little softer on delicate tummy skin) and toward your heart, and then start in on the palms of your hands, brushing up to your shoulders. When you get to your back, direct your brush strokes toward your stomach. Do you want to brush your neck? Go for it. Do you want to brush your face? No, you do not. (Save that for your Clarisonic.)

The first time I tried dry brushing I was a little skeptical, and I figured it would hurt. But the good news is, it feels good. It hurts in the best possible way. Your skin literally tingles, and you do feel crazy refreshed after. Some nights, after a long day, a rough dry brushing session is the best stress buster known to man. By the time I step into the shower my skin is buzzing, I’m pink all over, and my skin feels crazy soft. Bonus: you can take it easy on the soap, because you’ve already sloughed off most of the environmental toxins and dirt you’ve picked up during the day.

Also I feel like dry brushing is something Gwyneth Paltrow would do and really, that’s reason enough for me.

Hey, so how often should you dry brush? That really depends on your skin, but experts recommend at least twice a week for optimal results (I like every other day or so). And please note, if you have eczema, open wounds, or particularly sensitive skin, you may need to alter your approach to accomodate those areas and/or skip it all together.

With all this dry brushing you are going to need a really excellent body lotion, yes? Next week…stay tuned!

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