We won’t build the suspense too much – though it might seem a bit ascetic, dry brushing is the most comprehensive method to counter those hair ingrowths and keep cellulite under control. Plus, it has a bunch of other benefits – it increases blood circulation, stimulates lymphatic drainage that helps shed excess body water and toxins faster, banishes chicken skin on your limbs and of course, gives you soft and smooth skin all over!
FYI, dry brushing is an age-old ritual – the ancient Greeks, the Cherokee Indians, the Japanese, all the wise old guys did it – and Miranda Kerr, if that’ll persuade you. So what is it? Basically an amped up version of your average exfoliation without your regular body scrub – you massage your dry body with a sturdy brush to slough away all those dead skin cells and make way for new, pink skin to surface. It’s a popular treatment on spa menus, but you can attempt it in the comfort of your own tub, so long as you have the right tool.
It’s All About The Brush
Pick a natural bristled brush over a synthetic one, typically cactus or vegetable-derived – one that’s not too soft lest it doesn’t have any affect, nor too stiff so it isn’t abrasive. You want your brush to be gentle but firm so it invigorates the skin, and not scratch it. There are cooler brush upgrades to consider as well – a copper wool brush (the material produces charged oxygen ions by air friction that boost circulation), or if you can get your hands into a pair raw silk gloves, they create static electricity that works to circulate stagnant lymphatic fluid. You could also use a loofah if that’s more convenient, but stay away from the waxy ones you get at the drugstore – choose a nylon one instead.
Ensure that your skin is completely dry before you start. Another way is massaging some coconut oil onto the skin before you start – not the traditional method, but no harm taking advantage of the good fats. Dry brushing before your nightly bath is ideal, that way when you get pink and slightly sore (which you will), you have all night to rehydrate.
Start brushing upward from the ankles, using light but firm strokes – you always have to brush towards the heart because that’s the way the lymph flows naturally. Do each limb at a time systematically so you don’t miss any sweet spots – under the arms included. When you come to the stomach area, use clockwise circular strokes – this also helps with digestion. While some say slow, rhythmic strokes work better than shorter, brisker ones, do the former when you want to relax and the latter when you want an energy boost.
After your bath (preferably with cold water), you have to moisturise. Slather yourself! This is as important as the brushing itself. After putting your skin through all that scrubbing, you want to wrap yourself up in the comfort of moisturisation. Again, apply a nourishing body lotion/body oil from the ankles up.
Keeping At It
Start off dry brushing three times a week, but if you feel too sore to continue, drop it to maybe twice. Keep at it for at least a month to see obvious results. Warning: Avoid any problem skin areas like rashes and sunburns – you don’t want to aggravate them. And finally, keep your brush clean – you don’t want any bacteria buildup! Wash it in a 10:1 water-bleach mix and let it air dry.
Here are some efficient brushes you can try – and some body moisturisers that work well post dry brushing.