By Hilary Sheinbaum
Dry brushing has been around forever — literally. Yes, we all probably have a brush under some bathroom cabinet from years ago that has seen better days, but this relaxing form of body care itself has been around since ancient Egypt. Even still, it has laid low until a recent resurgence in the last year, with influencers, celebs, and self-care enthusiasts alike heralding it for its functionality and how convenient it is to slip into your daily or nightly routine.
The process isn’t too long and it’s the perfect way to start off a Friday night dip in the tub or an early Monday morning. While you may get the gist — or have spent years lackadaisically dragging it around your body — you might be wondering what dry brushing actually entails and if it’s something you should even be doing. We say definitely. With the combination of benefits and the unique sensation of its bristles (and how your skin feels after), it’s almost too easy to fall in love with it.
Dry brushing consists of taking a (dry) bristled body brush and sweeping it around bare skin. It sounds a bit painful, but with the right technique and products, it feels both relaxing and invigorating at the same time.
“While dry brushing can be energizing, it’s also quite meditative,” says Kate McLeod, owner and founder of the eponymously named brand, which sells body brushes and corresponding body butter stones. “Slowing down with the dry brush can bring a major release of tension, and an added moment of relaxation to your nighttime routine.”
You may have heard people harping on the fact that dry brushing is good for circulation and detoxification, but McLeod emphasizes it goes beyond that: “Everyone talks about dry brushing benefits such as enhanced blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, but there’s so much more you’re getting out of adding it to your self-care ritual.” Dry brushing can assist you in detoxifying your body and is a fabulous practice to start doing routinely before hopping in the shower or tub.
There is evidence of it being useful for giving your skin a healthy glow and reducing the appearance of cellulite, too.
It also boosts your skin’s ability to absorb the formulas you’re putting on it. “You’re clearing your pores of hairs, dead cells, and pollutants that prevent skin from most effectively absorbing moisture,” says McLeod, adding that using something like Kate McLeod’s body stone or another nourishing product after is even more beneficial once your skin has been prepped with the brush.
There are a few different ways to go about body brushing, but the general consensus is using long strokes or circles in an upward motion is best — for most of your body.
To start, take your brush and sweep upwards on your legs. You should apply gentle pressure, but not enough to the point of it being painful or abrasive. Once you’ve done your legs, move to your arms and repeat the same motion.
On your chest, you’ll want to sweep up or in a clockwise motion. Your stomach is the only area where you’ll change direction. Once you get here, you’ll want to sweep downwards. Some slight redness, a comfortable tingling, and a major glow can all be expected.
After you’re done you can rinse off in a warm shower or bath. As a final step, apply an oil, body butter, or lotion after drying for optimum moisture and nourishment.
Then, sit back, relax, and revel in the perfect blend of zen and invigoration you and your skin will be feeling. This simple act always feels like one of life’s simple luxuries. As McLeod says, “Taking the time to attend to your body is so incredibly powerful. It’s confidence-boosting, it’s restoring, it’s truly everyday magic.”
For the ultimate dry brushing experience, you’ll want to invest in one (or all) of these products. Whether you need a long-necked brush for getting those hard-to-reach places or are in search of a creamy lotion or oil post-shower, we’ve got you covered, below.