Cold, dry winters usually mean flaky & uneven skin.
When the temperature starts to drop in September or October, I start amping up my dry-brushing routine. It’s easy to let it slide in the summer months, but during the frigid Canadian winter, my body is desperate for it!
Dry brushing is the act of brushing the entire body with a natural fibre brush to remove dead skin cells and reveal softer, smoother skin while increasing blood circulation, improving digestion and aiding lymphatic drainage.
Dry brushing has been apart of Scandinavian culture for thousands of years. Many other cultures such as the Japanese and Egyptians also appreciated the benefits of dry brushing for centuries.
The dry brush is usually made of wood and features natural bristles of sisal or palm fibers. Traditionally in Scandanavia, horse hair or boar bristles were used to make body brushes. These days, it's easy to find a dry brush that you can feel good about - ethically.
There are varying levels of hardness on a dry brush as well.
Smaller dry brushes that are used for more sensitive skin such as on the face or neck, feature softer bristles compared to a traditional body brush which can be coarser to promote increased blood flow.
There are so many health & beauty benefits that come from dry brushing!
If I didn't notice such a positive change in my skin's tone, texture, suppleness, let alone how great I feel after dry brushing thanks to the increased blood flow - I doubt I would have stuck with it this long.
Here are some benefits of dry brushing:
1) BETTER CIRCULATION
2) IMPROVED DIGESTION
3) SOFTER, SMOOTHER SKIN
4) MORE EVEN-TONED SKIN
5) SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED CELLULITE
6) ENERGIZING FEELING OF WELL-BEING
A great time to incorporate dry brushing into your routine is first thing in the morning, before you shower.
Some people like to spray a natural oil on their brush and dry brush after they shower so their pores are open and the body absorbs the oil on the bristles.
I prefer the dry brush before a shower. Our bodies feels energized after brushing, so to get into a hot shower right after is a great feeling!
I love to finish my shower with a cold blast for 5-10 seconds to re-energize me before I jump out. It also gets my endorphins going so I always feel good after, even if it is a bit of a shock to the system!H O W
Remove all clothing and start at your feet. Using smooth, sweeping motions, start brushing in the direction of your heart. Don’t press too hard, as the bristles are hard enough even with slight pressure. I remember reading on the back of a dry brush box that the pressure should be the same as if you were sliding a nickle along your skin. This may sound a bit odd, but if you think about that level of pressure, it makes sense!
From your feet, move up your legs to your abdomen area. Ensure you are always brushing towards your heart. Circular motions can also be used, especially around the chest area. Pay special attention to areas that see naturally dryer skin such as the elbows, knees, hands & feet.
NOTE: When you first get your dry brush, it may feel uncomfortably prickly against your skin. I recently bought a new one and noticed this immediately. I hadn't dry brushed for a few weeks so the combination of my skin not having had it for awhile and the harder bristles was a bit uncomfortable. Don't worry - it gets better! Within a few days dry brushing with a new brush, I felt so much better as my skin was getting used to it again and the bristles had naturally softened. :)
THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
I only recently learned about the lymphatic system and where our lymph nodes are located. There are many lymph nodes in our neck, under our armpits, above our groin area, and behind our elbows and knees - see Body Brushing Map above. These areas are important to focus on as the dry brushing will promote the lymph nodes to drain of toxins.
Notice the extra warm, tingling feeling you get when you dry brush around these specific areas. It’s almost like you can feel your lymphatic system waking up!
Dry brushing also helps minimize cellulite which if you are female over the age of 30, ( hi!) you will appreciate! Don’t expect to be cellulite free after dry brushing once, but you can definitely improve the appearance if you dry brush daily.
It’s important to clean your dry brush after each use. All you need is some tea tree oil and a couple minutes.
See below for tips on cleaning your dry brush.