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Brush Up on Dry Brushing

Doug Arnaudin


Today let's 'brush up' on a topic that's sweeping the body care market (Sweeping, see what I did there?) Dry brushing! I was first officially educated on the benefits of dry brushing when I trained with VMV Hypoallergenics for their delicious Hydrating Coconut Body Wrap. "We begin by dry brushing the guest's skin, then drizzle and massage warmed coconut oil, and snugly wrap guest in a natural muslin cloth" my educator said in her soft sing-song spa voice. It all sounded so delightful but I knew very little at the time about the true magic this little brown brush held. Through my continued research, training, and (glorious) first hand experience, this is what I know (and love) about dry brushing -- and why you'll love it, too!

The most basic function of dry brushing is mechanical exfoliation -- which is defined as physically rubbing off dead skin cells with the use of (minor) force and (gentle) abrasives. When we exfoliate, we encourage the synthesis of new, healthy, plump-as-a-dumpling cells in the lower layers of the epidermis. This process is called "cell turnover". By gently brushing away these keratinized dead cells, the skin becomes more radiant and smooth. Plus, it more readily absorbs any nutrients you apply afterward. 

While exfoliation is clearly a benefit, the most interesting perk (exclusive to dry brushing) is manual lymphatic drainage. Say whaaaaaa? That's right, by stimulating the skin using light circular-toward-the-heart strokes, you are actually aiding in circulation! Lymph is a circulatory network in our bodies secondary to our cardiovascular system; however, unlike our blood, which has a loyal-always-beating autonomic pump (the heart), our lymph does not. Which is why we need to  help out! By muscle contraction (i.e. exercise) and regular massage, we ensure the lymph doesn't stagnate and accumulate waste buildup. 

Still need convincing? Many sources claim that regular dry brushing will reduce the appearance of cellulite. Notice the words "reduce the appearance"?  I don't want to make lofty claims, but the idea is that continued brushing breaks down those pesky deposits of fat and disperses them more evenly. Sounds good to me! Supermodel and mogul, Miranda Kerr swears by this personal labor of love, (although her Grecian goddess genes don't hurt!)

Your dry brushing need-to-know:

Choose a natural-bristled soft brush like this one. I once heard someone say it well, "by using synthetic bristles, you're brushing away toxins with toxins."

Keep things hygienic by washing your 'trusty brushy' at least once per week using a mild, fragrance free, baby wash or shampoo. Leave brushes to dry on a clean towel, (bristles facing down.)

Have you ever tried dry brushing? I'd love to hear your experiences! Brush on. Shine on!