I have been on a lifelong quest to have the softest skin possible. I’m militant about my routines: The second my shower faucet turns off I’m baby oiled and lotioned up slippin’ and slidin’ around my house. Even though I’m by far the most humble person I know, I have to say my soft skin is something I take great pride in.
I’ve been this way since I was seven years old—a crucial part of my identity, some might say. I have the sort of velvety exterior that led a former high school crush to call after me during a break with a new nickname. “Hey, Soft Skin,” he yelled out. Swoon.
But, I’m not one to rest on my laurels, so when me and my Softest Skin on the Planet heard about dry brushing, I knew I had to try it out. What is dry brushing, you ask? Dry brushing is the act of “brushing” your skin with a bristled tool in sweeping movements towards your heart—you start at your feet and work up your legs.
The brushing allegedly helps exfoliate the skin, unclog pores to eliminate toxins, increase blood flow, and reduce the appearance of cellulite. The practice is also relaxing and is meant to reveal softer skin.
I asked expert aesthetician Marta Camkiran from Haven Spa in Soho, New York, for a complete breakdown on how exactly to dry brush, ahead.
Here’s How You Dry Brush
- Stand in your bathtub or shower with the water off in the morning for three to five minutes.
- Use a soft-bristled dry brush and start brushing from your feet up.
- Brush in strokes toward your heart.
- Gently whisk the brush up your entire body in long, fluid movements.
- Be gentle in more ~ sensitive ~ areas.
Here are also a few tips from my personal experience of dry brushing before we get to the results:
- Find a dry brush with a natural bristle brush with a large head and a long handle so you can reach your back. I used this one from Organic Pharmacy.
- Don’t brush too hard as you can damage your skin. Dry brushing can leave marks.
- Standing in the shower for three to five minutes naked without running water is kind of awkward. Start the water running to heat up while you brush so you won’t have to wait naked and afraid any longer.
- Add an essential oil or blend (diluted with oil for safety) for added health benefits. Bay Laurel is a great option as it boosts your immune system during flu and cold season. Mint is great for a morning wake-up call and lavender is ideal for stress and anxiety.
And now for the results:
First Week: I hated it and almost quit. My skin was not prepared for the intensity of dry brushing and the act of dry brushing, showering with maybe-too-hot-water, and then lotioning was exhausting. I doubled up on my lotion and oil routine because I believed it was drying my skin out too much. I only saw minimal results but nothing to write home (or on ELLE.com) about.
Second Week: I was getting used to the routine and the results were beginning to appear. Cellulite hadn’t magically disappeared but I did feel like my skin was more hydrated and the routine became a welcome way to relax. Dry brushing is supposed to wake you up and invigorate you for the day but that was not the case in my book.
Third Week: I began to have the sudden fear that this was overkill. Could I be dry brushing too hard, too much? I didn’t have any visible red patches or bruising but my legs weren’t feeling great. I decided to dry brush only twice this week and give my legs a bit of a rest.
Fourth Week: Back on the dry brushing kick and after talking with a professional, I found the balance of dry brushing correctly with the right amount of pressure and only a few strokes per area. This was beneficial and I really enjoyed it. I don’t need to be brushing for new skin, I need to be brushing for comfort. It’s all about finding the right amount of pressure for you and your body will let you know.
Final Takeaways: I enjoy dry brushing but don’t think I’m going to add it to my routine permanently. Because of my lotioning and hydrating routines, it felt unnecessary for me, personally. But, I recommended dry brushing to my best friend at the same time I started and they had incredible results. This particular friend suffers from keratosis pilaris, where small bumps appear on the skin, and they found it extra beneficial as a positive step in alleviating the issue. If you, too, suffer from keratosis pilaris and are looking for a more natural solution for cellulite, or just want to spice up your morning routine, definitely give dry brushing a try.