Well Being

Dry Brushing: I Tried It

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My skin isn't all that dry to begin with (thanks, Italian genes!) but in the dead of winter it needs some perking up, so I decided to try dry brushing. In case you aren't familiar, dry brushing is an exfoliation technique which has lots of purported health benefits, including improved circulation, reduced cellulite and, of course, softer skin.

To do it, you basically strip down naked (before a shower is ideal) and brush your whole self with a big old brush made of natural bristles. If you've ever been to a spa where they give you a serious exfoliation treatment, dry brushing is kind of a less-intensive, at home DIY option.

I dry brushed three times a week over the course of two weeks. I didn't stick to a set schedule like Monday, Wednesday and Friday or anything, but I did make sure there was at least a day or two in between dry brushing sessions because I didn't want to totally strip my skin. I used a brush from Target that I can't seem to find on the website (but it's made of wood and the brush part is detachable from the handle, very handy. It essentially looks identical to the one pictured above).

The brush I used wasn't all that harsh and I only pressed hard enough on my skin to make it a little bit red; I didn't brush it until it was raw or anything. Following these directions via Birchbox, I started at my feet and rubbed carefully towards my heart, avoiding my nipples (ouch) and face (also ouch). It took me maybe an extra 5-7 minutes before each shower.

Overall, I liked dry brushing. I don't think it's life-changing or anything like that, but it's certainly a good practice. It made me feel healthy and in control of my body, which is always a good feeling. I can't say I saw any improvement in my bloating or in my cellulite (which yes….I am admitting to the internet that I have). I certainly didn't see a change in my weight, like some people claim they have when they've dry brushed religiously.

What I liked most about dry brushing was that it was really invigorating. That's something I desperately need during the winter time (when I basically turn into a listless blob who refuses to go outside or move away from my Hulu Plus account. Not an exaggeration.) Doing it before a shower made me feel very energized and clear-headed, plus it was kind of nice to take the extra few minutes of self-care, you know?

My skin was definitely softer but that could be due to the coconut oil I slather on faithfully rather than due to the heavy exfoliation. I do think I will continue dry brushing, though, at least once a week or a few times a month. If you're thinking of giving it a try, I recommend it. Pick up a body brush and start scrubbing.

Photo: Shutterstock