Dry Skin Brushing - a two week road test

by Joanne Davies

What is this dry skin brushing thing? If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a health practise that is becoming common just like using coconut oil and drinking green smoothies. Is it just another first-world skinny gimmick? 

        I first heard about it while reading an interview with Miranda Kerr.
        While I tend to identify more with another Miranda who spontaneously             bursts into song at the slightest hint of a remembered lyric, I do                     appreciate a role model who bangs on about healthy habits, despite how         ‘full of it’ some of my friends might say she is. If it's celebrities she's               following, I hope my daughter can relate to a dry-brushing, business-               savvy model more than to a ball swinging singer.

        Anyway the phrase that sparked my interest was ‘de-tox’. I reckon I               need to detox. Dry Skin Brushing (DSB) evidently stimulates your                   lymphatic system, helping to detoxify your body as well as stimulating             circulation, assisting the eliminative capacity of your organs, ridding                 the skin of dead cells, improving muscle tone and skin texture and                   possibly reducing cellulite. Hello? Benefits galore! (More benefits are               listed in the article below from Natural Health Magazine.)

        So below is an account of my first fortnight of Dry Skin Brushing.     



DAY 1:                                                                                             
Got the brush ($24.95 at my local chemist, sadly not made in NZ).
Long handle, natural bristle, reasonably stiff. Brush the entire body, towards the heart, it’s a little scritchy scratchy. My skin is reddened, but ok.                                                      > That pic is not me >

DAY 2:
Forgot to do it. While in shower, decide to put brush out tonight so it can’t be missed in the pre-shower fog.

DAY 3:
Brush, brush, this feels ok, quite invigorating. Later in the day I’m absent-mindedly stroking my arm while trying to focus on work. Hey it’s quite silky!

DAY 4:
No need to leave the brush out the nght before because I'm looking forward to my all over sweep. Remember to do soles of feet. Now you’re talking, this feels great. I jump into the shower feeling really good about DSB, I’m invigorated.

DAY 5:
8 hours sleep is not happening, the blog is launching so soon and too many things are swimming around in my head unwritten. What’s more it’s a scorcher and loads of people have come to the pool, they are all swimming, jumping, diving, I’ve brought a whole busload of kids and for the life of me can’t remember which ones they are… Why don't I just get up... and brush! Yess.
Speaking of swimming, today’s feeling is like when you jump into cold water. Not when your breath gets taken away and you feel heart attackish, just that feeling of invigoration, I am alive! And I am smooth.

      < Ok that's me. Pounamu ring by Aotearoa Gemstones.

      DAY 6:
      I remember to include the hands today. Is that muscle tone I’m seeing in my arms?

      DAY 7:
      I remember to do the underarms. This might sound creepy but the underarms and         torso are my favourite brushing spots! TMI? Sorry. I just want you to be assured it         doesn't hurt. Time now to wash the brush with soap/shampoo and water & air dry.

Well I'm fully into this thing now. I'm not aware of any
visible changes but my skin does feel good. Having that lovely morning back scratch is really goood, and the contortioning necessary to get it done feels like a bit of a yoga warm up!                                                       

Week Two has included the neck (back of neck - fine, front of neck - takes some getting used to) and I have remembered to do the abdomen (front and back) in a clockwise motion to follow the path of the small intestine. Figuring out which way to circle on my back and then relating that to my arm also provides a little brain warm-up for the day, so DSB is certainly giving me more than I bargained for!

I would also like to note that by now I am really fast at this - it's probably better to be a bit zen-like with smooth, purposeful movements so I try to focus on breathing and rhythm. Three to 5 minutes is about long enough.

By the end of week two my skin has shown definite improvement. When I dry my legs after the shower there are no longer little rolls of greyish particles remaining, just smooth and shining skin. I can feel a big difference in texture and I think the colour of my complexion overall is better. Showing yourself a bit of caring is also a great way to start the day. 

To wrap up I don't know if I am detoxing or if my lymphatic system has any idea of a change. I still have cellulite but I'm prepared to give it a year to make any difference there.

I would highly, highly recommend giving DSB a try pre-summer (if not all year). The difference in the general appearance and smoothness of the skin makes it all worthwhile, and the morning boost it gives me is simply beautiful! I'm more Miranda-esque each day... such fun! 

PostScript: There are three steps to the dry brushing process: brush, wash and moisturise your skin. Everything I have read (and I agree) suggests using natural oil to moisturise - please don't rub parabens onto your lovely lovely skin :)


Here are some of my references:




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Comments and Questions

#1 by Nikki Price 18 August, 2014
Hey Joanne... are you still doing the brushing? and if so has your skin continued to improve?? ta :)
by Joanne Davies 18 August, 2014
Hi Nikki, yes I still dry brush most days... I decided to have the weekends off just for laziness. It's hard to say if there is continued improvement to my skin visually (alas! cellulite not budging yet) but the silky smooth feel and invigoration is still happening. Also, I think my natural deodorant is more effective with brushed underarms. *Something I missed on the post initially is that it's important to moisturise afterwards so please be aware of that if you are giving this a try.* I hope you do try and would love to hear how it goes for you!

#2 by Linda Silvester 25 July, 2014
I believe that your skin will glow with a good all over brush in the shower, followed by a energetic towelling off with a textured cotton towel; I just don''t like the thought of inhaling all that dry dead skin circulating in the air from dry brushing.
by Joanne Davies 26 July, 2014
Hi Linda, thanks for your comment. Everything I have read advocates using a dry brush - I can't find an exact explanation why. Once you have brushed a few times, there is not a lot of excess skin coming off and I think the steam from the shower afterwards would cause it to sink to the floor. But whatever works for you is still going to be a good thing for your body :) Regards, Jo

#3 by Marilyn Davies 25 July, 2014
Was reading about this in mindbodygreen recently - gets rid of all of the dead cells etc., Excellent post Joanne - might be tempted to give it a go - where did you get the brush from??
by Joanne Davies 26 July, 2014
Hi Marilyn, thanks for commenting. I got the brush from a chemist.