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There are countless skin care tools on the market that can deliver the smooth, glowy, healthy-looking skin you covet, with the press of a button. Unfortunately, these same high-tech beauty tools come with a high price tag, not to mention a bunch of loose parts and accessories to navigate. Fortunately, you don’t need a fancy gadget to garner these results. Dry brushes, in addition to your favorite body polish, cleansers, and facial cleansing brushes, do the trick, too.
While body brushing has become more mainstream in recent years, the tool a must-have in the best spa gift baskets, considered a bathtime luxury like bubble bath and bath bombs, the technique isn’t actually a new concept. On the contrary, dry brushing is an ancient Ayurvedic skincare ritual, and it was designed to “aid your lymphatic system of ridding your body of the toxins through the skin via sweating,” board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Neda Mehr tells WWD.
“As the largest organ of the body, the skin is an excellent resource for the body to eliminate toxins,” the medical director at Pure Dermatology Cosmetic and Hair Center shared over email. “Dry brushing significantly speeds up the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins by the use of natural bristles that unclogs the skin pores in the direction of the body’s natural elimination system, or lymphatics. This helps prevent the backup in the lymphatic system, which can leave your body feeling less bloated, swollen, and inflamed.”
The Benefits of Using a Dry Brush
It’s Exfoliating: Like exfoliating gloves, one of the main body brush benefits is the technique serves as a deep exfoliation. By sloughing away dry skin cells from the surface, the technique improves your skin’s overall texture and smoothness, light reflection, and luminosity.
It Might Reduce Cellulite: Board-certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical, Dr. Rachel Maiman tells WWD that because dry brushing causes a temporary plumping effect on the skin, many people have sworn that their cellulite is less noticeable when they stick to this method of exfoliation. However, “there’s really no research to support this,” Maiman says, so take it with a grain of salt.
It’s Stress-Relieving: Feeling tense? According to celebrity aesthetician and dermatological nurse, Natalie Aguilar, the act of dry brushing can, like exercise, release endorphins, a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system that cause a feel-good effect. This is due to the fact that dry brushing is an act of self-care which, Aguilar says, is enough in and of itself to naturally release endorphins. “Dry brushing can almost feel like a massage, an act of self-love, if you may,” she tells WWD. “I can actually feel the endorphins being released with each brushstroke. It’s like a mini massage. The brush stimulates our nervous system instantly relaxing tension and putting us in a state of zen.”
Electric VS Manual Dry Brushes
When shopping for the best dry brush for your routine, there are two types to have on your radar: Manual dry brushes and their electric counterparts. Manual dry brushes will, naturally, require more manual labor, but they also allow you to go at your own pace and offer users better control over things like pressure and speed. Electric brushes massage on their own, and will also be made with synthetic bristles over naturally derived bristles, like cactus, which, according to Maiman, might be the preferable option for those with sensitive skin.
How to Use a Dry Body Brush
It’s important to note that not all skin types are candidates for dry brushing. Dr. Mehr warns that anyone with dry, sensitive skin, a history of eczema, psoriasis, or other inflammatory skin conditions should avoid this exfoliating method in favor of a gentler technique. Additionally, if you have cuts or wounds on the skin, do not dry brush until these have healed, “as dry brushing could increase the risk of developing infections in these areas,” she says.
If you are a candidate for dry brushing, you can go about it one of two ways: You can dry brush before showering, in which case Dr. Mehr recommends laying out a large, clean towel underneath you to catch any flaky, dry skin. Or, you can dry brush in the shower, which, Dr. Mehr notes, will make washing off the dead skin much easier.
Once you know your plan of action, the process of dry brushing can be broken down into three simple steps:
Step 1: To begin, Dr. Mehr tells WWD to start with your feet first and work your way up to your legs, then stomach then arms, and back. You’ll also want to try to drain into your lymph nodes, so make sure you’re brushing the base of your pelvis and your armpits, and avoid your face and neck area.
Step 2: Now that you know where to brush, it’s important to know how to brush. Light pressure is key, says Dr. Mehr, and you want to move in wide circular motions going clockwise.
Step 3: Post-dry brushing, Dr. Mehr says a quick, cool shower and a session in an infrared sauna (if you have access to one) can be beneficial. “This can help you eliminate the toxins via sweating immediately after you have dry brushed your skin,” she tells WWD.
Below, explore the best body brushes for exfoliating that will transform your body care regimen.
Midnight Paloma Body Dry Brush
Boasting an ergonomic wooden handle design, the Midnight Paloma Body Dry Brush uses textured nylon bristles to energize your skin and stimulate circulation, making it great for exfoliating away dead skin cells and revealing smoother skin.
ESPA Skin Stimulating Body Brush
By awakening the skin with its Mexican cactus plant-derived bristles, the ESPA Skin Stimulating Body Brush supports your skin’s natural regeneration process and collagen production to polish, soften and smooth away unwanted tone and texture. Its convenient handle allows for a seamless and slip-proof circulation-promoting massage.
Pursoma Detox Beauty Body Brush
Designed to help you achieve a detoxifying lymphatic drainage massage at home, the Pursoma Detox Beauty Body Brush promotes blood flow and the purification of the skin with its ethically harvested jute fibers, which also slough away dead skin cells. Additionally, it stimulates collagen production and cell renewal so you can enjoy toner, brighter and smoother skin from head to toe.
Mio Body Brush
Created to deliver a gentle-yet-powerful exfoliation, the Mio Body Brush kickstarts your skin’s cell renewal process with its stimulating and invigorating boar bristles. Suitable for sensitive skin types, it minimizes irritation and redness while maximizing your skin’s radiance, smoothness and suppleness.
Goop G.Tox Ultimate Dry Brush
Ergonomically built so you can reach every inch of your body with ease and equal intensity, the Goop G.Tox Ultimate Dry Brush lightly exfoliates away dead skin cells and removes impurities and toxins from the skin, allowing you to unveil glowing, firmer and toner-looking skin. It’s crafted from FSC-certified wood and natural, biodegradable sisal fibers, ensuring that it’s just as good for the environment as it is for your skin.
Esker Dry Brush
Featuring all-natural soft-to-the-touch bristles, grass tree wood and hemp twine, the Esker Dry Brush gently polishes the skin as it exfoliates away unwanted texture and tone, all without tugging, pulling or irritating your skin. When used in circular motions, it initiates your skin’s lymphatic drainage and cellular renewal processes to promote healthier skin from within.
Metene Shower Brush
Featuring an extra-long handle for optimal reach, the Metene Shower Brush is a dual-sided body exfoliator equipped with stiff bristles and soft nylon bristles that can be used for wet and dry exfoliation. When used on dry skin, this best-selling dry brush has a tightening and smoothing effect on the skin, helping to reduce the appearance of dullness, sagginess and uneven tone and texture.
Aromatherapy Associates Revive Body Brush
Crafted from 100 percent natural agave cactus bristles and sustainably sourced wood, the Aromatherapy Associates Revive Body Brush pushes the restart button on dull, textured skin by removing dead skin cells and stimulating blood flow and collagen production. Perfect for at-home lymphatic drainage massages, it also helps the skin purge itself of toxins and accumulated pollutants and acts as an effective cellulite reduction treatment.
EcoTools Dry Body Brush
Offering a detoxifying exfoliation treatment with its synthetic bristles, the EcoTools Dry Body Brush gently buffs away dullness and texture-inducing dead skin cells, helping you unlock smoother, softer and brighter-looking skin. Made from renewable bamboo, this vegan-friendly dry brush also promotes circulation and blood flow to your legs for healthier, more stimulated skin.
10. HigherDose Supercharge Copper Body Brush
The HigherDose Supercharge Copper Body Brush intends to wake up your body, not just exfoliate your skin. It’s a body brush for the shower, a body brush for the bath, or outside the tub, if you prefer, made with horsehair bristles and a Beechwood board with a real leather strap. Its use of copper bristles is what really makes this dry brush unique, as the copper creates friction with the body, resulting in a release of neutral ions that reduce acidity levels in the body and work to balance your energy state. In other words: Supercharge isn’t just a name, it’s a promise.
11. Dr. Barbara Sturm The Body Brush
Another body scrubber brush beloved for its results: The Body Brush by Dr. Barbara Sturm. Shoppers are given the choice between the brand’s soft body brush or medium brush, and the difference lies in the texture of the bristles (with reviewers noting beginners and anyone with sensitive skin should start with the softer option). The manual brush features natural bristles and can be used in or out of the shower and bath. It’s also marketed as a body brush for cellulite reduction, in addition to being one of the best body brushes for exfoliating.
Products to Use Post-Exfoliation
Dry brushing is not a solo act; your results will reflect the products you use post-exfoliation. If you’re taking a shower after you dry brush (as is highly recommended by Dr. Mehr), Dr. Maiman tells WWD a mild, gentle body wash that contains acne-fighting ingredients (i.e. salicylic acid or chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid) will offset and/or soothe any irritation from the brush. Once you’re out of the shower, Dr. Maiman suggests following up with a moisturizing lotion or cream, with skin-loving ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, dimethicone, and urea “to lock in moisture.”