Friday, July 26, 2013

All About Dry Brushing Skin: Pt 2

Yesterday we started this whole dry skin brushing conversation, with everything you wanted to know (and more) about how skin works, the benefits of dry brushing and why you should do it.  So today, we'll get to the nitty gritty, like how to do it, and which brush to use.

It's important to use a NATURAL brush.  I mean, seriously, if you're going to all this trouble to be a granola-green-natural-healthy beauty, you are not going to start off by scratching yourself up with synthetic, toxic plastic brushes.  Soapworks Studio brushes are all-natural bristle.  Boar hair to be exact, because those are the highest quality, longest lasting, and they feel really, really good.

I know there are some people out there that are saying in their heads right now "ewww, boar hair? but what about the animals?"  And you've got a point.  I've searched around for vegetable bristle brushes, but they just don't stand up.  They fall apart really quick and are either too tough or too soft.  Options are loofa or jute.  And as soon as I can find a reasonably priced yet great quality body brush that is plant-based, I'll waste not a moment getting it in stock. These boar hair brushes are the very best out there, and the one that everybody (all the cool people) are using. Me too.

I have two styles: one with rubber massaging nobbies on it, which has a firmer feel, and I love to use on my back (excellent back scratcher!) and the standard brush which has a detachable head.  That way you can slide off just the brush part, which has a little canvas strap, to work smaller areas without that long handle hitting the shower wall or getting in the way.  Both are great.  They each have their pros and cons, but it comes down to personal preference.  Either of them is the same price - $ 8.00 each - which is a screaming deal because they last for years when they aren't getting wet. Oh, and did I mention that you can kiss all those expensive exfoliating body scrubs, creams and polishes good-bye?  Yep, those ones that mostly just glop onto the sides of your bathtub and require even more scrubbing of your bathroom than your backside? Enough said.

If you're just starting out, you probably should go with the softer body brush - the detachable head brush.  And if you're totally, completely stumped, holler at me and we can talk it out.

How to Dry Brush

1) To start: purchase a natural, NOT a synthetic, bristle brush. (animal hair or vegetable bristle).  One with a long handle is beneficial to reach all areas of your body.  A detachable head can be handy so that you can remove the handle for smaller, closer areas, but brush styles are a personal preference.  Soapworks Studio has two varieties to choose from and both have had stellar reviews.

2) Skin brushing should be performed (hee, like a circus) once a day, preferably first thing in the morning. Always dry brush your dry body before you shower or bathe because you will want to wash off the impurities from the skin as a result of the brushing action. The brush should be dry and your skin should be dry. And I guess if we're being thorough here, I would mention that I do this inside the tub/shower before I turn the water on.  Hence, no extra bathroom clean up. Who wants to dust and vaccuum the bathroom later?

3) Always use brush strokes toward the heart. Brushing towards the heart facilitates detoxification, while brushing away from the heart can adversely affect circulation in the blood vessels and lymph system. You can experiment to find a method of brushing that is comfortable to you, but some general guidelines are to stroke from your hands up your arms several times, covering all areas of skin. Then stroke the brush from your feet to the top of your legs in the same way. Use several clockwise strokes on the stomach, both sides of the chest, and your arm pits. Then repeat these areas with counterclockwise motion. You can also brush in a circular motion on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. Concentrate on areas which suffer from dryness or cellulite, but avoid areas of broken skin or rashes. Having said this, don't get crazy about the rules and make it complicated.  Start at your feet and move up.  Do what feels good. Aim for rosy glow and stop if angry, ouchy, red.

4) A thorough skin brushing takes about 10 minutes, but any time spent brushing prior to bathing will have great benefits. If you are feeling ill, increasing the treatments to twice a day can be beneficial.

5) Avoid sensitive areas like bruises and anywhere the skin is broken, such as areas of skin rash, wounds, cuts or infections. Also never brush an area affected by poison oak, poison ivy or sun burn (duh, ouch).

6) Tap your brush (over a trashcan or shower drain) to shake off dead skin cells. Each person should have their own dry brush, just like a toothbrush! Keep your brush in a dry area away from steam and potential mildew. Mine just hangs on the towel hook outside. You should wash your brush regularly with soap and warm water, rinse well and make sure it is thoroughly dried in a sunny area before using again.

Some people have more sensitive skin so dry brushing may feel uncomfortable at first but your skin will adjust quickly. Other people find it invigorating and love it from day one.  When you begin dry brushing, you will no doubt be surprised at how invigorating and energizing the process feels. Hopefully it requires very little urging to make this natural technique a daily ritual.

Just a reminder, I've added a new page with all this information - both parts - to both the home page under the "About Us" button, plus a link from each brush page, (with a printable PDF version too) to the web site. That way you can read about it again or refresh your memory all in once place while you're deciding on which brush to buy. Print the whole thing out too - so the instructions are at the ready. 

Are you already dry brushing?  Do you love it?  Hate it?  Any before and after photos? Skin transformations? Share the glow!