We’re in the last leg of winter, and if you are like me, you’re skin has taken quite the battering from the cold, dry (and LONG) season. Not only it is dehydrating out there, but I just got back from Mexico and I’m peeling where my skin got too much sun.
Solution? A homemade scrub made with sugar and olive oil? Hmmm… A once over with my limp shower puff? Nah-uh. Its time to bring out the heavy-weight of exfoliation: dry brushing. There is a time for gentleness, and a time to take charge – and when we reach the end of winter and prepare ourselves for glorious spring is when we need some real renewal.
For those of you who don’t know, dry brushing is the act of brushing your unmoistened skin with a natural bristle brush (hopefully). Mine is made with a sisal, a plant that bears tough abrasion making it feel like I’m being sloughed down with a metal brush. This is why I’m a wuss when it comes to dry brushing, its pretty intense on my delicate skin (What am I? A pan used for last night’s pot roast?). But this wimpiness is unrewarded, because dry brushing isn’t only excellent for exfoliating dead skin, but its also perfect for increasing circulation and therefore effective for decreasing the appearance of cellulite.
Dry Brushing and Ayurveda
This makes sense according to Ayurveda too as Kapha stagnation is stimulated by the friction found topically on the skin. Actually, one Kapha treatment is a massage done with dry powders instead of oil to counteract this dosha’s wet quality as well as really invigorate the blood system and mobilize our fat cells. And this dry on dry, in essence, is what we are doing ourselves when we dry brush each day before jumping in the shower.
As I have said, I am not consistent with my dry brushing because its quite harsh on my skin, but I also know that if I stick with doing it for about a week my skin actually becomes accustomed to it. While on day one you will find it painful even to scrub with the lightest pressure (barely touching the brush to your skin), but by day five you will be brushing hard with ample pressure. Its just about getting through day two, three and four (discipline is such a downer, eh?).
So, for those of you craving smooth skin in prep for a spring body tune-up, try buying a dry brush. They are available at any healthfood store, or at Pure + Simple. Remember, you never want to wet them, so do not use them in the shower as it will ruin the brush. To clean it, simply tap it hard to shake off the skin cell residue. Also to keep it hygienic, make sure your partner has their own and don’t share. When I was backpacking in Australia, I could tell someone used my dry brush because I found it in my toiletries wet. I was so angry (and grossed out) that I left quite the nasty note on the washroom door. Needless to say, I was a pretty high-maintenance backpacker (with my wheelie of natural cosmetic goodies).
Also, you want to brush in circles towards the heart for optimal detoxification (bringing dirty blood back from the extremities to the heart to be filtered) – avoiding the face. Then jump into the bath/ shower to rinse off all the exfoliated, skin flake/ peelies. Its a wonderful way to start the day, and a great addition to any detox you decide to do. Dry brushing is definitely the most effective way to smooth out your skin by yourself. It laughs in the face of loofahs and apricot scrubs.
As in the words girlband, TLC (RIP Left eye!) “I don’t want no scrub, just dry brushin’ will get my love from me.” Okay I made up that last bit. But to be fair, a song about avoiding freeloading boy toys is about as deep as one about body exfoliation. Though still very danceable.