A How-To Guide to Dry Brushing

Words: Ferina Natasya Aziz
Photos: Esther Tay


More and more people across around the world are talking about wanting their skincare, as much as their food, to get back to basics. We're using coconut oil as a sunscreen alternative and for cleansing the face, demanding more organic produce, and sourcing topical products that are effective and safe alternatives to chemical options.  My first encounter with dry brushing - well, a dry brush for that matter - was at a beauty store. I laughed to myself, "why would anyone use such a rough loofa?" (Yes, I mistook it for a loofa...), "you want to scrub your dead skin, not shred your skin off your body!" The store assistant - who saw through my bemusement - presented that this was a dry brush and that were a multitude of benefits to be gained from dry brushing my body, aside from skin exfoliation. It sounded awful to perform in theory, and yet in practice, this has become a permanent part of my beauty and body-care routine.

Dry Brushing Benefits It's easy, effective and can give you quite the arm workout (from all the brushing movements): dry brushing is well worth your morning time. The big sell-factor of daily dry brushing is it's effect on minimising the look of cellulite (or skin dimpling) on arms and thigh areas. I was sold just on hearing that.

Bringing science into this, though: our skin is the largest organ in the body and a major organ of detoxification and elimination. The lymphatic system - a crucial detoxification mechanism of the body - uses the skin as part of the detox process. On top of this, we literally excrete impurities through our skin. When we have poor circulation and lymph flow, our skin reflects this problem. There are a multitude of benefits to dry brushing, including:

  1. Driving lymphatic drainage thus removing toxins, reducing water retention and swelling, and supporting your natural immune system.
  2. Boosting blood flow circulation to bring nutrients and oxygen to the skin and remove toxins, for healthier skin.
  3. Improving digestion through stimulation of the gut.
  4. Removing dead skin cells and encouraging cell renewal thereby reducing ingrown hairs and promoting brighter, smoother skin.
  5. Toning the look of the body by helping to evenly distribute fat deposits i.e. smoother arms, tummy and thighs. 
  6. Stimulating oil and sweat glands to function at an optimum level and removing dirt trapped in pores, reducing clogged pores.

Our lymphatic system needs as much help as it can get: It requires body movement to keep the lymph flowing around the body (yet another reason against excessive desk sitting and inactivity). A congested lymphatic system means toxins and cellular waste are not being flushed out effectively, and likely to lead to poor health and inflammation.

The great thing is that dry body brushing is probably the cheapest - and easiest - way to get salon worthy results. We love lymphatic massage at TWR and actively encourage everyone to try - but body brushing is an activity we can do every single day and reap all these great benefits.

How to Dry Body Brush All you need is 5- 10 minutes and the dry brush - preferably medium-firm, natural bristles. Dry brushes should not wound the skin! Do this ideally in the morning as an energising kickstart to your whole system:

  1. Make sure your skin is dry (duh, it's called dry brushing for a reason).
  2. Starting at your feet, use brisk (but comfortable) strokes up the calves and lower legs, and then the thighs, towards your heart - this is the direction of flow of the lymphatic system. 
  3. Focus on the back of the thighs and bottom (anywhere you have might have cellulite).
  4. Brush from the hands up the arms towards the heart. Again, focus on backs of the arms if this is a problem area for you.
  5. Brush up the sides of the torso and the back as much as you can reach (a long handled brush can help with this!).
  6. On the tummy, do a few upward strokes towards the heart, followed by clockwise circular motions that follow the digestive system.
  7. Perform a few gentle strokes down the neck and chest.
  8. Hop in the shower and rinse away all your dead skin cells.
  9. Finish with your favourite body oil or moisturiser - your skin will be primed and ready to better absorb these products!

Your brush strokes should be brisk but comfortable: your skin might get flushed, but it shouldn't be red-raw. Just remember not to brush cracked, inflamed or sun burnt skin. 

Make this your daily detox habit that you start this week! If you want to level-up that detox regime, why not book yourself a hands-on lymphatic drainage massage or add a few other detox methods here.