We tend to take note of anything perpetually glowy-skinned supermodels like Miranda Kerr and Molly Sims swear by, even if it's something as mysterious as dry brushing. Chances are that you've heard a little about this centuries-old beauty ritual that's been taking Hollywood over the past couple of years. Is dry brushing the key to unlocking beaming, beautiful skin? Can it actually improve your overall health?
Instead of blindly grabbing the first brush we could find and scrubbing away, we enlisted the help of Gary Dickman, former lead esthetician at Ole Henriksen Face/Body Spa in Los Angeles, and dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD, to fill us in on the benefits of dry brushing. Namely, whether or not it can actually get us Kerr's effortless, natural glow. Keep reading to find out all the beauty benefits of dry brushing, and shop our picks at the end.
What exactly is dry brushing?
Basically, dry brushing is… pretty much just what it sounds like. You take a body brush (look for one with firm, natural bristles) and use it to gently massage your body in an upward motion. Dickman says this process brightens the skin and also makes your moisturizer more effective, as it sloughs off dead skin, which is especially important throughout the colder months when skin tends to be drier.
How do you do it?
Randomly scrubbing a brush all over your body and calling it a day isn't going to get you the skin benefits of dry brushing, though (not to mention that sounds super painful). To dry brush properly, first make sure your skin is completely dry. Starting at your ankles, move your brush over your skin in long, circular motions that go upward toward your heart, Dickman says. Keep in mind that you're not at a Korean spa—a slight, firm pressure is all you need. You can dry brush at any time of day, but Downie recommends doing it right before you shower. After you rinse off, slather on a moisturizer. We've found the best body lotions that don't take ages to sink in.
Why should you do it?
Aside from leaving you with glowing skin (as if that weren't enough), Dickman says dry brushing can help boost circulation and lymphatic drainage. Some people swear their cellulite is less noticeable after dry brushing as well. Downie notes that it can even help with the appearance of sun damage.
How often should you do it?
Since dry brushing can leave your skin feeling a little raw (it is total-body exfoliation, after all), it's up to you to decide how often you can do it. As a general rule of thumb, Downie says that women with ultra-sensitive skin should only dry brush once every couple of weeks. For everyone else, she recommends one to two times per week. And don't forget to wash your brush with baby shampoo at least twice a month (because, ew, think of all the dead skin that builds up).
One more thing…
"If you're dry brushing, you must use sunscreen, as dry brushing makes you more sensitive to the sun," warns DDownie. So be sure to slather on your SPF before heading outside. Our favorite body sunscreens are La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Lotion Spray (£14) and Boots Soltan Protect & Moisturise Spray SPF30 (£4).
Find the dry brush for you below.
This story was originally published on July 24, 2014, and it has since been updated.