What Is Dry Brushing? How to Exfoliate Quickly Using a Dry Brush

Days of bare legs may be well behind us (goodbye, sweet summer!), but that doesn’t mean you have to bid adieu to soft, smooth skin now that parka season is in full swing. Which brings us to dry brushing. I thought it sounded weird at first — my exfoliating treatments happen in the shower, not in the middle of the bathroom floor — but I’ve found it’s actually a great way to slough flaky, dead skin off your body.

Spas have offered the service forever, and doing it at home is ridiculously easy. All you need is a soft natural-bristle brush (I like Elemis Body Detox Skin Brush) and a little self-control. “When you give people brushes of all sorts, they think it’s a scrub brush — like you’re cleaning pots and pans,” says Santa Monica dermatologist Karyn Grossman. “But this is your skin, and you need to be gentle. You’re not supposed to be red or scratched after.”

She recommends rubbing in a light, circular motion before hopping into the shower, taking it easy on your chest and avoiding your face completely. “You can use your Clarisonic for that, which isn’t as aggressive,” says Grossman. “You can be a little tougher on your knees, elbows, ankles, and the tops of your feet, where the skin is thicker.”

Then, when you’re ready to shower, cleanse with a mild body wash (we like the Best of Beauty-winning Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash) and follow up with an equally mild moisturizer, like the Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb the Antioxidant Super Moisturizer; a bolder scrub or anti-acne wash may leave the skin stinging. “You’re removing that surface layer, which temporarily makes your skin more sensitive,” Grossman says.

Otherwise, for two minutes of dry brushing, you will be rewarded with skin that feels soft, smooth, and instantly refreshed. But please, don’t expect miracles. Claims that dry brushing helps reduce the appearance of cellulite are bogus, says Grossman. “Have you ever gotten a cellulite treatment? Those things hurt. It’s kneading and massaging and laser treatments. This is just a gentle exfoliating treatment.”

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  • Clarisonic’s New Cleansers Don’t Require the Brand’s Famous Brush

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