The benefits of dry body brushing and why you should start doing it this summer
Supermodel-esque limbs are within touching distance - and no, you don't have to go on a diet of carrot sticks or glue yourself to a spin bike to get them...
Let’s get one thing straight: detox diets and body lotions aimed at banishing cellulite almost definitely won’t actually banish cellulite. And that’s not just our opinion, the dermatologists are with us as well.
But before you lose all hope of trying to achieve supermodel-esque limbs before whipping on your gingham playsuit this Summer, there is something that can help – dry body brushing.
A regular dry scrub using a brush over the thighs and bum is proven to do more to erase dimples and tone any wobbly bits than the hundreds of lotions, potions and creams that flood the beauty sphere daily.
And diminishing cellulite isn’t the only amazing thing the humble bristle brush can do – it has amazing benefits for your overall health and well-being of your body, too.
“Luminous skin sends a message of health and vitality,” says Katie Neal, body and skincare expert at Mio, “and the secret to vibrant, dewy skin lies in your commitment to caring for it. Body brushing can also improve the immune system and increase energy, which is why it should be a staple in every beauty regime.”
Here’s what you need to know…
With micro-beads banned for good, body scrubs have turned to other exfoliants to slough away dead skin. But for a lot of people with sensitive skin, alternatives like crushed walnut shell or apricot kernels can be pretty skin-ravaging. Er, ouch.
Enter dry body brushing.
"As we grow older, our skin becomes less efficient at shedding layers of dead skin cells," says Mio's Katie, "but dry body brushing is fantastic at exfoliating these dead skin cells away."
That's not all, though, because regular exfoliation primes your skin to absorb the ingredients from body creams and serums much more effectively, which means you get a lot more bang for your buck in the long-run.
Alongside smooth skin, regular body brushing encourages cell turnover so that your limbs will look and feel supple, and whether you wax or shave, a quick brush is fantastic at keeping pesky, ingrown hairs and clogged pores at bay.
Those undergoing laser hair removal will also find that the process helps to loosen zapped hairs from the root, resulting in less shadows and even less spikiness. We swear by it.
Gym dodgers rejoice!
While dry body brushing won't completely rid your legs of cellulite, it helps to mobilise and contribute to the even distribution of fat deposits under the skin - and if you stick at it, it's proven to give your limbs a much smoother, and firmer, look and feel.
"Bacteria, toxins and waste from our blood filter through the lymph nodes where these substances are destroyed," explain Natalie Viklund and Marie Hansen, founders of Aevi Wellness, but sometimes, the process can be sluggish.
"Dry body brushing really really stimulates the lymphatic system,' they add, 'and by doing this, we are directly assisting in [removing] pathogens. This strengthens our immune system and lessens our susceptibility to illness."
"Dry body brushing encourages important blood flow," says Katie, "and this has a plumping effect on the skin which really helps reduce the appearance of cellulite."
The best way to do it? Apply a good pressure to the brush as you stroke upwards to really aid that important circulation process. Laters orange peel pins.
...which prevents the formation of cellulite, varicose veins and skin discolouration, according to Natalie and Marie.
So how does it work? A healthy blood flow instantly speeds up the transportation of both oxygen and nutrients to the the cells and tissue to help increase collagen for a smooth, supple appearance and feel.
Morning espresso? Kick it to the kerb.
As blood flow and circulation is stimulated by the zealous brushing action, it lends the body, skin and mind a much needed boost, which is why Natalie and Marie would suggest swapping a bedtime brush for an invigorating A.M. sesh.
"It really increases energy levels," seconds Kate. "It's such a great step to add into your skincare routine."
"Start at your feet (you can even brush the soles) and work your way up your legs to your arms, chest, back and stomach," says Dr. Jonquille Chantrey, cosmetic surgeon and skin expert. "Always brush towards your heart to work with your circulation and the lymphatic system," she adds.
"Use upward strokes as you move up your body to your arms, heart and back and brush your stomach and chest using clockwise sweeps," advises Katie. "Also, make sure you adjust the pressure of the brush to the different parts of your body, so it is comfortable yet stimulating enough to increase circulation."
And remember: consistency is key. "You should see a rosy flush to the brushed areas," Katie continues. "Do this for a minimum of three minutes, ideally three times a week."
We buy into detox teas, diets and beauty products every day, but according to Dr. Jonquille, there is no clear scientific evidence that we excrete toxins after dry body brushing, contrary to popular belief.
"That said, stimulating the lymphatic system may help to move the lymph (a fluid in the circulatory system containing white blood cells) along," she says, "and as a result, our own bodies can remove those toxins at a faster rate."
The best dry body brushes out there right now:
Aromatherapy Associates Body Brush – 2,254.27 BUY
The coarse, cactus bristles make for a truly invigorating scrub. No wonder it has such a huge beauty journo following.
ESPA Skin Brush – 1,802.74 BUY
The natural bristles in ESPA’s wooden brush are super-sturdy yet have the ability to reach even the jiggly bits of flesh around the thighs.
Mio Body Brush – 1,631.29 BUY
Mio’s boar bristle brush also boasts massage nodules to enhance your pre-shower scrub. Skip the salon and invest in this baby.
Aevi Wellness Karmameju Recharge Ionic Body Brush – 4,957.39 BUY
Body-care collides with science in this clever brush which supercharges the skin with negative ions to soup up the transportation of oxygen to the cells. Be quick – it’s constantly selling out.
Green People Age Defy & Body Brush – 721.07 BUY
The longer handle makes reaching areas such as your back much less of an effort and the natural bristles are compatible with even the most sensitive skin.
Iris Hantverk Body Brush –1,486.99 BUY
This handmade brush will give your bedside table a touch of rustic charm; the horsehair bristles are flexible yet vigorous.
13 body products for super smooth summer-ready legs
Rs. 2046.06 BUY
We know it's not glamorous, but when you're in between waxes, sometimes a cheeky shave is necessary. Pop this tiny compact razor in your bag - the handy pod ensures no hands get harmed on roaming razors
Included in this leg soothing and smoothing formula (amongst 10 other moisturising ingredients) is a cooling shot of organic vodka which feels amazing as it evaporates. Use all over legs and on feet as well to reduce swelling when the commute home gets too hot.
Rs. 8,469 BUY
Following in the steps of their crazy effective body scrub (it's an editor's fave), Ameliorate's body lotion contains Alpha Hydroxy Therapy to help shed dry skin whilst moisturising. It's unscented which is less fun if you're a fan of a summer scent, but damn does it work.
Rs. 2,239 BUY
Body brushing is an easy yet effective way to rejuvenate and exfoliate dry and bumpy skin whilst stimulating circulation to detoxify and firm. So, all of the good things.
Rs. 4,300 BUY
Containing firming plant extracts to help restore your skin's youthful density and elasticity. This moisturising, refreshing body lotion instantly smoothes away lines, leaving skin soft and dimple-free.
Rs. 2,523.62 BUY
No joke, this foot cream smells like really amazing man smell. Sounds weird, but if it keeps our heels from looking like dinosaur eggs and it smells great, we're in. Sandals here we come.
Rs. 2,504.70 BUY
Fact - cellulite is the worst. Genuinely the bane of our otherwise good-to-go legs, the orange peel look of cellulite is just not cool. Enter Garnier's body oil enriched with lemon, mandarin and grapefruit essential oils.
Rs. 4,038.10 BUY
This smooth, non-sticky body bronzer comes equipped with a handy application sponge so you can keep those dodgy tan hands at bay. Better yet, the 12-hour hoola formula stays on even when your clothes come off.
Rs. 4,056.81 BUY
Containing the interesting sounding FermiProtect - a wild shitake mushroom extract that protects the collagen fibres in the skin - use the cooling metal roller to draw the light-catching lotion down the centre of your legs and contour them into looking slimmer. It's a thing, trust.
Rs. 3,336.59 BUY
A double dose of leg gorgeousness in one bottle, this genius duo combines a dry leg oil to moisturise your skin with 100% natural oils, and a golden elixir formulated with 24 carat gold to firm skin and give a beach-ready glow..
Rs. 2,069.39 BUY
Perfect for that subtle sun-kissed glow sans the old school glitter, combined with vitamin E for healthy, nourished limbs..
Rs. 1,351.19 BUY
Smells delicious? Check. 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free? Check. Scrubs away dead skin to leave you with super soft legs? Triple check.
Rs. 4,056.22 BUY
A face mask for your legs? Yup, it's a thing. If heat-swollen ankles and heavy legs are the bane of your life, this charcoal mask is a god send.
From: ELLE UK