Article by BR Natalie
If you've not heard of 'body brushing', then you are missing out on a simple, yet effective way to bring a multitude of benefits to your skin, body and mind.
What is body brushing?
It's exactly what it sounds like. Using a dry, natural brush with stiff bristles, you brush your dry skin. A body brushing session can last between 2 to 20 minutes, and should be incorporated in to your daily routine. Now if you're thinking you don't have time to add another step in your day - keep reading, you're about to be convinced to find the time!
Why should I start body brushing?
The benefits of body brushing are huge.
- It stimulates your lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is responsible for eliminating cellular waste and toxins from the body. There are hundreds of miles of lymphatic tubules in the body, that remove waste from your tissues and transport it to your blood for elimination. If your lymphatic system is sluggish, waste and toxins build up - and it can make you feel unenergised and droopy (technical term). Stimulating your lymphatic system by body brushing in the right direction helps move lymph fluid into the lymph nodes so waste and toxins can be released.
- It increases your circulation. Body brushing encourages the elimination of metabolic waste.
- It exfoliates your skin. Body brushing removes the top layer of dry and dead skin, which makes your skin look healthy, feel smooth and unblocks pores as well as helping to remove and prevent ingrown hairs. Body brushing will help your moisturiser become more effective at hydrating your skin.
- It reduces cellulite. It's thought that by brushing your skin it can help soften and distribute hard fatty deposits under the skin, reducing the appearance of those dreaded dimples. Combine this with the removal of toxins by stimulating your lymphatic system and you are packing a power punch against unwanted orange peel.
- It improves Keratosis Pilaris. If you suffer from the often red, bumpy rash on the back of your arms, you're not alone. 40-50% of adults have Keratosis Pilaris. Body brushing can help unplug the pores.
- It's a stress buster. For many people who have fallen in love with body brushing, it's because it relieves tension in the muscles and helps calm your mind. It's kind of like the effects of a massage, and who doesn't love the after-massage feeling?
- It feels good. Seriously, even a quick session of body brushing can leave you feeling invigorated and energised. No more cold showers to awaken your mind!
- It's inexpensive. Once you've invested in a brush, there's no further outlay. Given the exfoliation, cleansing and smoothing benefits, body brushing eliminates the need for a range of products, saving you money. Or giving you more money to spend on makeup. However you want to look at it.
- It enhances what products you do use. Your pores will be open after a session, so any skincare or shower products you use will penetrate more deeply than usual.
Ok, I'm keen to give it a go. What do I need?
A body brush. That is all.
Body brushes are reasonably inexpensive and when you consider them as an investment, they're worth their weight in gold. For around $20 you can pick up a decent body brush from your local pharmacy or health store, that will last you years.
You'll probably want to choose a brush with a long handle so you can reach your back, but if you're quite flexible, round brushes that fit in the palm of your hand can be extremely effective and easy to control.
Whatever style of brush you choose, it's the bristles that are important to get right. The bristles should be firm, short and tightly packed. They should be made of natural fibres (like cactus), nylon or synthetic bristles are not the way to go.
So how do I brush my body?
For body brushing to be effective you need to follow these simple directions;
- For optimum results aim to body brush daily or even twice a day if you like. Bear in mind it really is invigorating, so it can be really beneficial as part of your morning routine. If you're going to do it at night, avoid doing it too close to bedtime!
- Body brush on dry skin before you shower or bathe. You'll want to wash away the dead skin cells and released toxins. Your pores will be open after a session, so any skincare or shower products you use will penetrate more deeply than usual.
- Always brush towards your heart. You want to follow the direction of your circulation and lymphatic system. The only exception to this is your back - brush from the neck down.
- Use firm pressure, but don't scrub yourself raw! It's perfectly normal for skin to be pink once you've finished, but it shouldn't be red or sore.
- Avoid brushing sensitive areas such as your face, varicose veins or abrasions. On thinner skin, such as your decolletage and breasts, be more gentle.
- Brush your body in sections, moving upwards on both sides. Start at the sole of each foot using circular, upwards motions. Move to your ankles, lower legs and thighs using longer, smoother strokes. When you get to your mid section and core use sweeping curved motions, again in the direction of your heart. Go back to long, upward strokes for your arms, and long downward strokes for your back.
- Aim to brush for at least two minutes, but you can continue for upwards of twenty minutes.
- After your shower, apply your favourite moisturiser as usual and be prepared for it to be even more amazing!
How do I know it's working?
You should feel different from the first session, but if you like experiments (and aren't adverse to smells) you can give this a go! After body brushing wipe your body with a dry flannel and place it in a zip lock plastic bag. After a few days give it a whiff. That's the smell of the toxins that were released. We know, it's gross!