Seems like everyone and their dog has started dry brushing recently. So what is dry brushing and why is it so popular? Simply put, it’s just brushing your skin with a bristle brush, without using water or anything else on your skin. Pretty self-explanatory. There are loads of benefits too!

It does take a little bit of time to learn how to dry brush correctly, though! There’s a slight learning curve and there are actually ways you can do dry brushing wrong.

But no worries, I’ve done all the research for you so that you can learn everything you need to know about dry brushing skin right here!

So does dry brushing work? And how do you dry brush to see the results you want? Read on to find out!

Dry boar bristle brush with text overlay- how to dry brush, everything you need to know

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Dry brushing benefits

There are some fantastic benefits to dry brushing. You can even change how you dry brush so that you can focus on specific results for your skin and your health!

Here are some of the top reasons why dry brushing is awesome.

Dry brushing helps with lymph drainage

Lymphatic drainage is important because it’s a waste transport system, and one of the main ways for our bodies to filter out toxins and drain fluids. This is crucial to keeping you healthy and maintaining your immune system function.

The lymph system works through small contractions to carry fluid to the lymph nodes, but the flow is usually very slow, and can even be stopped by things such as stress, infections, fatigue, and chemicals. (source) So sometimes the lymph system needs a little help. And did you know that most of your lymphatic system is right under your skin?

One of the best benefits to dry brushing is how it can help your lymph flow. Done correctly, dry brushing lymph can give it a boost so that your body can detox better by getting rid of toxins and unnecessary fluids.

Getting plenty of exercise is another way to ensure that things keep flowing in your lymphatic system (and it’s a fantastic healthy habit overall)! And you can also try rebounding (a fancy word for jumping on a small trampoline for a while) to help your lymphatic system drain better.

Dry brushing exfoliates your skin

Whenever you use a dry brush on your skin, it helps get rid of dead skin cells. This is especially useful if you live somewhere cold or dry. Dry brushing won’t dry out your skin either, like scrubbing in the shower can.

And after dry brushing, your skin will feel softer and healthier! This is especially true if you follow up your dry brushing with a shower and a moisturizing body butter- I love Earthley’s whipped body butter. Dry brushing and moisturizing have become a vital part of my winter skin care routine!

Dry brushing is stimulating

One more great dry brush result to mention- when you dry brush, your blood circulation increases. That, combined with the physical brushing, can help to stimulate and invigorate your whole body, making it a great option for self-care and boosting energy.

Related: How to use self-care to have a better day

You can’t do dry brushing without feeling better!

It’s like a breath of fresh air to me sometimes. And when you dry brush quickly, it can be even more stimulating, especially when quickly dry brushing your feet and the palms of your hands. This helps you feel more awake and alert.

See also: Natural remedies to increase your energy

What you need to know about dry brushing

On to how to dry brush your skin! Although there are many beneficial aspects of dry brushing, there are some other things to mention too. It’s important to know how to do dry brushing right because there can be some unwanted side effects to dry brushing if you don’t do it correctly.

Dry brushing side effects

Sometimes there can be unpleasant results from dry brushing if you aren’t doing it right.

You could potentially make your lymphatic system worse, instead of better, if you dry brush in the wrong direction. So make sure you read the guidelines below before you start dry brushing regularly!

There’s also a chance you could irritate your skin if you are using too much pressure, too many strokes, or you have a dry brush that is too stiff for your skin. Dry brushing with a synthetic or plastic brush could even cause microabrasions in your skin, which could lead to infection.

My advice would be to just listen to your body. If your skin is red or irritated in any areas after dry brushing, try using less pressure, dry brush less often, or get a better brush.

So let’s talk about what dry brush you need!

The best dry brush for skin

When looking for a dry brush, make sure you get one that isn’t made from any sort of plastic or synthetic material. Look for one that’s all natural. The brush should be made from boar bristles. If you’re vegan, look for a brush made of Tampico or cactus. (This natural fiber brush is a good option for vegans)

Related: Creative ways to use less plastic

In my opinion, the best dry brush for skin is the dry brush by Earth Therapeutics. This is what I use every time I dry brush. The handle is long enough to reach everywhere on my body, and the bristles are soft enough to use anywhere on my face and body. The whole brush is one piece, so I never have to worry about the head of the brush flying off like many of the other detachable body brushes!

You can also get a whole dry brush set, complete with multiple brushes, scrub gloves for use in the shower, a charcoal konjac sponge, and a pumice stone for scrubbing areas like your heels!

Now, of course, you could just get a cheap dry brush at Walmart, but these tend to be low-quality and aren’t made to last. You’d have bristles falling out in no time! If you’re looking for the best dry brush, it’s better to spend a tad extra on something that will last you for years.

General dry brushing guidelines

No matter what results you want to get from dry brushing, there are a couple of rules to follow no matter what.

Here are some basic recommendations on how to dry brush:

  • Only dry brush over healthy skin
  • Start brushing around your torso and move outwards
  • Always brush towards your armpits
  • Don’t do too many strokes across one area
  • Brush clockwise on the abdomen
  • Always rinse off after dry brushing

Why these specific rules?

First, and most obviously, you don’t want to dry brush over areas of broken skin, sunburns, varicose veins, irritated areas, or anything like that. Avoid any places on your skin that have a rash or aren’t doing well, and focus on dry brushing healthy skin only.

I also want to talk about one of the biggest things people get wrong when they start dry brushing.

Misconceptions about dry brushing

Your lymph flows in a certain way. This makes it possible to actually create blockage if you start dry brushing at the wrong place.

This is something a lot of people don’t know about dry brushing. Many sites recommend starting at your feet, and I don’t think that’s best. Your lymph drains into your armpits, so you need to clear out the areas closest to your armpits first. It’s kind of like having traffic- you need to start clearing it out at the source before trying to force anything further down the road to move.

Many sites also recommend brushing straight towards the heart, and that’s another thing most people don’t understand about dry brushing. Your heart isn’t the final destination for your lymph system! The majority of your lymph system ends in your armpits, and it’s also important to focus on the groin area and stomach.

Too many strokes across one area can also impede the stimulation- try not to do more than 7 strokes across any area of skin. Over-brushing can be more of a problem than under-brushing. No need to dry brush for more than a couple days a week- any more could result in irritated skin, especially if you’re just starting out with dry brushing.

And you’ll want to brush in small circles going clockwise across your abdomen. Start at the top right of your belly, under your ribs, and move to the left, then go down and around. You need to go clockwise because that’s the direction of your digestion. Your gut is vital to detoxification and dry brushing can help you detox. The small circles also help to stimulate all the important organs down there!

You also need to shower after dry brushing to get rid of any dead skin left over from dry brushing. No need to keep it! It’s not the end of the world if you’re running short on time and can’t shower once or twice, but don’t make it a habit.

Dry brushing cellulite

Another misconception about dry brushing is that it will melt away cellulite– there just isn’t research to back up that claim.

However, since dry brushing can exfoliate and clear away dead skin, while plumping skin slightly through lymph stimulation, which can help with collagen and elastin production, your skin can look better after dry brushing! Try dry brushing and see what it does for the tone and texture of your skin.

Just don’t expect it to be a magic pill that makes your cellulite disappear completely.

A healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise can help reduce cellulite, but honestly, if you’re a woman you might just be stuck with it. And that’s ok! Learn to love yourself the way you are– that’s a much better way to live than wishing you could change things about yourself!

Related: 10 healthy habits you need to start right now

How to dry brush

Now for the section that all of you came for! Keep in mind that there are many ways to dry brush. As long as you follow the general guidelines above, you should be fine.

Below is a video of the way I dry brush. I’d encourage you to try it this way! I’m no doctor, but from what I’ve learned, these tips can help your skin and lymphatic system benefit as much as possible from dry brushing.

I do dry brushing in a specific way because lymph has a pattern. Dry brushing in the way described below can help encourage maximum circulation in your lymphatic system, as well as reduce unwanted side effects.

This video explains everything you need to know about how to dry brush for maximum benefits. Grab a dry brush, press play, and learn how to dry brush now!

Now, these are general guidelines, and the world won’t end if you do things differently. But it’s easy to make a habit of doing it this way! I promise it gets faster as you go. 

If you’re a woman, remember to concentrate on clearing any congested lymph in the armpits. And dry brush your breasts regularly to help reduce your risk of any lumps forming.

Should I dry brush fast or slow?

The speed you dry brush depends on what time of day you’re going to be dry brushing.

If you take your showers in the morning and need to wake up, try dry brushing quickly. This will invigorate your body and help you to feel more energized and awake!

And if you’re dry brushing in the evening, try doing it a little more slowly. This can help you to relax and support a sense of calm before you go to sleep.

Related: How to sleep better, all-naturally

Try switching up how quickly you dry brush at different times of the day. See what makes you feel best, and use dry brushing for getting energized or calming down before bed!

Dry brushing your face

The same rules and benefits apply to dry brushing your face. Don’t scrub, and either move in small circles or sweeping downward strokes. For optimal lymph drainage, do downward strokes all around your neck also! Dry brush your face with less pressure than the rest of your body.

And if you have sensitive skin, you’ll need a completely different dry brush for your face. This cleansing brush is made from horse hair instead of boar bristles, so it will be a lot softer and more gentle on your face than a regular body dry brush.

The heart-shaped charcoal konjac sponge in the dry brush kit mentioned above can also be used to cleanse your face in the shower.

You can also dry brush your scalp with a boar brush or a scalp massage brush. This helps to exfoliate your scalp of any dead skin, relaxes your scalp muscles, and can encourage hair growth!


That’s it! I hope you’ve found this guide helpful. Please let me know if I’m missing any information!

If you don’t have time to dry brush right now, make sure to save this for later!

Pin it on Pinterest here.

Do you have any questions about how to dry brush? Let me know in the comments below!

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