Sunny Gu

The Girlfriend’s Guide To Dry Brushing

Do those bristles really get rid of cellulite and clear away toxins?

Could taking a brush to your skin get rid of cellulite and clear away toxins? Hmm …

What is it? Dry brushing is the latest beauty trend among the GOOP-reading, juice-cleansing crowd. The technique is basically what it sounds like: rubbing your skin (yes, your skin) with a dry brush.

What’s the hype about? Dry brushing devotees claim that it’s a cure-all for everything from cellulite to poor circulation to a toxin-clogged lymphatic system. The idea is that the pressure from the bristles breaks up cellulite while stimulating blood flow and lymphatic drainage. But dermatology experts say that most of these claims are bunk.

So what can it do? Dry brushing will temporarily boost blood flow to the area, plumping up the skin — though the effects are short-lived, like when you pinch your cheeks to make them pink. It’s also a good exfoliator, literally brushing away dead cells, which can help give you a glow-y, more youthful appearance. Plus, some people say it feels massage-like.

Is there any downside? You shouldn’t brush too vigorously or too frequently (once or twice a week is plenty) or you’ll risk damaging your skin. And people with super-sensitive skin or conditions like eczema should probably skip it, since dry brushing can lead to further irritation.

How do I start? These days just about every cosmetics store sells dry brushes, so they’re easy to find. You can even choose different brushes designed for different body parts — softer bristles for your face or chest, firmer bristles for your legs. Be sure to brush gently (remember, you’re not trying to scrub away your entire epidermis), and cut back if your skin starts getting red or inflamed.

Illustration by Sunny Gu

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