Dry Brushing Is the Best-Kept Secret to Smooth Skin—Here's How It Works

I’ve officially added this weird exfoliating trend to my pre-shower routine. And you probably should, too.

dry brush on a blue background
Photo: Amazon.com

Just when you thought you finally had your shower routine down—after accumulating all the best exfoliating and shaving tips over the years—allow us to introduce you to dry brushing. As its name implies, you use a specific brush, typically made with natural bristles, to literally brush your body before you shower.

"You don't need any product or any other tool," says Shannon Davenport, the founder of the skincare company Esker Beauty. "It's just you and the brush, which I think is why it's such a satisfying process." She has spent more than a decade researching consumer, design, and beauty trends, and she says dry brushing is one of her favorite rituals because it's time-tested and simple.

One small warning: "It can be quite scratchy and stimulating using a brush on your dry skin," she says. "So it's all about what feels right in terms of pressure."

Does dry brushing work?

You might ask yourself why you need this extra step before you shower. But I've found that it does enhance my existing exfoliating routine (an in-shower exfoliating brush and my favorite exfoliating body scrub). While some claim that dry brushing can help make cellulite disappear, I haven't seen that particular magic happen, but I have experienced the extra exfoliation.

If you have sensitive skin, I would start by brushing a small patch of skin with light pressure to prevent scratching. Your arms, legs, and feet are the best areas to begin.

"Short strokes work well, and brush in the direction of your heart to get your lymphatic system stimulated," Davenport says. "It's great for improving circulation and boosting firmness, but my favorite benefit is that it smooths your skin like nothing else and helps with flakiness and even ingrown hairs."

If you're like me, and your skin can quickly become dry after too much exfoliation, Davenport suggests following up with a body oil—like Esker Beauty's clarifying body oil—to seal the moisture in. It's one of the easiest daily practices to incorporate into your body care routine.

While no beauty practice should ever hurt, sometimes it is a pain to go through all the steps to get extra smooth skin. To dip your toes into the trend of dry body brushing, we've rounded up our favorite dry brushes below to shop now to have that super silky skin year-round.

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