Let’s get one thing straight: body lotions aimed at banishing cellulite almost definitely won’t actually banish cellulite. They might help smooth the skin over it, or improve the tone, but the problem lies much deeper, deeper than creams can reach. And that’s not just our opinion, the dermatologists are with us as well.
But if you aren’t a fan of your dimpled thighs, there is another beauty tool you can turn to in the quest for orange-peel-free skin: the dry body brush.
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.
‘Body brushing is one of the least rated beauty habits ever, yet body brushing is also one of those incredibly simple things that bring huge benefits.’ says Kate Shapland, founder of leg-focussed health brand Legology. ‘Just a couple of minutes a day will promote your lymph, helping your body metabolise toxins more efficiently, discourage fluid retention and cellulite (which are related to each other), and soften and tone your skin. The benefits are immediate and lasting.’
Here’s what you need to know…
Dry body brushing is…a great way to exfoliate without using scrubs
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 Katie Neal, body and skincare expert at skincare brand Mio, ‘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.
Dry body brushing can…help to prevent pesky ingrown hairs
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.
Dry body brushing could…sweep away cellulite without breaking a sweat
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.
‘Even gentle brushing brings nutrient rich freshly oxygenated blood to the skin’s surface, which gives it a better tone and elasticity.’ confirms Shapland.
Dry body brushing could…give your immune system a brush-induced boost
‘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 could…make orange-peel skin a thing of the past
‘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.
Dry body brushing could…help pick those energy levels off the floor
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.’
How To Body Brush
Body brushing is best done before hopping into the bath or shower, the process only takes a couple of minutes. And – in case you’ve skipped straight down to this bit – your skin must be DRY. Duh.
‘Start at the feet in the direction of your heart,’ advises Aromatherapy Associates Global Director of Education, Christina Salcedas, ‘then continue working over the entire body.’
‘Quick flicks’ rather than long slow, strokes are key, says Shapland. These should continue from feet to knees (don’t forget behind them – where the lymph nodes are), knees to hips, over the bum, hands to shoulders.
As well as your limbs, don’t forget the torso too. ‘Brush your stomach and chest using clockwise sweeps,’ advises Mio’s 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. It might mean skipping that last snooze button in the morning, but the results should have you bounding out of bed reaching for that brush anyway.
We’ve rounded up the best of the brushes below.
This article first appeared on ELLE UK.