Boring but Brilliant Body Brushing
As tempting as it is to hide my limbs in long sleeve knits and opaque tights for the next few months, I've decided to resist and instead get reacquainted with the art of body brushing. At any other time of the year, I find it a bit of a faff, but dry skin brushing really comes into its own in the winter months as not only does it naturally exfoliate the skin by brushing away those dead skin cells to reveal healthy new skin under those dry patches, it also gives it a brisk wake-up call by boosting circulation and, while I don’t believe it totally eradicates it as displayed on my own dimpled thighs, it does help lessen the appearance of the dreaded cellulite – something I'm sure to be thankful of come summer.
There are a number of techniques but I like to keep things simple (you'll soon learn that's a bit of a theme of mine) by starting at the soles of the feet then, using long, sweeping strokes, working up towards the heart. I put a bit of extra effort into my tummy and thighs, and brush all the way to the chest area, stopping at the neck as I like to use a facial exfoliator there but that’s purely a personal choice. Initially, body brushing isn’t the most comfortable thing to do and it does take a few goes to find your rhythm and preferred pressure, but with a bit of practice and perseverance you’ll soon become ever so slighted addicted to the energising tingle and the no-product-required softness of your skin. It does take time to see the results though and that's why I've set myself the challenge of body brushing every day though January - my alternative dry January.
If you fancy joining me - non-flake February, perhaps? OK, maybe not - you’ll find good quality skin brushes at Boots and The Body Shop but for ease of use and great value, I rate Liz Earle Natural Active’s Natural Bristle Body Brush. Priced £8.50, it features a detachable long handle to help get to those hard to reach places like your back and shoulder blades and a hand strap to secure the brush when needing more control on bums and tums. Just remember, don’t wet the brush or your skin, the brush must be used dry and preferably at least 3-4 times a week to fully benefit. I'm scheduling it in as a pre-shower ritual and it’s a new habit I'm hoping to keep up as, and this may well be wishful thinking, my skin feels a little tighter and definitely smoother.
If body brushing isn’t for you though, I have another suggestion in the shape of Scottish skincare company ishga’s Hebridean Sea Salt & Oil Scrub, £15. Packed with unrefined Hebridean salt – which retains over sixty naturally occurring trace elements including potassium, magnesium and zinc – this delivers velvet skin and smells absolutely amazing. So rich is the oil content, I found I didn’t need to moisturise after my shower but the range offers an equally delicious Invigorating Body Lotion, £35, should your skin be especially thirsty. If that’s a little rich for both your pocket and your skin, Sanctuary Spa's Salt Scrub Bar, £6, is a great option and what I always tend to take into the shower with me to get my circulation going. Doing these winter months I also like to add a couple of drops of body oil to my body moisturiser, concentrating on my knees, shins and elbow which get super dry. Garnier’s Ultimate Beauty Oil is a great budget buy at £5.25 from Superdrug or when I'm feeling flush I opt for the cult multi-tasking Nuxe Dry Oil, £17 at Boots, which can give a little added insulation to your body, face and hair. Winter proofing in a bottle? Not quite but, just as in winter dressing, that extra layer does helps when facing the elements.
So what about you, do you dry brush? If so, have you seen any improvements with regular brushing?
P.S. Just in case your interested...
Photography by Susie Cormack Bruce
Nightdress & Robe both from Tu at Sainsbury's