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Body Scrubs vs. Dry Brushing: Your Home Exfoliation Guide

Posted by Nikki Wisher on Sep 7th 2022

Body Scrubs vs. Dry Brushing: Your Home Exfoliation Guide

Who else is excited that sweater weather is on its way? Cheers to crisp mornings, the amazing feeling of a warm latte on a cold day, and all the beautiful sweaters and scarves you could want. Of course, it’s a bit less lovely when you get that uncomfortable feeling of your rough skin catching on those sweaters. As the air gets drier, body-wide exfoliation gets more important.

To equip you for the fall and winter ahead, let’s settle one of the top exfoliating questions of recent years: body scrubs or dry brushes.

What Is a Body Scrub?

A body scrub is a product you apply to your skin to exfoliate just about anything from the neck down. It typically looks like a cream, oil, or similar type of product with some type of granules within it, like clay microbeads, sugar, or even coffee grounds. When you massage it onto your skin, the rough texture of the granules smooths away dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. The result is silky-smooth skin.

What Is a Dry Brush?

A dry brush is a specific type of brush that’s used for exfoliation and enhanced circulation. It looks like a brush with rigid bristles – not unlike a brush for horses, if you’re familiar. Some brushes have bristles made of synthetic materials while others use boar hair or plant-based bristles. When you use the dry brush on your skin, it gives you a unique tingling sensation.

Body Scrubs vs. Dry Brushing: How to Know Which One to Use

Body scrubs and dry brushing might seem like two sides of the same coin but they’re actually quite different and each one has its own purposes.

For exfoliation, a body scrub is the go-to option. Exfoliation is its sole purpose, sloughing off dead skin cells for incredibly soft and smooth skin.

A dry brush, on the other hand, does exfoliate your skin a bit but its real magic lies in its benefits for your circulation. The dry brushing enhances the circulation throughout your skin which makes it fantastic for enhancing your skin’s health and brightness while also temporarily reducing the appearance of cellulite.

Dry brushing also sparks lymphatic drainage. That might sound icky, but your lymphatic system is the system that removes the waste and byproducts your cells produce, and helping that system along means healthier, glowing skin.

So, what’s the verdict? Should you use a body scrub or dry brush? While it depends on what your skin needs, most people can actually benefit most from using both.

How to Use Body Scrubs and Dry Brushes

Technique matters when it comes to exfoliation, and the techniques are different for body scrubs compared to dry brushing.

You want to use a body scrub while your skin is wet. It’s ideal to do it while you’re in the shower and after you’ve been in the shower for a few minutes to loosen up your dead skin cells. Take the product and massage it gently on your skin using circular motions. Despite the name, you don’t want to actually scrub your skin with it – I know, the name irks me too. When you’re done, make sure to rinse off.

A dry brush, on the other hand, is much more appropriately named because you need to use it while both the brush and your skin are dry. It’s ideal to use it before a shower so you can then rinse off the exfoliated skin cells.

Take your dry brush and glide it along your skin with firm yet gentle strokes. It’s best to start at your feet and progressively brush up toward your heart. Make sure to avoid particularly sensitive areas like your face and breasts, and also avoid any broken skin, bruises, or areas with visible spider veins.

Tips for Home Body Exfoliation

You’re almost ready to put your new knowledge to use for the benefit of smoother skin. Before you do, though, keep these tips in mind.

Choose Your Timing Wisely

As beneficial as exfoliation is, you don’t want to overdo it; it’s not something to put in your daily routine. For most people, it’s best to exfoliate twice per week, so one body scrub and one dry brushing session per week can work perfectly. Don’t do them on the same day, though – wait a day or two.

It’s also important not to exfoliate too soon after shaving because that combo can be very irritating to your skin. If you really want silky skin, exfoliate and then shave directly after.

Read Into the Products You Buy

There’s a lot of variation out there among body scrubs and dry brushes, so take a close look before you decide which one is best for your skin. Look for one that’s designed for your skin type, whether that’s dry, oily, or what have you. When you buy a dry brush, it’s also ideal to look for one with natural bristles because synthetic materials can leave micro-abrasions in your skin.

Protect Your Hydration

As beneficial as exfoliating can be, it can also dry out your skin. To make sure you’re not making any compromises, apply a body moisturizer immediately after your shower.

Softer, Smoother Skin All Year Round

We all know that the air tends to dry out our skin during the fall and winter, but you don’t have to sit back and let it take away from the joy of pumpkins, football season, and cozy blankets. With the right exfoliation strategies and tools in hand, including body scrubs and dry brushes, you can enjoy the soft skin of summer with all the other perks of fall.