Dry skin brushing…trust me

20140729-020724-7644051.jpg Monday I posted a recipe for a diy leg exfoliatior and afterwards I got a question from one of my readers, Lolajoy12, about exfoliating before shaving. So rather than responding to the comment I decided to dedicate a whole post to answer your question Emily!

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So Emily, {and everyone else too, obviously} a loofah is of course better than nothing at all and I’m sure will do some exfoliating. Depending on the soap you’re using though, it can actually add to the dry skin problem. But what I like to do before showering? DRY SKIN BRUSHING. This one I got from the butcher’s mother. Now I admit, some of the things my health crazed mother in law says I just listen, nod, and give an internal “eye roll” to {love you ma!} but she is a successful licensed aesthetician {if you don’t know what that is then you really need this post, probably a dictionary and definitely a facial!} and so when it comes to skin, I listen. Years ago she turned me onto dry skin brushing and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Scan almost any spa menu, and you’ll likely find an offering that mentions dry brushing. The practice—which involves scrubbing down your dry skin with a scratchy brush—sounds far from pampering, if not a bit austere…{you proud, Dad?} But spa pros swear by it and sing its praises for supposedly doing everything from exfoliating to, {gasp!} reducing cellulite!
How does it work? Gentle dry brushing sloughs off dead, dry skin, improving its appearance and allowing it to hydrate more efficiently when moisturizer is applied afterward.
As for detoxifying, dry brushing is similar to massage. The light pressure against your skin and the direction in which you brush helps move fluid into the lymph nodes so this waste can be eliminated. Your body naturally does this, but dry brushing speeds up the process and at the same time boosts circulation, delivering oxygenated blood to the skin and other organs, which helps them do their jobs better. I’m telling you, you can actually feel your blood moving and circulating under the skin, like you just gave it an energy drink or something, it’s kind of invigorating.
So how do you dry brush?
First you need a proper brush. Look for firm bristles and a long handle. Here’s an affordable one from Target or a higher end brush from Dermstore.com
Because dry brushing energizes and stimulates the body, most pros suggest doing it in the morning before you shower, but you can do it any time of day you prefer. Using long, upward strokes, start brushing your skin at your feet and work up your legs one at a time. Then move up your mid-section (front and back) and across your chest. Finish by brushing up your arms toward your armpits {even though it may tickle a little here I promise it will make a world of difference in 1) whipping those stubborn underarm hairs into shape for a smoother shave and 2) getting all the deodorant residue that regular soap just can’t get} I like to do my whole body but if I’m in a hurry I at least do my legs, especially if I know I’m going to shave. If I’m really in a hurry and don’t dot it at all but end up shaving, my legs end up dry, bumpy, and much less smooth.

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Now it’s shower time and since you’ve just opened up your pores, any body treatments you apply in the shower {like my aforementioned diy sugar lemon coconut scrub} and afterward will penetrate the skin better and you’ll get the cleanest closest shave you’ve ever had! For more information on the health benefits, check out this article by Dr. Joseph Mercola and his 7 Key Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing.

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whip it, whip it good.

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My second tip in our 30 days of coconut oil is…body butter! In the past I felt like I was always searching for the perfect lotion. One that was moisturizing, not greasy, and had a nice but not overpowering scent. I also was searching for a face lotion for the butcher. Since he basically works in a freezer all day, his skin gets extremely chapped and dry from the cold air, especially his nose and cheeks. Who thought I could solve both problems with just three natural ingredients?!

Here’s what I did…

In my kitchen aid I put 1 cup coconut oil (in it’s natural solid state, don’t melt it or anything), 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (I get mine online here or if you’re fortunate enough to live near trader Joe’s, they have an excellent one as well), and a few drops of essential oil. (I chose lavender but this step is completely optional, the C.O. already has a nice scent on its own) Using the whisk attachment I whipped on high for about five minutes until it was a lovely, creamy, whipped delight. Put into your favorite jar and that’s it! It can be used all over your body and even your face (sparingly though, I don’t have oily skin but if you tend to then use caution). I also recommend keeping it in the fridge during the summer so it doesn’t melt and will feel oh so refreshing when you put that cool lotion on your skin!
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