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Dry Skin Brushing: What It Is & How To Do it

Dry brushing is an excellent way to detoxify your body and add some self care into your morning routine! In this post I cover what dry skin brushing is and how to do it.
Jun 15, 2010 | Joy McCarthy

Your skin eliminates nearly 1/4 of your toxins every day. However, if you're slathering on toxic moisturizer and not exfoliating or dry skin brushing regularly, then you're missing out on an amazing and invigorating way to detoxify.

Dry skin brushing is an incredible way to support detoxification through the skin and to stimulate flow of the lymphatic system, which helps to eliminate toxic waste from the body to support your immune system and help your skin glow! 

What Is a Dry Skin Brush?

A dry brush is a brush made of dense stiff bristles. I recommend looking for a dry skin brush made of natural fibres – not plastic or synthetic. The bristles should be strong enough so that when you use it on your body, it feels comfortably uncomfortable, meaning not too soft, but it shouldn't scratch your skin either. 

What Are The Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing?

1. detoxes the skin

Dry skin brushing will help to gently slough off dead skin cells, giving your skin more of a glowy appearance and allowing toxins to move out of it more efficiently. 

2. Cleanses the lymphatic system

Dry skin brushing stimulates the lymphatic system which is connected to your immune system. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that transport metabolic waste and important molecules to be cleansed by the lymphatic organs including the spleen, thymus gland, lymph nodes, liver and tonsils.

 If the lymphatic system is not flowing properly, then the immune system does not get a chance to kill invading foreign particles and microorganisms, which includes cancer cells.

Did you know you have more lymph fluid in your body than you do blood? The difference is that your lymphatic system doesn't have a pump like your circulatory system does to pump blood. As long as the heart keeps pumping, the blood moves around and we stay alive. But since the lymphatic system does not have a pump, it relies on our own stimulation of it to keep moving. 

Certain things you can do to stimulate the lymphatic system include: exercise, rebounding (jumping on a trampoline), yoga and of course, dry skin brushing! 

3. Helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite

Toxins are stored in fat and when we dry brush, it helps to eliminate toxins. Dry brushing = potential cellulite reduction!

4. Softens skin

Dry skin brushing helps to clear the oil, dirt and residue from our pores. It's also going to stimulate oil-producing glands which help to give you soft skin!


6. Stimulates circulation

Unlike our circulatory system, our lymphatic system doesn't have a pump. However, when we dry skin brush, it acts like a manual pump which increases blood flow to aid in healing. It also helps to carry nutrients throughout the body.

7. Invigorating energy boost

I would recommend dry skin brushing in the morning before you shower versus at night because it can actually be very stimulating! This is because it increases blood flow (much like exercise does) which is naturally going to give you a joyous boost of energy! 

How Do I Dry Skin Brush?

I've put together a video for you to show you how to dry skin brush! Please note, the Dry Skin Brush we have available in the Joyous Shop is smaller (it is 6") than the one used in the video.

Where Can I Find a Dry Skin Brush?

You can find dry skin brushes at most health food stores, or we have them available in the Joyous Shop! Each Sisal fiber dry skin brush is ethically and sustainably produced in Sri Lanka by women in villages who are given flexible working hours and never discriminated against based on gender, religion, language or cast. Sisal fibres are extracted from the Agava sisalana plant which are strong and durable, do not absorb moisture easily and are resistant to damage by saltwater. SHOP NOW!

How To Clean Your Dry Skin Brush

You actually don't need to clean your dry skin brush with soap and water as much as you might think you need to. I'll give it a good shake after I'm done with it (in the shower or over a garbage) and every once in awhile, I'll wash it using non-toxic soap and water. I would recommend filling your sink with warm water and putting a few drops of an essential oil or castile soap and then hanging it to dry. It may take anywhere from 24-48 hours to dry, but make sure it is dry before using it again.

Go get dry skin brushing and let me know how fabulous you feel!

Vivian   •   June 16, 2010

Thanks, I got a brush a while ago but I don't dry brush as much as I should! Does it matter what time of day? I'm an evening showerer.

joyousness   •   June 16, 2010

Dorothy   •   June 16, 2010

Excellent info. I have been meaning to buy a brush to use, but haven't so far. Hopefully your article will get me going to the health food store and get one!!


Heidi   •   June 16, 2010

Cool! I`m going to look for one of those. I bet it feels great :)


Danielle @ Body By Nature   •   June 16, 2010

Great post! I swear by dry brushing (and I haven't been sick since I started it!)


Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)   •   June 16, 2010

I needed the reminder!

joyousness   •   June 16, 2010

Why Detox? Top 5 Foods to Eliminate & Simple Detox Tips « joyous health   •   June 17, 2010

[...] Skin brushing – you may have seen my video on this, if not, check it! [...]


squalene oil   •   July 7, 2010

I have learned this dry brushing from my grandma when I was little. (I was living in Japan.) I completely forgot about it. I enjoyed the video. Thanks!


Allison   •   July 12, 2010

Wow great video Joy! I`m going to get one and try it out!! :)


Purple Herbal   •   August 1, 2010

Dry skin brushing has been a part of my daily routine for 2 years now, and I always feel healthier and cleaner after doing it. I am rarely sick, but always thought it was due to the fact that I use a sauna every other day. I'll have to start giving my daily skin brushing a little more credit now! Thanks for the great information in this post!


Rawan   •   October 6, 2010

why cant i use a brush made out of plastic ?? is there any obvious harm behind it?

joyousness   •   October 6, 2010

10 Holistic Healthy Boob Tips « joyous health   •   October 28, 2010

[...] Not just because it’s invigorating and uplifting, but it’s healthy for your girls! Dry skin brushing stimulates the lymphatic system which is so very intimately connected with your immune system. A [...]


Sandy   •   October 28, 2010

I have a natural dry skin brush but I haven't used it because it seems to scratch my dry skin. Is this normal and do you get used to it or does it improve?

joyousness   •   October 29, 2010

Set Your Intention to Get More Out of Life. |   •   November 9, 2010

[...] you don’t do yoga, I recommend you do this on a daily basis (along with your lemon and water, dry skin brushing and eating real food) for your most joyous [...]


4 Ways to Smooth Beautiful Skin (Joyous Video) |   •   December 7, 2010

[...] If you want more tips on dry skin brushing, then please check out this video: [...]


Mike   •   February 8, 2011

Dry skin brushing works great. I have been doing it for a few years. I even got my sister into it. Many people don't believe when I tell them the benefits.


Misty   •   March 9, 2011

I was wondering about dry brushing your back? In what direction should you go?

Joy McCarthy   •   March 9, 2011

Eight reasons to love eight body moisture! « et tu and you   •   July 31, 2011

[...] again, which is soooo good for the body!  Joy McCarthy, one of my fave nutritionists did a video about dry brushing.  Below, is from the eight body moisture website: Each Eight product can be [...]


3 Important Healthy Boob Tips | Blog 889   •   October 7, 2011

[...] Please note when you dry skin brush your beautiful boobage area, avoid the nipple, and brush in a circulation motion moving towards the armpit, precisely where you want those toxins to exit when you sweat. 889 Yonge has a beautiful dry skin brush made of 100% natural materials and it has a long handle – great for those tough to reach areas. Want more info on how-to-skin-brush? Check out my video here: [...]


Anna   •   October 30, 2011

Hi, It was useful to have a video on dry brushing rather than reading about it. Do you have a video on dry brushing your face? I've heard that this is a great way to keep your face and skin young looking. thanks! Anna

Joy McCarthy   •   October 31, 2011

Joyous Health Holiday Gift Guide: 14 ideas |   •   November 29, 2011

[...] skin brushing and recommend it to everyone and anyone. Here’s a video on how to to do it: If you live in Toronto, you can get one from either 889 Yonge boutique or you can buy online if you [...]


papaya   •   March 7, 2012

Hi Joy! Can you recommend a natural product (or handmade concoction) for severely dry, chapped hands and cuticles due to the winter months? Much appreciated!! :)


Bernadette   •   April 9, 2012

Hi Joy, I just started dry body brushing and I have been doing it for about 5 days. My skin has been feeling amazingly soft, but I just noticed today a beakout of tiny pimples all over my back and nowhere else. It looks like a rash. I have been using a body brush that I bought years ago and has just been sitting in my cupboard. I cleaned it with warm soapy water and used vinegar to disinfect it. I'm not sure if it is a natural fibre brush although it has the appearance of natural bristles, but they feel plasticy. Would a synthetic brush have this kind of affect/reaction on my skin so quickly? or do you think it could have been from the vinegar? I really do want to continue doing dry body brushing, but not if It keeps causing a breakout on my back


Tanja   •   February 2, 2013

Hi Joy, I couldn't find any information on the internet so thought maybe you can help me. Is it okay to dry skin brush during pregnancy?

Joy McCarthy   •   February 3, 2013

Dry Brushing: Boots your immune system & helps you detox! | Living Well at CCL   •   September 9, 2013

[…] For more information on what the lymphatic system is and how it is linked to your immune system and a quick video on how to dry brush properly, check out this blog: […]


et tu and you » Where’s that pause button again? Finding ‘center’….. | Daily Grind, divine intervention, H to the E to the L to the P, News, yuck   •   September 12, 2013

[…] religiously And have been ignoring it.  Not anymore. For more information on skin brushing, check here.  For the skin brush that I use, check […]


Tara L.   •   July 17, 2017

I've always known this is good for you and asked my sister to get the brush on your site for my birthday. I've done this twice and LOVE it. Thank you!


Elaine   •   January 10, 2018

Hello! I'm doing your Kitchen Challenge and also purchased your Detox book and am in pre-detox phase. I really want to incorporate dry brushing. I've always wondered does dead skin cells fully come off when you shower or can it accumulate? When I get pedicures I notice when they scrub my feet things come off as they rub. It sometimes happens too if I'm taking a hot shower and rub the skin with my nails. Maybe dry brushing would help with this!

Rachel Molenda   •   January 10, 2018

Carolin   •   March 26, 2019

Going to give it a try!! It has been a long winter of work and post grad studies!

Joy McCarthy   •   March 26, 2019

Monika   •   April 7, 2019

Great article Joy. I want to know if everyone in the family get their own brush. Also, how to clean the brqush and how do you know that it is time to change it. Thank you

Joy McCarthy   •   April 8, 2019

Alicia   •   April 7, 2019

I saw your post above about pregnancy - and similarly, ok to dry brush while breastfeeding?

Joy McCarthy   •   April 8, 2019

Amy   •   February 27, 2021

Could I get one from your shop the dry brush the size as you used in the video? Thanks?

Joy McCarthy   •   February 28, 2021

Leigh T.   •   July 30, 2022

Do you recommend dry brushing if you have eczema?

Joy McCarthy   •   July 31, 2022

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