A 5-Step Guide To Dry Brushing Your Face For Brighter Skin

Contributing writer By Victoria Cairo
Contributing writer
Victoria Cairo is a former freelance travel, beauty, and lifestyle writer who received her degree from Princeton University. Her work has appeared in publications such as Vogue.com, Travel + Leisure, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Glamour, Into the Gloss, Self, Teen Vogue, and Refinery29.
Medical review by Keira Barr, M.D.
Board-certified dermatologist
Keira Barr is a dual board-certified dermatologist and founder of the Resilient Health Institute.
A 5-Step Guide To Dry Brushing Your Face For Brighter Skin

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At this point, we're going to consider it safe to assume that you have probably heard a thing or two about the benefits of dry brushing your body. It's great for detoxing the lymphatic system, is said to help reduce cellulite, and then of course there's the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow swears by it, which is usually reason enough for the rest of us wellness enthusiasts to jump on board. But did you know that you should be dry brushing your face, too? You should.

OK, don't go accosting your sensitive face skin with your coarse body brush just yet. A face dry brush is an entirely different tool. The bristles are ultrafine and soft. In fact, it looks and feels a lot like a stiff makeup brush. And instead of being vaguely torturous when you rub it across your skin, it feels good — like a very subtle massage. I personally like the new one from Aveda's just-launched Tulasara collection that has lovely velvety nylon bristles.

Like with your body, facial dry brushing can help to stimulate the lymphatic system and move out any built-up toxins or other blockages that are creating puffiness or sallow skin (farewell under-eye bags!). However, it has another good-skin benefit too: exfoliation. "Dry brushing is very useful for increasing circulation and exfoliating the skin," explains San Francisco–based cult aesthetician Kayla Franzblau. "It's a really affordable and easy way to keep skin free of congestion at home." Just as long as you're very, very gentle, she adds. This self massaging brush can even boost oxytocin from its self-soothing behaviors.

Facial dry brushing can replace those harsh exfoliation habits you've been meaning to kick. It's gentler than a Clarisonic and way better for the environment than all those exfoliating scrubs with little plastic beads. Plus, when used regularly, it can really make your skin glow (I know it because I've tried it).

And it doesn't need to add another 10 minutes to your already lengthy nighttime beauty routine. Aestheticians recommend dry brushing only one or two times per week, for one or two minutes max. So build it into your Sunday self-care ritual or make it a Saturday morning pre-brunch habit. Either way, it's an easy way to give your skin a little extra glow.

Facial Dry Brushing How-To

Step 1: Wash your face.

You want to make sure that you're starting with totally clean skin, that way you're not opening up all your pores only to clog them with makeup or other irritants.

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Step 2: Start at the chin and work your way up.

Like with body dry brushing, you should always brush with gentle upward motions, away from the direction of your heart (to encourage circulation). Brush from your chin to your hairline on one side of the face, and then move to the other side. Light, gentle strokes will do the trick. This should not hurt.

Step 3: Give your neck and decolletage some love.

As any facialist will tell you, your neck is part of your face too. Repeat your gentle brush strokes up from your chest, across your neck to the bottom of your chin.

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Step 4: Finish with a nutrient-rich oil or serum.

If you have time, you could apply a mask after dry brushing. If not, go straight to the moisturizing step. I recommend an oil, because it will penetrate deep into those newly opened pores and lock in all the moisture and nutrients. Top it with a serum for an added dose of hydration.

Step 5: Wash your brush.

Gently scrub your dry brush with warm water and a nontoxic soap at least once a week. Set it out to dry so that it doesn't collect any mildew or bacteria. You can also lightly mist your brush with a tea tree solution (1 part tea tree oil, 2 parts water) to keep it clean in between washes.

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