This post is about bristles, which are not edible.
I wanted to start with that right at the beginning, because I didn’t want you to see the picture and think I had made a vegan loaf out of green lentils and white beans that I then carefully molded it into a perfect brush shape. The truth is, a detailed legume sculpture is a long way off for me. I first have to figure out how to keep my loafs from crumbling into a zillion pieces upon fork impact.
Now that we have that out of the way, back to quills and pricklies. A few years ago I heard about the concept of dry brushing, which is supposed to be this magical beauty ritual that stuffs a lifetime of spa visits into a $5 scrub brush that you could easily use to wash minivans. Those who dry brush (and, presumably, like it) say it buffs dead skin and helps with circulation, and it’s a cheapy way to keep your skin healthy and happy. Like good dental floss is to choppers, so a dry brush is to thighs, I guess. The real die-hards will claim it gets rid of your cellulite, but we all know that only happens when we find ourselves in heaven, or full of lots of liquor.
To me, the idea of scrubbing my bod with stiff bristles and no soapy water sounds awful. My skin gets red when I accidentally sling the wrong blanket over me, so this is a bandwagon I’ve never been jonesing to jump on.
But, in the spirit of improving my health and overall wellness, I’ve been looking for ways to give myself tiny daily hugs and be mindful about taking care of myself. (No, getting dressed in the morning doesn’t really count, that’s just something required to keep one’s job.)
There are many out there (with fabulous skin) who say dry brushing makes you feel pampered and invigorated. Plus, there are no real downsides to it: it’s super low investment, takes 5 minutes in the morning, and isn’t accompanied with a big list of side effects like Sudafed. Fine. I bought a $6 brush at Whole Foods, it is natural and had the softest bristles. There were other ones that felt like they were made out of porcupine stabbies or man stubble. Not sure if those were intended for the human body or to clean coconuts. Anyway, I went with the gentle brush, and figured I could always use it to clean those tiny cracks in my bathroom if the whole dry brushing thing didn’t work out.
According to the pros, there are really only two rules to this funny little morning routine: 1) Stay dry and 2) Brush towards the middle of your chest. Start at the feet, scrubadub the legs, sweep across the arms, then counterclockwise on the belly. Pay special attention to scaly knees and elbows. Don’t keep brushing if your skin starts bleeding, you break out in hives, or you start believing you are a New York City Rockette.
After dry brushing for a week, here’s what I have to say: WHERE HAS THIS BEEN MY WHOLE LIFE? I’m not convinced it has any benefit to my skin whatsoever (that still has same bleach white color to it, still can’t use that one blanket, etc), however I must say the upsides are many. First, it’s like I am finally able to reach that terrible itchy spot in between my shoulders. It’s like I have needed to scratch that spot for 30 years and finally figured out how to do it. Second, it kind of has the “wake up” effect that, say, pouring cold water on your head in bed might. It just makes me feel like my skin decided to stop pushing the snooze button and decided to haul itself up for the day. Third, for those five minutes, I’m doing something nice for myself that actually feels super relaxing, and that timeout is really rare for me but surprisingly easy to take.
Could I get the same effect from spending five minutes putting lipstick on in front of a mirror and wiping it off again? Maybe, but what a waste of good lipstick! Sometimes you need to do things that make your family doctor’s eyes roll, not because you think you’re actually draining little toxins from your pores, but just because five-minute pampering sessions over time have serious mental and emotional benefits.
Has anyone else tried it … loved, hated, meh?