Province Apothecary Dry Brushing
For brighter, smoother and more toned skin, dry brushing is your every day saviour.
Whenever I head into Province Apothecary in Toronto for a facial with owner Julie Clark, she starts by dry brushing my face. It’s a treat that kicks off a great spa experience. But I didn’t realize it’s something I should be doing myself at home until the brand announced that they would be selling a dry brush for the face. I did a little research and chatted with Julie about dry brushing and why it’s a great practice to incorporate into your skin-care routine.
First, what is dry brushing?
Dry brushing is the practice of using a brush—usually with short, stiff bristles—on the skin to stimulate lymphatic drainage. Although at first glance, this might seem like an exfoliating tool, it actually works on a deeper level. The body’s lymphatic system’s main function is to rid the body of toxins through vessels. Basically, it moves toxins and build-up from the layers of skin to the lymph vessels, which travel to the lymph nodes and are expelled from the body. When lymphatic drainage isn’t happening properly, you’ll often find a dull, tired complexion that is more prone to breakouts, irritation and fine lines. Dry brushing helps to stimulate the system that prevents those things.
Is it a full-body thing or just for my face?
It can be either! There are plenty of dry brushes specially formulated for your face (usually with softer bristles because the skin on your face is more sensitive), but you can find ones for your body as well. Dry brushing either on your face or your body works in much the same way (ridding toxins via the lymph nodes), although giving yourself the full-body treatment is a great way to invigorate your skin (and your day) and help to promote circulation from head to toe as well. “Through the action of gentle dry brushing, lymph fluid held in facial tissue just below the surface of the skin is pushed into lymph vessels, travel to the lymph nodes, and is expelled from the body,” says Clark.
It’s especially good for your face if you suffer from acne. “When there is a lot of inflammation on the skin or under the skin’s surface, like with cystic acne, our lymph nodes swell,” says Clark. “This happens because they are acting as a factory that produces and stores white blood cells and immune cells that create a defense.” Dry brushing will help move things along and clear up excess white blood cells and inflammation near the source, helping to reduce them faster, and reducing any pain or discomfort too.
How do I do it?
If you’re dry brushing your body, start at your feet and work your way up towards your heart using short or circular strokes. Make sure to dry brush your stomach in a counter-clockwise direction. When doing your arms, start with the backs of your hands and work up towards your shoulders. For your face, Clark developed a routine that includes brushing down your neck, from your forehead to your ears, around your eyes, and horizontally on your cheeks—you can watch a complete video here.
Does it actually work?
I’m not as consistent as I’d like to be with dry brushing, but as someone with poor circulation in my extremities, and a complexion that often needs a radiance boost, I definitely notice a difference when I do start my day with dry brushing. I especially notice a difference around my eyes and cheeks, which appear brighter and more radiant almost immediately—probably thanks to the increase in blood circulation in my face. For me, this is a great way to invest in a simple, non-scary tool that you can see working every day. It might not be a miracle-worker (or replace any in-office treatments like Botox you’re partial to), but you will see a brighter, smoother complexion that seems less puffy.
Anything else I need to know?
It’s important to keep your dry brush, well, dry. And to use it on dry skin. It’s also best to use it on clean skin in the morning—it’s a great way to start your day—and then cleanse and go on with your routine afterwards. To clean your brush, Clark recommends sprinkling the bristles with clay or cornstarch, rubbing it into the bristles and then shaking off the excess powder.
Daily Glow Facial Dry Brush, $52, provinceapothecary.ca.
Radiant facial dry brush, $50, aveda.ca.
Aromatherapy Associates polishing body brush, $32 USD, goop.com.