The Ultimate Guide to Using a Dry Brush: Everything You Need in One Place

At Primally Pure, we love dry brushing – if you don’t know about it, you should. 

Whether you own a dry brush, you’re new to the concept, or you’re picking it back up, this guide is meant for you. We’re giving you information on everything this magical, portable little tool is capable of. 

A dry brush is your one-stop-shop tool for bringing nutrient flow + rejuvenation to the skin. And while we’ve covered this topic a few times before, our community keeps asking for more (and we love it!). So we felt it was time to give our community an in-depth guide for all things dry brushing.

If you’re like us, this one simple concept will keep you coming back for more: A dry brush boasts versatile benefits but quick, easy-to-follow directions. And believe us when we say: it does much more than just exfoliate your skin.

Our holistic esthetician swears by the ancient beauty ritual of using a dry brush. We love it for busy moms or days when you’re spent and need a quick routine. 
You’ll want to pick up your dry brush asap after reading this because better flow = better glow.

History of the Dry Brush

Understanding the history behind the famous dry brush brings some perspective on why it supports full-body health.

The dry brush has its roots in the ancient Indian medical system: Ayurveda. Ayurveda takes a very similar approach to holistic thinking, looking for the root cause instead of fixing a problem on the surface level. It’s about preventative care whenever possible. And most importantly, it emphasizes the power of focusing on whole-body health – giving significance to body, mind, and spirit.1

Since ancient times, the dry brush has been used to calm + cleanse the body from toxins and cellular waste (called ama) through a rubbing action called Garshana. 

Science has proven the power of Ayurvedic practices. So if you’re feeling skeptical, rest assured there IS data behind the roots of this ancient practice.2

Traditional Chinese Medicine (which many of our principles and beliefs align with) also utilizes a dry brush as part of a routine to maintain proper lymphatic flow.

Why should you care about lymphatic flow? 

Lymphatic flow is a major component of your body’s immunity and long-term health.

The dry brush has been around many cultures worldwide, proving its validity and results. You can find it in the routines of ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Chinese, Japanese, and Scandinavians. 

This traditional dry brush has maintained its physical form, still being created from natural elements like bamboo and boar hair. There’s something significant to be said about modern-day tools that still have the ability to connect us to ancestral wisdom.

Dry Brushing Benefits

Dry brushing is best known for its skin-improving abilities these days. But there’s a fascinating world of whole-body health benefits at your fingertips with a dry brush. To us, this list alone is motivation enough to practice this self-health hack on a daily basis.

→ Removes stagnant waste from the body – your lymphatic system collects waste. Still, there’s no “pump” to get it started, so using a dry brush kickstarts the elimination of the trapped (stagnant) waste to protect against sickness + disease.

This is big – your lymphatic system is responsible for:3

  • Recycling nutrients back into the bloodstream
  • Filtering out waste and harmful substances
  • Sustaining immunity
  • Maintaining homeostasis

→ Improves immune system function – the lymphatic system makes up most of the immune system, so it’s no wonder your immunity and the lymphatic system are closely linked. So using a dry brush can directly benefit your immunity.

→ No harsh exfoliation – some treatments (like intense laser treatments) or conventional exfoliating products (like salicylic acid in acne products) can over-exfoliate the skin. Improper exfoliation disrupts the skin’s microbiome and can cause damage, inflammation, acne, or other undesirable skin conditions. Dry brush exfoliation, on the other hand, is gentle but still gives you the desired results (plus more!). 

→ Reduce wrinkles – though we don’t view wrinkles as a bad thing, it’s an added perk to the other health-boosting benefits of a dry brush. We’ll never be mad about aging gracefully.

→ Protects skin moisture barrier and microbiome the skin barrier plays an essential role in your skin health, so using a dry brush supports this form of gentle exfoliation that keeps the good stuff intact.

→ Better absorption – this benefit is one of our favorites – gentle dry brush exfoliation means dead skin cells are brushed away, and the fresh skin is ready to absorb all your nourishing products.

→ Stimulates cell turnover – we love a gentle, natural cell turnover for smoother, brighter skin. Light manual dry brush exfoliation helps with skin tone, texture, and discoloration (like melasma or hyperpigmentation).

→ Encourages relaxation throughout the body – the soothing strokes of a dry brush activate the parasympathetic nervous system to calm + ground you.

Types of Dry Brushes

A dry brush comes in two main categories: a full-body dry brush and a facial dry brush. We love using both, but it’s important to understand that each plays a specific role.

Dry Brush for Body

A full-body dry brush can come in a few different forms – some with wooden handles, others with loops. The thing they all have in common is firm bristles. 

A full-body dry brush gives you all kinds of benefits, but here are a few of the best:

  • Increased circulation (less cold feet and hands)
  • Boost of energy
  • Reduced cellulite
  • Soothes itchy areas (like a good back scratch)
  • Better digestion
  • Whole body detoxification 
  • Smoother skin, less dry/flakiness

It’s important to note that a body dry brush is specifically designed for the right amount of exfoliation and space you’ll cover. So you don’t want to mix and match – your body brush is only for your body. Leave your neck and face out of the equation. 

Dive deeper: Check out this tutorial or this blog for more details on dry brushing your body.

How To Dry Body Brush | Primally Pure Skincare

Facial Dry Brush

A facial dry brush functions the same as a body dry brush, with more gentleness.

It’s a small, handheld brush with small, fine hairs. Facial dry brushes are intentionally formed with super soft bristles that respect the integrity of your skin while still providing exfoliation magic.

These are our favorite boosts you’ll experience from a regular routine with your facial dry brush: 

  • Products absorb better
  • Reduced milia, blackheads, and inflammation
  • Brighter, clearer complexion 
  • Reduced puffiness 
  • Smoother texture

Like the body brush, it’s essential to use a dry brush specifically for the face.

Your face wouldn’t tolerate the firm bristles of a body brush. Your skin around your face and neck is thinner and more delicate – requiring softer bristles. 

Dive deeper: Check out this tutorial or this blog for more details on facial dry brushing. 

How To Facial Dry Brush | Primally Pure Skincare


Tips + Advice for Dry Brushing

Once you pick your dry brush, there are a few things you should know first. You can find specific instructions in our specialized posts, but here are a few major tips + pieces of advice.

→ We like to dry brush our bodies before hopping in the shower – but when you do it is totally up to you – consistency is the key ;). Many people get hung up on this detail, but it’s really down to personal preference. 

We like that any dead skin cells you exfoliate will rinse off in the shower, but if you feel particularly sweaty or prefer to do it after the shower, that’s great too! 

→ Dry brush your face after cleansing/rinsing with water and patting skin dry – for your face, this is an important distinction. You’ll want to wash off any makeup or dirt to avoid pushing impurities into your skin. If you want a similar “rinse” feeling, you can use a cotton round with our everything spray to wipe away any dead skin cells after using your dry brush. 

→ Only dry brush on DRY skin – dry brushing on wet skin will not give you the same results, and it would be much harder to sweep the bristles along the skin. 

→ You can dry brush once a day (or less) – once a day will give you the optimal results, but if you don’t have time or have sensitive/inflamed skin, opt for 1-2x per week.

→ Always work around inflammation – with any open wounds or areas of irritation or bacteria build-up, you’ll want to avoid directly brushing on top of these areas. Avoiding these areas doubles to keep germs at bay + lets the skin heal undisturbed. Stimulating the surrounding areas brings healing to the skin where needed – your body is intuitive.

→ Don’t forget to do a sweep/drain at the end – a final sweep is vital to direct the lymph flow in the right direction. This ensures that toxins are filtered out of your body instead of staying trapped.

Keep your brush clean with routine washing – Depending on how often you’re dry brushing, we typically recommend washing your brush weekly. Use a gentle, non-toxic soap (like our seasonal Hand Soap or Branch Basics) and let it dry with the bristles down so water doesn’t seep into the wooden handle.

If you’re on the go or your brush needs a refresh in between washes, spritz bristles with our Hand Sanitizer. 

These are some of the biggest pieces of advice you’ll need to get started, but feel free to keep learning from the various tips and content throughout our website and social media.

The Holistic Skin Tool We Can’t Get Enough Of

This magical little brush will do wonders for your skin – but also for whole-body health. 

At Primally Pure, we believe in the power of practices that benefit our skin yet ground and center us. Because health is a full-body experience, and your skin is a reflection of what’s inside.

We want to give you all the resources for starting your journey with a dry brush practice, so you get only the best results. We’d love to hear how it goes for you. 




  1. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health | Ayurvedic Medicine: In Depth
  2. National Library of Medicine | Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled, Pilot Study Comparing Classic Ayurvedic Medicine, Methotrexate, and Their Combination in Rheumatoid Arthritis
  3. Cleveland Clinic | Lymphatic System 

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 Do you use a dry brush? With multiple formats, a dry brush is one of the best ways to use gentle exfoliation to boost skin health + full-body health. | Primally Pure Skincare

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