Like most people, I've tried most variations of loofah's and exfoliating cloths my local drug store had to offer until deciding my hands were the safest cleansing tool I had. I hadn't considered going back to exfoliating brushes until I stumbled upon the Elemis Brush. Most of my exfoliating tools of past tended to irritate my skin and I suspected that they caused a skin phase I like to call the Dry Spell of '08. This brush isn't just marketed for exfoliating the crap out of dead skin though — according to the site, the Elemis brush can tone, improve circulation, and cleanse.
The idea of anything that can cleanse, detox, and firm otherwise sagging skin isn't new to me. The idea that a simple brush can afford me these skin luxuries? Well, that was something I was going to have to try out myself.
Sure, there are plenty of body brushes that claim to turn you into a an adult with baby-soft, flawless skin, but one major difference between the Elemis brush and my past exfoliating tools is that this brush is for dry-brushing — something completely new to my skin. Apparently, dry brushing can remove dead skin cells, but some sources warn the claims of dry-brushing to remove cellulite or lift toxins from the body may be far-fetched. According to Dr. Weil M.D, drinking plenty of water can help naturally wash away those toxins as well.
Since dry-brushing is starting to make some waves in natural skincare, I decided to do some self-investigation to see if my new brush could at least gently exfoliate and soften me up before the brutal Northeast temperatures start to hack away at my moisture. While the many other things dry brushing is known for are certainly intriguing, my experiment focuses purely on my skin.
1. Enter the Elemis Brush
Once I received my elegant-looking brush, I put the brush head together and decided that, for once, I was going to carefully follow directions. The brush, which is made out of cactus bristle, was the perfect size for brushing one's entire body. Don't be fooled by the word cactus though — the brush doesn't feel harsh to touch and apparently, cactus bristles are all the rage with dry brushing and used by many companies that make similar brushes.
2. My Brushing Routine
To successfully dry brush, I started from the soles of my feet and worked my way around my body in a gentle, circular motion, until I reached my chest and neck. This brush is called a body brush for a reason, and I wasn't getting these cactus bristles anywhere near my face — I mean, I just brushed a bunch of dead skin off my body so....
3. The Results of My First Brush
As you can see from my slightly horrified face, the brush did feel slightly harsh on my skin. To be completely fair though, my skin has been on a pumpkin diet and already felt hydrated and soft before I started my first brushing routine. Before you roll your eyes at my bragging, just remember, I have my own set of skin problems and fortunately, after checking out some other great ways to use my new brush, I found one major problem that I couldn't wait to get rid of.
4. Ingrown Hairs Be Gone
So, maybe cellulite or dry skin isn't your problem. If you're like me and you get ingrown hairs every time you even think about shaving, then the Elemis brush may be your ticket out of the inflamed hell that I call my armpits. I happily dry-brushed under my arms with the Elemis brush and, low and behold, it wasn't too harsh at all. It actually felt somewhat soothing.
5. Keep Up the Good Work
Since I decided that my new Elemis brush was going to be dedicated to my bikini line and my armpits, I realized that a diligent regimen was in order. Dry brushing before the shower, daily, was going to up my chances of having smooth underarms. I'm actually pretty confident that I'll be shaving again before summer, which is something I NEVER do in the winter, because let's face it, winter is when I give my armpits a break from being constantly bumpy.
6. Bottom Line
The bottom line is that the Elemis brush is great, but it really depends on what you are using it for and your existing skin woes. Just like with any craze, you aren't going to fix a problem that isn't there just because it's innovative and has a celebrity stamp of approval on it. Fortunately, the Elemis brush is so versatile that it seems like it has something for everyone. I may not have dry skin currently, but rest assured, it's coming my way very soon. Fortunately, I'll already have my brushing game on point when the time comes.
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Image: Kristin Collins Jackson (6)