Many a Morning Routine has mentioned it, and several readers have been left wondering: “What is this dry brushing thing all about?” So here goes.

There are many sources of information on dry brushing out there, like Spirit Beauty Lounge’s blog, Indigo+Canary, and the one that got me started – Evan Healy’s blog.  I’ve seen many claims about the benefits of dry brushing, from exfoliation to detox to reduction of cellulite.  There are also some “official” ways it ought to be done, including techniques, how long to brush, etc.  My aim here is to cover my personal reasons for doing it and the method that works well for me.*

Along with some of the helpful information I’ve read about dry brushing, I’ve seen dubious claims of the benefits, and some misleading information about how the body works, but I do think there are real benefits to the practice.  Plus it just feels really good.  I typically spend 5 minutes a day brushing, mostly right before showering.  Overall, I think my dryish skin is healthier.  I don’t have flakiness anymore, or need to use body moisturizer on a regular basis, and I see far fewer blemishes on my back.  Brushing works much better for me than loofahs or exfoliating gloves.  Those are just too harsh on my sensitive skin – they leave me drier and with more irritation.  Sorry to disappoint, but after two years of brushing quite consistently, I have not seen any changes in cellulite.  I guess it hasn’t gotten any worse, though.  I do feel like brushing helps to get the body fluids moving if I feel bloated or puffy.

The general recommendation is that natural bristle brushes should be used for dry brushing.  The brushes I use are vegan, although there are boar bristle brushes that are likely to say “natural bristle” on the label, so read carefully if that matters to you. My favorite brush by Hydrea London has a hand loop but no handle, and I use it for most of my body.  To get my upper back I switch to this one, which I buy at Whole Foods.  There are also brushes with a hand loop plus a removable handle, and firmer bristled ones too.  The brushing should feel pleasant and invigorating, and while you should feel energized and have a bit of a glow afterward, the skin should not be inflamed – if it is, your brush is too firm.  I’ve seen recommendations to wash the brush every week or two, but I am terrible about washing, and I’ll often let it go for a several weeks or a few months (sorry if I’m grossing you out).  By then my soft bristled brushes are often too soft, and I buy a new one.  I’ve gone through a few brushes!

When brushing, use however many strokes it takes based on your body size, size of the brush, and what feels good.  Honestly, there are only two things I think are of great consequence in regard to technique:

1. Brush toward the heart, to help your body fluids move in the right direction.

2. Use a brush that’s stimulating but doesn’t leave you red and inflamed.

This is the pattern I prefer, starting with the hand-loop brush:

  • elbow to shoulder
  • hand to elbow
  • hand to shoulder
  • same on other arm
  • along collar bones down toward breasts
  • from shoulder, around bottom of breast and up to mid-chest, circling a few times
  • same on other side
  • belly, starting at belly button and make ever widening circles in the same direction your intestines coil (right to left)
  • upper thigh/hip up over butt toward waist, both sides
  • continuing with upward strokes, from waist as far up back as I can reach
  • (switch to handled brush) up back to shoulders and neck
  • (switch back to hand-loop brush) knee to hip
  • foot to knee
  • foot to hip
  • same on other side

So that’s it!  Do you dry brush?  What’s your technique?

*your mileage may vary


My MM: Maddie’s Meatless Monday Menu

Holy moly Maddie, this is one heck of a clean meatless menu. We’re curious to know how the no-gluten-or-sugar eating (and no caffeine) is feeling? We love a lot about the Body Ecology Diet—but have a hard time sticking to something so restrictive. For those who have followed similar plans, was this level of disciplined eating sustainable longterm?

In other news, we are low on meatless menus! If you want this sometimes-controversial series to continue, please email yours to with “My MM” in the subject.

Name: Maddie

Home: Brooklyn, NY

Dietary Leanings: Right now, I am (trying to be) gluten- and sugar-free, per my naturopath’s suggestion. I avoid meat but I’ll make exceptions for special events or if I’m really craving it. I also recently read the Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates and I now try to follow the food-combining principles explained in the book (and feel better for it!).

My favorite vegetable: Tomatoes and avocados when the weather’s warm; right now, roasted turnips.

This morning I…

First, had a glass of water with a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar. On my way out the door, I had some decaf coffee with almond milk. (I’m about to cave and go back to fully-caffeinated coffee soon… I miss it too much!)

A few hours later…

That’s usually when hunger kids in for me. Today’s breakfast was Greek yogurt with cinnamon and almonds.

Then for lunch…

I had a big bowl of leftover soup. Over the weekend, I had roasted two butternut squash, a turnip, and a radish from my CSA, along with a little garlic… then pureed all the veggies with some organic butter (my favorite food item, ever!), homemade vegetable stock, sage, nutmeg, and S&P.

For a mid-afternoon snack…

I had some orange-spiced hot tea and two helpings of delicious spinach saag that was brought in to the office!

Then for dinner…

First I had more ACV with water and a bit of the kimchi I made yesterday (to check on the flavors/fermentation, but also because I just really wanted a taste!). Then I steamed fingerling potatoes, purple carrot, and some baby kale from my CSA, along with some white onion—all seasoned with sage and S&P and drizzled with melted organic butter. I topped it all off with some fresh scallions.

If I’m hungry later, I’ll have a few spoonfuls of organic peanut butter with cinnamon (my sweet tooth is now non-existent, so this is plenty dessert-y for me!). Finally, I’ll have a cup of hot herbal tea before bed to help me sleep.

It was SO great to read everyone’s comments last week on the Friday Deals. We’re still parsing the feedback and planning our next moves, but! This week we happen to have an incredible site-wide deal from two of our favorite partners in crime, the Wei ladies: Lisa and Katie. These two create both our favorite vegan chocolate, and our most loved scents. No small order.

The deal is in anticipation of Valentines—can you believe it’s already that time??—and whether or not you’re into the holiday, this is a special treat from two very special brands. So without further ado…

Buy ANYTHING from Lotus Wei’s incredible selection of scents and get a 20% discount. Equally, purchase ANY chocolates from Wei of Chocolate‘s selection of vegan deliciousness and you’ll get 20% off there two. Just use the promo code LOVE on both or either of the sites to get their respective deals. YUM!

And there’s big news from both these brands…

First: Wei of Chocolate has added Peanut and Almond Butter Cremes, and they are simply to die for. Seriously, Lisa sent us some to try over the holidays and they were gone in a flash. They’re featured here on her special V-day page.

Second: Lotus Wei has expanded their perfume collection!! (Katie, how did we not know?!) Anyways, dreams come true sometimes… How to choose? No worries, there’s a sampler pack.

We’re super excited after this long deal pause to be bringing you guys such an awesome deal! Happy Friday. We lovelovelove you. xx

Hold the phone. This piece from Well+Good had our jaws on the floor. We LOVE the Marie Veronique Organics line but had yet to hear of this new luxury brand Pacific that they’ve launched. In a way, we like to see a naturals line pulling out the big guns and competing with a perennial fave like La Mer. But that price tag is just wild! Did you ever use Creme de la Mer? Would you consider using this? (Our truth: We don’t have the disposable income for this, but if anyone wants to send us a sample… ahem…)

From the Well+Good piece:

Natural beauty innovators, Marie Veronique Organics, recently launched a luxe line called Pacific. The star product is the Topical Marine Treatment—and it costs $375.

That makes it one of the priciest natural anti-aging products to hit the market. And by using marine-derived ingredients—and promising huge results—it’s instigated a beauty counter surf-and-turf war with Crème de la Mer, which costs $275.

What do the two anti-aging products have in common? La Mer’s NASA-scientist-discovered “miracle broth” contains biofermented algae, and it inspired legions of women to slather mineral-rich seaweed on their skin. Like many traditional beauty products, however, La Mer contains petroleum-based moisturizers and other synthetics (mineral oil glycerin and isohexadecane), which give it a creamy, appealing texture (and possibly cause an allergic reaction or pore congestion).

Pacific Topical Marine Treatment contains a newly discovered marine-based extract. The propriety ingredient was brought to market by Beverly Hills dermatologist Eric Lewis, MD, in conjunction with a commercial marine biology institute. And Dr. Lewis and Marie Veronique combined forces. The pungent serum is much less cosmetically elegant than La Mer (it’s a bit grainy and smells like eye-watering seaweed on the beach). But there are no synthetic ingredients used—just peptides, ceramides, and other ingredients that do something for the skin.

To what does it do, and why does it cost $375? “The Topical Marine Treatment produces more collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid,” explains Marie Veronique Organics’s CEO Hillary Peterson. These are the building blocks of great skin, responsible for its youthful plumpness, and snap-back quality and resilience, and moisture-retaining ability. “Thanks to sun damage and aging, the ability of our skin to produce these itself diminishes a percentage or two each year,” says Peterson.

You can keep reading the rest here.

Thank you thank you! After last week’s post, we got a bunch of submissions from a variety of wonderful women. Don’t forget to send yours if you haven’t yet! Today meet Annette: She hates to shower, which kind of makes us love her. Enjoy her awesome routine!

Name:  Annette

Age:  49

Hometown:  Manteca, CA

Current weather:  Sunny, cold (for CA)

Hair: Chin length, colored, fine and wavy

Skin:  Fair, freckled, “mature”

Favorite celebrity:  Lauren Hutton.  She just gets more badass the older she gets.

In the shower…

Full disclosure. I hate to shower. It takes too much time out of the morning; time I would rather be doing other things before I have to get to work. The warm water makes me itchy and my face gets flushed.  I don’t sweat much and I’m not very hairy (thanks to getting rid of toxic products, I believe).  Instead, I do what my mom calls a “bird bath.”  I clean the pits, bits, and feet, dry brush the rest and apply oil.  It’s Diva Wash on the bits and Whole Foods olive oil soap for the pits and feet. I use Tom’s deodorant.  I will hop in the shower on the weekend or if I don’t have to work so as not to freak out the hubby.

I wash my hair a couple times a week with Rahua volumizing shampoo.  I condition every day with Yarok Feed Your Volume conditioner.  I just recently switched to the Yarok and I’m happy with it.  I’ve gotten second-day hair a few times, something that didn’t happen with what I was using before.

Outside the shower…

Whether I’ve showered or just dry brushed, I massage in argan oil.  I’ve tried lots of lotions and other oils and the argan provides lasting moisture but is not at all greasy. It’s more expensive than other oils, but it’s so multi-purpose I feel like I cut down on multiple products.  Kahina makes the best, but Mountain Rose Herbs has a good version for a lot less money.

I wash my face at night.  I oil up my face, neck and chest with argan oil, using it around my eyes to remove my eye makeup.  While the oil sits I use a cotton ball dipped in witch hazel to remove the oil from around my eyes and some warm water and a washcloth to remove my mascara.  I use a Pai muslin cloth and nice warm water to massage the makeup/oil off my face.

I use a splash of witch hazel and a drop of carrot seed oil as toner.  While my skin is still damp I rub in one squirt of the Kahina Brightening Serum and a couple drops of argan oil.

In the morning I put some raw, organic honey on my chin, jawline and temples and let it sit while I get ready to wet my hair.  I tend to get bumpy through those areas and the honey helps keep them clear. After I have washed and/or conditioned my hair I repeat the toner/serum/argan oil mixture from my night routine.  This sets the stage for my SPF/foundation combination.  I comb out my hair to let it air dry while I put on my makeup, making sure the insane cowlick at the crown of my head is covered and behaving itself.

Finishing touches…

I mix one squirt of John Masters SPF 30 Sunscreen and the same size dollop of Jane Iredale Dream Tint.  I love the Dream Tint. There’s no mica so it isn’t at all shiny. I really dislike being shiny.

I use a small angle brush to apply Jane Iredale PureMatte powder on my eyelids, under my eyes and around my nostrils.  I plump up my brows with Jane Iredale Purebrow.  I still need a little filling in so I use Cover Girl eyebrow pencil.  I chose this one because it’s a nice taupe.  Even though I have dark hair I don’t want a dark eyebrow pencil.  It’s too severe.

I line my upper lids and the outer half of the lower lids with Nuance by Salma Hayak in brown.  On my lids I use Universalist 2 (from my Quarterly package).  I’m surprised how much I like it.  I didn’t like the RMS Living Luminizer all that much.  In the crease it’s 100% Pure’s “Toffee.”  I finish off the eyes with Nuance by Salma Hayak Ultra-Defining Mascara in black.

I would LOVE to let my hair air dry but it’s too fine.  It really needs some love from the blow dryer to help with volume. I also have to tame a few spots with a curling iron.  It sounds like a lot but it’s really very fast.  Once it’s dry I hit it with a few sprays of Intelligent Nutrients Volumizing Hairspray.

That’s it.  Pretty simple really.  So much more simple than when I was “dirty.”

Thanks to Siobhan and Alexandra for this venue and to everyone who shares her wisdom.  I have benefitted greatly from what I have learned here.  I look forward to learning so much more!

Thank you too! And everyone who participates here. x