The Hippie Grind: A Primer On Dry Brushing

stevie post

Stevie Dance has, by some happy accident, become ITG's resident all-natural beauty proponent—and what's best is that her approach is realistic, not exclusive to organic coconut oil and imported air from some rural mountainous region. In her Top Shelf she mixed RMS with Maybelline, then wrote in with recommendations for paraben-free botanical skin rejuvenators, convinced everyone to smear yogurt in their hair on a hot, sunny day, and dealt with (and defeated) her first breakouts at 29. Now she's back with a new column and even more slightly crunchy beauty advice. 

Lately I have heard more and more people talking about wanting to take it back to basics, back to the source. How to achieve change in oneself through the power of the mind, with nature; change with practical resources, with exercise, with diet, with products that have less and do more; taking on new rituals from all sorts of worlds be they far removed, exotic even or just someone else’s reality (which is sometimes exotic enough). Ideas that can propel a shift with the way one feels inside and out. Things most often learnt by word of mouth. It’s The Hippie Grind.

Volume 1: Body Brushing
Everyone’s been talking lately about how it is nearly time to let it all out—the legs, the arms, the midriff. What an intense concept that can be, post winter, even post adolescence, really. Everyone is considering how the hell they can attack that crap that often feels irreversible, like poor circulation at the skin (aka cellulite) or the most acutely unattractive nickname of all: skin dimpling.

This woman I know called Annie has been using dry brushing ever since she heard Miranda Kerr does it when detoxifying. She lives in the Village, still believes in the power of the acai berry and making meals with happy power and such, and considers herself an advocate of the au naturel. She passed this on to me, and now, me to you. It’s effective for a number of reasons, like buffing away dead skin and aiding in the elimination of toxins from the most mega of all organs. Here is a breakdown of dry brushing for you, with some added elements worth experimentation, if curiosity should so compel you:

-Use a natural brush. No synthetics here. Actually, I prefer a copper wool massage brush, as copper is associated with good skin circulation.

-Do it twice a day. This is a morning and night exercise to open up your pores before you jump in the shower, done with a dry brush and dry skin.

-Brush towards the heart. Use long strokes over the entire body from the feet up, and hit all the spots. Legs front and back, the stomach, butt, and arms.

-Keep the pressure firm. Invigorate your skin, but don’t shred it.

-Pay attention to the sweet spots. Be sure to get the the inner thigh and under the arms for lymph drainage.

-Try rubbing on some coconut oil prior to the brushing. It's a slightly different version of the dry brushing technique that takes advantage of the healing properties of this good fat.

-Cold showers. An added bonus for circulation and digestion that is a basis of Kundalini yoga teachings.

-Give it a shot for at least a month. This should be long enough to see if the technique is effective for you.

x Stevie

Follow Stevie on Instagram @stevie_dance

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Grace

    Those overalls/dungarees are just as amazing as her advice! Where to find? Where to find?

    • Katy

      Check your local thrift store!

  • Charlotte

    Stevie Dance gets more stunning every time I see her on Pinterest, Instagram or on a website! Great tip!

  • anonymous

    I think this would be benefited by a video, then I'd be down to try it.

    • Giana

      I totally agree! I'm interested in dry brushing and have read about it but I need a visual.

  • B

    Cold showers have NO effect on digestion. Science. Also, pores do not open and close as suggested. They are not doors.

    • Eliza

      Doesn't cold water make your pores SEEM smaller, though? Because I always splash on cold water after I wash my face, and I swear it makes a difference--I know that it doesn't actually "close them" but they appear to be smaller, which is good enough for me!

      • B

        A colder temperature will cause a slight contraction of the opening that you see in the mirror. However, unless you live in an arctic, they will return to their normal size when the temperature is increased - which will be in a minute or 2! The best thing I've discovered for pores is Biologique Recherche P50, followed by the serum complexe iribiol and then creme dermopurifiante.

        • lucky

          yes but cold water is so much easier to get than all of that.

  • melissa

    OMG I just bought a brush like this from TJ Maxx for my back acne! it's really good for clearing away small bumps that you can get from sweating! I also use a facial brush i just picked up fro Sephora because I was convinced my expernsive caviar eye creams and dry oil weren't working because I wasn't exfoliating properly... back to the basics it is!

    I wonder if you guys can do a post on dead skin, like darker skin on your elbows and knees?

  • BeautyHippie

    I feel like this advice is somewhat vague... "towards the heart" is generally what people say but a more detailed diagram would have been appreciated. Do you go counterclockwise on the stomach or just upwards? Must you do it both morning and night for it to be effective? (cause who takes cold showers twice a day every day???). How long should you dry brush for? 2 minutes? 10? Pros and cons of using coconut oil first? Also, Miranda Kerry does it "while detoxifying"... like when she's on a cleanse or something but not on a regular basis? And what do you mean by *still* believes in the power of the acai berry? Is acai bad now? Who's Annie anyway?

    Love "The Hippie Grind" philosophy though... hope to see more posts in this column but with more real facts and thorough research!

  • o

    brushing clockwise? counter clockwise? or only strokes?....

  • Mimi

    Us ITG readers have had this dry brushing talk before If I remember well :)))))))

  • Sarah

    I use gradual self-tanner, so I am hesitant to do it because I don't want to rub it all off. Have any other self-tanners dry brushed?

    • Steff

      Yup! It seems to help mine fade more evenly :)

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    There are plenty of videos or how to's out there if you really want to see how it's done!

  • H

    Is a towel good enough for body brushing?

  • beeswaxnoneofyour

    I always do this before washing with an Elemis body brush. It's just such a great easy way to have super smooth skin (I use argan or coconut oil right after I get out of the tub or shower to make it extra soft), and I highly recommend it if you are prone to things like ingrown hairs or bumps/breakouts on your upper arms as getting rid of the dead skin cells helps prevent the buildup which leads to the bumps/breakouts/hairs.

  • melissa

    I think it's a probably for anyone who has 'colored' skin. I've seen people of all colors who are a little discolored on their knees and elbows.

  • Dailypolish

    I was worried about the harshness of some of these brushes so I bought raw silk gloves (they were quite cheap). Although I must admit the gloves are still sitting in their packaging waiting for me to be un-lazy and actually start brushing. I should because I have circulation problems...not just because I have had "dimpling" since I was at least 11. Go genetics!

  • Allison

    I love dry brushing! my skin is so soft all the time now!

  • Alex

    I'm a nutritionist and have studied naturopathy and just wanted to mention that the best technique as actually small circular motions working your way from the extremeties towards the heart, and should also only be done 3-4 times per week. Twice a day is much too invasive for the skin and this will cause damage in more people than not.

  • Tary

    I've been doing it for a few months now (just once a day, when I remember, before a regular shower) and I think it does improve the apearence of cellulite. Worth mentioning: I don't have lots of cellulite and I excercise regularly. So, I think is one of those things that help, but won't do miracles.


Dr. Jentschura
Copper Wool Massage Brush