To be very honest, I have always been somewhat negligent about any body care rituals that go beyond soap and shampoo. Really, I didn’t even use conditioner till I turned 32. I never saw the point of primping and pampering my skin. Women who had actual night time grooming regimes were like aliens - inscrutable and slightly worrisome. What were they doing? Why? Who has time for this?
Now, as I cross my mid-30s, I have think I have come a long way. I take off my makeup before bed (mostly), I use hydrating hair masks (if I remember), and I bought an Amopé (for those of you that don’t know, thats an electronic foot file that was mistaken for a naughty toy by my sister. Google it. It looks nothing like a naughty toy).
I’m not saying that I am a grooming convert - by no stretch of the imagination. I still refuse to cut my hair more than once a year, and I probably don't wash it as much as I’m “supposed” to. My eyebrows wait months before I remember to get them threaded at the $5 place, and I don't acknowledge the reality of a moustache. Still, better than before.
In my line of work, I research incessantly about skincare and I am fascinated with unusual or lessor known tricks. Imagine my interest when I stumbled upon the importance of body exfoliation.
My interest was captured by the idea of Dry Brushing. Immediately, I ran out and bought a long handled, natural bristled brush. Before a shower, I’d start brushing: feet to centre, hands to centre, long sweeping motions. Gentle, circular motions on torso, towards the heart. Always towards the heart
You guys: I loved it.
What a gorgeous, energetic way to start the day! At first, I wasn’t sure if what I was feeling was pain, but I soon figured out that no matter what that prickly, scratchy sensation was, I sure liked it. The dry brushing made me feel awake - and crazy smooth. Its quite drying, so lotion was a must after the shower. The only problem was, I’d usually remember to do it AFTER I had gotten into the shower. Oops.
Because I loved the results of dry brushing so much, I started experimenting with body scrubs. Similar concept, very different medium. I used many different scrubs on the market - salts, sugars, raw, treated, dry-ish, wet-ish, foaming, non foaming… It was a fun time.
Slowly, I figured out what I liked and what worked for me. I developed my own sugar scrub which I love to death. Its a blend of two different sugars and about 6 different oils. In the shower, twice a week, I use the scrub instead of soap. Why?
1) Exfoliation: scrubs work to remove dirt and dead skin. You know those bumpies you sometimes get on your upper arms? Gone. Its quite magical. Sometimes, when I know I will be dragged out for a pedicure, I scrub my feet first, so that I don't need to be embarrassed by the state of my calluses while I’m sitting in those God-awful massage chairs.
2) Blood Circulation: Like with dry brushing, scrubbing can/should be done from the extremities IN. The idea is to promote stimulation of the lymph nodes (some of which are located in the armpits and groin). Blood gets moving and toxins are released. A healthy lymphatic system equals a healthy body. The lymphatic system is hugely important and complex. A good resource I have found that explains its role much more elegantly than I can, is found here: https://www.davidwolfe.com/the-lymphatic-system-health/.
3) Throw out your lotion! Ok, don't throw out the lotion (try my amazing lotion!). This one really gets people excited. After scrubbing in the shower, there is no need to moisturize. Who doesn't like to skip a step? Normally, I don't need to use lotion on my alligator legs for two days after scrubbing (do you shower every day? I don’t. Another topic for another blog).
Expert tip: after scrubbing and rinsing, shave immediately. The residual oil on the skin result in the best, closest, smoothest shave EVER. No more shaving cream!
While I struggle with certain elements of grooming practices, body exfoliation is one ritual I have happily implemented into my life. I feel the immediate benefits of being super moisturized, clean and buzzing. The whole body feels so smooth and supple - like a baby seal. And i LOVE seals.
One thing to keep in mind: the shower floor can get slippery, so watch out! Rinse well and you’ll be fine.
Last thing: you might have heard that body exfoliation (with a brush or scrub) can reduce the appearance of cellulite. Im on it - will report back if I find any changes. So far… not so much.