Dry brushing: the quick and easy way to better skin and more

Since you’re reading this blog, you probably have an interest in a glowing complexion. But how often do you spare a thought for the rest of your skin? Dry brushing is a holistic wellness practice that’s ever gaining popularity and involves – you guessed it – brushing your body with dry, firm bristles*.
if you’re new to dry brushing, you may wonder why anyone would willingly put cactus bristles of all things anywhere near their skin. However, growing numbers of people swear by this health and beauty practice and its rejuvenating effects. Even if you’re mornings are already packed, you can easily fit dry brushing into your wellness routine. It only takes a couple of minutes – and after the initial investment of buying a good quality brush (look for them in health food stores and online), it costs you nothing, is super simple to do and has benefits that go beyond a brighter and smoother skin.
Give it a go and you might find yourself in the ranks of dry brushing addicts…

* Though synthetic brushes are available, natural ones with bristles made of cactus and other natural fibres are recommended.
1. Benefits of dry brushing
Happier skin
The desire for smooth, glowing skin is probably what draws most people into trying dry brushing. Much like exfoliating scrubs, the firm bristles of the brush are very effective in sweeping away dead cells from the surface of the skin and will stimulate cell renewal too. Skin pores are cleared by the brush as well, allowing your skin to absorb nutrients from your chosen moisturiser more effectively.
And while research on this front is lacking, that doesn’t stop dry brush converts to hail in their droves about the cellulite-diminishing effects – said to soften and even break down fat deposits where toxins have accumulated beneath the skin. Not only that, dry brushing can help prevent ingrown hairs as well as smoothing rough bumps caused by the common skin condition keratosis pilaris.
An all-natural detox boost
It’s no wonder dry brushing is a popular spa technique – it can be a powerful detoxification aid, supporting the body in its natural waste elimination processes.
The skin is one of our most hard-working elimination organs – we can thank it for removing approximately a third of all metabolic waste products. By clearing the pores of the accumulated toxins, oils and dead cells, dry brushing helps skin get on with its job more efficiently.
Thanks to the stimulating effects on blood circulation and lymph flow, dry brushing can speed up the toxin removal process internally too. And since the lymphatic system is responsible for the filtering and removal of pathogens as well as cellular waste products from our tissues, regular dry brushing may have the added benefit of helping us fight infections.
Energising
Need a little extra help waking up in the morning? Next time you’re about to reach for your morning espresso, grab a dry brush instead. A lot of people who’re hooked on dry brushing, swear by its invigorating effects on both body and mind. The increased flow of oxygenated blood to the skin and organs will certainly not put you back to sleep! Follow your dry skin brushing session with a cold shower to really supercharge your day. May sound positively spartan, but if it gets us going on a dreary morning…
2. How to dry brush
Dry brushing is probably the simplest spa treatment you can perform at home. The key thing to remember is to always brush towards the heart, which is the direction the lymph flows. Start gently, and as your skin gets used to the brushing, you can start using firmer strokes until you find your own personal sweet spot. Many people dry brush daily, but experiment to find the right frequency for you, especially if your skin is on the sensitive side. Your skin will look slightly pink afterwards but should not go red or feel sore. Never brush over irritated, sunburnt or inflamed skin.
Follow these steps:
1. Using firm, sweeping strokes, brush the soles of your feet, then work up the legs, going over the ankles, calves and thighs.
2. Brush your hands, and then the arms up to the armpits.
3. Brush the rest of the body: abdomen, chest and back (a long-handled brush might be helpful here). Use less pressure when brushing over the softer skin of the chest area.
4. Once you’ve finished brushing, wash off the dead skin cells and impurities in the shower.
5. To finish up, apply a moisturiser like our Beauty Body Lotion. Your skin will be perfectly prepped to absorb and benefit from the nourishing biodynamic oils!

Invite Mother Earth into your home

Mother Earth does a lot for us, and a lot of us try to do bits and pieces to look after our planet in return. Yet with all our to-do’s, reducing our carbon footprint is often the last thing on the list… Furthermore, the words ‘green’ and ‘living’ might inspire images of self-sacrifice and inconvenience rather than fill us with enthusiasm. But don’t fret… there’s no need to turn into a passionate eco-warrior overnight or move into a yurt in the countryside to make a difference. (Though spending a weekend ‘glamping’ in an eco-yurt with a special someone would certainly make for a memorable holiday!)
Making earth-friendly choices can be surprisingly simple and, with a little repetition, new habits can quickly become (excuse the pun) second nature. Taking positive actions can also help us feel more optimistic and resilient in the face of a constant stream of gloomy news about the threats our planet is facing.
Read on for a round-up of five ways to honour Mother Earth in your own home. You could save money, get healthier, make new friends and even embark on a culinary adventure in the process… And… just maybe… you’ll find there’s an eco-warrior in you after all?

1. Jump on the green cleaning bandwagon
Here’s a way to give Mama Nature a helping hand and improve your own health at same time: head over to your cleaning cupboard and take a look at those labels. Many modern detergents contain harsh chemicals that are not only toxic to aquatic wildlife when washed down the drain but can leave long-lasting residues on surfaces with the potential to irritate skin and lungs – the less-than-friendly line-up includes asthma, eczema, allergies and other disorders. Plenty of efficient earth-friendly products are available these days – even on the supermarket shelves – which makes switching to eco-friendly cleaning super-convenient. Many independent health food stores offer cheap refills that further cut down waste and costs.
If you have the time (a few minutes that is!), consider taking the DIY approach. Simple soap, baking soda, vinegar and a few key essential oils like lemon, lavender and tea tree will take care of most of the cleaning needs around your house and using them works out very economical. And while you’re at it, cut up some old t-shirts and you shall not want for reusable cleaning rags!
2. The green heart of your home
Kitchen is the true heart of many a home – and it’s also where a lot of the eco-friendly magic can happen. Making sustainable choices about the food we buy and prepare often goes hand in hand with eating better and saving money, too.
Supermarkets don’t make it easy for us to avoid unnecessary packaging, but we can do our bit to reduce the amount of plastic we bring home. Make a habit of taking a reusable carrier bag with you every time you go shopping and choose loose fruit and vegetables over plastic-wrapped ones when possible. If available, signing up to a veggie box scheme or buying produce at your local farmers’ market is even better! For dry goods like rice, lentils and muesli, many health food stores have their own bulk bins that allow you to refill your own containers at a bargain price.
Avoiding ready-made meals and cooking from scratch provides another opportunity to zap waste and save money. When planning your meals, take advantage of the boom in vegetarian and vegan food blogs – finding exciting veggie recipes to try has never been easier and incorporating a few plant-based meals into your week will help shrink the carbon footprint of your kitchen.
Check out The Veg Space
3. Discover your green fingers
No farmers’ market nearby? Go one step further and slash down the food miles by growing your own veg! There’s no better way to connect with nature at home and you don’t need a large garden to get started as many crops are more than happy in containers. Cherry tomatoes will merrily grow in a hanging basket, roots like carrots and potatoes can be grown in pots on the patio, beans and peas will climb up a wall with a bit of support, and herbs and salad greens don’t ask for much more than a sunny spot by the window. To add a splash of colour and provide food for you and pollinators alike, sow a few edible flowers like nasturtiums too.
Fresh food lovingly grown and picked when perfectly ripe could be the most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted. As a bonus, you’ll be eating food guaranteed to be free of pesticide residues. Get the kids involved as well and they’ll learn a lot about nature – and perhaps even start eating their vegetables… Give them their own seeds to sow or a strawberry plant to look after, then sit down together to count the bumblebees and butterflies that visit your crops. You can even record your findings in a survey (such as this one by the Polli:Nation) and contribute to scientific research.
3. Become mindful about energy
Reducing energy use in our home is one of the best ways to do our bit for the environment and it’s great for our wallets too. Some of the simplest ways achieve this include unplugging our appliances when not in use and washing laundry at lower temperatures. Other methods may require some funds initially – think of insulating the loft, buying energy-efficient appliances, even installing solar panels – but if we’re able to fork out the cash, we’ll be rewarded with significant savings in the long run.
You could help our planet even more by powering your home with wind and solar energy – now’s a great time to think about switching if you haven’t already. Green energy has become more accessible as well as affordable in recent years with many new energy companies offering renewable energy at competitive prices. Switching is easy too – your new supplier will handle the entire process once you’ve signed up – making it an eco-deed you can accomplish within minutes.
5. Get into the spirit of sharing
With online stores at our fingertips 24/7, it’s easy to buy anything under the sun, whenever we want it. But what if we pooled resources instead, donated, shared and borrowed items more? We’d all likely save money, reduce the amount of clutter in our homes, help each other out and possibly even make new friends – all this while saving raw materials and keeping usable stuff from ending up in landfills.
Got a bread maker gathering dust on a shelf? A bike your child’s outgrown? There’s someone in your local community who’ll gladly take your unwanted stuff off your hands. Freecycle and its many incarnations exist for the sole purpose of moving goods locally to where they’re most appreciated. Charity shops will love your used books and bric-a-brac, and if you have a stash of clothes you don’t get around to wearing anymore, a clothes swap is the perfect eco-friendly excuse to get your friends together.
When buying things, consider if you can borrow or share first. Sharing with neighbours is a great strategy when it comes to power tools and other items that are needed only occasionally. It can also be a great way to get to know them better! Refurbished technology can be every bit as good as brand new while buying designer clothes has become a lot more affordable with online boutiques selling pre-loved items for a fraction of the original price. It’s a world of possibilities and once you get into the swing of reducing, reusing and recycling, you might even find it gets a bit addictive…

Make your mornings magical: five tips to reinvent your routine

Having a difficult and taxing day? Chances are it started that way. When we drag ourselves out of bed feeling stressed and tired, then skip breakfast and rush about in order to get out the door and to work on time, it’s more than a little likely to have repercussions on how we handle the rest of the day. Creating a health- and happiness-boosting morning routine can go a long way towards smoothing the path ahead and helping us feel our best. And while our tips may not instantly transform you into a morning person, we’d bet that making the first moments of your day a time to nourish your body and mind will help you feel more grounded, calm and productive – and you never know, you might just look forward to it again the next day.

  1. Make time for self-care

 

Habitual snooze-button presser? Barely manage to get dressed before running out of the house? We know dedicating some time for building healthy habits and getting into a positive headspace first thing in the morning can seem like an insurmountable task. Yet creating a morning routine just for you could be your ticket to a more relaxing start to the day. Begin by setting your alarm for just 10 minutes earlier and increase the time gradually. Sounds unlikely? If you’re getting enough sleep but still struggling to get out of bed, try waking up to a dawn-simulating alarm clock. Research shows that by balancing the hormones that control our circadian rhythm, wake-up lights can help us emerge from our slumber feeling more refreshed and alert.

You can also create more space for a nurturing self-care practice by prepping for a more efficient morning the night before: pick your outfit, pack your lunch if you’re going to be eating on the go and put anything you need to take with you somewhere visible by the door.

  1. Set the tone for a brighter day

Now that you’ve made that extra time for yourself, ease yourself gently into the morning by taking a few moments to start your day mindfully. Focus on your breath for 5-10 minutes, follow a guided meditation or tune into your body by noticing any physical sensations, such as the way the texture of the bed sheets feels against your skin. If time is of the essence then the shower can be the most magical mindful wake-up, just focus on how the water sounds and feels on your skin.

Then, before the habitual thought patterns get a chance to carry you away (we recommend ignoring the notifications on your smart phone too – Facebook, emails and depressing news can wait), outsmart any anxious and worrisome thoughts by putting your focus firmly on something positive. Try reading your favourite motivational quote (you could put up a post-it note beside your bed), make a mental list of things you’re grateful for or look forward to, listen to an episode of an inspirational podcast, put on some uplifting tunes or give your loved ones or pet a cuddle. It’s your routine, so do the thing you enjoy the most and know will help you get into a happier state of mind!

  1. Get energised

Feeling more calm and optimistic? Brilliant. It’s time to give your body a morning lift too. A brief burst of exercise early in the day is one of the best ways to help you feel more invigorated and motivated to tackle the tasks ahead. Just 10 minutes engaged in a physical activity you love, from bouncing on a rebounder to hitting the yoga mat to ‘salute the sun’ (find a beginners’ guide here), will get your blood flowing, energising your brain as well as your body.

And if you can bear it, end your morning shower by turning the temperature of the water to its coldest setting for 30 seconds or so. Cold water not only refreshes like nothing else, but studies indicate that it can also banish stress, support the immune system, provide pain relief pain and help us shed extra weight.

  1. Pamper your skin

Having a beautiful glow can do wonders for our confidence and mood as we get ready to step out into the world. So while you’re in the bathroom (no doubt raring to go after your cold shower!), show your skin some love and take a moment to cleanse, tone and moisturise for a fresh and nourished complexion. Our Morning Beauty skincare routine is ritual designed to renew, rebalance and replenish your skin with our award-winning formulations. All you need to do is follow the steps in order for the best results!

  1. Hydrate and nourish your body

It’s no secret that giving our bodies proper fuel helps us get the most out of our day. If you’re already clued up on healthy morning eats – bravo! However, if the sum total of your morning sustenance is reaching for a shot of espresso or a mug of tea, it may be time to make some changes. Try switching your caffeinated beverage of choice with hot lemon water, or at least down a glass of it before you have your caffeine fix. Why lemon water? We’ve all heard of the importance of hydration – getting enough water keeps our digestive system operating smoothly to name just one benefit – but chucking plain old water can feel like a chore sometimes. A refreshing lemony flavour can make downing a glass a lot more enticing. Lemon also provides an added dose of vitamin C which can help us dodge infections as well as stimulating our collagen production for a more youthful complexion. Making lemon water couldn’t be easier: squeeze half an organic lemon into a mug of hot water and sip away. (If you’re worried about the acid damaging the enamel of your teeth, use a straw.)

In the spirit of switching things up, try a green smoothie instead of or in addition to your usual brekkie and you’ll be well on your way to getting your five-a-day in one delicious serving. By blending mineral-packed leafy greens like kale and spinach with fruit and berries for sweetness and added vitamins, you’ll also be upping your intake of antioxidants and fibre. For an extra nutritional boost, try adding a pinch of powdered superfood like maca, acai berry or hemp protein into your smoothie. (You can find more detailed advice on how to make a perfect green smoothie on this blog post.)