I've done many strange things in the name of beauty, but shivering in my bathtub while scraping my own ass cheek with a brush has to be one of the most bizarre.
When the alarm went off extra early the morning of my first experiment, I rolled out of bed, not unlike a grizzly cave monster would wake from a season-long slumber.
I took off my warm pajamas and scrambled into my empty bathtub, all in the name of a trendy practice called dry brushing.
According to Exhale National Spa Director Laura Benge, dry brushing is the "exfoliation and massage of the skin with the aim of boosting circulation and draining excess lymph."
Adherents even claim the technique "detoxifies" the body – although the legitimacy of toxins is eternally under debate – while minimizing cellulite by softening hard fat deposits and clearing clogged pores.
Never one to let a challenge pass me by, I committed to dry brushing for exactly two days before eschewing toxin-drainage in favor of my REM cycle.
Despite my skin feeling fresh and glowy, and enthusiasts assuring it is life-altering, I put quality time with my bed ahead of beauty just this once.
Here's what you need to know about dry brushing before you decide if it's right for you.
Prepare to get a little uncomfortable.
Dry brushing may sound like a miracle treatment, but the practice takes a sense of discipline.
The rough brush first thing in the morning isn't quite as soothing as, say, a pre-work latte, but if you're into the practice of natural health care, it's a method with roots in the Ayurvedic technique.
In fact, cultures from Ancient Greece to Russia placed an emphasis on scraping and brushing off the skin regularly.
Sure, you might have the willpower of a Greek athlete, but does that make bristles against your skin feel any better? Nope. It's something you'll have to get used to.
Walk softly and carry a stiff brush.
The easiest way to ensure results is to start with the right tool.
Customers who try out Exhale Spa's Glow Body Scrub treatment are gifted the dry brush used in the procedure, but brushes are also readily – and inexpensively – available.
Experts recommend hunting around for a brush made with natural fibers. Both long- and short-handled brushes are popular, so purchase one that suits your flexibility level.
Brush in hand, it's time to get busy.
Technique is everything.
The key to achieving dry-brushing results is consistency, so many experts recommend doing it first thing in the morning.
Standing in a bathtub or shower (you'll be sloughing off gross amounts of dead skin), Benge recommends using light pressure and short strokes always traveling toward your heart.
Beginning with the feet, brush every area of the body except the face until your skin is tingling and stress has melted away.
Although I struggled to find my zen within the practice, many brushing regulars swear by the invigoration the practice provides.
Shower your problems away.
The final step to dry brushing, and the only one I found myself enjoying, involves stepping into the shower for a cleansing rinse.
By now, your skin will be tingling, which makes the warm water feel extra luxurious.
When you finally manage to pull yourself out, use a rich moisturizer or oil to nourish your newly exfoliated skin. Repeat the process daily for silky, youthful skin.