In this post, we reveal everything you need to know about sisal brushes, including sisal body brushes for dry brushing. Let's get started!
The overly hectic and fast-paced lifestyle of the 21st century has emphasized the importance of self-care. From simple skincare routines to weekly trips to the local spa, men and women scramble to find the best health and wellness treatments that can give their minds and bodies maximum relaxation amidst all the stress that comes with living in the modern world. Among the growing list of trends, there’s one that has been gaining attention—the use of sisal brushes for body brushing.
Body brushing is the process of exfoliating dead skin cells and stimulating blood circulation in the body using a special type of brush with stiff bristles called body brushes. A sisal brush is one of the many types of body brushes. If you want to learn more about sisal brushes, then this article is for you!
This article will discuss the following topics:
- What are the different bristle types for body brushes?
- What is sisal fiber?
- How is sisal fiber different from other bristle types?
- What are the benefits of using a sisal brush?
- What are the different types of sisal brushes?
- How should you choose your sisal brush?
- How should you take care of your sisal brush?
All About Bristles
Before deciding whether to buy a sisal brush or not, you must first dive into the world of bristles. Bristles are, after all, the most important factor in any kind of brush, so a little bristle knowledge will help you differentiate between the body brushes available in the market.
Bristle Type: Synthetic vs Natural
Synthetic bristles. The raw materials used to make synthetic or man-made fibers are either composed of inorganic polymers spun together or a mix of organic and inorganic chemicals. More often than not, the materials are petroleum-based chemicals called petrochemicals. Vegans who firmly believe that all products must be produced cruelty-free opt for body brushes with synthetic bristles for this very reason. However, synthetic bristles tend to be too rough on the skin, rendering them unsuitable for people with hypersensitivity issues. Although they are the sturdiest among all types of bristles, synthetic fibers do not do well in high temperatures since heat can break down the molecules that make up the fibres and melt them. That being said, avoid washing your synthetic body brushes with hot water.
Natural bristles. As the name suggests, the raw materials used in making natural bristles all come from the natural world. They can either be from plant-based fibers like cactus, palm, and sisal, or they can come from animals like boars and horses. Natural bristles are more porous than synthetic ones, making them softer, gentler, and non-irritating to the majority of skin types. The only downside is that they shed more easily than synthetic brushes. Thus, they must be handled with more care, and cleaning them will take longer.
Bristles also have a whole spectrum of strength, starting from soft, semi-firm, and coarse/firm. Choosing one is a matter of preference, but it will be good to learn about each of them so you can decide which brush meets your comfort levels and suits you best.
Soft bristles. For those who want to try body brushing for the first time, starting off with a soft-bristled brush is the most appropriate since it won’t irritate the skin. They are also highly recommended for people with sensitive skin, as brushing using firm bristles can cause damage to the skin. Some companies also produce specialized brushes with “ultra-soft” bristles which can be used by children and can be used for the face and other sensitive areas. Facial brushing is said to reduce wrinkles and fine lines while also promoting skin regeneration, but it is best to consult a dermatologist first before using brushes on your face.
Medium/semi-firm bristles. Soft bristles are great, but, if you want some extra stimulation without damaging your skin, brushes with medium-strength bristles are perfect for you. Beginners can also start body brushing using semi-firm brushes, but they just have to remember to use light strokes when brushing their skin.
Coarse/firm bristles. Experienced body brushers, as well as those who are in need of deep exfoliation, often choose body brushes with coarse or firm bristles. People who are exposed to dirt during their work like mechanics, gardeners, and miners can use coarse-bristled body brushes to remove deep-seated dirt under their nails and slough off skin cells in areas that are most affected by their work environment. They are also great for massages since stiff bristles in body brushes can stimulate blood circulation more than soft and medium-bristled brushes.
Some Body Brushes Available in the Market
Now that we know a little bit more about the certain characteristics we consider when looking for a body brush, it’s time for us to learn about the different kinds of body brushes available in the market.
Synthetic Body Brushes. As mentioned earlier, the greatest advantages of synthetic brushes are their durability and economic value. It is cheaper to synthesize fibres using chemicals than to produce the more delicate natural fibres characteristic of natural brushes. Hence, the low prices. Since their bristles are also stiffer, they fall on the category of firm brushes which are known to provide invigorating massages and deep exfoliation.
Boar Bristle Body Brush. This body brush is one of the most commonly found brushes in the market. Aside from body brushes, boar-bristled brushes also made a name in the world of hairbrushes. The bristles of a boar body brush are made of boar hair, falling under the semi-firm category. While it can give a nice body brushing experience without damaging the skin too much, some consumers refrain from choosing boar-bristled body brushes due to ethical concerns over their production.
Horsehair Body Brushes. Horsehair may be used for brushes made to polish shoes and leather, but it can also be used to buff up your skin! One of its greatest advantages is that it has soft bristles: perfect for gentle cleansing and exfoliation. Horsehair fibers are also supple and pliable, which makes brushing hard-to-reach areas an absolute breeze.
Cactus Body Brush. Bristles of this particular type of brush are made of cactus fibers—a sustainable, plant-based raw material. It is also one of the firmest body brushes in the market, perfect for massaging sore muscles and sloughing off thick layers of dead skin cells.
Palm Body Brush. Although a little less common, Japanese Body Brushes made of women palm fibers are also in the body brush market. This type of body brush is similar to a cactus body brush, except for the raw material used to manufacture them. Its bristle strength ranges from semi-firm to coarse.
Ionic Body Brush. The health benefits of dry brushing are greatly enhanced through the use of an ionic body brush, which has its origin in ancient Ayurvedic practices. Ionic body brushes are made with extra-fine ion-charged copper bristles, which naturally create negative ions that protect your body from free radicals and have numerous other health benefits. In addition, the molecular composition of these unique bristles encourages the direct and immediate absorption of negative ions into your skin, which increases the benefits of dry brushing, including the speed of detoxification.
Sisal Body Brush. Another popular plant-based body brush is the sisal body brush, which uses fibres from a perennial succulent, the sisal plant. Unlike other all-natural brushes made from plants that tend to have coarse bristles, sisal brushes have semi-firm bristles which are perfectly safe for the skin.
Sisal Body Brush: The Best of Both Worlds
Body brushing offers some amazing benefits, but using the wrong brush can cause skin abrasion. Soft and semi-firm brushes may provide better options, but since the majority of soft and semi-firm brushes are made of animal hair, concerns of ethical production and sustainability arise. In this regard, sisal brushes offer a solution; plant-based, sustainable and skin-gentle, these brushes are ready to give you the soothing massages that soft-bristled body brushes just can't.
Sisal brushes stand at the very centre of the spectrum of bristle strength, and utilize a sustainable means of production. It can exfoliate without being too rough on the skin, provide stimulating massages and soothe muscles. In more ways than one, sisal brushes can be considered the best of both worlds.
Sisal, also known as Agave sisalana, is a plant fiber from which sisal fibers are made. It used to be grown only in Mexico, but the increasing demand from the global market pushed for its cultivation and naturalization in several other countries like Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania, and the People’s Republic of China. Sisal ranks 6th place in the world’s plant fiber production, providing almost 2% of all plant fibers produced yearly.
Its appearance is similar to the top of a pineapple. Toothed sword-like leaves containing long, straight fiber form rosettes that are about 1.5 to 2 meters tall. In its average life span of about 7 to 10 years, a sisal plant can produce up to 250 leaves with each leaf containing about 1000 fibers. On top of its high yield, sisal is also environment-friendly, as its weeding is mostly done by hand and it is grown sustainably—the perfect product for both producers and consumers!
Sisal is well-known for its exceptional durability, so much so that it is even used as a part of the core of elevator wires. It exhibits good resistance against wear and tear while needing low maintenance. While it is highly compatible with a wide range of dyestuffs, it does not trap dust particles nor readily absorb moisture.
The mentioned properties of sisal make it especially compatible as a material for a number of products. Recent developments in the processing of sisal also lead to the production of high-grade plant fiber which can be used as a reinforcement in rope cores, fiberglass, and cement. Traditional uses of sisal include the production of paper, scratch post for cats, carpets, hats, dartboards, geotextiles, handicrafts, bags, and (of course) body brushes.
Benefits of Using Sisal Brushes
Like most brushes, the basic benefits of using a sisal body brush include skin exfoliation and energizing massages. Although there are a couple more claims mentioned in several product reviews such as a reduction in cellulite and improvement in lymph drainage, dermatologists and fitness experts expressed a lack of confidence in those assertions given the scarcity of support from the available scientific literature.
The most certain benefit that can be garnered from body brushing is skin exfoliation. Without a doubt, rubbing a bristled brush along your whole body can make you shed layers of dead skin cells; but what makes skin exfoliation great using a sisal brush is that the friction generated from brushing is gentle enough to not cause micro-tears in the skin and cause skin damage.
Exfoliating removes deep-seated dirt and impurities by unclogging the skin’s pores. It can also decrease the rate your skin absorbs moisture after brushing. For coarse brushes with firm bristles, it can lead to extreme skin dryness; but, with sisal brushes, the loss of moisture in the skin is just enough to enable better absorption of beauty products.
Running stiff bristles across your limbs can stimulate blood flow, soothe your muscles, and provide relief from an overwhelming and stressful day. During brushing, the direction of strokes must always start from the feet going upwards, towards the heart. The goal is to use the body brush to accelerate blood flow in vessels deep within the vascular system, and make the blood circulate back to the heart.
Different Kinds of Sisal Brushes
Once you do decide to use a sisal brush, you will be met with another dilemma—what kind of sisal brush should you buy? The market is flooded with all kinds of sisal brushes and it can be overwhelming for a prospective buyer. In this section, we will guide you through the kinds of sisal brushes one step at a time.
Wet or Dry Brush?
The first step is to determine when you would like to use a sisal brush. Body brushing can be done in two ways—before taking a shower (hence, dry) and during a shower (wet). Both wet and dry brushing need their own specific type of brush. Brushes used during wet brushing are typically softer, more pliable, and sturdier than dry brushes. Their handles can be different too. Long handles are more commonly seen in wet brushes since they can brush hard-to-reach areas without taking too much time in the shower. Take these into consideration when choosing your sisal brush.
Sisal Brushes for Every Purpose
You can also choose a sisal brush based on the body part you’d like to use them on. Sisal brushes for the back and bikini areas, for example, can be ordered in specialty shops and in some online stores. Their appearances vary depending on their use.
Sisal Back Brushes. Long sisal back brushes are usually 19 to 26.5 inches long. It looks like a rolling pin made of bristles, except a flexible wire is found in its center instead of wood. It also has a string on each end which can be grabbed and be used to slide the bristles back and forth on the back.
Sisal Bikini Brushes. This type of sisal brush is small, ranging from 7 to 9 inches in length—the perfect size for brushing the nooks and crannies in between the upper legs and inner thigh. It is best for scrubbing away dead skin cells in the bikini area, reducing bikini lines, and preventing ingrown hair.
All-Purpose Sisal Brushes. Of course, multipurpose sisal brushes are the most common. Their lengths range from 11 to 13 inches, just enough for a comfortable grip and all-around access to body parts needing exfoliation.
Additional Criteria for Choosing Sisal Brushes
At this point, the sisal brush you’ll choose based on the criteria above will pretty much already be tailored to your needs, but some additional criteria can be added to further improve your choice.
Handle. Since you’ll be using your sisal brush on a weekly basis at minimum, choosing the right handle will be quite important. There are three types of handles that you can choose from. The first is a wooden contoured handle designed to target body parts such as the back and neck. Next is the strap type: sisal brushes with a single strap on its wooden base fit the user’s hand to make scrubbing easier. The last type of handle is made of cord hemp or jute to maximize grip. You can also consider choosing handles with strings attached to them so you can hang your body brush inside your bathrooms.
Aesthetic value. Some people prefer brushes with high visual appeal, and who can blame them? Sisal brushes are just so photogenic. If you want to buy a body brush worthy of an Instagram post, you can take a look at sisal brushes with ceramic handles or body brushes with bases made of expensive wood like cedar and oak.
Caring for Your Sisal Brush
Wet and dry brushes are cleaned in a different manner. Using the appropriate cleaning techniques for your sisal brush can make it last a long time.
Dry brushes are cleaned less frequently than wet brushes. As an alternative, dirt and skin residues are removed from the brush by lightly running the bristles across the palm right after using it. When the brush does need proper cleaning, the same procedure for cleaning wet brushes is applied. The bristles are briefly dipped in lukewarm soap water or an antibacterial solution. Then, the brush is rinsed and excess water is shaken out. For more efficient drying, the brush is hung upside down using the cord or string attached to its handle. Brushes must be allowed to dry completely before using them again. Additionally, they must be kept in a dry environment to keep wooden handles durable.