2-Step Natural Dry Skin Care Routine

natural dry skin care routineYou know how I can tell that winter is almost here? My skin gets super-duper DRY!

I mean, really dry. Like, peeling and cracking kind of dry.

Sorry. That’s pretty gross.

During most of the year, my skin stays soft and smooth. It’s only when the weather changes and we have to turn on the heaters that my silky skin turns into a dry desert.

More disturbing imagery. Sorry about that. ;)

But no worries! I have an awesome completely simple and natural skin care routine that leaves my skin soft, smooth, and healthy.

If you struggle with dry skin during the colder months (or anytime), I definitely suggest giving this 2-step routine a try.

Step #1: Exfoliate

When you hear the word “exfoliate”, you probably think of body scrubs made from hand-harvested French sea salt and crazy expensive “rare” essential oils.

Don’t worry, I’m not that kind of gal.

“Exfoliate” simply means to remove dead skin cells. You certainly don’t need a pricey, chemical-laden scrub to do that!

Dry Skin Brushing

It’s exactly as simple as it sounds. You just brush your skin while it’s dry!

First, you need to buy the proper brush. You want one that is made with natural fibers, not synthetic.You can find one for cheap on Amazon. I actually have two: a standard one for my body and a smaller, less coarse one that I use for my face (which I brush using a circular motion).

Next, you lightly run the brush up and down your body right before your shower. Now, some methods you may come across on the web are a little labor-intensive. You can only brush in upward strokes (always toward the heart) and you have to follow a certain pattern (hands to arms to shoulders to chest…).

Sounds like a bunch of new-age mumbo-jumbo to me. Plus, I’m just way to lazy for all that!

All I do is quickly brush all over right before my shower, paying special attention to my hands, feet, elbows and knees.

I do this maybe once a week during the summer (especially if I go swimming a lot) and every other day during the winter.

It honestly takes less than 5 minutes.

Step #2: Moisturize

Now that you’ve sufficiently exfoliated and washed off all the yucky dead skin cells with a quick shower, it’s time to moisturize.

But of course, not just any moisturizer will do! No expensive lotions full of  nasty chemicals like Diethanolamine (DEA) and phthalates (chemicals that have been linked to cancer, by the way).

Any guesses?

Coconut Oil!

Yep, just plain organic, unrefined coconut oil. I buy mine from Whole Foods, but I believe other places sell non-organic, refined brands.  A 12-16oz jar costs between $9 and $12 and it will last for quite a while.

In fact, I have had the same 14oz jar for almost 2 years now! That’s definitely WAY less expensive than paying $30 (or more) for some high-end body “crème” that only lasts a month or two.

Another great benefit of using coconut oil to moisturize is that there is practically no smell. You smell coconut as it’s being applied, but the smell quickly dissipates.

Other Oils

As I said, I like coconut oil because of the price and the no-smell factor. But there’s nothing inherently special about this oil that makes it a better choice then, say, avocado or grape seed oil.

You can certainly use those or other plant-based oils if you wish. There are also natural oil blends you can buy, like Burt’s Bees Apricot Oil, at health food shops or even some pharmacies.

Just be sure to steer clear of petroleum-based mineral oil.

The only downside to coconut oil is that it solidifies at room temp. You could put the jar into a bowl of hot water before your shower, but (you guessed it) I’m way too lazy for that.

When I’m ready to moisturize, I just take out as much as I need and rub it in my hands. The heat and friction will warm up the oil and it will return to its liquid state pretty easily.

I can avoid this step during the winter because we always have the heater running which keeps the house really warm and the oil nice and soft.

Let’s Recap

  1. Using a natural skin brush, lightly brush up and down your body and in concentric circles on your face.
  2. Shower
  3. Moisturize with coconut oil…as much as you like!

Okay, so the routine is actually 3 steps. But you were going to shower anyway…right? ;)

Oh, I forgot to mention the bes* part about this routine!

You will see results almost instantly!

When I first implemented this routine back in the winter of 2007, my skin was completely dry and cracked. Within 2 days, there was about 50% improvement and after about 6 days, my skin was completely smooth and soft again.

All because of a skin brush, some coconut oil, and a few extra minutes of my time.

Beat that, Bath and Body Works!

Go raw and be fit,

Post Last Updated: 3/6/2013


  1. Got a question. Do you put the oil onto the skin when it’s still wet or after drying?

    Swayze Reply:

    I put it on right after toweling off, so my skin is dry but still warm.

  2. In response to Bob…you might try reading “The China Study.” A diet high in saturated fat (cooked or raw) is correlated with all kinds of cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.

  3. since the skin is built with saturated fat and it has a layer of saturated fat which protects us from the sun, its a good idea to eat lots of saturated fats be they animal or plant based. Oh by the way ..mothers milk is mostly saturated fat as is your brain.

  4. Wow, lots of coconut oil love here. Awesome! :D

  5. I’ve used coconut oil, too, on my skin. Also, I have used the extra virgin olive oil–on skin and hair. A luffah sponge works for me for dry skin brushing, and in the shower. Just a wash cloth works for my face.

  6. Okay, thats bizarre… I literally just got done with the vary routine described right before I checked my email and found this! Whoo-hoo spreading the truth!

  7. You are absolutely right about body brushing and coconut oil! I purchased a Tampico Skin Brush (made from the unbleached stem of the agave plant) from Whole Foods a couple of months ago during the heat of the summer. I have always had a problem with dry skin, but because of my mostly plant based raw food diet (I’m still transitioning to 100% plant-based) I was able to forego the use of oils (I used Shea Butter) until it got colder here in Texas this week and I had to turn on the heat. My Shea Butter comes unrefined (I think) from Africa, and I ran out so I’m back to organic coconut oil again.

    My question to you is, where did you get your face brush? I am using a small round brush with a handle, but I think the bristles are from some animal, and I want something plant-based.


    Swayze Reply:

    I also have a Tampico body brush. I believe my face brush is to, but I’m not sure as I’ve had it for quite a while.

  8. I love coconut oil! It does wonders for my hair and skin. :)

  9. I am so glad to see you sharing this! I recently discovered the power of coconut oil for both nutrition and skin care. I threw out all of my expensive creams and cosmetics. I have always exfoliated, but don’t use creams that claim to do this. Rather, use the brush method as Swayze described. My face has never been smoother and clearer! I wear a little mineral makeup but never feel funny if I go out barefaced anymore because of the raw foods, the natural exfoliating and the coconut oil all make my face glow and I have even lost some long time freckles! And, I will be 55 next month! Swayze, you are right on! The only other thing I do after washing my face with a natural clay/coconut oil soap is to dab on a little Bragg’s apple cider vinegar with cotton to make sure all the soap and dirt is out of the pores and to tone the skin. It’s wonderful and it works great on sunburns, cuts, etc as well. I love your emails so thanks for the great communication. Be natural, be healthy, save money and save time! And GLOW!

    Swayze Reply:

    That’s excellent, Sherri! And thanks for ACV tips. :)

    rebeca Reply:

    Sherri, i loved this tip as well and I truly wish to thank you as well for sharing. Eating right feels great and taking care of our skin with safe, nartural, and anti-aging products makes me very happy. I appreciate the tip and have begun today using the apple cider vinegar. Thanks Rebeca

  10. A dermatologist suggested unrefined organic safflower oil to me as a moisturizer. I use it on my face neck and upper chest and on my legs after shaving It’s glorious! My face absolutely loves it. It does not clog pores and in a couple months my peri-menipausal skin looks fabulous. Someone asked me just today at church what anti-aging remedy I was using. :)

  11. Oh, gosh, Swayze, you are me! I discovered coconut oil in 2006 and have used it ever since. It’s inexpensive, save, and works fabulously!

    And another thing – I haven’t been able to tolerate strong smells for a lot of years, maybe ten. Exhaust, cigarette smoke, perfume, hair spray – ugh ugh ugh, I just feel instant nausea and can even taste it in my throat. My intolerance began right after gas spilled all over me when filling up my car. I was sick as a dog for days and haven’t been able to tolerate smells ever since!

    Well, it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my misery!

    One other natural product I always have on hand is organic aloe vera gel. I actually put that on my face right out of the shower or after just washing my face, then awhile later I add the coconut oil. It’s especially refreshing in the summer, as you have to keep it refrigerated and it’s so cooling and just makes my skin glow. I couldn’t live without these two products!

    Swayze Reply:

    I actually use aloe vera as a hair gel. It’s awesome! :)

    rebeca Reply:

    Thanks Laurie for sharing with Swayze’s readers your coconut oil & aloe vera skin regime. Because of Swayze’s article I showered and lathered my body with cocnut oil. A little goes a long way. I then place some cold aloe vera gel on my face and will wait a bit to dab some coconut oil. I appreciate all this information that is shared. Swayze you have helped by providing great nutritional information for the body, skin, and the environment. Question: I eat 1,400 calories daily of mainly fruit & vegetables with 10% fat daily. I began running 4.6 miles 5 days a week and need to loose 30 pounds from my post pregnancy weight. What is your take on the amount of fruit & vegetable calories for weight loss? Does it even matter since I have begun this new diet. Will eating 1400 cal of fruits & veg naturally allow me to loose the weight in a month or 3. What do you think? Thanks Rebeca P.S. When will your book be out? I am looking forward to purchase one!


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