Tuesday Tip: Getting the Brush Off

So your hair is not looking it’s best. Split ends? Lackluster locks? Breakage? Hard to manage? Well take a look at your brush. Does it look like what your hair feels like? Most times than not we are using either the wrong type of styling tool or one that is way past it’s prime.

The past couple of days my hair has been really nice to me. It has been doing what I want, has felt so silky and looks very shiny. Was it the new shampoo? Was it my diet? No, it was that I replaced my brush. I have hair just past my shoulders that is wavy. Like many, I use a round brush with my hair dryer to straighten my hair and give it fullness. Like many, I have tried almost every type of brush on the market to get the best results – vented, ceramic, metal, plastic bristles, rubber-tipped bristles, boar bristles, paddle… you get my drift. I have found the best results, the least amount of frizziness and the most shine from a boar bristle brush. Boar bristles are softer than plastic, help impart a sheen to the hair strand and are less likely to break the hair. However like human hair, boar bristles react to the heat of the dryer. They melt, curl, split and frizz over time. Eventually they barely run through your hair, but work almost as a Velcro roller sitting under the hair as the dryer passed over it. This causes frizziness, lack of tension causing less straightening power.

You don’t need to break the bank and buy a Mason Pearson, I buy the $9.99 Goody brushes at Target. I find that if I replace it every three months, I maintain healthy hair.

I was shopping with my mom and she was complaining about flyaways, little hairs that stick up in the humidity and wind and ruin the polish of her French Bob. I asked her what kind of brush she uses to dry her hair, “Oh I have this round metal brush. It gets the hair dry really quickly.” She admitted that said metal brush also had sharp plastic bristles that scratched her scalp if she got too close to the skin. Well gee, let’s make your dryer even hotter and more damaging, and let’s use sharp little tools to scrape through your hair. Might as well use a Brillo pad on your ‘do. I suggested she switch to a boar bristle. A week later, I asked if she had gotten a new cut – her hair looked amazing. Nope, it was all in the brush.

Before you invest in yet another heavy-duty conditioner or shine serum, consider your styling tools. They may be the culprit to less than stellar hair. A few tips:

  • Curly hair doesn’t necessarily need to be brushed, even when wet. A brush will separate curls, causing frizziness. If you do have tangles that cannot be removed by your hands in the shower during the conditioning rinse, invest in a very wide-toothed comb. I find wood combs to be more gentle to the hair shaft.
  • If you are using a metal brush to have your hair dry faster, invest instead in an ionic hair dryer. Don’t know why, but the ionic dryers get the hair dry faster and are less damaging than more heat.
  • If you have straight hair and want to brush it when dry, invest in a brush with a padded base for the bristles. Your scalp will thank you, and you will be less forceful when brushing, reducing split ends.
  • If you are straightening wavy hair, consider a boar bristle brush. You may find your hair to be shinier, softer and have more body.
  • The 100-strokes every night rule for brushing is proven to be bad advice. The more you brush your hair, the more you damage it. Try to brush and comb your hair as little as possible, and on lazy days, let your hair air-dry. You get vacations, your hair deserves one as well!

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