Haircare routines can be simple or complex, but no matter what they always include a brush or a comb or both. We have all been brushing and combing our hair since we were kids and have probably gone through hundreds of brushes and combs in your lifetime. Healthy hair is something we all strive for and oftentimes our hair care routines include practices that negatively impact our lovely locks. However, what can seem like such a simple part of our hair care routine, can actually impact the health of your hair. While using the wrong brush or comb or using the wrong technique shouldn’t lead to hair loss, it can certainly lead to breakage and cause extra tension on the hairs that can damage the follicles. So here are some hair-friendly tips for brushing or combing.
Keep brushing to a minimum. We have all heard the myth that brushing 100 times a day can lead to healthier-looking hair, but this myth is not true and is unfortunately bad advice. There is no need to overbrush, in fact, increased brushing can lead to split ends. Limiting the brushing is especially true for African American hair, as it is particularly fragile and more susceptible to damage.
Tip: If you have African American hair, use a soft brush with widely spaced and coated bristles. Another good option is a wooden comb with wide teeth.
Handle wet hair as little as possible. We have all done it. You jump out of the shower and in a rush, you don’t have time to dry your hair so you just style it right away. When brushing or combing your hair, it is best to allow the hair to partially dry first. Hair is most fragile when wet and will be more vulnerable to damage.
Tip: don’t rub your hair dry with a towel, dry hair by wrapping in a towel or let air dry for at least 10 minutes.
If you have to style wet hair, use a comb instead of a brush. If your hair is wet, we still recommend waiting at least 10 minutes to dry some, but use a comb instead of a brush. This will help to avoid some of the tugging that can cause breakage. Definitely use small strokes and use your fingers instead of the comb to loosen any knots. If your hair is tangled or knotted, consider using a detangler or leave-in conditioner.
Tip: Keep a wide-toothed comb in the shower and gently use it immediately after conditioning. The conditioner will help protect the hair as you gentler comb through and detangle your hair.
Don’t start brushing from the roots. One of the biggest concerns when brushing and combing is tugging on tangles and causing tension on the follicles. This is more likely to occur if you start brushing from the roots. Start brushing from the bottom, ideally a few inches up and brush down working in a small section.
Tip: Once all of the hair is brushed, take a few gentle strokes from the roots, which will help distribute your body’s natural oils along the hair shaft. This serves as protection from harsh elements, as well as a built-in moisturizer for the hair.
Brushing and combing your hair is something we do to our hair every day, which makes utilizing the right tool and technique so important. Keep your hair health in mind whenever you are styling your hair.