Choosing a hairbrush that is tailored both to your hair type and styling needs will give you the best results, leaving your hair healthy, beautiful, and manageable.
In the effort to have hair that is beautiful, shiny, and healthy, many people alter their diet, shampoos, and styling products. However, few of us recognize what an enormous effect our brushes have on the appearance of our hair. Using a brush that is poorly suited to one’s hair type or styling needs can have a detrimental effect on the look and feel of hair, causing it to frizz, break, or look dull. By choosing a hairbrush that is tailored to your unique needs, you can achieve not only the perfect style but also more luxurious and resilient hair.
Why a Hairbrush Matters
The basic purposes that hairbrushes serve are obvious: they detangle and style the hair. However, these are not the only jobs that a good brush should perform. A properly designed brush fully penetrates the hair, reaching the scalp and massaging it. This stimulation removes dirt, dead skin cells, and residue from shampoo and styling products. Built-up oils on the scalp are brushed away, protecting the hair follicles from clogging, which can alternately cause poor hair growth or breakouts on the scalp. It also stimulates the release of sebum and pulls it through the hair. This is important because sebum acts as the hair’s natural protector and conditioner, making it shiny and resistant to breaking and splitting. Thus, old tales of over-brushing and thus damaging hair are untrue. With the proper tool, brushing actually makes hair healthier.
If the wrong brush is used, myriad problems involving the hair and scalp can result. If the bristles are too stiff or are poorly shaped to the scalp, excessive pulling of the hair occurs. This can make you brush out hair that is healthy, yanking it out from the root. Also, hair can break or split at the ends with this type of brush. Brushes with synthetic bristles that are cut improperly can rake at the scalp instead of massaging it. They may also have sharp projections along the bristle’s length that split hair. If you decide to use a nylon bristle brush, choose a high-quality one with rounded tips that are a part of the bristle. Alternately, natural bristle brushes have a scaly texture that could snag and fray strands of hair.
Improper use of even the right tool can also be problematic. Despite all the advice against it, many people brush their hair when it is wet. This is absolutely a bad idea — pulling on wet hair with a brush can stretch it to the point of breaking. Also, people with very thick or curly hair often brush their hair when it is dry.
Doing so could make the hair frizzy, so it is advisable to use a styling pick to shape this hair type instead. People with thin or thinning hair often make their problem worse by using brushes with a lot of bristles and consequently pull out healthy hair. If you have this problem, it is best to use either a comb or a brush with a minimal amount of softer bristles to avoid unnecessary hair loss.
There are a few universally desirable qualities to look for in a hair brush. Many of the highest quality brushes have bristles that are embedded in a cushion. When pressure is put on the bristles, the cushion gives a little, making it harder for hair to be pulled or broken. Also, a good brush will be slightly curved so that it is contoured to the shape of the scalp. This feature helps eliminate pulling on hair strands. Some professional style brushes also have bristles of uneven lengths, as it is believed that this detangles the hair effectively without applying too much pressure. Although there are differing opinions about which type of bristle, natural or synthetic, is best, it appears that high-priced natural bristle brushes may not be worth the price. While it is true that the most common material, boar’s hair, has a naturally rounded tip that is good for the scalp, it is commonly believed that its rough texture does more damage than good.
Now I will explain the benefits and uses of a few popular types of brushes. First is the basic paddle brush, which is ideally suited to brushing out and styling long hair to get a smooth, straight look. This is not a good choice for styling layers, since it adds absolutely no volume to hair. Another good styling tool that is perfect for shorter hair types is the sculpting brush. Designed to add life and texture, it is best suited to razor cuts or choppy styles. Next are thermal brushes, which are available, both in flat and round designs. The flat brush has a metal core that heats up when used along with a blow dryer, making it work something like a flat iron. It has holes in it that speed up the drying process and creates a flat, sleek look quickly. The round thermal brush also has a metal core but gives very different results. Depending on the size of the brush, it can create added volume or curls. Finally, the cushion brush works well for medium length hair that is cut for maximum volume. Its curved shape helps give lift to hairstyles with layers and bi-level lengths.
To summarize, picking your brush carefully can make all the difference in whether your locks look beautiful or fried. Although you do not have to spend a fortune for a quality tool, buying a cheap one is likely to show since it may be poorly constructed and will not hold up well. Make an investment in your brush, choosing one that will promote hair health as well as detangle and style. If you do, the benefits are sure to be evident in your lush, healthy hair.