Whenever we’re faced with a hair problem—whether it be static, grease, limpness—we tend to switch our shampoos, styling products, even the way we blow dry or straighten our hair. But the real trick may be changing how you brush your hair. Although brushing our hair is as natural as washing our hands or pouring a cup of coffee in the morning, it’s not as straightforward as you would believe. Find out what you’re doing wrong—and change your ways stat.
Brushing from the root to the tip.
Starting at the root and pulling the hair down to the tip pulls the hair out of the follicle, snapping it. Instead, work your way up by starting to comb a few inches up from the bottom, taking out tangles, then moving up a few inches, removing more tangles and working up to the root in these small sections.
Brushing when wet.
The hair fibers get filled with moisture, causing them to stretch. Because the strands are now weaker, breakage is much more common. Allow your hair to air dry before detangling.
Detangling with a paddle brush.
A paddle brush is too harsh to detangle, whether dry or wet. You want to use a wide-tooth comb, but first apply a detangling product. Use a spray for fine hair, a lotion for medium thickness and a cream for thick or coarse hair. The hair will then be slippery and the comb will go right through.
Brushing too much.
If you’ve seen any old movies or TV shows, you may remember women sitting in the front of the mirror counting every brush stroke until they reached 100. However, over brushing can actually cause more breakage. Instead, focus on the quality of the brushing, not the number of strokes. Eliminate the knots and you’re done.
Using the wrong brush.
It may also be the equipment you’re using that’s the problem. Natural boar bristle brushes are much gentler on hair than brushes made with synthetic bristles, and they’re better at distributing your hair’s natural oils through the mid-lengths and ends.
Using dirty brushes.
Just like you should wash your makeup brushes, you should also wash your hair brush once a week. The bristles get clogged up from stray hairs as well as excess product build-up. Just think—when you use your brush on freshly clean hair the next day, you’re actually applying the product residue from the day before.
To wash, first remove any hair caught in the bristles and then run the brush under warm water. Add shampoo or hand wash and work it into the bristles, creating a foam. Then rinse the brush off completely and set on a towel to dry.
Causing static with your brush.
Brushing too often can also cause static from the friction. Before brushing, spritz hairspray on the brush to control flyways. You can also rub a few drops of hair oil between your fingertips and run through the hair.