How to Choose the Right Hair Brush for Your Hair?
When it comes to combating hair problems like limpness, frizziness and greasy scalp, a lot of emphasis is placed on choosing the right shampoo and conditioner. But ever wondered if you are using the right hairbrush for your hair? You might just be using the wrong tools – not products. With so many different brush types on the market, it can be confusing to know which brush does what and which ones suit your hair type.
To determine the right brush for your hair, let’s look at some basic brush types and their bristles.
The everyday brush. The paddle brush, also known as the the detangler, comes in many shapes – oval, rectangle and square. Until recently, brands like Tangle Teezer and Scaredoo have revolutionized paddle brushes making them a fashionable accessory. These new brushes look like odd-shaped bars of soap with teeth that comes in a variety of prints and colors. Perfect for all hair types.
Best all-round brush that hair professionals use. Great for creating smooth, shiny and bouncy hair; no matter straight or curly hair. When used with a hair dryer, a round brush can create desired curl and volume giving hair that extra oomph. Most traditional round brushes come with a wooden barrel. For longer lasting curls, choose a round brush with a vented ceramic barrel. Perfect for medium to long hair. For shorter hair, you can choose a smaller size round brush.
This classic semi-curved brush is so popular that it is known throughout the world by its company’s name. It is simply a curved brush with round-ended nylon pins on an anti-static rubber pad. When used with a hairdryer, this brush gives a soft bend to hair ends and creates shine working well with bob cuts. Perfect for all hair types, especially short and fine hair.
Wide Tooth Comb
As the name suggests, this is a comb with teeth wide apart that helps to detangle both wet and dry hair preventing breakage. It works well as a shower comb when washing hair to evenly distribute shampoo and conditioner. Perfect for all hair types, especially thick and coarse hair.
Fine Tooth Comb
I refer to this as the ‘uncle’ comb. A comb with teeth set very close together and that is often seen sticking out the back pocket of a man (usually older, hence the term uncle), or call it the Grease comb. Like in the movie, this comb is used to create a certain look be it a high back-combed beehive (like Sandy played by Olivia Newton-John) or a slick back wet gel look (like Danny played by John Travolta). Perfect for hair teasing and styling.
Next, we need to decide on the right brush bristles.
When it comes to brush bristles, natural means hog hair. True boar bristle brushes are made from 100% natural wild boar hair. They are usually packed together tight and feel stiff with a little flexibility. Boar hair is similar to human hair. It grips hair better, effective for cleaning hair shaft, follicle and scalp, and also distributes oil evenly through hair strands for shinier, smoother, healthier hair. People with thick and coarse hair may find natural boar bristles too soft to comb through dense hair mass and contact scalp. Hence, this type of bristles are suitable for fine to normal hair textures. The downside? 100% natural bristle brushes are not cheap. A classic boar brush can cost up to hundreds of dollars!
Synthetic bristles usually means nylon or plastic bristles. There are many good things to be said about synthetic bristle brushes: lightweight, quick at drying hair, easy to handle, suitable for most hair types and a whole lot cheaper than natural bristle brushes. Synthetic bristles are especially great for people with thick, coarse and bushy hair textures. While they do a good job combing through hair, massaging the scalp and stimulating sebum production, synthetic bristles are useless at cleaning the hair shaft and distributing natural oils through the hair.
Mix of Natural & Synthetic
Sometimes called the Porcupine, most hair professionals will choose to use a blend of both bristles for versatility and longevity. Nylon mixed with natural boar bristles helps retain the shape of the brush. These brushes are good for normal to thicker hair. It gives the best of both worlds. Boar bristles gives hair a good polish while synthetic bristles help detangle hair allowing it to dry faster. Purists would agree that mixed bristles does not mean it is the best for your hair type. Porcupine brushes can be just as expensive as natural bristle brushes.
Knowing these basic fundamentals of hair brushes, you can make a better decision on the right hair brush for you hair.
How to choose the right hair brush for your hair? Let’s use me as an example.
My shoulder-length hair is straight and fine textured, prone to becoming limp and flat like a helmet on my head. I need body and bounce. Using the above guide, the best kind of brushes I should have consist of: a paddle brush (for everyday detangling), a round brush (for voluminous blow drying) and maybe a fine tooth comb (for days when I have to back-comb to create lift). For bristle type, my ideal is a 100% natural bristle brush. Or I can settle with a mix of natural & synthetic bristle as well.
(Sidenote: Before doing this feature, I have only used and owned a synthetic bristle paddle brush. How wrong I have been! This reminds me of how women often buy the wrong size bra as well. I digress.)
Choosing the right hair brush can make a noticeable difference to your hair’s health and appearance. Next time before you buy a brush, know what you are getting because a good quality brush will serve you for many, many years.