The 10 Truths of Hairbrushes
Anne White, Founder, Brushopolis
When it comes to creating great hair looks, the hairbrush is often the last consideration, but beauty pros agree that it should be one of the first. After all, why invest in a quality cut, color, shampoo, conditioner and treatment—then use a low-quality brush? Thanks to new research, science and some seriously hair-raising testing, hairbrush innovations have come a long way toward delivering more good hair days than ever before. Here are Ten Truths of Hairbrushes to help guide you to the best brushes for your mane.
- Bristle matters! From metal to plastic to natural bristles, there are a wide range of materials to help tame your tresses. 100% First-Cut boar bristle is the top choice of stylists because it is kind to the hair and it naturally redistributes the oils, making for shiny, healthy hair. Boar Bristles come in 3 different cuts, the most beneficial cut for hairbrushes is the First Cut, because it is the healthiest one. First Cut Boar Bristle is quite expensive, and it is what makes our brushes a little bit pricier, but the benefits of having it make a world of difference. We only use First Cut in all our brushes because it actually closes the cuticle of your hair, and you get a polished look: smooth to the touch and a healthy shine. The Boar Bristle is porous, so it acts as a vehicle for your natural scalp oils to be distributed from roots to ends of your hair, a natural conditioner! That is why in the old days, they recommended “100 strokes each day” with a natural brush. Pure nylon bristles will pull your hair and cause breakage, especially if you start blow-dry styling with the hair really wet or if you have processed hair. Metal bristles can be the most damaging to hair because they will strip the hair cuticle, leaving it unprotected from the elements. The ideal bristle should feel firm to your touch, not flimsy. For thicker, coarser hair, select a brush with high-quality, 100% boar bristle plus a nylon quill. The quill will grab the thicker hair, while the boar soothes the cuticle (something nylon can’t do). Boar also helps distribute product and wick away moisture to speed your blow-dry.
- The brush should do the work! Stressing the wrist and hand with repeated brushing is unnecessary. With the right brush, you can load, lock and pull. It should be light weight and well balanced. Combine that with a quality dryer held at the right angle and your ideal look can happen fast and without bodily harm.
- Use brushes designed for the task! If you think about it, most people cleanse, tone and moisturize skin. When it comes to hair, the best looks happen when you prep, style and finish, with brushes designed for each step of the process. At minimum, you need a wet-hair paddle brush or detangler to section and dry hair to about 70%, a high-tension Styling Brush to do the work of the look you are trying to achieve, and a Finishing Brush to refine the look and add shine. Depending on the type of styles you like to do, you’ll likely need a few specialty brushes, like a good teasing brush for extra volume, updos and refining.
- Use brushes designed for your hair type! Just like dry skin and oily skin require specific product formulations, fine, medium and coarse hair requires different brushes for the perfect blow-dry. Coarse and highly textured hair is easier to style with an hourglass brush that features a thermal quill surrounded by high-quality quality boar bristle. Fine hair can be damaged by nylon bristles or a stiff thermal quill, and a soft natural bristle won’t provide enough tension for styling, so a 100% First-Cut boar bristle brush performs best in fine hair.
- The core is king! Choosing a brush made from material that holds heat but does not burn hair is critical for speedy results without damage. More than ever, people are turning to metal cores because they heat and control hair fast. But as a material, metal will continue to heat up as you use it, and literally burn the hair and any great conditioners or treatment products you have applied will burn away too. New innovations like the PolyDynamic High Heat Retention Core™ hold the heat and provide control without burning. Combine that with an hourglass shape that mimics the shape of your head for optimum performance. Round and oval shapes allow you even more control and style options than a flat paddle.
- Get a handle on it! Using a brush with a handle that is too small or made from materials that slip when wet can slow down your brushing and stress your hand and wrist. Go for a slightly textured rubber or foam handle that is comfy, easy to grip and allows the most control, especially for highly textured hair.
- Size it right! The size of the barrel on round and oval brushes is an important factor for tension, speed, control and ease of use. In general, for maximum tension and straightening performance, the shorter your hair, the smaller the barrel...and the longer your hair, the bigger the barrel. If your hair is layered, go with the size that best matches the majority of your strand lengths. Smaller barrels are great for short hair, bangs and creating waves and curls even on longer hair.
There’s more to a teasing brush than volume! The teasing brush has become the go-to brush for many people because it’s not just for teasing anymore. The compact bristle head makes it ideal for refining everyday styles, like blending those baby hairs along your hairline, smoothing fly aways, creating fast updos, adding sexy texture and more. And teasing brushes are the travelers best friend, especially for that long international flight!
- A good brush can replace your hot tools! Yes, it’s really true, with the right brush and blow-dry technique you can achieve straight hair, beachy waves and/or curls without the damaging heat of an iron. With a directional nozzle on your dryer, a high-tension styling brush and a 100% first-cut boar bristle finishing brush, you can even get the smooth polished look of a flattening iron (remember what I shared about closing the cuticle with boar bristle?). Your hair will thank you!
- Your brush needs a bath! Make your investment last, and your hair shine even more, by cleaning your brush regularly with gentle shampoo and warm water every 30 days. After gently massaging the bristles with soapy water, use a soft toothbrush or spooly to gently scrub the barrel clean. Rinse with clean water, shake out excess water and stand on end to air dry.