Should you be Brushing or Combing?

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Feature image from WILLIAMYAN

The Combing / Brushing debate

A long time ago, when my partner and I were working full time, a family friend recommended a new hairdresser for the two of us.  We were busy working stupid hours and found it hard to fit in ‘normal’ activities like going to the hairdresser.  Millie, who did after-hours house calls, came to our home late one Tuesday night and changed my life forever.

She saw what no other hairdresser had seen before – My hairbrush.  Millie caught sight of my hair clogged round plastic brush in the bathroom and freaked out.  A fine toothed comb lay beside it on the bench.  She asked me to brush my hair a little and I did.

She watched in horror at my slap and tear brushing technique and she demanded that I stop immediately.  She asked me if anyone had ever shown me how to brush my hair before.  I said No.

I’d never thought about it before.  Millie insisted I toss out my brush, and recommendedI buy a boar hair bristle brush and a wide toothed comb.  The next time she came to our house to cut our hair, she taught me how to use them.  Here is what I learned.

What is the difference between Brushing and Combing your hair?

When I was growing up, combing and brushing your hair was spoken about as same thing.  The tools were interchangeable and no one could really explain to me what the difference was.  It has taken me 25 years, a kindly hairdresser and a little research to really understand the fine art of hair brushing and the reasons why we should be combing sometimes.

idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
the lazy comb

Brushing Your Hair

  • The first reason to brush is to clean your hair.  Brushing is the best means to remove skin flakes, dust, dirt and hair products from your hair.

When your hair is out, it picks up dirt and pollution from the air.  Dry skin from your scalp gets tangled in your long locks and you might find doesn’t look very shiny.  That is because your hair is probably dusty.  Brushing your hair is the best way to remove all this dirt from your hair.

  • The second reason to brush your hair is to spread the natural oils through your hair that are produced in the scalp.  Scalps have a natural moisturising system, which is why the hair around your scalp might seem a little oily.  This oil needs to be moved down your hair shaft to nourish and moisturizing the entire length of your hair.

The little bristles of your hairbrush stimulate your scalp to secrete more oil, lubricating and protecting all your hair.

Brushing your hair is meant to be slow, deliberate and gentle.  Brushing your hair is the best way to clean the hair, move the natural occurring sebum from your scalp down the hair shaft, smooth and soften your hair.  Hair brushing is meant to take time.  Hair brushing is a beauty therapy.

WHICH BRUSH? – Always use a natural BOAR HAIR BRISTLY BRUSH.  They come in different sizes from SMALL BRUSHES and LARGER BRUSHES.  It just depends on how much hair you have.

For the details you need to know HOW TO BRUSH YOUR HAIR while it is still very fragile, keep reading here.  Brushing your hair should usually happen at night time.

Combing Your Hair

AIM – Combing your hair is the best way to manage your hair if it’s wet, tangled or needs styling.  Your hair is at it’s most fragile when wet, so a wide toothed comb is best for in the shower and when using a conditioner.  If your hair is particularly tangled, remember to comb from underneath the tangle, don’t comb from above.  Oh no!

Use a comb when you are pulling, parting and styling your hair.  Combing is also the best precursor to brushing as it gets your hair ready and can be used to divided easily into sections after it has been combed.  Combing your hair should mostly happen in the morning.

WHICH COMB? – Start with the widest biggest comb you have and then get smaller  Always use a LARGER SHOWER DETANGLER for combing your hair when wet and a SMALL COMB for being really gentle and smoothing your hair.

In summary – Brush your hair slowly to clean and nourish it – with a boar hair bristle brush – at night.  Comb your hair to detangle and style it – with a wide toothed comb – during the day.

I hope this helps.

by Meg

Meghan Brewster is a writer and blogger. She is an ITP patient and launched ITP&Me in 2011. She is a coffee lover and a try hard dancer. @meghan_brewster

3 thoughts on “Should you be Brushing or Combing?

  1. Pingback: The Perfect Hair Routine For Perfect Locks

    Etienne Breier says:

    the questions i ask myself at 4 am…
    well whatever thanks for clearing that up
    since im a guy no one ever thought about teaching me such stuff
    welp who could have guessed there are men with long hair amiright ;D

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