Something people with short hair, or no hair at all, know nothing about is the vast selection of hairbrushes available. But to those people with long hair – mostly women, but bountifully tressed men too – a hairbrush is exceptionally important to hair and scalp health.
This is also true of hairbrushes made for those who do suffer from hair loss conditions. There are hairbrushes created specifically for hair systems for men, or wigs for women. There are hairbrushes made for women and men who undergo surgical hair restoration. So you can bet that any hair loss treatment clinic offers a selection of brushes for their clients.
What makes hairbrushes so important? In simplest terms, brushing hair is about appearance and hair health. But there are both good and bad uses of hairbrushes and it’s important to know the difference. Just as important, the type of hairbrush selected needs to be suited for the type of hair of the individual.
Brush in moderation
Common hair-care lore for more than 100 years is that the amply follicle-d should brush their hair with 100 strokes on a daily basis. More recent research suggests this is excessive – in fact, it leads to more breakage and even hair loss.
As published (“The effect of brushing on hair loss in women,” Kiderman, Gur, Ever-Hadani, 2009) in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment, a peer-reviewed periodical, “Brushing is associated with hair loss. Reducing the brushing frequencies may reduce the amount of hair shed.”
That is not to say do not brush at all. Long hair needs the natural oils created by the sebaceous glands in the scalp to nourish the strands. Brushing also stimulates blood flow to the scalp, which is considered beneficial to the health of both skin and hair. Done correctly, and gently, brushing works out tangles in the hair (usually best done while hair is wet).
Choose the type of hairbrush for your type of hair
With so many types of hairbrushes in the hair products aisle at your local drug store – hair detanglers, shower hairbrushes, cushion brushes, tiny boar bristle brushes, nylon bristle brushes, mixed bristle brushes, etc. – it’s understandable that this can be confusing. The basic guide is to center around the type of hair you have and find the brush that is best for your thickness and texture.
Thinning hair – a gentle, soft bristle brush is less likely to pull precious remaining strands from your scalp.
Long hair – A paddle brush, which has a wide base, simply covers more hair in a single stroke.
Curly hair – A wide-toothed comb through hair when wet is what curly haired people should use (their biggest challenge is frizz and breakage from combing dry hair).
Thick hair – As with long hair, a wide-body paddle brush is recommended. If available, get the kind with nylon pins interspersed with boars’ hair, the latter of which aids in the distribution of natural oils.
Challenged (breakage) hair – Hair that breaks is generally due to tangles and the frustrated person who tries to detangle by force. This is not entirely the fault of the brush. It absolutely helps to use a paddle wet brush while hair is still wet. In particularly bad cases, brush through with conditioner still in the hair and wet. If hair is prone to breakage due to overprocessing, a soft boar bristle brush would be the gentlest on the shafts.
Bottom line: brushing is good in moderation but pay attention to what is beneficial to your hair. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for others.