Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Which Is Better For Your Hair - Brushes Or Combs

I grew up with a grandmother who insisted that all women should use a natural bristled brush to accomplish the 100 strokes needed to have the best hair possible.  The other thing she told me was that one should never comb or brush one's hair until it was dry.  If you needed to set curls, you used your fingers and pins again without use of a comb or brush. 

I gave up on the natural bristle hair brush because it never seemed to go past the surface so my hair was always knotted.  I ended up going to the pet store and buying one of those wired dog brushes because it would go through my hair and got rid of all the knots but at the same time, it seemed to break up the curls I had.  

It wasn't until much later, I discovered those detangling combs which are great to use when my hair is wet or dry and it doesn't seem to break the curl.  I've often wondered though if I should have a brush at all since most of my friends rely on brushes.  So I'm exploring the topic or brushes versus combs to see if either has an advantage.  The straight out answer is that "it depends".

For some people a brush is better and for others a comb is better but whichever one you end using, you need to make sure you use it so it creates the least amount of damage to your hair.  Let's start with how brushes and combs cause damage to your hair.  Both brushes and combs have bristles. It is when the hair becomes wrapped around these bristles that the damage occurs because the person doing the brushing or combing tends to yank the instrument through the hair.  Although it feels like the knots are being released from the hair, they are actually being broken off or ripped out of the scalp. It may be a quick way to get rid of knots, it is not always the most effective way to accomplish it.

As far as which is better for your hair, there have not been any real studies on the topic.  In fact, when companies test new products that prevent hair damage, they use hair brushing as the base line.  These companies compare the amount of damage done to the hair with the new product and without and if there is less damage done with the new product, it is assumed the product works.

Apparently, there was one study done in 2007, where they compared the hair damage done by a hair brush and a comb to see which one did more.  They concluded that a brush was more likely to break off long strands of hair while combs tended to break off shorter strands of hair but I don't know what type of brushes or combs they used.  

However, there is some data that indicates that whatever brush or comb you buy, should have more space between bristles because these tend to create tangles. If your comb or brush is missing bristles, you should replace them because they are more likely to cause breakage.  You are also looking for one that will go through your hair easily and does not make you tug it through your hair.

Sometimes preventing damage is related more to how you do it rather than what type of comb or brush you own.  Research has shown that if you are gentle with your hair, you are less likely to do damage.  If you find a knot in your hair that is being stubborn, you might want to detangle your hair using your fingers rather than the comb or brush.  Furthermore, the type of shampoo and conditioner can have an effect on how easily the brush and comb go through your hair.  Personally, I've found a good detangle helps me gently comb my hair.

So find the tool (comb or brush) that works for your hair, be gentle, and make sure to find a shampoo and conditioner that works best with your hair.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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