Earlier this week we brought you an article on how to grow your hair long and beautiful. One thing we mentioned was the importance of using the right tool, manely, your hairbrush. We thought we’d elaborate.
If you’ve been using the same ol’ plastic brush you bought years ago, it might be time to upgrade. No, it’s definitely time to upgrade.
Plastic Hair Brush
Static in the hair is created when the hair is charged. Plastic hair brushes collect negative charges, and hair becomes positive when combed. The buildup of this positive charge causes hair strands, especially those that are dry, to repel each other, because like charges repel. The result? frizzy hair and flyaways.
There’s nothing to really brag about with plastic brushes. Let's move on to some more natural options.
Wood Hair Brush
Wood collects a small amount of negative charge, but is for the most part neutral. For this reason, less static is created when you brush with a wooden brush.
More so than plastic but perhaps less so than boars bristle brushes, wood brushes collect some of your natural hair oils and help distribute them throughout your hair. Your own hair oils are the best natural conditioner! So distributing them from root to tip helps to keep the hair moisturized. A lot of natural sebum is created along the nape of your neck, so don’t neglect this gold mine! Flip your head over and brush from the nape of your neck to the ends of your hair to naturally soften it.
Wood brushes are often made from bamboo or beech wood.
Bamboo is considered sustainable because it can grow in nutritionally depleted soil and regenerates quickly. Harvesting doesn’t disturb its root system, and it can yield, according to Treehugger.com, 25 times as much lumber than trees.
While the harvesting process is considered pretty sustainable, making bamboo into something usable often uses formaldehyde-releasing glues and VOC-releasing finishes. Unlike wood products, which are often cut from a larger chunk, bamboo shoots need to be fused together to create a finished product.
Beech wood is another common material used to make wooden hair brushes. Reclaimed beechwood is a sustainable option, or wood that is Forest Stewardship Council certified.
Many people love wooden hair brushes for the head massage they provide, another great reason to buy one!
Boar Bristle Hair Brush
There’s a lot of hype around hair brushes with bristles made from boar hair. The information on why these brushes are so beneficial and exactly how they are harvested seems to be a little scarce.
The benefit of using this type of brush is that it’s supposed to do an amazing job of distributing your hair oils, which coat the bristles. Some even say it allows you to wash your hair less frequently. Why boars hair is better at this than other animals isn’t quite clear.
If using animal products is against your philosophy, be aware that “natural bristles” can often mean it’s from animal hair. It’s been hard to find information on exactly how the hair is harvested, so feel free to comment below with what you know!
Boar bristle hair brushes are different from wood in that the bristles are soft and densely arranged on the brush. This isn’t the brush you want to use to detangle your hair. Using a boar’s bristle brush when your hair is tangled will actually make the situation worse. Brushing wet hair, which is more prone to damage, can cause breakage. Instead, detangle your hair when it’s wet using a wide toothed wood comb. When hair is dry, that’s when you can brush it out with your boar bristle hair brush.
It might seem like a lot to say about hair brushes…
Do the subtle differences really mean anything? It’s hard to say. But you when choosing, you might as well choose the best!
Do you have a certain type of hair brush that you love? Let us know in the comments below!
by Hope Freije