If you’ve noticed your hair getting more prone to breakage or your scalp feeling a little sore, your hairbrushing technique might be to blame. Here are seven hair brushing mistakes you’ve probably been unknowingly making, and what to do instead:
#1 Brushing From Top To Bottom
Especially if your hair gets very tangled, brushing from the roots down can really damage your strands and cause breakage. It can also create even more knots which might cause unnecessary snagging, putting more stress on your hair roots.
Do this instead: Always start brushing from the last few inches of your hair, slowly working your way up to the scalp. Once you’ve taken care of the tangles at the bottom, you’ll find it much easier (and less painful) to brush the rest of your tresses.
Contrary to popular myth, brushing your hair with 100 strokes a day won’t make it grow faster and longer. In fact, it might just achieve the opposite effect as too much brushing and combing can cause breakage.
Do this instead: It’s not the number but the quality of the strokes that count. Once you’ve untangled the knots, you’re good.
#3 Not Brushing Enough
On the other hand, underbrushing is also not healthy for your mane. Sure, the tousled, fresh-out-of-bed look might be trendy, but those looks come with styling. Otherwise, you might just look disheveled. Also, especially if you have long hair, brushing helps to distribute hair oils to keep your strands healthy and conditioned.
Do this instead: Brush your hair at least once a day, depending on how tangled your hair gets.
#4 Using The Wrong Type Of Brush Or Comb
Avoid getting brushes with tiny balls at the end of each bristle – just like hairties with metal connectors, hair tends to get caught in the grooves and you might end up ripping out your precious strands.
Do this instead: A generally safe option is a boar bristle brush that’s suitable for most hair types. They have flexible bristles and are best used when styling for achieving smooth, frizz-free hair. A nylon bristle brush is great for curly or wavy hair, as they help with shaping and detangling. For long, straight hair, use a paddle brush that helps defrizz hair more easily as having more bristles means it can work quicker to detangle and smooth out large portions of hair at once.
#5 Brushing Wet Hair
Your hair is at its most vulnerable state when dripping wet, so avoid using a brush that can create tangles and cause breakage.
Do this instead: A wide-toothed comb is generally ok. Altenatively, use a detangling tool like the Pop Fold by Wet Brush (available at selected Watsons, Guardians and SASA stores), or the Tangle Teezer (available at Sephora). Their specially formulated bristles are much easier on your strands.
#6 Forgetting To Clean Your Hairbrush
If you can’t remember the last time you used soap and water to clean your hairbrush, it’s definitely time for a soak. It’s not enough to simply remove the hairs that have built up in the bristles. Your hairbrush can get clogged up with dead skin cells, hair product, hair oil and general dust and grime build up, which can ruin your precious locks.
Do This Instead: After removing all the strays caught in the bristles, soak the entire brush head in a bowl or cup of water and soap. Do this every one to two weeks.
#7 Forgetting To Condition First
Hair brushing shouldn’t be a painful endeavour, even if you have curly tresses. It’s important to prep your hair before brushing.
Do This Instead: To minimise breakage, make sure to always use conditioner when you shower. Apply some leave-in conditioner before brushing damp hair, or add a bit of styling cream before brushing dry hair.