How To Brush Your Hair The Right Way

Medically reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS Dermatologist
Written by Arshiya Syeda

Sometimes, the simplest of tasks are the toughest to figure out. This also goes for brushing your hair. Although it might seem extremely easy, there is a technique behind it. The wrong brushing techniques can lead to a host of hair issues like tangles, split ends, breakage, and hair fall. Hence, it is important to brush your hair the right way. Read on to learn about the right technique of brushing, how often you should do it, and what types of brushes you should use for specific hair types.

How To Brush Hair The Right Way

Brush from the bottom up. Start a few inches off the bottom and slowly work your way up to the scalp. Divide your hair into small sections and use short strokes to get rid of knots and tangles. Once your hair is tangle-free, you can run the brush from the scalp to the tips to help distribute the natural oils along the length of the hair.

However, the same technique cannot be used for wet and dry hair. Find out the right way to brush wet and dry hair in the following sections.

Brushing Wet Hair

Avoid brushing your hair while it is wet. Wet hair is fragile and more prone to hair fall and breakage. Apply conditioner and serum to the hair and use a wide-toothed comb to distribute the product evenly. This process removes tangles and reduces the need to brush the hair when it is wet. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Detangle: Detangle the hair by applying a hair mask twice to thrice a week. This product softens the hair. Once it is slick, start with combing through it with your fingers alone. Follow with a wide-toothed comb.
  • Wait Until It Is Dry: After washing, air dry your hair for 10 minutes. Do not comb while it is dripping wet as the strands are fragile and might lead to hair loss.
  • Use Your Fingers: If you have curly hair, using a comb or a brush can damage the hair and cause breakage. Hence, use your fingers to gently detangle it and prepare it for styling.
  • Brush Gently: Start brushing from the ends and work upwards, using short strokes. Repeat this process until your hair becomes smooth enough to slide the brush through its length.
  • Use Specific Tools: There are several tools designed for combing wet hair. Brushes with thin bristles and a floating cushion create a barrier between the scalp and brush. They are gentle on the hair and do not cause breakage due to harsh pulling.

Brushing Dry Hair

Dry hair is less susceptible to damage. However, it can be combed only if it is not curly. Curly hair, when dry, should be brushed only after shampooing. You can also use hair detangling and smoothening products to moisturize the hair.

The best part about brushing dry hair is that you have a variety of options. If your hair is wavy or straight, go for a paddle brush with soft bristles to remove the knots without snagging the hair. Oil your hair and run a paddle brush through it to add a natural shine.

The brushing technique also depends on the hair type and texture. Scroll down to the next section for more details.

How To Brush Different Types Of Hair

  • Straight Hair: If your hair falls flat from top to bottom, you have straight hair. Brush softly from the ends and work your way up to the top to get rid of tangles.
  • Wavy Hair: Wavy hair is usually straight towards the scalp and has a bend towards the middle and ends. You can use a natural bristle brush or a vented brush to brush wavy hair.
  • Curly Hair: Curly hair has ‘S’ pattern spirals and is frizzy and prone to tangles. It is best to avoid using a brush on dry curly hair. Use your fingers to apply a leave-in conditioner, gel, or detangler and slide through the tangles easily.
  • Coily Hair: Coily hair has a ‘Z’ pattern and is coarse, rough, and prone to breakage. It should not be brushed unless shampooed. Use a smoothening serum after hair and use a wet brush to spread the product evenly.

Apart from detangling your hair, brushing it offers a host of benefits. Check out the next section to know what they are.

What Are The Benefits Of Brushing Your Hair?

  • Stimulates Scalp Blood Circulation And Improves Hair Quality: The bristles of the brush offer a gentle massage to stimulate blood circulation to the scalp. This, in turn, increases the supply of nutrients to the hair follicles, strengthening the hair and enhancing its health.
  • Imparts Shine: Brushing your hair distributes the natural oils from root to tip, ensuring healthy and shiny hair.
  • Reduces Buildup: Brushing also helps eliminate product buildup, dry and dead skin cells, and other impurities from the scalp. It loosens the gunk, making it easier to wash off.
  • Makes Styling Easy: Brushing your hair aligns your strands in the right direction and makes hairstyling a breeze.

Now that you know the benefits, check out the next section to understand which hair brush you should use for your hair type.

What Type Of Brush Is Best For Your Hair?

  • Short: If you have short hair, a vented brush is your best bet. It has holes to allow the air to pass through and makes the drying process easier.
  • Long: Paddle brushes are best for long hair as they help you brush through large sections of hair at once.
  • Thick: If you have thick hair, a brush with a larger surface area and a mix of nylon and boar bristles is the best choice. While the nylon bristles detangle the hair, the boar bristles distribute the natural oils across the length of the strands. You can also go for a paddle brush with nylon pins.
  • Straight: Paddle brushes are best for straight hair.
  • Curly: If you have curly hair, go for a detangling/wet brush.

If you are wondering how often you need to brush your hair, scroll down for the answer.

How Often Should You Brush?

According to hair experts, you should not brush your hair more than twice a day. Repeated or excessive brushing can result in severe damage and breakage.

The twice-a-day brushing routine stimulates the oil glands without overworking them. If your hair is dry and long, brush it around three times a day. Long hair is prone to tangles, which need to be cleared daily for the better secretion of natural oils. If you have curly hair, brush once a day or only after shampooing.

To Conclude

Brushing your hair the right way can make it tangle-free, shiny, and healthy and prevent damage and breakage. Keep your hair type in mind and use the appropriate brush for the best results. Ensure not to overdo it to prevent damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when you brush your hair?

Brushing the hair stimulates the scalp and enhances blood flow. It improves scalp health and strengthens the hair roots.

Should I brush my hair when it is wet?

No. Wet hair is more fragile than dry hair, and brushing it can cause snapping.

What if I do not brush my hair?

When you do not brush your hair, the scalp pores get clogged, which arrests hair growth.

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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).