When I first came to university, I avoided hair brushing like it was the plague and when I did brush my hair, I'm sure I didn't know the first thing about how to brush hair properly. Having thick, dry, bleached hair meant that brushing at the start and end of the day would often lead to me throwing a tantrum and throwing my hair brush at the wall. After six months of matted, messy bun-wearing, my best friend sat me down and brushed it all through for me. Not looking back, I've been an avid hair brusher ever since. It's a routine I enjoy now, and it's almost comforting, especially after I learned plenty of tricks to make the mission that little bit easier.
Of course, different hair types take different tricks — while emptying my hair brush of loose strands once a month doesn't phase me, for those of thinner hair and fainter hearts, they may want to avoid hair loss as much as possible. These rules are pretty standard for most hair types though — the kind of tips that your mom gave you when you were a kid and you ignored as a teenager. Now that I am a fully grown, hair responsible adult, following a set hair routine as part of my daily routine makes my life just that little bit easier. Here are eight hair brushing mistakes you might be making, and how to avoid them.
1. Find The Right Brush For You
Finding the right brush for you will change your life. You'll wonder how you got through life using the wrong brush for so long and brushing your hair won't seem like (as much of) a chore anymore. Just think: Brushing your hair in all the right ways is useless if your brush isn't the right one for you. For thick hair, use a flat paddle brush, according to In Style. For fine hair, a hot air brush might be the best thing to use.
2. Empty And Clean Your Hairbrush Often
As bizarre as it sounds, I actually think pulling all your shedded hair out of a hair brush is really satisfying. If you clean your hairbrush as regularly as you should, according to Clean My Space, a home cleaning tips site, then you're removing all the oils, dead skin, and gross germs that otherwise you're pulling it all through your hair again. You should be emptying and cleaning your hairbrush every two to three weeks, according to the Huffington Post.
3. Brush Your Hair Often
To keep your hair luscious and knot-free, brush it more than in the morning and before bed. How often you should brush your hair depends on your hair type. According to Philip Kingsley, a hair specialist, in an article for Positive Med, finer and longer hair require regular brushing to avoid knots. Invest in a little travel-friendly brush to carry around with you. Or even invest in a Tangle Teezer for effortless, out and about, hair detangling.
4. Section Your Hair
If you section your hair to dry it, cut it, curl it or straighten it, then your hair's probably thick enough to section while brushing. It's way easier to to tackle your knots one at time than all at once.
5. Do Not Brush Your Hair When Wet
I repeat, do not brush your hair when wet! Brushing wet hair makes way more breakages in your hair than letting it dry before brushing and it also causes split ends, according to an article on She Knows. Combing gently on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable.
6. Hold Your Hair Away From Your Head
My best friend taught me this trick when I was throwing a tangle-inspired tantrum. If you cup your hair into a ponytail with your fingers and brush your hair from lower down, then it doesn't hurt and it's way better for your hair. "Starting low allows you to tackle tangles along the hair shaft without the risk of pulling your follicle out of its root" said Kelsey Osterman, senior stylist at New York's Cutler Salon, in an article for In Style.
7. Let Your Hair Dry Naturally Rather Than Blow Drying
Air dried hair is prone to less breakage than blow dried hair, according to LIVESTRONG, because any type of unnecessary heat on your hair is damaging for it. According to Women's Health, when it's about 50 percent dry naturally, comb through carefully with a wide tooth comb or a wet brush to remove all tangles and knots. It may take a little longer, but caring for your hair properly will lead to easier and better brushing.
8. When All Else Fails — Wash It
You know what works wonders for getting rid of knots after a four-day festival and a five-day ponytail? Brush through to get out the worst of the worst, jump in the shower and wash your hair, then use conditioner, and work your way through the rest of your tangles. Washing your hair correctly can do wonders for keeping your hair healthy, and healthy hair is easily brushed.
Knots and tangles don't have to ruin your day as long as you keep your hair brushing knowledge up to date. Simple as that.