Here’s How To (Safely) Brush Wet Hair

Shannon Farrell
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PeopleImages/Getty

PeopleImages/Getty

Lets be honest: who doesn’t brush their hair when it’s wet? Whether your texture needs the help of a blow dryer ASAP or you just dont have the time to wait, bristles hit wet locks more often than not. Weve heard the warningsbrushing wet hair equals damage!but is there a better approach than waiting it out?

The bad news: theres no damage-free way to brush wet hair, says Michael Boychuck, a celebrity colorist and owner of COLOR salon in Las Vegas. Brushing wet hair causes damage because when hair is wet, its weakened. Brushing is one of the roughest actions and brushing wet hair can lead to broken strands and split ends.

Luckily, there are safer alternatives than tearing through sopping hair. We’ve rounded up the best (and safest) ways to brush wet hair.

1. Detangle.
Start by detangling the hair with a cream or serum that not only softens strands, but makes them slick enough that the comb slides right through. Two of our favorites are Oribe Split End Seal ($46) and Living Proof No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner ($24).

2. Use your fingers.
Run your hands through your hair instead of using a comb (or a fork, if you’re a mermaid in human form). This works out major tangles and preps your hair for styling without causing damage.

3. Wait!
Let your hair air-dry for 5-10 minutes. NEVER comb soaking wet hair—it’s so fragile, you’ll stretch or snap masses of your hair (especially if it’s colored or previously damaged).

4. Comb properly.
When it comes to brushing, choose a comb, like The Body Shops Detangling Comb ($7). The teeth are far enough apart so that when you drag it through, it doesnt tug on the hair. When using a comb, start at the ends of your hair and work your way up, combing in short strokes, says Boychuck. Continue this process until you can easily run your comb through the entire length of your hair.

5. Use specialized tools.
We truly do live in the future, because—miracle of miracles!—there are even brushes formulated specifically for wet hair. The Wet Brush ($8.99) has thin, flexible bristles that detangle without pulling (therefore preventing breakage) while the floating cushion provides more flexibility and creates a barrier between the brush and scalp. Ecotools Ultimate Air Dryer ($10) also has softer brushes to detangle without harsh pulling. The shape, which has a hole in the center, works like a diffuser so air travels through the brush, drying strands way faster as you brush.

So it turns out there are lots of ways to brush your wet hair without damaging it! Who said our impatience was a flaw?

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