Are You Brushing Your Hair The Right Way?

Aly Walansky
Organic By John Patrick - Presentation - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2015

Mireya Acierto/Getty Images

If you tend to avoid brushing your hair, we don’t blame you. While our grandmothers once advised a routine of one hundred brush strokes per day, the truth is that brushing your hair incorrectly can result in doing way more harm than good. Aggressive or excessive hair brushing is one of the main causes of breakage and split ends, which is why it’s so important to address the correct type of brush and technique for you. Here’s how to get it right.

Be gentle, but thorough.
When brushing hair, always start at the ends and work your way up to the root, says Giovanni Vaccaro, creative director at GLAMSQUAD. “This seems counterintuitive, but it’s key in order to detangle hair without breaking the strands,” says Vaccaro. When dealing with wet hair, opt for a wet brush or Tangle Teezer. These brushes have modern technology that makes it easier to brush through the hair without breaking it. When dealing with dry hair, opt for a brush that is mostly made up of boar bristles. It may feel strange at first, but when your brush reaches the root, make sure you actually brush the scalp as well. Celebrity hair stylist Eva Scrivo explains, “The bristles of a boar brush pull all your natural oils through the hair shaft, exfoliating the scalp and improving circulation. The best way to brush your hair is using small strokes, starting at the ends and slowly moving up towards your scalp so as to prevent breakage.”

Find the best brush for you.
Natural all-boar bristle brushes are ideal for fine hair, says Scrivo. The soft bristles are gentle enough for fine hair, as well as hair that is prone to breakage. They’re also great for adding strength, volume and shine. For medium to thick hair, Scrivo recommends a mixed bristle brush, which is a combination of boar and plastic bristles. “Plastic bristles are longer than the boar bristles and get get through the most unruly hair with ease,” she explains, “while the boar bristles smooth the hair and add shine.” All-boar brushes are also ideal for extremely thick, easily tangled hair. “You can loosen up tough knots with a Mason Pearson brush starting at the ends and working up,” says PRIV hair stylist Loretta Wollner. If necessary, you can then go in with a wet brush or comb to address smaller tangles.

And if you have extensions …
You must always use a boar bristle brush, says Wollner. “Great Lengths makes a few different sizes that can work on all types of extensions.”

Read more: 6 Nighttime Prep Tips to Wake Up With Gorgeous Hair