Brushing - Using Combs and Picks

By: Alien

Combs and picks aren't necessary for everyone: some people use them, others simply rake gently through hair with their fingers. If you are a comb or pick user, look for a model with rounded, widely spaced teeth - these are gentler on hair than pointy?tipped, fine-toothed combs. Furthermore, make sure each individual tooth is smooth, without cracks or burs that can catch hair and rip away strands' cuticle layer. Hard rubber, hard silicone, and polished wood are the most hair-friendly materials

Brushing techniques There are two reasons to brush your hair. The most obvious one is grooming - your coif looks messy, so you brush it into submission. For this type of brushing, work gently and do as little as possible: too much brushing can upset your style: The other reason for brushing is sclap and hair health too much brushing can upset your style. The other reason for brushing is scalp and hair health. Now I realize that a bit of controversy surrounds this type of hair brushing. Some people believe the less you brush your hair, the healthier it will be; other folks claim that faithful brushing keeps the hair and scalp healthy by clearing away debris from the scalp and strands, massaging the scalp, and distrbuting moisturizing sebum through hair.

Regular brushing gives hair a natural shine and is said to create locks that are healthier, more manageable, and easier to style.

My own opinion is what I call "moderately pro-brushing." Through experience I've found a thorough brushing not only makes my hair look prettier, it dissuades oil from pooling around my roots and lifts dry flaky skin cells off my scalp. The best time to give your hair a thorough brushing is right before you hit the shower. I'll admit this is a bit arbitrary so if you want to give yourself a thorough brushing in the middle of the day or before going out at night, go ahead. However, be aware that intense brushing loosens dead scalp flakes, which gives your hair a "dandruffy" look. Also, if you have wavy or curly hair, an in-depth brushing can create an electric, high-frizz finish. (Now you see why I like to hit the shower after brushing!)

Handy hints

You've been brushing your hair for years - do you really need someone to tell you how to do it? Maybe not, but I'm nonetheless going to tell you what I've picked up from several dozen hairdressers. Before you whip out the brush, take a wide-tooth comb or use your fingers and gently go through the ends of your hair to remove tangles, knots, snarls, and so on. Bend over at the waist. Start at one ear and, working around the neckline, brush in long strokes from scalp to tip.

I do not believe in giving tresses 100 strokes a day - after all, too much of any good thing can, with time, create damage. Each section needs only two or three "rake-throughs" before you move on.

After you've finished working the neckline, remain bent over and separate your hair from nape to crown as if you were creating two ponytails. Starting at the nape and working toward the crown, brush strands on one side of the horizontal part. Repeat with the hair on the other side of the part.

Only dry hair should be brushed. Damp or wet hair is weak and vulnerable to breaking. If you must detangle wet hair, do it in the shower while you have conditioner in your hair. Work gently and use a wide-tooth comb or hair pick.

Stand up. Brush hair around the hairline by starting at one ear, moving toward the opposite ear, and directing hair back off the face. When you've finished, part hair in the center. Brush the hair on one side of the part. Repeat on the other side. Note: Those of you with curls or very thick hair may have to create a few more sections to ensure that every part of your scalp and hair gets brushed.

Those of us with longer hair, fragile hair, or hair that we're trying to grow must be more mindful of how we handle our strands.

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