Brushing your natural hair may seem like something you can do in your sleep, but it can become problematic even for the best of us. Anyone who brushes their hair should always follow these two basic rules: start at your ends and never ever rip out knots or tangles. However, when you have naturally curly or kinky hair, the rules of engagement change a bit more and if you don’t follow them, then you are bound to pay a hefty price. We’ve seen women undo years of hard work growing and caring for their hair in a few months all from deciding to start brushing their hair. Though it seems drastic, it can happen, so here are a few notes (or refreshers) on how to brush wet curly hair the right way.
NO. 1: DON’T GET TOO COMFORTABLE WET BRUSHING AND NEVER RUSH
Read any advice from those who give advice on curly hair care and they will say it’s best to detangle in the shower with a boatload of conditioner on your hair. We agree with them. The conditioner provides slippage to help the paddle brush glide through your hair. However, your hair is in its weakest state when wet in comparison to being dry which may seem like an oxymoron to those of us with curly and kinky hair but it’s still so, so you should always be gentle when you brush your hair. A paddle brush can pull at your roots and rip out snags much quicker than a shower comb because you can’t feel as much through handling the brush in comparison to a shower comb so always proceed slowly. Your hands are always your best detangling tool, but if you need a brush make sure you’re not causing more harm than good. If you have somewhere important to be, and a tangle or knot is syle blocking, it’s best to skip the knot for now, bun your hair and come back with conditioner to try to remove it later than doing it in haste in the shower. Ask us how we know.
NO. TWO: STARTING FROM THE BOTTOM WILL ALWAYS GET YOU
DRAKE TO THE TOP SAFELY
Starting at the bottom when brushing your hair ensures for one that the brush does not get caught and tangled in your hair which could lead to it having to be cut out. It also ensures that you don’t rip out knots from the top and instead can gently untangle them from the bottom up which leads to less hair loss. It does not matter how maddening that knot or tangle is, save yourself a shaven head by not putting the brush on top of the knot and combing downward.
NO. THREE: YOU SHOULD NOT BE BRUSHING YOUR HAIR DRY UNLESS YOU HAVE WAVY HAIR OR LOOSER
If you have really tightly curled natural hair you just shouldn’t. Not only can it lead to breakage and loss of curl definition but frizz and split ends from pulling it through your hair too often. If you really need to comb or brush your hair wet, damp or dry, read Hair Brushes 101: A Guide To Your Perfect Hair Brush(es) and Combs 101: The Best Combs For Your Curly Hair for tips on choosing the proper brush or comb.
NO. FOUR: YOUR BRUSH SHOULD ALWAYS BE CLEAN
A dirty brush means a dirty scalp and hair plain and simple. Your brush holds an accumulation of dead scalp cells, oil, conditioner residue, and makeup (from your hairline) and other people’s hair (if you share a brush) and all of their scalp residue mixed in with your shed hairs and scalp residue. Are you getting the picture? Be sure to wash your brushes a couple times a month to keep them clean. Regular clarifying shampoo will do the trick.
NO. FIVE: PAY ATTENTION TO THE HAIR IN THE BRUSH
If you have been detangling shed hairs without a brush long enough and frequently enough, you can closely estimate how much hair you lose per session. Pay attention to your paddle brush. That black cushion which is like a black hole that hides hair loss and the ease at which it handles knots could be fools gold. Before you know it, one detangling session with a paddle brush could equal three weeks worth of hair normal hair shedding except your hair is broken off. If you notice there is more hair in your brush than in your comb and its not because you can’t detangle well with your comb, you’re probably ripping your hair out and don’t know it. This is really easy to do with brushes like the Denman and Tangle Teaser so watch your hair like a hawk.