Hair Care: When To Use A Brush And When To Use A Comb

Hair care basics: how to know when to use a brush or comb to straighten and fix your hair.

To keep your hair healthy, it is important to use the right tools to groom it. It is important to have not only the right tools for your hair type, but to use the correct grooming implements for different situations.

When to comb

When hair is wet, always use a comb to remove knots and tangles. Brushing wet hair can cause breakage and other damage to the hair shafts, so always do your detangling with a comb.

To detangle hair effectively without damaging it, use a wide-tooth comb and starting near the ends of the hair, comb downward with smooth strokes. As the tangles near the ends are removed, gradually start combing from closer to the roots of the hair until all of the hair has been neatly groomed.

A comb is also useful on dry hair for smoothing and detangling. If hair has knots in it, it is advisable to use a comb to smooth it before brushing. Since a comb has only one row of teeth instead of multiple bristles like a brush, it provides better control and does not pull as much on the hair when it encounters a tangle.Once the tangles are removed, use a brush to create style, shine and volume.

People with short or very blunt hairstyles may be able to do all of their grooming with a comb, but most straight or wavy styles benefit from brushing once the hair is detangled. Curly hair should be styled with a wide-tooth comb or a special comb called a pick. Combs also are invaluable for creating a part or separating pieces of hair to create a hairstyle such as a braid.

When to brush

Once tangles are removed from straight or wavy hair, a brush is usually the tool of choice for styling and smoothing hair. Dry and untangled hair can be gently brushed at any time. Wet hair may be brushed as part of the styling process.

A flat "paddle" brush is useful for smoothing long, thick or coarse hair. A paddle brush will not add volume, so it is not the best choice for fine or limp hair. A paddle brush is also useful for brushing wet hair right after it has been detangled with a comb to ensure it is smooth and knot-free.

Round brushes can be used to add volume and body to fine or limp hair. They may also be used to add curl to medium length or long hair. To style hair with a round brush and blow dryer, use a brush with a vented ceramic or metal core. To add curl, wrap the hair around the brush and use warm or hot air to style the curl. Allow the hair to curl before releasing the brush. Round brushes can also be used to straighten hair with a blow dryer. Pull the brush smoothly and slowly through damp hair while drying the hair from above; when the brush reaches the end of the hair, pull it gently out and repeat the action. Do not pause in the motion, or the hair may hold a curl from the shape of the brush.

For short hair or hair with a blunt style, a vented brush is helpful when blow drying since it helps the hair to dry quickly. Padded bristle beds and ball-ended bristles help protect the scalp from the brushing process, but whatever brush is used it is important to always be gentle with hair.

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