We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
When it comes to brushing your hair, you may not give it much thought. But did you know that there’s a right way — and a wrong way — to go about this daily task?
It turns out that most of us are likely doing more harm than good when it comes to brushing our hair every day.
The good news? With a few adjustments, the right tools, and some patience, you can boost your hair’s health and appearance by brushing the right way.
“Most often, we brush our hair to detangle it, and that’s important,” says Vincent De Marco, a Los Angeles-based celebrity hairstylist and owner of Vincent Hair Artistry.
“However, brushing your hair has more benefits than having tangle-free hair.”
According to De Marco, some of the benefits of brushing your hair include:
- Hair health and shine. “Sebaceous glands located in your hair follicles produce natural oils that help lubricate your scalp,” he says. “When you brush your hair properly, it helps distribute these natural, healthy oils, from the roots of your hairs to the ends, giving them a natural shine.”
- Scalp stimulation. Brushing your hair gently is like a mini massage that stimulates your scalp, which, according to De Marco, encourages blood flow and hair growth.
- Loose hair removal. It’s normal to shed between 50 and 100 strands of hair a day, so when you brush your hair daily, you help remove loose hair, De Marco explains.
If your hair routine involves 100 brush strokes a day, you might want to rethink your strategy. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, hair doesn’t need 100 brush strokes a day. This is a myth.
In fact, an older
After 4 weeks, researchers found that hair loss was reduced by brushing less frequently. In other words, brushing more is associated with more hair loss.
With that in mind, De Marco recommends brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. This is a healthy way to distribute your scalp’s natural oils through your hair — but only if you do it gently.
“Vigorous brushing, even if only once a day, will cause breakage and damage your hair,” he says.
When it comes to brushing wet hair, the type of brush and your technique are key to keeping your hair healthy.
Your hair is in a very fragile state when it’s wet, says hair and makeup artist Michaeline Becker. That’s why it’s important to take a very gentle approach to brushing wet hair.
For Becker, using a very wide-tooth comb or a Wet Brush is the only way to go when brushing wet hair. Using the correct technique is equally important, as outlined in the steps below.
Steps for brushing wet hair
- Use the comb or brush on the very ends of your hair first.
- Comb down and gently remove any tangles. Don’t force the comb through your hair.
- Small brush strokes are best. Feel free to use your fingers to loosen any knots.
- If your hair is particularly tangled or knotted, spray on a hair detangler or a leave-in conditioner first to give more slip to your hair strands.
- Once you have the tangles removed from the ends of your hair, you can move up a few inches and start combing down again, working out the tangles.
- Repeat until you get to your scalp and have completely tangle-free hair.
When it comes to the best brush for wet hair, De Marco says a Wet Brush is an excellent hair care tool, especially since you can use it on both dry and damp hair.
He likes this brush because it’s great for detangling all types of hair without pulling, tearing, or causing breakage. Plus, they’re inexpensive, with prices ranging from $7 to $29.
He also recommends the Tangle Teezer to use in the shower when combing through conditioner.
Dry hair has a tendency to get tangled and messy, causing knots and breakage along the way.
To ensure a damage-free experience, De Marco recommends brushing your hair in sections. He also recommends not starting at your roots.
“Brushing your hair from top to bottom will inevitably cause breakage,” explains De Marco.
Instead, brushing should always start mid-hair or a few inches from your ends. “If your brush gets stuck, remove it and start again, gently,” he says.
With that in mind, here are the steps De Marco recommends for brushing dry hair.
Steps for brushing dry hair
- Start in the midsection or a few inches away from the ends. Brush down to the ends.
- Move the brush up an inch or two from where you started (if that part is now tangle-free) and continue brushing downward until you have removed all tangles from that section.
- Continue moving up your hair until you get to your scalp, and then brush the entire length of your hair a few times.
- Most damage happens when we battle with our hair and are rougher with our brushing than we need to be. So be gentle and go slow.
A popular option for both dry and wet hair is the paddle brush. De Marco says it’s also a good choice for long, thick hair and naturally straight hair.
Paddle brushes are lightweight and help with defrizzing. He particularly likes the paddle brush with a wooden handle from Aveda.
Buy the Aveda paddle brush online.
Knowing how to brush your hair the right way can help prevent breakage and damage. It can also keep your hair healthy, shiny, and free of tangles.
Hair care experts recommend brushing your hair twice a day — morning and night — to help distribute your scalp’s natural oils through your hair.
It’s also important to use a different approach when brushing wet hair versus dry hair.
If your hair is brittle, overly dry, or damaged, or you have excess hair loss even after you change your routine, consider seeing a doctor or a dermatologist to determine if there’s an underlying cause.