The Real Truth Behind Brushing Your Hair

Brushing our hair once seemed like such an elementary task — with not much to learn after we stopped having someone else do it for us (thanks mom!). But over the years, this simple grooming process has turned into a befuddling blur of dos and don'ts. To brush or not to brush? That has become the question. Plus: When? Why? How? Etc. We've heard so many hair-brushing rules, we wanted to figure out which ones are actually legit. So we tapped some of the best-in-the-biz hairstylists to participate in a myth-busting game of beauty true or false.

You Should Never Brush Your Hair When It’s Wet
This hair "tip" plays over and over in our heads like a broken record. We're told water causes hair to swell and makes it more fragile, so brushing it when it is wet can cause major breakage. While this may be true, the rule is not absolute; it's all in how you approach it. Celebrity hairstylist and co-owner of Nine Zero One Salon Riawna Capri recommends combing through your strands while you're in the shower. "Every time I shampoo, I comb through with a deep conditioner," she says. Hairstylist and salon owner Nunzio Saviano says prepping with a detangler (as well as using a soft-toothed tool like The Wet Brush) is the key to avoiding breakage if you want to brush your hair while it's wet. For those with natural or textured hair, Carol's Daughter founder Lisa Price actually prefers to detangle hair while it is wet. She knows it's more likely to break, but conditioner and lot of care will allow your brush or comb to glide through the hair more seamlessly. Saviano suggests sectioning the hair off, like you would when you blowdry it, to make the brushing process more seamless.
Curly-Haired Girls Shouldn’t Brush
Brushing has been termed the number-one sin for girls with curly tresses, but it's really all about when you do it. "Naturally curly hair should be brushed while wet and then left alone to let the natural texture form," says celebrity stylist Christine Symonds. "The less you touch it or brush it, the less frizz will form." Saviano agrees, noting that curly hair should not be brushed when it's dry.
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Brushing Will Make Your Hair Healthy
Yes, brushing your hair will make it look silky and smooth and aid in styling, but according to Riawna Capri, hairstylist and owner of nine zero one salon, brushing your scalp is really the main event. A healthy scalp is actually what will make your hair healthy in the long run. "It's most important to brush your scalp to rejuvenate the hair follicle and get the blood flowing there," she says. This stimulates growth, makes the follicle healthier, and in turn makes your hair healthier. Saviano adds that massaging your scalp is helpful, too. Before showering, use a wooden-bristle brush to massage your roots; then, brush your hair out to the ends. This is a great scalp-stimulating technique.

You Should Brush 100 Times Before Bed
Looks like Marcia Brady was onto something: Both Capri and Saviano say there is some truth in this age-old saying, and once again, it's all about the scalp. "It is true, because the blood flow goes to the scalp, and that’s what feeds the follicle, so it’s healthy," says Saviano. A hundred strokes may seem a tad gratuitous (ain't nobody got time for that), but the principal thing to remember here is that as long as you're gentle with your tresses, you can't really over-brush.

You Need More Than One Brush
We hate to break it to you, but it's true. You don't use the same makeup brush for blush as you do for applying shadow, right? Well, when detangling or combing through wet hair, Symonds recommends either a wide-tooth comb or a Tangle Teezer (we dig this colorful one), which are the most gentle on your mane. Once your hair is tangle-free, Saviano suggests you use a boar bristle to polish your look and add shine. His favorite is the infamous Mason Pearson, which he loves for its combination of boar bristles and nylon. Not looking to shell out that much cash? Symonds is a fan of the EcoTools line because it's environmentally friendly, made from recycled and sustainable materials, and has a brush for every hair type.


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