When you were growing up, was brushing your hair a chore or a treat?
For some of us, it was a quick morning requirement as part of getting ready for school – “don’t forget to brush your hair!” For others, it was a pleasure, gentle strokes, time to relax. As adults, it is easy to get caught up in the rush of life and ditch proper hair brushing.
At ANTIDOTE we believe that a good day starts (and can end) with proper hair brushing. It not only helps you look good, it is good for you too!
Hair brushing stimulates blood flow to the scalp, removes dead skin and dirt, and distributes healthy oil onto hair. Do it for 60 seconds before you jump into the shower or before you go to sleep. Gentle brushing is also a great de-stressor.
Like many things, it is not just about brushing, it has to be done right. So we turned to hair brushing experts – here’s what they had to say.
ANTIDOTE’s master stylist Abigail Kuehladds, “there are several key benefits of hair brushing: one is to massage and exfoliate the scalp - this stimulates blood flow and healthy follicles; another is to distribute healthy oils to the hair shaft – these make your hair stronger; and you can't underestimate the relaxation benefit of a good brushing - this reduces stress. It is important to keep in mind what your goal is, like if you are trying to do all or just one of these.”
According to Travel + Leisure beauty author, Melisssa Locker, “Brushing your hair really is an art form, but most people treat it like a boring necessity akin to flossing your teeth or eating high-fiber cereal. At its most basic function, it’s an important step in keeping tangles away and making sure your hairdo looks fly.”
Start with the right brush (or comb) for you.
Real Men Real Style founder Antonio Centeno's "How to Brush Your Hair Correctly"provides the definitive guide to hair brushing for guys...down to what brush or comb to use depending on your hair type. Here's one of several examples:
Real Simple’s Chelsea Traber Burns explains, “Whether your hair is curly, fine, long, or short, there’s a brush for that. ”Curly hair types should use a wide-tooth comb. To keep those precious curls intact, don’t over brush curls. Fine hair types should look for a soft boar’s head bristle brush. The goal is to use a brush that takes out knots without tearing them out.
Start at the base of your neck and above your ears and brush upward to the top of your head. Brushing in different directions is great for blood flow.
For longer hair, start at the ends to get those tangles out. Once that’s done, you can brush from the scalp out. This spreads beneficial scalp oils all over the hair shaft.
Dry hair and scalp?
Abigail Kuehl, ANTIDOTE hair brushing “advocate” suggests, “if your hair and scalp are dry, try starting with a quality hair oil. Rub a few drops in your palms to warm it up, then run your hands through your hair until it has absorbed the oil. Brushing will help distribute quality oil along the hair shaft and into the scalp.”
Kuehl also notes that dry hair and scalp might mean that it is time to change your cleansing and conditioning routine to something more gentle and natural. Ask your professional stylist for advice on whether your hair needs more moisture or protein, and be sure to shampoo from the scalp outward, not just the hair itself.
If you are combing wet hair, beware! InStyle’s Diana Mazzone reminds us, “You’ve heard it before, but consider this your final warning: Don’t brush your hair when it's wet… doing so can cause major breakage since dampness weakens the hair shaft.
The only exception to this if your hair is covered with conditioner. In that case, combing through distributes the conditioner evenly along your strands. A good thing!
If you’re in a rush, slick back your post-shower strands into a low pony using a wide-tooth comb.”
Don’t over-brush. Lindsey Bordone, a dermatologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York suggests brushing once a day.
Brushing can be addictive! Once you get into brushing your head, we encourage you to try all over body brushing. Check out this ancient technique and its unique benefits here.
Try mixing it up by finding a brushing buddy. You can take turns brushing each other's hair. If you go this route, we recommend focusing on the relaxation aspect of brushing. Take it slow, turn on some nature sounds or just do it in silence.
When done right, hair brushing is a treat and good for you. Proper brushing stimulates blood flow to the scalp, removes dead skin and dirt, and distributes healthy oil onto hair.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on brushing. What works for you? What's your favorite brush or comb?
-- Abigail, ANTIDOTE1848
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