Jaide Soto
June 09, 2015 7:00 am

For decades, both women and men have been using hair brushes the wrong way. They might not know it (or want to talk about their ratted 80’s hairstyles), but it’s important to talk about it, because the incorrect use of brushes can be detrimental to your hair. It can lead to knots and tears, and ultimately breakage and unevenness. You might think that all brushes are created equally or that all brushes work for all hair types and hairstyles, but that’s just not the case. So read on to learn about the different brushes you might have in your house and how to use them properly — and to find out which brushes you need to add to or retire from your collection.

Vented Brush

Okay, truth moment: It’s actually quite difficult to use these brushes wrong, as they can be used for practically anything! If you’ve ever thought these were random holes in your brush, or that the gaps were an aesthetic choice, you thought wrong. Those vents are there for a reason, and that reason would be to allow air to easily pass through the brush to help speed up the drying process. Sure, you can use these brushes on dry hair, but that isn’t really what they’re meant for. This kind of brush is recommended for use on wet hair, so adjust your brushing habits accordingly to be kind to your hair.

Flat Paddle Brush:

Now, this is the brush practically everyone has. A flat paddle brush like this one is commonly used on all hair types, both wet and dry. However, it is not recommended to be used on dry curly hair due to the immense amount of damage it could cause. This brush is a great dentangler, and for my curly girls, only use it on wet hair and follow it with a few swipes of a wide tooth comb.

Flat Paddle Brush With Boar Bristles:

Unlike the previous flat paddle brush, this brush has boar bristles (the other one has synthetic bristles). This brush is commonly associated with its smoothing and straightening qualities, as the bristles will slightly dry the hair with every swipe. This brush will also naturally condition the hair, as the bristles carry sebum — the oil produced naturally by your scalp. Although it is an extremely small amount, it will apply just enough of the sebum to the hairs to add shine and aid in the reparation of dry hair.

It’s very common to see this brush used in the wrong way. First, the hair must be detangled (use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair) because if it isn’t, you’ll just create more tangles. In order to effectively create a nice smooth shine, brush from roots to ends to ensure distribution of the sebum. You may see some frizz or static — and that is expected. Just twist your hair with your fingers a few times and it’s sure to fall without frizz. One final thing: Try to avoid use on curly hair; we don’t need anyone walking around with a lion’s mane.

Round Vented Brush:

These brushes should be used primarily for blow drying. The holes in the brushes are there to allow air from the blow dryer to pass easily through the brush, as well as the hair, which will increase drying time. Using these brushes will help increase bounce and curl in your hair following a blow-dry, as well as provide a great amount of volume for a perfect blowout.

The main issue with these brushes is that they come in all sorts of sizes, and using the wrong sized brush on certain hair can be detrimental. Never take a small round brush to long hair, unless you want to risk having to cut the brush out of your hair, but I digress.

Teasing Comb:

These combs should be mainly used for detailing, as well as smoothing. These can be used to add volume to hair types that lack, or in the case of an updo, to smooth and add a small amount of shine for a more finished look. My only advice when it comes to teasing is to never shower with teased hair, always brush it out prior to getting it wet or else you will end up with a painful, matted mess.

It’s always good to know what brushes you should use on your hair type and how they can damage your hair if used incorrectly. Using any brush in the wrong way will ultimately result in breakage, and an increase in flyaway hairs. It’s more of a nuisance than anything, but it can be prevented so easily that you might as well take the necessary measures. Most brushes can be used on straight hair, but for my fellow curly-haired friends, stick to a nice wide tooth comb to prevent any damage to our already-unruly hair.

(Images via here and author.)

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