We can spend hours reading about how to improve the look and feel of our hair, and yet so often, we neglect to learn how to take care of our hair styling instruments. What's great is that looking after your hairbrushes and combs is not difficult or unpleasant, and it takes just a few minutes a month to keep them in optimum condition. Here's a handful of tips on how to take care of your hairbrush, so that it lasts the distance and keeps your hair looking its best.
Remove old hair strands at least once a week. Keeping your hairbrush free of dead hair is the most important thing you can do when it comes to keeping it in good condition. Personally, I remove the old hair from my brush every time I use it; it's a good habit that will quickly become second nature to you once you've done it a few times.
Store your hairbrushes with the bristles facing down, in a drawer or closed cabinet. This prevents airborne dust from settling into the bristles, and later being transferred into your hair (ew!)
Don't let your friends use your hairbrush. I tend to view my hairbrush in the same way as I view my toothbrush - a personal item that is not to be used by anyone else! Letting others use your hairbrush will expose it to dirt and germs that can later be brushed right back into your own hair. Rather than having to deal with the awkwardness of refusing your friend access to your hairbrush, it's best to keep it hidden from view (see above) and offer to let her use a comb instead - a much more hygienic option.
Use each brush for its intended purpose. Some women have a big collection of hairbrushes, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.... however I find that I only need three, in addition to my wide-toothed comb. I use the comb for detangling my hair when it's wet, my rubber-cushioned vent brush with plastic spokes for detangling my hair when it's dry, and my boar bristle brush for 'polishing' my hair to a fine gloss. Occasionally, when I want to blow-dry my hair, I'll use my radial boar bristle brush, but most of the time it's tucked away in a drawer as I like to keep heat styling to an absolute minimum.
Of course, everyone's hairbrushing needs are different, so pick and choose the hair styling instruments that are right for you. There's no shortage of hairbrushes available to buy, but you won't need every single one in existence!
To clean your boar bristle brush, remove all traces of old hair from the bristles with a comb, and place it into a bowl of warm water mixed with a small amount of shampoo. Swirl the brush around in the water and gently massage the bristles (doing it roughly will cause them to break, as they will have been weakened by the water) then leave it to soak for around twenty minutes. Rinse it thoroughly under warm water, then leave it to air-dry face down on a towel.
If your boar bristle brush has a wooden base - and many do - then soaking it is not an option, as the water will cause the wood to swell. In this instance, you need to wet the bristles with warm water and shampoo them gently, before rinsing them thoroughly under a tap. Shake off the excess water, then using your hairdryer, blow-dry the bristles and the wooden base of the hairbrush. Being touched by water won't cause the wood to swell and distort the brush, but soaking it most definitely will, so avoid this at all costs!
As for your rubber-cushioned vent brush, it is difficult to clean these with water because the water will get into the hole in the base and eventually erode it. Because of this - and the fact that the tips of the spokes get worn away with repeated use - it's best to replace these vent brushes on a yearly basis, rather than subjecting them to being cleaned with shampoo and water.
Taking good care of your hair styling instruments is well worth the small investment of your time. It goes without saying that a hairbrush that is clean and in good condition will be a far more effective styling tool than one that has been left to gather dirt and dust. By following the simple tips listed above, you'll be ensuring that your hairbrushes and combs are doing the best job that they possibly can in keeping your hair looking and feeling the way you want it to.