Brushing your hair a hundred strokes a day won't give you healthier hair. In fact, over-brushing encourages hair damage and hair loss, says the American Academy of Dermatology. Your hair brush is a simple, necessary tool to tame tresses into the right style as you blow-dry. However, the type of brush you use and how you use it can influence the overall health of your hair.
Use an inexpensive, plastic hair brush with widely-spaced needles, advises dermatologist Paradi Mirmirani, M.D. Expensive natural boar bristle brushes are often promoted as the "best" type of brush to use for your hair. In fact, these can be extremely damaging to your hair. Dr. Mirmirani explains that boar bristle brushes create a lot of friction as they slide through your hair, rubbing against its natural grain.
Don't brush your hair when it's sopping wet if you have straight hair, advises the AAD. Your hair is very flexible when damp, and brushing it can make it break. Only brush straight hair when it's dry. However, if you have curly or kinky hair, you should only comb or brush it when it's wet to avoid breakage, says the AAD.
Wait until your hair is almost dry before using a brush to style it if you blow dry your hair. Not only is this less damaging to your hair, says skincare expert Paula Begoun, it's simply easier to style slightly damp hair than it is wet hair. To achieve maximum smoothness, you may need to blow dry and brush your hair at various levels of "almost dry" to find out what works best.
Brush your hair less, not more. The AAD points out that contrary to what you may believe, brushing your hair with vigorous, powerful strokes damages it. Keep brushing and styling to a minimum. Also, never use your hair brush to "rat" or backcomb your hair, Begoun advises. Not only does this type of hair style date you, it's extremely bad for your hair.
Blow drying and use of other hot styling tools such as flat irons can also cause damaged, thinning hair, says the American Academy of Dermatology. For healthier, thicker hair, keep use of heated styling tools to a minimum.
Avoid using rubber bands on your hair, Begoun stresses. Whenever you remove a rubber band, you take a lot of hair along with it. Use soft fabric tie-backs instead, she says.