Beyond the plastic tool whipped out of a back pocket to smooth an errant flyaway, the comb ranges in breadth from a styling tool to save long hair to a precision instrument for a perfect trim. Variations in the diameter of a comb's teeth and the spacing in between the points dictate the use. Fine strands to thick Afros all have signature combs for moisturizing, styling and touchups. The best comb for you depends on your hair texture and how you plan to use the comb.
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As your stylist deftly pulls a comb through hair while snipping and trimming, you recognize this is a critical tool of the trade. The fine-tooth instrument with plastic or metal teeth can pull hair taut for an even trim at home or be used to groom precision-style short or fine locks with a flick of the wrist. A barber comb gives you fine teeth on one half and wider teeth on the other half for versatility on dry or wet hair. Get a professional-grade tool for sturdiness and longevity and choose a tooth width geared toward your hair type. A basic comb with fine to medium teeth throughout can be an everyday tool for hair that's not too thick, and it comes in a pocket size for touchups on the go.
All Tangled Up
Whether you have long, fine hair or a thick, curly mane, a detangling comb is in order to remove tangles and knots with little pain or damage to the hair. These wide-tooth combs have thick teeth that may be straight or slightly curved, with more space in between teeth than a fine-tooth model. Take one of these combs into the shower to work conditioner through thick or long locks and remove the anguish of standing in front of the mirror later trying to yank out tangles. You can also work through the day's tangles on dry hair before stepping into the shower to ensure an even shampoo and easy conditioning.
A long-tail comb consists of two combined tools with a singular mission to add serious volume to locks. On one end is a standard fine-tooth comb, which extends into a long, pointy handle. Use this pointy end to create a precision part or section off hair in a teasing operation. Targeting the lower layers of hair to keep a smooth appearance on the hair's surface, take a section of hair and start at the roots. Comb gently toward the scalp, determining the length of backcombing by how much volume you want to add. After you've teased to your liking, flip the top layer back with the tail of the comb and use the end with the teeth to delicately smooth out the hair.
Thick and Natural
The Afro comb, which dates back to ancient Egypt, resembles a large fork, with a handle at the end and large, long teeth extending from it. It's a versatile tool to style natural ethnic hair, particularly handy for working oils and other moisturizing products through tight curls and fluffing up hair after compression, such as occurs during a good night's sleep. The comb works on wet, damp or dry hair and eases out tangles when you start at the ends and work your way, section by section, toward the scalp.