So you think you know how to brush your hair? Think again!

Using a boar bristle brush for shiny hair | This is so good...Brushing your hair.  Why would anyone need to write a blog post about this.  Seems simple – grab brush, run through hair, put brush down.  But let me tell you, some simple tips and tricks will help you achieve your best hair and scalp health.  I’m about to teach you how to brush your hair with a boar bristle brush.

Up until about 2 months ago, I thought a brush was a brush was a brush.  I had never used anything but a synthetic bristle brush.  I’m not really one to spend much time styling my hair (okay, we’re talking about now, not 1995).  Generally, I wash and blow dry with a round brush.  Sometimes a ponytail; occasionally a couple of bobby pins.  If I thought about it, I might have used a wide tooth comb on my hair at lunchtime, but otherwise, that was it for the day.

A couple of months ago I was in need of a new round brush (at the time I didn’t own a flat brush).  I had heard some rumblings on the interwebs about boar bristle brushes and how they are much better for your hair.  I picked up a boar bristle round brush and used it to blow dry my hair.  I was royally disappointed.  Here’s why – boar bristle brushes do not work well when your hair is wet.  They are not good at detangling and they are hard to grab wet hair with.  But, since most things take a few tries to master, I stuck with it, but changed my technique.  After combing out the tangles with a wide tooth comb, I fluff my hair with my fingers while drying the roots and then working down to the ends.  When my hair is almost dry, I get to work with the brush and start smoothing and straightening in small sections.  It took a few weeks before I was happy with the results and in retrospect, I think I know why:

  • Due to some dry skin issues over the harsh winter, I had to get away from no-poo and start using a natural dandruff shampoo and conditioner.  As a result, I lost the shiny, oily coating from no-pooing.  Boar bristle brushes are excellent at drawing the oils from your scalp down the length of the hair.
  • I had A LOT of static when I first started using the boar bristle brush.  After a few weeks, I had more oil in my hair (thanks to the new brush) and oil on the brush itself.  Less static as a result.  (Note, I made the switch to the new brush in March, just as we were reaching the end of the Polar Vortex.  Super dry air may have had something to do with it.)

So if a round brush could make my hair a little softer and shinier, what could a flat boar bristle brush do for me?

Again, not love at first use.  I decided to brush my hair at night, sleep on it, letting the oils do their thing, and then shower in the morning if needed.  First night – SO MUCH static!  I brushed for a couple of minutes and could not control the craziness. Just like with the round brush, I figured I would give it a fair shot for a few weeks before casting judgement.  Every night for the past month I have brushed my hair for 5 minutes.  Seems like a long time, but it is actually quite relaxing and the time flies!

The results?  I love my hair!!!  I still get a little static while brushing, but nothing like I used to get.  I just run my fingers through it when I’m done and it settles down.  My hair has never been this shiny without doing a coconut oil treatment the night before.  It’s shiny every day now!  When Alex said my hair “looks different” and “looks really nice”, I knew I was onto something.  The other bonus, I am back to washing my hair every other day.  I don’t look “greasy”, just shiny!  I plan to transition back to no-poo once the weather warms up and the air is not so dry.

Here is my technique:

  • Be gentle!
  • Bend forward at the waist and flip hair over.  Start brushing from the nape of your neck to the ends of the hair and then slowly turn your head to one side, brushing from behind the ear to the end of the hair.  Then switch sides.
  • Stand upright and flip your hair over.  Brush from the sides of your face to the ends of the hair and then work from the forehead to the top of the scalp.
  • Each stroke should go the entire length on the hair.
  • I spend about 5 minutes, do what feels right for you.
  • I have started doing this every night and a few days a week, I will do a session during the day.

Just to wrap up, here’s a run down of the benefits of brushing with a boar bristle brush:

  • Added shine and glossiness to your hair.  Boar bristles bring oils and sebum from the scalp to the ends of the hair, coating the strand which helps prevent split ends. (1, 3)
  • Brushing helps to stimulate the scalp, encouraging increased blood flow by stimulating the capillaries and allowing for delivery of oxygen and other nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. (2)
  • Brushing helps to keep your hair clean and your scalp healthy by drawing out dry skin, dust, or dirt that accumulates through out the day. (2)

Using a boar bristle brush for shiny hair | This is so good...Sources:

  1. Old Fashioned Hair Care Tips: The Benefits of Brushing Your Hair
  2. Brushing and Massaging Your Hair/Scalp
  3. Boar Bristle Brushes: The Facts
(This post contains affiliate links for products that I like and use.  The links for the brushes are not the ones that I use as they were purchased locally.  Reviews of the linked brushed look favorable.  By purchasing products through these links, you help to support this website and keep it’s content free.  Plus, you put a huge smile on my face – Thank you!!)
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  1. Awesome tips! I bought one earlier this winter, used it a couple of times and now it’s sitting in my drawer because of all the reasons you mentioned. I’m going to give it another go with my new found knowledge. Thanks!

  2. Boar bristles brushes aren’t for wet hair and for detangling !! Can cause seriously demage in your hair!! But it’s a good suggestion spend 5 minutes to brush the hair! I will try! I bought my in wildgood and I’m in love, and I’m always searching for good tecniques for have the best hair! BBB FOREVER!!

    • I agree – I wish I had researched technique a little more before jumping in! I do love my brushes now that I know what I’m doing!!

  3. Your hair is so long lady!!

    • I know. Some days I want to chop it off, but part of me wants to see how long I can let it grow and still keep it looking healthy 🙂

  4. Every time I use my BBB it looks like I’ve coated my hair in Vaseline so I decided to only use it the night before I wash. Did this happen to you? Will it eventually get better? Maybe lessen by morning so I can style it? I’ve never really tried that….;)

    • Yes it did! Are you familiar with my no-poo post? If not, you can check it out here. I found that over time this improved. I think the oils need time to distribute and evenly coat the hair. Very similar to no-pooing 🙂

  5. I have thick, long, curly waves.Not kinky curly but curly enough. Will it work for me?

    • Thanks for checking out the article, Treena. It sounds like we have very different hair. I think it is worth a try. You may want to work in sections if you have really thick or long hair. If you like your curls (which I hope you do, because I’m jealous!!), I would brush at night and then wash in the morning. The brush I link to in the article is fairly inexpensive, as is the one I currently have, so go ahead and experiment! Please let me know how it turns out for you!!

      • Hello, I’ve read about BBB & had one as a kid. So when I went to purchase me a new one, I’d seen an Eco one that’s artifical boar bristles. & looked up why it was better.. I hear that’s it does the same thing, & the animals do not have to suffer for it.. what is your opinion?

  6. How did you tame the static when you first began using the brushes? I bought a boar bristle brush, but I do not use it because of the static. Nothing seems to get rid of the static once it is there, except washing my hair. My hair is about tailbone length with enough thickness for two or three people, so when major static happens, it is more than just a little annoying. 😀 It gets in my way, and looks like I brushed it with a pitch fork.

    • Wow! You have WAY more hair than I do. I notice if I don’t brush for a few days, the static is worse. The brush helps to pull the oils down the hair and eventually will help to decrease the static. One thing the seems to help a little is a VERY light coating of coconut oil on my hands (like you barely even know it’s there) that I run through the hair as I’m brushing. I brush at night and then wash it in the morning or throw it up in a bun or ponytail if I don’t wash.

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