I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage to “Brush your hair 100 strokes per day”. As a younger girl, I tried this. I took an old nylon brush, and purposefully counted to 100 strokes while I sat on the couch and watched my daily episode of Home Improvement . I didn’t keep the habit up for very long though, as it didn’t improve the look or feel of my hair. In fact, it felt like I was just pulling my hair out and breaking it all over. So I discontinued the practice and didn't think of it much after.
Well, recently I was introduced to classic, genuine boar-bristled hair brushes. When you see a vintage picture of a Victorian vanity table, you will usually notice a silver, ornate brush and comb set (typically sitting beside a pot of face powder and an antique perfume mister). The brush you are seeing is most likely a boar-bristle brush! Intrigued by these timeless (and beautiful) tools, I learned that these were what the saying to ‘brush your hair 100 strokes per day’ was actually referring to! Since the 1800’s, boar bristle brushes have been used to create shiny, healthy hair. In the days before commercial conditioners, these brushes were used to evenly distribute natural oils down the full length of hair, creating silky-smooth locks. Thanks to a boar bristle brush, Rita Hayworth, Katharine Hepburn and other Silver Screen Sirens were able to obtain their glamorous, wavy hairstyles.
So, I learned that the old adage was not wrong afterall; however, the type of brush you use absolutely matters. It became very clear to me that I needed to try one of these beautiful instruments!
So, let’s take a closer look at the specific benefits of using boar-bristles:
They naturally condition the hair. Boar bristles are able to hold moisture and can redistribute sebum from the scalp all the way down to the end of the hair shaft. By coating each hair strand with a very, very small amount of sebum, you can help repair dry hair and add a lustrous sheen.
They improve hair texture. If you have straight hair, they will add bouncy volume and shine. If you have curly hair, they will condition and slightly loosen the curl for a glamorous, Rita-Hayworth-esk, wave. My hair looks so wonderful after being brushed that I actually pack a travel-sized brush in my purse for when I go out. I whip it out often to quickly add some oompft, glamour, and shine to my do.
They reduce frizz. I have wavy-curly hair and I live in an extremely humid climate. Frizz and I used to be on a first name basis! But thanks to my boar-bristle brush, my frizz has gone WAY down. The redistributed sebum seems to coat and protect my hair from the elements (aka. humidity), keeping my hair both healthy and strong. Win-ing!
They stimulate your scalp. Brushing my hair daily just feels like scratching a hard to reach itch. It just feels good! It is also great for your hair. As tiny bristles lightly scratch around the scalp, they stimulates blood flow to the hair follicles, encouraging health and new growth!
They reduce the need for styling products. Think of all the money you could save by kicking your creams, gels, mousses, hair sprays, and shine serums to the curb! As you continue to brush your hair daily, your locks will only get softer and healthier. You’ll no longer need such a repertoire of synthetic products to manage your hair. Healthy hair is manageable hair!
They reduce the frequency that you will need to wet-wash your hair. Boar-bristles redistribute natural sebum, decreasing oil buildup at the scalp and that greasy look near the roots. I also use my brush to dry shampoo with our Eat My Dust dry shampoo/texture powder. This allows me to easily prolong the time between wet-washing, decreasing my use of sebum-stripping wet shampoo. This helps to better preserve the natural balance of my hair! For more information on this topic, I invite you to check out our blog, ‘Hair Me ROAR!’
Good question. It really isn’t complicated, but here are a few quick tips to get you started:
Don’t over brush wet hair. It is best to just detangle wet hair with wide tooth comb and let it be. Save your “100 strokes per day” for when your hair is dry. You will see much better results.
Intentionally brush right from the root all the way to the tips of your hair. Sometimes I like to start out by giving my scalp an invigorating rub, and then proceed into regular, root-to-tip brushing.
Brush in sections. You’ll want to hit each area of your hair evenly, not just the top layer. Start my flipping your head upside down and brushing the back of your head, from root to tips. Then lift your head back up and brush back your hairline. Lastly, I clip my top layer of hair back, and brush from all round my crown and down.
Because boar bristles separate each hair strand, you might find your hair gets a little poof-y or static-y while you brush. No problem. Simply twist your hair a time or two and it will fall back into place naturally.
If you have more curly hair like me, I’ve found using our Hair Me Roar hair oil works perfectly to add the right amount of definition to loose curls. Before brushing, I simply rub 3-4 drops into my hands and smooth it over my hair, paying special attention to the ends. When finished brushing, I twirl or gently scrunch hair to let the loose curls bounce up. (Amount of hair oil needed will vary from head to head. Start with less, and add more until you get a sense of what works for you!)
Heavy or synthetic hair products are liable to gunk up your beautiful boar brush, and they are not recommended.
Wash your brush every so often. Use a comb to clean out any stuck hair, then rinse bristles in tepid water. Lastly, dry with a lint-free towel to remove any remaining residue.
For the very best results, try to brush hair both in the morning and before bed. This typically does not require much effort to remember, as you will probably be looking forward to getting a good scalp massage!
I get so excited about these brushes, because I have seen firsthand what wonders they can work on a head of hair! In our on-line store, we do offer a beautiful, genuine Boar-bristle hair brush. We’ve imported these salon-grade brushes from Germany, where they were manufactured with high-end materials. These brushes are a solid product that will last you for years to come.
Alternately, I have heard that some big box stores sell brushes with boar-bristles. I suggest looking for are labels that read 100% genuine boar hair or something similar. It is common for lower-end brands to use mainly synthetic bristles with a few boar hairs added in and call it a ‘boar-hair brush’. So buyer beware. You could probably also find a genuine boar-bristle brushes at a local Spa or high-end salon.
If you choose to add one of these timeless hair brushes to your natural hair care routine, I wish you the best of luck; although, I don't think you'll need it! lol Have fun with it, experiment with what works best for you, and please let me know what you think!
PS. For additional pampering, pay a nearby child a few quarters to brush your hair for you. How do you think my daughter learned to count to 100? I'm a real multi-tasker ;)
Just kidding. Aim for a hundred. Let's not get too crazy, now.... ;)