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View Full Version : Brushing hair wet or dry???



goldloli
August 21st, 2012, 07:37 AM
Hey guys,

So I know that brushing/combing hair when wet can be damaging because that's when it's most fragile, or at least that's what I've read on forums like this and various hair articles. But I've been venturing over to curly hair forums and as you may know, they only ever brush/comb hair when it's wet and usually covered in conditioner. A lot of this is to protect the curl pattern when drying but I've seen a few posts about how brushing dry hair is damaging for curly haired folks.

So like what's true? When can I brush/comb my hair?

Is it a case of 'straight hair can only be combed dry' and 'curly hair only when wet' to prevent damage?

I'm wurly, where does that leave the wavies? Comb only when damp lol.

Ticky
August 21st, 2012, 07:48 AM
I don't have wavy hair, but my mother's hair is quite wavy. She combs it out with a wide tooth comb while it's wet and slathered in conditioner, I think that a lot of people do that. I definitely wouldn't use a brush, I can only imagine all the hairs snapping and paaaaain.

torrilin
August 21st, 2012, 07:57 AM
My hair is straight, but I largely stick to the only comb while wet and slathered in conditioner rule.

Yes, technically hair is stronger when dry, but if your hair tends towards the tangled mess combing or brushing while dry can make matters worse, not better. My hair isn't sooooo brittle that it snaps en masse if I use a brush when it's dry, but the more I handle it when dry, the more dry and staticky it gets. I can have massive static attacks even in a humid summer... or I can handle it less.

Since my hair doesn't have curls to act as natural tangle protection, I wear it up pretty religiously. My partner loves the look of down, but he also knows how much effort it is to detangle... and he'd far rather I'm happy and comfy with my hair.

continuum88
August 21st, 2012, 08:02 AM
i would never use a brush. wet or dry always use a wide comb. I do think its best to comb while hairs wet and covered in conditioner, if you're gentle and start with your ends and go up from there, i dont think you can damage the hair at all. once your hair is dry...well the less you handle it, the healthier it will be

florenonite
August 21st, 2012, 08:18 AM
There's a difference between a brush and a comb. Brushes, with the exception of Tangle Teezers and others like it, should only be used on dry hair to minimise breakage. Combs, on the other hand, can be used wet or dry, and many curlies only use them on wet hair because combing or brushing dry curls destroys the curl pattern.

goldloli
August 21st, 2012, 08:26 AM
So which is actually more damaging?

I'm pretty happy with my current bbb&finger comb while damp or dry only but you know how it is with the endless chasing of 'better' hair care methods. So if combing while conditioner laden is okay then I'd like to try that again. I used to be fond of it because I thought it really helped distribute and massage in conditioner but I stopped due to people saying its damaging.

(note incase anyone suggest i give up bbb, you'd have to pry it from my cold dead hands. combs= more mechanical damage and time consuming for my hair)

Kiwiwi
August 21st, 2012, 08:27 AM
I think it's still very personal.
Even though hair is more fragile when it's wet. There are other factors that can damage the hair.

I personally never had problems brushing my hair wet. I don't get breakage or splits or whatever. I prefer to brush my hair wet (after my shower) because then I have less tangles (even if I don't wear my curls and just keep my hair wavy/fluffy).

I also prefer a brush (in my case Tangle Teezer) over a comb. If I use a comb I will get a lot of breakage. I somehow then rip hairs out of my skull trying to get through the tangles. Combs (no matter how wide tooth) are a big no no for me.

So, my advice would be; see what works for you! YMMV as with everything here.

goldloli
August 21st, 2012, 08:28 AM
i would never use a brush. wet or dry always use a wide comb. I do think its best to comb while hairs wet and covered in conditioner, if you're gentle and start with your ends and go up from there, i dont think you can damage the hair at all. once your hair is dry...well the less you handle it, the healthier it will be


There's a difference between a brush and a comb. Brushes, with the exception of Tangle Teezers and others like it, should only be used on dry hair to minimise breakage. Combs, on the other hand, can be used wet or dry, and many curlies only use them on wet hair because combing or brushing dry curls destroys the curl pattern.

didn't see these while typing reply. So it's a case of comb on wet, brush only dry?

goldloli
August 21st, 2012, 08:32 AM
I think it's still very personal.
Even though hair is more fragile when it's wet. There are other factors that can damage the hair.

I personally never had problems brushing my hair wet. I don't get breakage or splits or whatever. I prefer to brush my hair wet (after my shower) because then I have less tangles (even if I don't wear my curls and just keep my hair wavy/fluffy).

I also prefer a brush (in my case Tangle Teezer) over a comb. If I use a comb I will get a lot of breakage. I somehow then rip hairs out of my skull trying to get through the tangles. Combs (no matter how wide tooth) are a big no no for me.

So, my advice would be; see what works for you! YMMV as with everything here.

fellow curly advice :D

Yeah my hair likes being brushed after washing while still wet/damp. Combs are just dreadful! Do you brush conditioner in while in the shower? Also do you use brush on dry hair in between washes? and is the tt worth it. I saw the corset long hair lady on youtube is a big fan of it.

Madora
August 21st, 2012, 08:38 AM
So which is actually more damaging?

I'm pretty happy with my current bbb&finger comb while damp or dry only but you know how it is with the endless chasing of 'better' hair care methods. So if combing while conditioner laden is okay then I'd like to try that again. I used to be fond of it because I thought it really helped distribute and massage in conditioner but I stopped due to people saying its damaging.

(note incase anyone suggest i give up bbb, you'd have to pry it from my cold dead hands. combs= more mechanical damage and time consuming for my hair)

It is more damaging to brush wet hair because, as you noted, and what Dr. George Michael, the famed expert on long hair always emphasized, hair is weakest when it is wet.

You use a comb to detangle..whether in the shower or when it is dry.

Some members comb while their hair is slathered with conditioner. Some do not because of the "hair is at its weakest when wet" rule.

For years I used the "comb while hair is full of conditioner" approach. Now, I use a few drops of mineral oil on my damp hair to detangle instead of conditioner.

Bottom line: whatever you do, use that wide tooth comb slowly and gently. Detangle in small, thin sections.

My hair is slightly wavy and I love my bbb, which I only use on dry hair (after it has been detangled).

Kiwiwi
August 21st, 2012, 08:42 AM
fellow curly advice :D

Yeah my hair likes being brushed after washing while still wet/damp. Combs are just dreadful! Do you brush conditioner in while in the shower? Also do you use brush on dry hair in between washes? and is the tt worth it. I saw the corset long hair lady on youtube is a big fan of it.

Ok, good! My hair likes that too ^_^ No problems with it.

Well, I pretty much never wear my curls. What I mean by that is I shower, when done I pat my hair dry and brush it and put some argan oil in it and then I either braid it or put it up, while still wet/damp.
I will take it out to air dry a bit more when needed a few hours later and yes, I brush then too. And when it's dry too. But then I don't have my curls. Just a bit poofy and wavy hair. Really not a problem to comb through. But then I braid or put it up again. Many times till my next shower.

So there is a difference when I wear my curls. I never brush my curls dry. Cannot get through them. Well, I could. But I'd be afraid of the damage. So yes, then I do brush in the shower soaked with conditioner. I go with my fingers first very carefully and eventually I will use a comb. But it just rips too much hairs out so I am afraid to do that. I might try my tangle teezer in the shower too. After I fingercombed my conditioner soaked hair... Hmmm *thinks*.

Well, that's my story! :)

And yes, I absolutely LOVE my tangle teezer!

Kaelee
August 21st, 2012, 08:50 AM
I comb my hair (gently) wet or dry with a wide toothed comb. Sometimes I use my little massage brush wet (not the best idea maybe but I've found with its very large widely spaced cone shaped "bristles" it makes for a great gentle detangler).

I brush dry (or maybe only *slightly* damp...95% dry) only after detangling with the comb. (And use a wooden bristled brush with nothing to snag.)

goldloli
August 21st, 2012, 08:51 AM
Thank you madora and kiwiwi,

I think i will get my hands on a tt and start detangling with conditioner instead of dry before i shower.

also just found this nifty slippy dish article http://www.curlynikki.com/2012/05/secret-to-super-slippery-conditioners.html

i'm now wondering if coming during co will help it clean better.

lapushka
August 21st, 2012, 11:01 AM
So like what's true? When can I brush/comb my hair?

Is it a case of 'straight hair can only be combed dry' and 'curly hair only when wet' to prevent damage?

I'm wurly, where does that leave the wavies? Comb only when damp lol.

I'm a wavy (barely) and my hair gets combed, then brushed, right before a wash, then when it comes out of the towel, it gets one more comb through, and then it's left alone, never combed, never brushed until right before the next wash. It's perfect for me. The waves do loosen as the days go by, though, but at least a comb or brush is not fuzzing up my texture. HTH.

spirals
August 21st, 2012, 11:15 AM
For me, brushing when dry=snap! I have to carefully detangle, then oil the brush if I need to do it for some reason. I have used a wide-bristled brush like a vent brush or cushion brush on wet hair when I wanted a wavy look. (I didn't own a comb at the time.) It was much easier to get the brush through. And yes, I have the ball-tipped cushion brush. I guess my hair is most moisturized after a wash and slowly loses moisture over the next couple of days, so that's why brushing when dry is baaaad. But I'm a curly, so I have to do the opposite of the straighties. But Madora's straight hair does wonderfully well on the BBB method. It just depends.

jeanniet
August 21st, 2012, 11:22 AM
"brushing" is a little vague, because there's so many types of brushes. Many curlies use a Denman or TT on wet hair to help clumps form, and find those better than combing. If you want more information, you can search on naturallycurly for "denman." Using a BBB, though, would probably be a disaster.

faellen
August 21st, 2012, 11:30 AM
I have straight hair, and use a Tangle Teezer whether my hair is wet or dry. Wide tooth combs just don't work for me.

jellycatty
August 21st, 2012, 11:33 AM
I'm a curly and I detangle with a wide tooth comb only when try. My hair likes to shed A LOT when it's wet and if I move it around too much ;/ I've never tried combing my hair with lots of conditioner for that reason > <
I just comb right before I wash my hair and that's it until I wash my hair again :)

ladyofrohan
August 21st, 2012, 11:39 AM
I brush my hair when it's drippy wet, but also when it's dry. I have one of those cheap plastic-tine brushes from the drugstore, and I've not found any significant hair loss difference between wet/dry combing/brushing. But I do detangle carefully.

If I let my hair dry all tangled up, then the tangle dries in, and it's like a dried-in wrinkle in your clothes. Evil.

Firefly
August 21st, 2012, 11:46 AM
I'm a wavy and can not brush. Once in a while I'll use my TT because I like the feel of it but it really turns my waves to frizz. Usually I comb w/conditioner in the shower only, and otherwise either finger comb or use a very wide tooth comb.

Sarahlabyrinth
August 21st, 2012, 06:44 PM
I'm a wavy (2b/c) and I always detangle carefully wet with conditioner in the shower with a comb, and also on dry hair each morning and evening, again carefully, with a WT comb, sometimes followed by careful brushing with a boar bristle brush.

Madora always has good advice on brushing/combing methods.

ravenreed
August 21st, 2012, 06:53 PM
I have the same problem. Once a tangle dries in my hair, it is there forever. I use a TT in wet and dry hair. I have a couple wide tooth combs, but they are much harsher on my tangles and I hear more snapping than when I use my TT.


I brush my hair when it's drippy wet, but also when it's dry. I have one of those cheap plastic-tine brushes from the drugstore, and I've not found any significant hair loss difference between wet/dry combing/brushing. But I do detangle carefully.

If I let my hair dry all tangled up, then the tangle dries in, and it's like a dried-in wrinkle in your clothes. Evil.

rtree721
August 21st, 2012, 07:42 PM
I have slightly wavy hair so here is what I do:
Finger comb w/ conditioner in my hair.
When it is completely dry I finger comb it again.
I only use an actual comb if it gets too messy and even then it is dry.

jenviere
August 21st, 2012, 07:46 PM
My hair gets tangled when I wash it, so I usually brush it when it's wet so it won't dry funny. Admittedly, though, I do have several broken hairs at the top of my head and it's not very attractive. I should probably start brushing my hair before I wash it, rather than just jumping in, however wild it is from the night before....

ladylowtide
August 21st, 2012, 07:56 PM
I have very straight hair, but my hair hates combs. As a rule I finger comb with tons of conditioner only. I used to BBB. But I found that I don't get much out of it unless I do it when my hair is really really sebumy, like directly before I shower after 7-8 days not washing it.

julliams
August 21st, 2012, 08:13 PM
I haven't read all the responses but I'm a wavy and I don't think all the curly "rules" apply to me. I always comb when wet and I use both my comb and my brush on my hair when it's dry. For me, the second day is alot straighter so I like to run a comb through first to take care of tangles and then brush through my hair. I really hate not being able to run my fingers through my hair so brushing is very important for me.

Having said this, I do have split ends but I find the tangles are the worst for damaging the ends.

KwaveT
August 21st, 2012, 08:35 PM
My personally I don't touch my hair with a comb or brush while wet since the hair is most fragile then. I comb tangles out with wide tooth comb before I even consider using my BBB.

starry
August 22nd, 2012, 09:43 PM
I got a horn comb, a bbb and did that for a while after I started on lhc. I gave both away to a friend who lives around the corner (after a really thorough cleaning) as she has straight hair.

since then I discovered my hair type now I only finger comb and massage my hair and scalp when it's dry. I section my hair and distribute oils using my fingers. Then I wash or sleep.

as far as I know, us wavies can use combs and brushes ok. Condish combing in the shower used to leave me with too much shedding before I found lhc so I dont go there.

The above is what Ive found works for me - but hey- we're all different! :)

violina
August 22nd, 2012, 10:09 PM
I brush my hair once a day -- it's currently short but this was true for when it was long as well. If I've washed my hair then I run through it with a wide tooth comb whereas if I used dry powder, then I use a brush. I always use a round brush on my bangs since that's the only part that I blow dry. Honestly though, I prefer using the wide tooth comb in all cases since it preserves the waves in my hair (I only use a brush to work in the dry shampoo, so even then, I don't always use it).

jojo
August 23rd, 2012, 12:00 AM
I used to Use a wide comb to detangle once my hair had been rinsed but I've started using a shower comb whilst my hair is full of conditioner, then I leave until its 50&#37; dry and add 2 drops of baby oil, leave it until dry and comb again, I've just switched to a horn comb too which I find makes my hair less static. Once dry I tip my head and BBB it. My hair is much more shiny using this method and I do not find any snags in my hair, which I put down to a combination of the 3.

AineMuirne
August 23rd, 2012, 08:48 AM
I brush mine wet and dry... I suck at combing. The only combing I do is with my fingers while without access to a brush.

I brush my hair before a shower (dry), in the shower with conditioner in it, in the shower after rinsing out the conditioner, and after the shower (wet). And a few more times dry during the day and before bed. When I brush my hair I don't break hairs, wet or dry. I lose ~20 hairs during brushings per day, all from the root. I'm very gentle, though, and I have excellent brushing technique. My hair also doesn't tangle much, so that probably helps. I do have a Tangle Teezer on the way which will replace my cheapo plastic bristle brushes. I'm excited for that! I think I'll shed even less.

twoLs118
August 23rd, 2012, 09:26 AM
i recently started brushing my hair with a comb in the shower when lathered with conditioner & thats the only time i brush it... i never brush it when its dry, unless i'm styling it to straighten it

i have seen a huge difference in the condition of my hair after i started the comb only while wet method

nobeltonya
August 23rd, 2012, 09:52 AM
I can only comb after washing, conditioning and applying leave-in. Outside of the shower, after drying in a towel [now my new turbie twist, which is AWESOME :D; formerly a regular old bath towel] for several minutes while I apply deodorant, lotion, get dressed, etc. Whenever you comb/brush, wet or dry, you still have to be careful and detangle properly. I wouldn't even think of combing, brushing or anything with my hair dry... it makes the whole wave pattern fall apart and go totally limp, and I feel like I do a lot more damage and rip more out.. even after oiling, I will slightly finger-comb sometimes and remove the loose hairs. But that's about it. :disco:

heidi w.
August 23rd, 2012, 10:33 AM
Detangling curly hair while wet is often the ONLY way that curly-haired people can comb/brush their hair.

First, I do not ever recommend brushing hair while wet. Comb only.
Second, slather the hair in conditioner then comb, slathering the comb itself in conditioner as well. This helps to distribe the conditioner through all the hair itself.
Detangle your hair first before you utilize a BBB. Curly hair gets more poofy if brushed because the curly unlock and separate from each other. So, I recommend BBBing at night, before bed.

heidi w.

CurlyCurves
August 25th, 2012, 01:29 PM
I recently tried dry brushing with an imitation TT with a detangling spray and got breakage. It's just really difficult to detangle my curls while dry. Wet, conditioner saturated fingercombing followed by a brush through with the ITT leaves me with far less breakage and angst, unfortunately however, with more shedding.

Amber_Maiden
August 25th, 2012, 04:58 PM
Brush your hair when it works for you. brush my hair when it's damp, which I'm sure a ton of people would frown at. But it works for me and my hair.

blondie9912
August 25th, 2012, 05:05 PM
Brushing my hair when wet is awful because it mats together and gets tangled around the brush sometimes, but combing does the trick whether wet or dry.

PumpkinMom
August 25th, 2012, 05:22 PM
I, normally, comb my hair when it's completely dry, but after reading this debate I think I might try combing it when wet and covered in conditioner. My hair just doesn't look happy when combed dry. Maybe this will help.

Freija
August 25th, 2012, 05:28 PM
I cannot get a brush through my hair when it is dry. If I tried, I would end up ripping most of my hairs in half; I can't even comb it comfortably because it is so fine, curly, andtangle-prone. If I ever need specifically to detangle, I will wet and condition my hair in order to do it. Anyone who says that nobody should ever let a comb near their hair when it is wet has never met hair like mine!

I rarely bother to detangle my hair with anything, actually. I'll sometimes use a wide-toothed comb or a wooden toothed Kent brush if I need to put it up, but I don't detangle the whole length with those, I just use them to smooth the hair near my scalp which isn't tangled anyway. Knots just slide out in the shower when I'm finger-combing the conditioner through.

rowie
August 25th, 2012, 05:33 PM
I have multi textured hair ranging from 1c, 2b, 2c very coarse hairs. I have to finger comb my hair before I ever let a seamless wide tooth comb touch my hairs. If I ever have to comb my hair wet, I always make sure to use a generous amount of conditioners or oils before I run my fingers through it and do what I need to do. The same goes for when my hair is dry, I make sure the ends are oiled well, do a quick finger comb before running my comb in preperation for a bun.