Q: I’ve always combed my hair right out of the shower, but lately, I’ve heard this might not be the best idea. Is combing hair when wet potentially harmful?
A: Contrary to your usual post-shower grooming routine, Leake suggests reconsidering our methods.
The seemingly innocent act of combing wet hair, he suggests, might be a secret saboteur to your hair’s health. The crux of the matter lies in the condition of your hair when wet—it’s more pliable and more prone to manipulation compared to when it’s dry, which can lead to potential damage.
Imagine your hair like a rubber band—it has a certain threshold for stretching before it gives in and snaps. Wet hair, Leake explains, behaves similarly. It’s more supple, stretchable, and therefore, more vulnerable to breakage when combed. This apparently harmless routine of combing wet hair might silently strain your strands, resulting in unintended damage. However, there are factors to consider, as we’ll further elaborate.
Does Hair Type and Texture Matter When Combing Wet Hair?
Similar to most aspects of beauty and personal care, the “one-size-fits-all” approach doesn’t apply here. The potential damage from combing wet hair varies significantly based on hair types and textures, as Leake further elucidates. “Certain hair types are much more susceptible to damage from wet combing, while others can handle it without issues. Waves, curls, and coils generally fare well with wet combing, while straight, coarse, or fine hair is more vulnerable and may end up fracturing and breaking if combed while wet,” clarifies Leake.
For undulating and coiled tresses, moist combing possesses benefits, such as combatting unruly hair and assisting in the delineation.
How to Reduce Damage
While certain hair types and textures should absolutely avoid brushing wet hair, others, like curly or coily hair types, receive the go-ahead as the combination of wet hair and possibly a leave-in with a lot of slip can make the detangling and brushing process smoother, both literally and figuratively.
Even if you choose to continue brushing your hair when wet, you can minimize the potential harm with some knowledge and a few changes in technique. Leake’s guidance begins with tools. The proper tools can make a huge difference in your hair care routine. He suggests starting with finger combing and progressing to wide-toothed combs for those needing to detangle wet hair, which can greatly decrease the risk of breakage. Whether you’re using a brush, comb, or your fingers, and whether you’re brushing dry or wet, the most important thing is to work through knots and tangles from the bottom up—never pull forcefully through your hair from roots to ends, as this will result in unnecessary breakage.
But the importance doesn’t only lie in the tools—the technique also plays a significant role. Leake recommends a clever trick—apply a detangling spray or a leave-in conditioner before brushing. These products can help the comb glide effortlessly through your hair, avoiding unnecessary strain and tension. In addition, adopting good general hair care practices can mitigate any potential damage. Leake suggests incorporating hair bonding solutions (such as the Epres Bond Repair Treatment) into your haircare routine to protect your locks from damage caused by heat and physical manipulation from brushing.
Stepping back, we can see that the answer to the question, “Is brushing your hair when wet bad?” is not as straightforward as it may appear. According to Leake, the answer depends on variables such as hair type, tools, and technique. As with all aspects of personal grooming, understanding the rationale behind the practice is crucial. Treat your hair gently, recognize its specific needs, and adapt your routine accordingly.
If you’re still unsure, follow Leake’s wise advice—when in doubt, brush it out…before your shower. In general, having a proper understanding of and taking care of your hair is the first step towards nurturing its health and beauty.
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