I have never thought much about the tools I use to style my hair. Brush? Comb? I use whatever I have in my bathroom. Sometimes, it’s a brush. Sometimes it’s a brush. Sometimes a comb. They’ve been there for me all my life.
As I was combing my hair with the pink and pillowy brush that Kate gave me, I thought, “Should a brush be used right now?”
Thad Forrester (AoM’s resident barber) answered my burning question. He is also co-owner at Hudson / Hawk Barber & Shop. Thad provided me with the details on brushes and combs and when one should be used over the other.
There are many brushes available, but the most common one for men is the paddle brush.
The shape of a paddle brush is rectangular or oval and it has many bristles sticking out from a cushion. Thad said that the paddle brush was a great foundational brush. It’s gentle on hair and scalp. It’s great for smoothing out wavy hair or detangling fine, kinky hair.
Thad suggests a general rule of thumb when choosing the right brush: “The closer the bristles are to your hair, the better it is for fine hair; and the further apart, the better for thicker hair.” Thad also recommends that you choose between bristles made from synthetic or natural materials, or a combination of both. Thad gives you the lowdown on each type’s pros and cons.
Natural bristle brush. “Natural Bristle Brushes” are usually made of boar bristles. These bristles are well-known for their ability to evenly distribute your hair’s natural oils, giving your hair a natural shine. Natural brushes are best for fine hair because the bristles are so close together.
Synthetic bristle brush. “Synthetic Bristles are usually made of nylon or plastic. They work well on coarse, thick hair because they are more evenly spaced on the brush head. The bristles are more spaced and do a better job detangling. They also don’t produce as much static as natural bristles.
Combination bristle brush. Combination Bristle Brushes. These bristle bristles can be used to detangle hair and add shine. These are the best for fine hair to normal.
There are many options for brushes, from very affordable drugstore ones to expensive luxury models. Thad states that a good brush does not have to cost a lot. You can find great synthetic, boar bristle and combination brushes from companies such as Diane, Kent and Denman that cost between $5 and $20.
A comb is a rectangular, single-use material that has a solid upper and springs a line of tines.
Thad states that the main difference between combs is the width of the teeth. “The more precise and detailed you can make your hairstyles, the smaller the space between the teeth.”
A comb with a narrower spacing between your teeth is best for styling your side-part hair. This will allow you to create a defined line in your comb-over. You can think of the classic Mad Men hairstyles. A comb with more spaced teeth is better if you want a looser style.
A wide-toothed comb is best for thick hair. It’s less likely to damage or pull your hair using it, says Thad.
Thad suggests that you keep your hair styling tools down to a minimum by using a single comb with more evenly spaced teeth on one side and narrower teeth on the opposite. Multifunctional and versatile.
Apart from the different spacing of your teeth, combs are also available in a variety of materials. The most popular comb is plastic, but there are also wooden and metal options. A stainless steel comb was once my favorite, because it seemed sturdy and durable. However, I discovered that running metal tines across my scalp was not something I liked. I prefer plastic. Plastic isn’t a luxurious material, but it seems to make the best combs.
Surprisingly, even though combs are made of plastic, the quality of a good comb can vary. It’s worth spending a little more to get a better one. The combs that are well-made are strong and flexible. This prevents the teeth from breaking and keeps them in good condition. High-quality combs have straight, smooth teeth and comfortable rounded ends. They glide smoothly through your hair without pulling out your hair or scratching your skin. Kent is a trusted brand in this segment.
When to use a hair brush vs. a comb
When should a man brush his hair and when should it be combed?
Thad says that a brush is best for long hair. A paddle brush can keep your hair straight and smooth without creating too much discomfort. Although brushes don’t allow you to style your hair precisely, if you have long hair, it’s not necessary. Brushes will achieve a loose style.
Thad recommends that you stick with a comb for shorter hair. This is because you can achieve more precise styling. The sharp lines that a comb leaves in your hair are created by its teeth.
Although brushes don’t do a great job styling hair, Thad will sometimes use a comb and brush to style customers’ hair. “Brushes are great for evenly distributing hair product to men without it clumping. A brush is a great tool to create the basic structure of a hairstyle, and then a comb to add detail.
A comb and a brush are two essential tools for men.