Friday, February 8, 2013

Keeping Hairbrushes Clean Is Important And Can Be Easier Than You Think

by Melissa L. White
Licensed Hair Stylist
Certified Hair Extension Artist
Certified Brazilian Blowout Stylist

Cleaning your hairbrush is usually looked upon as drudgery you'd rather avoid. It's messy, and many feel it's rather "icky". Dirt, bacteria, dandruff, hair oils, styling products and even allergens stubbornly cling to your brush and can create a mess and a health hazard. But cleaning hairbrushes (and most of us women have several), is usually an unpleasant idea and is put off. The truth is that most people don't even give it much thought.
Keeping Hairbrushes Clean
Is Extremely Important

A good, quality hairbrush can be expensive, but can last for years if properly maintained and cleaned. But, the way we clean the hairbrush is important. Done right, it can extend the life of a great hairbrush, keep you healthy, minimize allergens, and give you more manageability with your hair. Think of it, this is a tool we use at least once or twice each and every day. Keeping your hairbrush clean is essential.

Most of us have figured out a method of cleaning a hairbrush out of necessity - you know - your brush is just too full of hair and things have gotten so that you dread using it! Some people just pull the hair out by hand, a task much more difficult on round brushes than wide flat paddle brushes. Others have developed techniques of using tools such as a comb or handle end of a rat tail brush to pry the hair up and away from the base. They even have special tooks called a brush rake that makes the job a bit easier. Whatever method you may have developed, it usually always involves having to grab ahold of the hair to remove it from the brush.

Then, you have the unpleasant task of cleaning the brush. Again, methods vary and can be as simple as a quick rinse under the tap (not recommended), to an elaborate "bath" in a solution of soapy disinfectant. But what is the best method of cleaning your brush without ending up with a gooey, sticky mess?

Over the years, many methods have been used including shampoo, bath soap, vinegar soaks, baking soda scrubs, ammonia solutions, bleach and water soaks, and even people who have put their brushes into the dishwasher (which I wouldn't recommend as the extremely hot temps in dishwashers can actually melt handles and/or synthetic bristles)! Because you want some degree of disinfection, I recommend using a half and half solution of bleach and water, as this will kill off the bacteria which is sure to accumulate with use.

How you clean your brush will also be determined by the type of brush you're cleaning. If your brush has a wooden handle or has a fabric cushion head, don't soak it. Soaking it will damage wood, and can potentially cause mold on cushioned surfaces. Instead dip the brush in your cleaning solution and scrub against another brush, repeating the process several times to clean it, and allow at least 24 hours for the brush to dry, with the bristles facing down so that the cushion drains and dries completely. You can soak your brush for up to an hour if it does not have a cushion head or wood handle, then let it dry completely.

As a hair stylist who specializes in hair extensions, I handle brushes much more often than the average person, and I have a wide variety of brush sizes, shapes, bristle types, handles, etc., as I have to accommodate many different hair types and styling purposes. I know how important a quality brush is, and what a difference using a clean brush can make when styling hair. A clean brush renders a more polished, manageable, beautiful head of hair. When brushing through hair that has hair extensions, a good brush designed to be used on hair extensions is critical. The cleanliness of the brush can help prevent hair from catching and pulling on the extension bonds, weakening both the hair and the bond.

Here's a great tip to that can simplify the process of cleaning your brushes and will keep you from having to actually touch the old buildup of shed hairs, and it involves something you probably already have ready to throw out:

  • Start with a new or clean hairbrush
  • Grab an old pair of pantyhose or knee-highs
  • Stretch a piece of the pantyhose tightly over your brush
  • Trim around the brush, leaving a 1/4" to 1/2" border

Use your brush as normal, and when hair and/or styling products accumulate and it's ready to clean, simply pull up on the piece of pantyhose and all of the hair and styling products will lift effortlessly. You're left with a brush that's already pretty clean, and a quick cleaning/disinfecting and drying of the brush will ensure that it's clean and ready for a new piece of pantyhose.  Quick, easy, and very effective!

Another tip I'll leave you with as you contemplate your next brush cleaning:  Take the time to inspect your brush. Look for bristles with frayed ends which can damage your hair. Check for missing "balls" on your paddle brushes, as metal bristles with no protectors on the ends can really tear up extension bonds quickly. Make sure your cushioned head is intact holds your bristles tightly. Missing clumps of bristles (or any of the above) is a good indicator it's time to get a new brush.

REFERENCES / RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION: - Four Household Uses For Pantyhose - Spring Cleaning: How To Clean Your Hairbrush - How To Properly Clean Your Hairbrush

Melissa White is an experienced, licensed hair extension artist and stylist whose passion is to bring out the natural beauty in everyone by enhancing their own individual features with the use of exquisite hair extensions. Melissa has over 10 years of extensive training with the industries top hair extension companies in the newest techniques. Originally from Boston, Melissa has been in San Antonio for the past 8 years. She believes that everyone should be able to access and afford the hair of their dreams . . . thus the creation of Extensions of Yourself, San Antonio's first salon which specializes exclusively in quality hair extensions.