Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Procedure for Brushing the Scalp

Q: I have an oily scalp. As recommended in your website, I should brush and massage my scalp for reducing the sebum production. I find that quite useful. However, I would like to know: what is the correct procedure for brushing the scalp? (Should it be started from the front to the back of your neck or vice versa, and how many times should I brush?) I appreciate your advice on that.
A: This is actually an excellent question, and hopefully other readers will see this and have their own questions answered on the subject.
Woman brushing her hair In a lot of situations, brushing the hair is a necessary evil. By comparison with combing the hair, brushing can be more harmful to the hair if overdone than combing would be. Because of this, you should use caution when brushing your hair so as to avoid brushing it too much.
However, in cases like yours where the scalp produces an overabundance of sebum, brushing is important. It stimulates the circulation in the scalp which helps balance sebum production. It also helps to distribute the oil present along the shaft of the hair, lubricating it and helping the hair look healthier. You just have to do it properly.
The starting point on the scalp really doesn't matter in brushing for this purpose, and the number of brushstrokes depends on the length of your hair. If your hair is very short (less than 2 inches long) you can simply choose a place to start and brush it first in one direction until you've brushed all the hair in that direction, then go back over the head and brush it in the opposite direction. The key is making sure you've managed to brush-over and massage the entire scalp.
For longer hair, the process is much the same, but you may need to use a comb to part the hair so you can brush it in the direction you've chosen. With very long hair this becomes imperative. You will want to part the hair 1/2 inch at a time and brush smoothly from scalp to ends. On the sides and back of the head, use vertical partings to make it easy to manage the hair and avoid tangles and snarls.
Remember to always use a natural bristle brush (boar's hair or similar) and even, but gentle, pressure. Brush the partings until the brush passes smoothly through the hair, or 2-3 passes, whichever is less. With longer hair, because you have to do the parting and make multiple passes with the brush, you only need to work in one direction, so long as you cover the entire scalp.
Afterward, use a wide-tooth comb to reconfigure the hair into the style you need for the time of day. In other words, if you brush the hair before bed, then comb it into the style you sleep in, and if you brush it in the morning, use the comb to return the hair to whatever configuration lets you style it as you normally would.
Related posts:
Oily Scalp
Hair combing and brushing
Number of brush strokes for healthy hair
Good hair brushes
Why you should not brush your hair when it is wet