Brush Strokes for Healthy Hair

Brushing long hair
Photo: Sergey Zapotylok/Shutterstock
Q: How many brush strokes a day for healthy hair?
A: I'm glad to know that someone out there remembers that brushing promotes healthy hair. In our mothers' and grandmothers' days, when hair care products were fewer and further between, brushing was a part of the nighttime ritual. I can still remember my aunt, who had long hair, sitting in front of her vanity at night counting out her brushstrokes.
For her, the magic number of strokes was 100, but the truth of the matter is that the number of strokes depends on the length of your hair. In fact, the number of brush strokes is far less important than the type of brush you use.
In order to properly brush your hair to promote health, you must use a natural bristle brush. Brushes with synthetic bristles, or with evenly spaced tines, are fine for detangling and styling, but natural-bristle brushes help remove dirt and product build-up, and help to redistribute excess oil along the hair shaft. Synthetic brushes can't do that.
To properly brush for healthy hair, here are some tips: Using your natural-bristle brush, begin brushing the hair from the bottom and work your way upward to remove tangles. Once the brush slides smoothly through the hair from the scalp to the ends, you can begin brushing your hair forward along the part of the hair (if you have one). Slowly work your way back toward the crown of the head.
After brushing all the hair of the head forward, reverse direction and brush the hair back away from the face, beginning in the back and working your way forward. The number of strokes isn't important. What's important is that you make sure to brush in even strokes from the scalp to the ends of the hair.
Brushing this way helps keep the hair clean between shampoos and distributes the hair's natural oils to keep it strong and shiny. It also helps to clean and massage the scalp, which promotes good circulation and hair growth.
See also:
Hair combing and brushing basics
How to choose a good hairbrush
Should you not brush hair when wet?
Tips and tricks for hairstyling tools
Hair myths