Hair Combing and Brushing Basics (2)Previous Page
Identifying and Selecting Quality Tools
Combs are the easier group of styling tools to categorize and label, because there are so few differences to be found among the different types. You should select combs made from smooth, hard plastic and be sure that there are no sharp edges or seams left by the molding process.
The Styling Comb is generally six to eight inches in length and has two different sets of teeth on either end. One end will have moderately spaced teeth that are thicker and the other end will feature closely-spaced, fine teeth. The end you use on your hair will depend on your hair's density and texture. The styling comb is best used on hair of average density and texture.
The Tail Comb has a combing region of closely-spaced teeth at one end and a long thin "tail-like" handle. The tail is used for separating and sectioning the hair for various styling processes, from roller sets to braiding.
The Wide-Tooth Comb comes in a variety of sizes and shapes. It is generally larger than the styling comb and can have teeth that are as much as 1/4 to1/2 inch apart. In many cases the teeth are wider at the spine of the comb and taper toward the ends to aid in separating the hair. A wide-tooth comb is good for combing through wet hair and for combing dense or curly hair.
The Pick is a variation of the wide-tooth comb, although its teeth may be more closely spaced. The pick is used for detangling and "fluffing" very curly and kinky hair. It can also be useful to separate the curls in hair that has been styled to be curly without causing the hair to frizz.
The size of the comb you choose will depend largely on the length of your hair, its density and texture. A good rule of thumb is to take the comb and insert it into clean, dry hair. The wide tooth comb should pass easily through the hair without any hindrance. For a styling comb, however, you should be able to insert the comb easily into the hair and release it, having the comb stay in place until you move your head, at which point it should fall out easily.
There are nearly as many different types of brushes as there are types of hair, and there are new designs constantly being developed and introduced. Many of the new styles of brush are created specifically for use with a particular styling technique and may or may not be suited to all hair types.
The Styling Brush is a brush with bristles - either synthetic or natural - and can come in many shapes and sizes. The best styling brushes use natural fiber bristles - usually boar's hair. However, if you choose to use a synthetic bristle brush, be sure to choose one that is well made and will be gentle to your hair and scalp. A good test is to take the brush and run it along the soft inside of your forearm near the bend of your elbow. The bristle should feel smooth, but firm. If the bristles feel scratchy or harsh, then the brush isn't for you. The last thing you want is a brush that is going to leave tiny scratches on your scalp or be harsh to your hair.