A hairbrush is an object of seemingly little significance in our lives, and is only taken into serious consideration when we plan on replacing it with a new one, and even then “What material of bristles should I get” and “How wide should the teeth be spaced,” might be the only two details we care about. In truth, our hairbrush plays a bigger role in the overall look and health of our hair than we may realize, and keeping it clean should be a very important part of our haircare routine.
Reasons why you should clean your hairbrush regularly
Getting the right type of hairbrush according to your hair length and texture is a debate that divides many hair professionals. But one thing they agree on is the need for regular hairbrush cleaning. Neglecting this hygiene routine may in many instances jeopardize your efforts of achieving healthy and aesthetically pleasant-looking hair.
A hairbrush used regularly is bound to collect hair strands, hair products residue, and dead cells on its bristles. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, healthy individuals lose about 50-100 hair strands daily, most of which end up tangled up in our hairbrushes. Similarly, with the increasing trends of hair products like dry shampoos, anti-frizz serums, curl setting aids, and setting sprays, the existence of brushes soaked with hair products is not a surprise. Furthermore, depending upon your surrounding conditions and weather, dust, mites, and natural oils, may also accumulate on it alongside. These components together can serve as an excellent breeding ground for bacteria and other pathogens.
Similarly, sharing a hairbrush with others (which is frequently advised against) increases the chances of creating the buildup of germs and dirt from one person to another. This is especially significant in cases where an individual suffers from scalp conditions such as fungal infection, seborrheic dermatitis, and allergic reactions. Contaminated hair brushes also serve as a medium of contracting hair lice and mites from one person to another. Multiple pieces of literature document hairbrushes and other shared hair styling tools to be important sources for fungal colonization and acknowledge their role in spreading mycotic infections among people.
On the other hand, using the same unclean brush every day on washed hair, just leaves the concentrated leftover products, dirt, and oil of the previous days back on your hair leaving you with less clean hair than what you started with.
A hairbrush does not just detangle hair stands or help to style them it also facilitates the oil redistribution over the scalp and hair, exfoliating the dead cells, and improving the blood circulation of the scalp. However, brushes filled with loose dirty hair are unable to efficiently perform these additional tasks.
How often should you clean your hair brush?
There are no set time frames that can tell you how often your hairbrush should be cleaned, as the frequency is determined by the type and quantity of hair products routinely used alongside the magnitude of the hair loss experienced by an individual.
Typically with regular use of styling creams, gels, or/and hairsprays, a thorough clean of the hairbrush is advised at least every week or two. Similarly, for individuals with long, voluminous hair weekly cleaning is believed to be ideal. On the other hand, in instances where relatively lesser hair products are used, the hair cleaning can be carried out after a break of two to three weeks.
The easiest way to clean a brush is to use a fine-toothed comb and rake it thoroughly through the selected brush. This easily removes all the tangled hair strands off the bristles. Now this relatively hairless brush can be easily washed under the sink with water or any specialized brush cleaning agent.
- Van Neste MD. Assessment of hair loss: clinical relevance of hair growth evaluation methods. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology: Clinical dermatology. 2002 Jul;27(5):358-65.
- Uslu H, Uyanik M, Ayyildiz A. Mycological examination of the barbers’ tools about sources of fungal infections. Mycoses. 2008 Sep;51(5):447-50.