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What Are the Best Tips for Combing Hair?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 17, 2024
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One of the best tips for combing hair is to remember to start at the bottom ends rather than the top scalp section. In this method, by slowing picking at any tangles rather than trying to pull the comb through them, breakage and painful snagging are less likely to occur. It's especially important not to roughly comb wet hair, as it's even more susceptible to breakage. Massaging oil or conditioner into hair before combing can help keep it moisturized and less likely to break. Combing hair with a cheap plastic comb should be avoided in favor of using a good quality wooden one.

Wood combs tend to glide much easier through the hair than plastic versions. The teeth on plastic combs may also be too pointed and scratch the scalp. A wooden comb's teeth are usually rounded off and thicker in shape, yet also spaced wider to provide an ease of movement through the hair. While combing hair with wood combs is more expensive, the result is usually better looking, healthier tresses, so the extra investment can be well worth it.

Many haircare experts recommend massaging oil into the scalp and throughout the hair before combing. This can make detangling easier and less stressful on hair strands. Most experts also advise against combing hair when it's wet unless conditioners are added and a large-toothed comb is used. Only very gentle combing should be done from the ends up. If wet hair must be combed, it should first be towel dried as much as possible.

Gentle combing is an important tip even for dry hair. While hair should be combed daily to keep it healthy and prevent shedding of strands, more than a few times a day isn't usually recommended. Combing hair more than three times a day can add too much stress to it which may weaken the strands and cause them to become more susceptible to breakage. Another good tip for hair combing is to wash combs to keep them clean.

A good tip for a more painless way to comb kids' hair is to firmly grasp the top of the strands being combed. Tugging and pulling at the hair strands should be avoided anyway. Children's hair, like adults', should always be combed very gently from the bottom ends upward. Neither children nor adults should share combs. This can be a way of transferring bacteria as well as parasites such as lice.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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