According to an age-old hair care tip ‘combing your hair several times will keep your hair healthy, Shiny, and abundant’. So what is the truth in this saying?
I have seen my grandma comb her hair several times – I haven’t really counted the exact number, but it was for about 5 minutes or so – and then tie a neat plait or knot them into a bun. Even in late 80s her hair was long, fairly thick (for her age), with an equal mix of black and white strands, which she would cover up with henna – so they would look reddish-brown. Let me add a bit more which I suppose is very important to this topic. Before she start to comb several times, she oiled her hair lightly; so oiling was an essential part of her combing ritual.
Does Combing several times help?
Yes. Combing serves a similar function as massaging and helps to keep your scalp and hair in good health. Here is how:
When you comb, you stimulate the scalp and that helps to increase blood flow. The increased circulation brings with it more oxygen and nutrients, which nourish the hair roots and promote hair growth.
Combing also activates the sebaceous gland, which produces sebum (scalp’s natural oil). Along with keeping the scalp and hair moisturized, sebum coats the scalp surface and work to create the right pH balance, which is very important for healthy scalp. And healthy scalp equals healthy hair.
Frequent hair combing also help to move the natural conditioning oils from your scalp down to the hair shaft and ends of your hair, conditioning these parts of the hair. This is especially beneficial for those with dry and frizzy hair, and also for people who wash their hair once or twice a week.
Lastly, combing also helps to loosen and remove dead skin which could clog the pores of the scalp and block the follicles, causing scalp irritation as well as affecting the hair growth.
Why many stylist are against combing too much?
Many stylist say that over brushing/combing your hair will do more damage than good. Well, there is certainly some truth in their concern. If you comb several times in a wrong way you will surely damage your hair, and could also scratch your scalp.
This practice – of combing several times – is based from a long ago period when people only washed their hair once a week or once every fortnight. Frequent hair combing served a useful purpose – it helped distribute the natural oils from the scalp down to the ends. In today’s society, many of us wash our hair every other day or at least twice a week. Washing hair too often strips away those natural oil and can leave our scalp and hair dry – and therefore exposed.
And then if you comb the dry and unprotected hair (as the natural oils are stripped away with frequent washing) too many times you can strip your hair’s cuticle, which is the outer layer consisting of many layer of shingles, leading to breakage and dull looking hair.
This doesn’t imply that combing several times has no benefit. Even today, the importance of combing still persists. But, before you pick up a comb and start combing several times there are few things to consider. These are as follows:
How to comb several times to stimulate and exfoliate your scalp?
Before you start to comb, oil your hair lightly. Oil acts as a sealant and protects your hair when combing. Plus it also makes the comb glide through easily. It’s best to do this prior to hair wash, and your hair and scalp will be very happy to get this little treat. Post wash you can expect your hair to be bouncier, shiner, and healthier.
Starting at your scalp, simply glide the comb all the way to the ends. Cover all directions — left, right, front, and back. Just make sure you don’t press too hard with the comb, as it can scratch your scalp or damage the new growth.
If you wash your hair once a week, you can do this minus the oil as your scalp and hair will not be that dry. And in fact combing many times will help spread the natural oil from the scalp to the entire length of your hair and prevent the ends from getting dry. Make sure to start at bottom to untangle the ends first — this way you’ll cause less breakage.
Always use a wide-tooth comb. Wide-tooth comb has wider tips, which feel like little massaging fingers on your scalp. This also helps increase circulation on your scalp, bringing lovely nutrients to the hair roots. Never use fine tooth combs as they have teeth that are very close together which can pull hair out, break it and even scratch the scalp
Try and opt for wooden bristles versus plastic. Wooden bristles are gentle, more flexible, and therefore less likely to break the hair when combing. Plus, wooden bristles don’t produce any static (that you will find with synthetic comb).
I personally feel that combing the hair is much better for the hair than brushing it, because the comb only works to arrange the hair in one specific direction. Whereas, brushes put stress on the hair strands in many directions at once and create more tension in the hair.
I would not recommend excess combing if you have super curly hair. Actually curly-haired peeps can chuck the comb and use their fingers instead. And it gives a much better effect.
Also do not comb too much if your hair is dry or wet. It will simply cause breakage and splits.
What is the right amount?
There is no right number – you can do 40, or 50, or 60, or even 100 strokes. See what feels right for your hair. I do about 50 to 60 strokes and find this practice very relaxing and soothing.
And you can do it at night or morning it doesn’t matter as long as it’s done the right way
To sum it up: Apply Oil. Use wide-tooth comb, preferably wood. Comb several times to stimulate the scalp and keep your hair looking healthy and lustrous.
How many times do you comb? Please share your experience in the comment box…