The Hairbrush Manifesto.



If you’re using the same brush for blow-drying and styling your hair to also de-tangle and brush through hair that is freshly-washed, knotty and wet, no offence, but you are a right donut.

Without going into all the brushes you could own for perfect hair, I will encourage you to have at least two, so that you’re not trashing your hair each time you wash and style it.

These days, most women use one of these brushes to style their hair:

1. A hollow, vented radial (round/barrel) brush with nylon bristles. These are quite often of the ceramic or tourmaline nature, to give even distribution of hot air (and incredible speed) as you heat style it, as well as give body and smoothness, and reduce the likeliness of those ridiculous flyaways that insist on existing.

2. A big, round boar bristle brush, with a lovely wooden handle and rubber gripping, which is excellent for creating volume and shine and shape, and smoothing the hair out.

3. A paddle brush or a cushion brush, which might have nylon-tipped pins or be boar bristle (think the famous Mason Pearson, the several-hundred-dollar brush favoured by top hair stylists, cutters and beauty editors the world over) and both glide through dry hair with ease, and is great for styling, refreshing and grooming, and for finishing off a blow dry with a sleek, smooth, glossy finish.

These brushes above, these are all made specifically to do certain things when you are heat-styling, or finishing off your hair, or jazzing it up before you walk into the Peach Pit for a sundae.

They are NOT for heavy, wet, knotty hair, straight from the shower. Especially not the radial brushes with the very coarse nylon bristles, they are TORTURE for wet hair – they break it, snap it, damage the cuticle and cause unnecessary shedding. (Even that comb you use, which, admittedly is better…. But can still snag and tear the shit out of your hair if you’re too yanky.)

The brushes below are great for heavy, wet, knotty hair, straight from the shower or pool or Jacuzzi or Onsen (I don’t know how you live your life), and for the sake of your mop, whether it’s a heat-styled, chemically coloured time bomb, or a healthy, shiny halo, please consider them:


4, A nylon ‘pin’ brush: Such as the famous Denman (Denman is the brand, but the kind of brush is often called a “styler” brush), which has wide-set nylon pins on an arched rubber bed. Good on wet hair, best on (slightly air-dried) damp hair, for body and lift and smoothness, with or without a hairdryer involved. (This is the brush you do wrap-drying with, as detailed in Amazing Face.) It encourages scalp circulation and helps distribute good oils, which means healthier hair, and because of its wide set nylon pins, it won’t drag, rip or trash your poor ends and snap your defenceless middles.

5, The Tangle Teezer: I’d be a grubby little liar if I didn’t admit this little bug, created by a hair dresser to smooth out knotted hair, inspired today’s post. Two separate hair stylists used it on me over here in London, and both banged on about it so much, I nicked off to Boots and bought one. I love it: It slides and glides through my wet, pretty-damaged curly hair straight after washing it like a dream, removing all knots and prepping it perfectly for styling (with all those fancy brushes mentioned above) but without disrupting my curl shape.  There is no tugging, no breakage, and about 70% less fall out than when I used a comb. It’s also a heck of a lot of fun using on dry hair at night to massage the head and make you feel like you are your own My Little Pony. (On dry hair it poufs it up a little, which is great if you want lovely brushed-out glamorous hair, but not if you want piecey, textured hair.

6, And if you have curly hair: I must tell you about the Ouidad Double Detangler, which sails through even the most ferocious of tight, thick, curls, with no snags and no frizz. Cuts styling time in half, and is terrific for removing all knots and birds nestyness before washing the hair, too. It is definitely a game changer for curly girls, and worth the investment. (Buy it on Amazon.) (And if you’re smart, become the Australian distributor.)

Tangle Tip: Always start brushing out wet hair in small brush strokes from the ends and work up – not from the scalp and down.

Bangle tip: They go on your wrists.

Zoe is an author, columnist and porridge fan. Her books include the beauty bible Amazing Face, dating and relationship guide Textbook Romance, and three novels, Air KissesPlaying The Field and The Younger Man. Find more info on her here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.

Please understand that Zoë cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask.

How many brushes do you own?