That sounds like a simple question, but the connection between hair loss and brushing is actually complex. At its simplest level, skipping hair brushing will not prevent hair loss – which is what some people assume when they hear brushing might contribute to hair loss. However, under certain circumstances, brushing your hair can contribute to increased breakage and a particular type of hair loss.
How Much Hair Loss Is Normal When Brushing Hair?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s normal to shed 50-100 hair strands a day. Brushing or combing your hair will capture many of those shedding hairs, plus a few extra strands might be pulled out when resolving a knot. Additional hair loss – both temporary and permanent – beyond that is cause for concern.
Does Combing Cause Hair Loss?
Combing your hair does not contribute to hair loss if you do it right. Make sure your comb is smooth and of good quality. Combs that feel rough, have chips or even micro-cracks can snag hair, pulling it out, or act like a saw which can create breaks in the hair strand.
Only use a wide-tooth comb if combing wet hair. Be gentle when combing so you don’t pull out hair when resolving knots and tangles.
Can Brushing Your Hair Cause Thinning?
Incorrect brushing can definitely cause breakage, which makes your hair volume appear thinner. That is because even if the follicle was untouched, the broken hair shaft decreases the overall appearance of your hair’s fullness and volume.
Bad brushing habits can also cause “mechanical stress” on your hair which increases what would be normal hair shedding. Taken to an extreme, it can also cause traction alopecia which (if left untreated) is a temporary form of hair loss that can turn permanent.
How To Avoid Hair Loss From Brushing
- Avoid brushing wet hair.
- Only brush twice a day at the most.
- Don’t brush your hair from the root.
The last point refers to the fact that brushing from the root to end can lead to breakage and pulling out hair if you encounter knots. Hairstylists recommend gripping the hair shaft and first brushing the last inch or two. Once that section is free of knots and tangles, move further up the hair shaft and brush down again. Repeat the procedure, clearing tangles, until you brush the full length of your hair. Since the ends and the middle are smoothed first, the risk of tangles leading to hair being pulled out is decreased as compared to starting at the root.
Does Brushing Your Hair Stimulate Hair Growth?
That is a common myth. The story typically goes that brushing your hair stimulates the scalp and hair growth… or that it redistributes oils from the scalp, helping hair growth and making hair look shiny.
The truth is that the old “100 strokes a day” brushing can be rough on your hair, tug on your hair follicles, and can cause traction alopecia in severe cases. It can contribute to breakage and even the oil distribution can make hair look dull instead of shiny.
Does It Matter What Hair Brush You Use?
Yes, the type of brush you use matters.
Your hair type is crucial and how/when you are going to brush or style your hair is also a consideration. For example, if you are going to blow dry your hair, a vent brush that allows the warm air to move through the brush will be beneficial – especially for short to medium-length hair.
Long hair and (sometimes) fine hair do best with a wide paddle brush. Oval brushes are good for smoothing dry hair. Round brushes are used for styling. A cushion brush is often best for fine hair.
Curly hair needs a brush designed for that hair type. Some high-end brushes for curly hair even allow you to remove some rows of bristles. That way, if the brush meets too much resistance, a few can be removed to avoid pulling and damaging strands.
That said, not every brush type mentioned in a list of “best brushes” is necessary or appropriate. As already explained, brushing wet hair can be harmful and, if you must detangle wet hair, a wide-tooth comb is better than a “wet hair brush.”
Teasing can damage your hair, especially if done frequently… so even the best teasing brush isn’t necessarily a good choice if you’re concerned about hair loss. Talk to your stylist about the best type of brush for your hair type and style.
It is also important to clean your brush and comb regularly… meaning at least once a month. Replacing your brush regularly is also important because, as the bristles wear down, they can damage your hair strands.
Call RHRLI If You Have Hair Loss Concerns
If you’re concerned about your hair volume, a receding hairline or any other type of hair loss issue, we can discuss it in a free consultation. Our state-of-the-art facility uses the ARTAS® robot for precise results and faster healing. To learn more as to why RHRLI is Long Island’s hair restoration leader, contact us today.