Friday, 16 December 2011

Different combs and brushes and how to use them

Good morning beauties!

Have you ever stood in front of the isle where they keep the brushes and though "what the what are all of these for?" and you didn't know where to begin to decide which ones are for you? There are so many shapes and sizes that a lot of people just grab the first one their hands can reach and run for their lives... :P

Anyway, I'm going to tell you what they are called, and used for. I'm not a hairdresser, or hair expert in any way. The things I'm writing here are things I have known, or learned from Google, and you'll probably know most of it anyway.

First up is the paddle brush, which is also known as the cushion brush. The bristles sit on a cushion which allows airflow, and contour your head, so you get a free massage out of brushing.

They are usually rectangular or oval in shape, and the bristles can be pure boar hair, nylon or a combination of the two. The handles are made from anything from wood to ceramic or plastic.

These brushes are used for smoothing, detangling and shining hair.

 The round / radial brushes are used to create curls. The bigger the brush, the bigger the curl you can achieve.

Round brushes are made from ceramics, woods and in some cases have metal barrels, and have natural, nylon or a mixture of the two for bristles. Ceramic barrels hold the heat from the hairdryer better, and help to create better curls.

You get round brushes with vents in the barrel, like this picture, and ones without vents, like the picture below. The vents in the barrel allow airflow through the brush, creating more volume in your hair.

 Now what size should you buy? The shorter your hair, the smaller the brush. The rule of thumb is :

If your hair is short, no longer than 15cm, the barrel shouldn't be larger than 3cm in diameter.

If your hair is medium length, 15 - 20 cm, the barrel should be around 4 cm in diameter.

If your hair is longer than 20 cm, the barrel should be 4cm or larger.

But as I said, this is just a guideline. My personal brushes are a lot larger than specified here, because I find I get straighter hair when I use the bigger brush.

 The half radial brush is the next on our list. This brush has a cushion that allows airflow, and has bristles forming a half circle. They are different to paddle brushes in the sense that they are smaller, and are half round, where paddles have a little curve, but not a lot.

Once again the bristles can be made from natural fibers, nylon, or a mix of the two. And the brushes themselves are made from anything from wood to plastics.

These brushes are used to create a 'flick out' in your hair. They don't create as much volume as their round counterparts, and also have smoothing qualities like the paddle brush.

 Wide tooth combs, also known as detangling combs, are used to comb out wet hair or tangled hair, without causing too much damage to the hair.

They can be made of wood, metal or plastic, and come in many shapes and sizes. The feature that will help you spot them is the wide spaced teeth.

Rat tail combs have a long pointed handle and fine teeth. The long end is used to part hair (e.g. for sectioning hair for colouring or for making a fancy parting like zig zags), and the finer teeth help to smooth out hair.

They can be made from many different materials.

 A pick comb is used to add volume to the hair, and can also be used as a hair decoration.

These are made from many different materials, and some of them have flower motifs or jewels for decoration.

This is a teasing comb. The long teeth are used to tease the hair, to create volume, while the finer teeth can smooth out hair.

The teeth on this comb are usually made from metal, and the body of the comb is usually plastic.

 Lastly, we have the fine and wide comb. It has this name because it has fine teeth in one half, and wider teeth in the other. This is the type of comb your grandfather used to walk around with (and in Afrikaans cases, wore in his knee sock!).

The wider teeth side is used to detangle, and the finer teeth side is used to smooth out hair. These can be made from any material, and are the most popular types of combs.

I hope you found this article helpful! If you are in South Africa, have a good long weekend, and drive safely to your destinations!

Stay beautiful!


  1. Thank you for this. I always wondered the uses of a comb, other than for men's hair. I've always used brushes and considered combs something that was used by men or women with fine hair. I wondered what a wide-toothed comb would be used for if one had thick hair, and now I know.