Shocking but true:
Your brush needs attention similar to what you give your hair. No matter what kind of brush you use, whether it be one with synthetic, metal, or boar bristles, it’s important to clean it on a regular basis.
You spend hours and hours deep conditioning your hair, co-washing it, clarifying it. You use essential oils like peppermint and tea tree to cleanse the scalp and stimulate blood flow. You understand that clean hair means growth. You do these things on a strict schedule to prevent unsightly buildup.
So why would you undo all of your effort by using a dirty brush?
Why Clean It
Guess what’s accumulating on your head between manipulations? Let’s call these “the nasties:”
- broken or shed hair
- product buildup
- dust mites?
You spread it back around your head if you don’t remove it from the brush. Your hair will look dull, dry and unhealthy, not to mention dirty…
How to Clean It
The basic technique for keeping your brush free of the nasties is to use your fingers to pull out any trapped hair AFTER EACH USE. Most of the oils, dirt and dust will come out with the hair.
That’s it. Pretty simple.
For a more thorough cleaning, you’ll need to round up:
- the dirty brush (d-uh)
- an old toothbrush (or at least one you don’t plan to use on your teeth)
- gentle shampoo or make-up brush cleanser
- a bowl of warm water (use your sink if you want)
- a rat-tail comb or toothpick
- scissors (optional for stubborn debris)
- a towel
First, pull out as much of the hair with your fingers as you can. Use the rat-tail comb to pull out whatever you couldn’t get with your fingers. Use the comb side or the tail to get in there. The scissors may be needed here if you’re dealing with a matted mess.
Next, dip to hair brush into the bowl of warm water to get it wet. Drop a small amount of shampoo onto the brush and scrub it with the toothbrush. Be thorough.
Swish the brush around in the bowl. Change the water and swish again. Keep doing this until the water is no longer dirty when you swish the brush.
Finally, shake off the excess water and pat the brush dry with the towel. Leave the brush in a well ventilated area to air dry completely. Depending on the type of bristles and handle, this can take a few hours.
If the brush is REALLY REALLY REALLY dirty, you can soak the brush in a solution made of water and tea tree oil (10-12 drops) for about twenty minutes before the scrubbing step. Do this much less frequently to avoid leaving the brush fully immersed in water for too long.
When to Clean It
I use my brush almost daily and I tend to use a lot of gel, so it gets dirty pretty fast. I do this routine about once a week.
Keep in mind that a brush with plastic bristles and handle can be washed a lot more frequently than one with a wooden handle, natural bristles, or one of those cushions that holds the bristles in place. Use your judgement and common sense. As long as you are pulling the hair out of the brush daily, you will see when it’s time to do a more thorough cleaning.