Brushing hair

How to brush hair 101: Basic mistakes you might be making (and how to fix them)

We unveil the do's and don'ts of brushing hair...  

Sometimes, it’s so easy to get caught up in the latest colours, styles and cuts that we forget the very basics of mane maintenance – like how to brush hair, the right way.

Bringing it back to the roots of hair care, ATH presents your essential, all-encompassing guide on how to keep your tresses smooth, sleek and knot-free, without harming your precious strands!

From proper combing techniques to tools for every hair texture, we unpack the best practice methods for detangling and styling your mane. Ready to brush up on the facts? Keep on scrolling…

How to brush hair the right way

black model with dark brown afro hair rounded, wearing a purple, black and white outfit
Brushing hair with the wrong tool is a no-no. Credit:

Pick the right brush for your hair type

Think one-size brush fits all? Think again. The size, material, and bristle length of a hairbrush will all affect how you should be using it. This makes picking the right one a crucial step in your basic hair care routine.

For natural hair:

When styling, use a natural bristle brush or wide tooth comb. Natural hair tends to be more susceptible to dryness and breakage, so using a bristle brush (with a rubber base) helps minimise static and allows you to gently comb through the strands. A wide-tooth comb will help loosen stubborn knots and can be used to separate the hair easily at the scalp when styling.

For curls or waves:

Depending on the look you want to achieve, try using a wide tooth comb to gently separate the hair, or, if stying it straight, use a paddle brush to help tame any frizz.

For damaged hair:

Tresses that have been bleached or feel damaged in any way need to be treated with care. Use natural bristles to help delicately smooth out any knots and try a vented brush. When used with a blowdryer, it will help dry the hair quicker so you won’t have to subject your strands to high heat for more time than is needed.

For fine hair (that needs volume):

If you’re trying to create lift at the roots or add the appearance of more volume, try using a round brush. Especially useful when styling with a hairdryer, this allows your tresses to be lifted up and away from the scalp, making them appear thicker.

Want to know more? Our guide to picking the right brush for your hair needs has all your answers.

back view of a model with long blonde-brown hair with slight waves, wearing a pink, blue and red patterned outfit
Breakage can be caused when you brush hair with too much force. Credit:

Don’t apply too much pressure

Three words to live by when you’re brushing your strands: proceed with caution. Tugging or heavily pulling on the hair when you’re combing it through can put too much pressure on the root (which can contribute to shedding or breakage).

The result? Unnecessary hair loss, split ends and an overall damaged appearance. If in doubt, divide the hair into two equal sections and slowly comb through, removing the brush if you hit any knots and combatting them directly with a smaller comb.

Always remember: the less pressure you use when combing, the better.

close up of a model backstage at a runway show with wet look brown straight hair combed behind her ear wearing large silver twisted earrings
Treat damp tresses gently. Credit:

Treat wet hair with care

Hair can be more delicate and prone to breakage when it’s damp so rather than vigorously combing through wet tresses, use a gentle microfibre towel to dry your hair as much as possible and then gently comb through.

Our top tip? Start at the ends to release any tangles and then work your way up to the roots.

To help visibly repair the appearance and feeling of damaged hair, add the TRESemmé Biotin + Repair 7 Intensive Mask to your shower routine. It strengthens each strand of hair, inside and out and helps to visibly repair 7 types of damage in just one use.

two models backstage at a fashion show, one with short light brown hair cut into a wavy bob and the other with long brunette hair styled into waves
Making sure to brush hair exactly where it needs can help limit breakage. Credit:

Brush from the mid-lengths down

You don’t always have to brush your hair through from root to tip. In fact, on natural hair or damaged hair, you can focus more on the mid-lengths of your hair and the tips as these areas are more likely to get tangled.

Take a more strategic approach to brushing and direct the bristles to exactly where any knots are, rather than just sweeping your hairbrush from top to bottom.

Use key products to help detangle

Don’t just rely on your hairbrush to help diffuse knots, tangles or texture. Make sure your hair is properly conditioned and nourished so it feels soft and sleek.

Editor’s Tip: To help your brush glide easily through your strands, apply the Dove Advanced Hair Series Regenerate Nourishment Serum-In-Oil from the mid-lengths to ends when its wet. This will help the hairbrush move easier (and quicker) so it won’t tug on the hair unnecessarily.



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