Should You Ever *Really* Brush Curly Hair?

by Danielle Bennett

If there is one thing curly girls know, it’s that no matter how hard you try, sometimes your hair will pretty much do whatever it wants. 

In many cases, it’s best to just embrace our natural texture and not go against its wishes. Its spiral shapes mean the cuticle is slightly lifted, so strands can easily snap and tear. 

Minimal friction and pressure are paramount, but major trends like snatched ponytails and sculpted “baby hair” often require levels of brushing that compromise vulnerable curl types. 

That said, is brushing your hair a good idea?

For naturals, this seemingly simple question is actually not so straightforward. 

The short answer is yes, but you can’t just grab any old brush and dive in. The proper tools and prep are essential.

Try this easy, three-step method:

Step 1. Unsnag dry curls

Before you pick up a brush, use your fingers to gently separate and remove knots and clumps.

Step 2. Prime and hydrate

While using a wide tooth comb, lubricate clean hair with a generous amount of water and conditioner. This seals the cuticle and restores parched, weak hair. The Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross wide tooth comb (Buy It, $15, is our fave.

Step 3. Detangle and smooth

Divide hair into sections. Starting at the ends, carefully detangle with a paddle brush that does not have ball-tipped bristles; they tend to rip curly hair. In addition, bristles that are spaced wide apart work best because they safely maintain an even distribution of tension throughout the hair. We love Felicia Leatherwood’s Detangler Brush (Buy It, $19,

Rinse with cool water and proceed with desired styling.

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