Time-honored Boar Bristle Brush Benefits
Since the 1800’s, boar bristle brushes have been used to create shiny, healthy hair without styling products. Boar bristle brushes were also a ubiquitous item on dressing tables in the first half of the 20th century. Thanks to a boar bristle brush, Lauren Bacall, Rita Hayworth, Katherine Hepburn and other Silver Screen Sirens were able to obtain their glamorous wavy hairstyles.
I’ve incorporated boar bristle brushing into my hair care routine for the past three months with fantastic results. Although I’ve mentioned it briefly in previous posts, I wanted to give a thorough discussion on boar bristle brush benefits and explain how to do it.
1. Boar bristle brushing naturally conditions hair
Above all, boar bristle brushing is a conditioning treatment. While it does boast styling benefits, it was originally designed to improve hair texture and shine before products like conditioners and hair serums existed. The unique structure of the boar bristle carries sebum – the oil produced by the scalp – from the scalp to the end of the hair shaft. By coating each hair strand with a very, very small amount of sebum, a boar bristle brush repairs dry hair and adds lustrous shine.
You’ve heard the outdated advice “brush your hair 100 strokes per day” right? This originated in reference to boar bristle brushes, since a lengthy period of brushing meant well-conditioned, healthy hair.
2. Boar bristle brushing improves hair texture
The most remarkable difference I’ve seen after regular boar bristle brushing is the improvement in my hair texture. After my morning brushing, my curly hair settles into a bouncy wave. I wouldn’t say that a boar bristle brush changes hair type, it just brings out the best. If you have straight hair, it will add bouncy volume and shine. If you have curly hair, it will condition and slightly loosen the curl.
3. Boar bristle brushing reduces frizz
Sebum is the original and most effective anti-frizz serum. By using a boar bristle brush to lubricate each hair strand with sebum, you’ll notice a significant decrease in frizz!
4. Boar bristle brushing stimulates scalp
I find my daily session of boar bristle brushing a meditative and relaxing experience. A boar bristle brush feels divine on the scalp and stimulates blood flow to the hair follicles, which can improve hair growth.
5. Boar bristle brushing reduces the need for styling products
I do not recommend using heavy styling products with a boar bristle brush (see instructions below). Fortunately, you’ll end up saving time and money on styling products by incorporating boar bristle brushing into your hair care routine. As your hair becomes healthier, softer, and conditioned with regular brushing, you’ll no longer need to use leave-in conditioners or hair serums.
6. Boar bristle brushing reduces the frequency of washing
Frequent hair washing is actually a modern practice. Up until the 1960’s, before handheld hair dryers and curling irons, women would wash and set their hair once every week, and often less frequently. A boar bristle brush helped them maintain healthy, clean hair. A boar bristle brush prevents oil build-up at the scalp, which weights hair down and makes it look greasy. By transitioning to Morrocco Method shampoos and using a boar bristle brush, most women find that they can reduce the frequency of their hair washing to every two, three, four or even five days.
How to properly use a boar bristle brush
Start with dry hair – avoid boar bristle brushing wet hair, because this can cause breakage and doesn’t distribute the sebum well.
Detangle hair first – a boar bristle brush will not detangle and will actually create more tangles if you start with a tousled head of hair. Gently detangle your hair first using a wide-tooth comb.
Always brush from root to tip – With each stroke of the brush, start at the root of the hair and work all the way down to the tip. This distributes the sebum and creates shiny, bouncy locks.
Brush in sections – Unlike a regular hair brush, you need to approach boar bristle brushing with a careful plan of action. First, start by brushing the back of the hair by bending over, then stand up and brush the hairline, as shown in the video below.
I do this a couple of times before brushing the middle portion of my hair. To do this, I section off the top half of my hair and clip it up, so I can brush from the crown of my head down to the roots.
If you have natural African hair, here’s the tutorial for you:
Calm the “boar bristle brush static” – Because a boar bristle brush separates each hair strand to naturally condition it with sebum, you’ll notice that your hair “poofs” or becomes static-y during brushing. This is to be expected and it is simple to address. If you have wavy or straight hair, simply give your hair a twist or two and it will fall naturally. If you have curly hair, I’ve found that it helps to spritz with a few sprays of the Instant Crystal Mist (found here) conditioner and scrunch gently.
Boar bristle brushes and heavy products don’t mix – One of the reasons I recommend switching to the holistic hair care approach of Morrocco Method is that you’ll no longer need heavy styling products. Leave-in products like mousses and hairsprays just don’t mix well with boar bristle brushing because they can clog up the bristles. If you feel the need to use a leave-in conditioner or anti-frizz serum, my recommendations are the Instant Crystal Mist, Volumizer Mist, or a few drops of pure macadamia oil.
Clean your brush regularly – use a comb to remove the hair from your boar bristle brush after each use. You may also notice a white powder coating the bristles. This can be product build-up or dandruff. Also, if you use the Morrocco Method henna treatments or Zen Detox treatments that I recommend, it can leave a residue on the brush if you don’t rinse the treatment out thoroughly enough. To clean my brush, I rinse it under cool water then use a lint-free, tightly-woven towel to gently remove the residue from the bristles.
Use your boar bristle brush regularly for best results – Enjoy a few relaxing minutes of boar bristle brushing each morning and evening. Once you try it, you’ll get hooked with the gentle scalp massage and the healthy shine of your hair!
Where I got my boar bristle brush
A high-quality boar bristle brush is more of an investment than a regular hairbrush, but one brush literally lasts a lifetime. Like all my other hair products, I got my boar bristle brush from Morrocco Method (here are the brushes they offer). They offer two types of boar bristle brushes. I recommend both options, although they vary slightly in benefits:
1. Nylon bristle + Boar bristle brush, found here – I used my nylon + boar bristle brush for the pictures here. the nylon bristles are longer and gently stimulate the scalp. It also helps detangle hair while allowing the boar bristles to distribute sebum. If you have very thick hair, I would recommend this option.
2. Pure boar bristle brush, found here – This has a higher concentration of boar bristles, so it will distribute more sebum than the nylon mix. This also means it may cause more static, which will not be a problem if you follow the directions above.
Coupon and additional resources
[UPDATE: This coupon is no longer active. Sign up for my newsletter to be notified of future MM coupons!]
The past MM coupons I’ve offered were such a hit that I’ve been able to get a new coupon for you! Enter coupon code “EMPOWER65″ at checkout to receive free shipping over orders of $65 at The Morrocco Method – for new and returning customers! This coupon is valid for continental US shipping only on the UPS Sure Post and UPS ground shipping options.
This is a one-time use coupon, and you must choose the option “create an account” at checkout to get the discount. Be sure to hit the “save” button at checkout to apply the discount.
For further reading about holistic hair care, scalp care and henna, check out my other posts on the subject:
- 5 Tips for Holistic Hair Care
- 3 Ways to Detox Your Hair (getting through the MM Detox Period)
- No Heat Hair Care and Styling Guide
Do you use a boar bristle brush? Are you switching to holistic hair care?