How to Clean a Hairbrush for Healthy Tresses

·4 min read

If your hairbrush's bristles are lost in a sea of strands, it's time to give it a good cleaning. Product buildup, dead skin cells, and loose hair all contribute to a hairbrush that not only looks unsightly but could also be doing your freshly washed hair more harm than good.

"It's important to clean your brushes because you don't want the shedded hair to get in the way of allowing the brush to perform at its highest level and serve its purpose," says Shelly Aguirre, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.

Take a few minutes to clean your hairbrushes and reap the beauty benefits with this simple method.

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How Often Should Hairbrushes Be Cleaned?

You put in time and effort to style your hair and it deserves a squeaky clean hairbrush. If the bristles are buried in a tangle of shedded strands, your brush won't be as effective and you might find styling a challenge. Clean out the hair from your brush regularly as needed, but know that cleaning a hairbrush certainly isn't a daily task. Aguirre recommends completing the chore about once a month, and more often if you see a lot of product buildup or tend to shed a lot.

How to Clean Hair Out of a Hairbrush

Cleaning lint and strands of hair out of a hairbrush is simple. Simply use your fingers or a comb to gently pull it out. To clean hair out of a round brush, loosen the hair wound around the brush and use a pair of scissors to carefully cut away the strands. You can also find tools that are specifically made for cleaning hairbrushes (starting at $7, Walmart) if you want to take your cleaning routine to the next level.

How to Deep-Clean a Hairbrush

In addition to strands of hair, brush bristles are magnets for lint, oil, and dead skin cells. After you've removed all of the hair, give your hairbrush a good washing to remove buildup.

You don't need to have a special product to clean hairbrushes. Just reach for your shampoo. Once you've cleaned out all the hair from between the bristles, Aguirre says to wash the brush with a splash of shampoo and warm water. Shampoo cleans a hairbrush like it cleans your hair and scalp; the suds work to remove dirt, product build-up, and oils.

This straightforward hairbrush cleaning method can be used on either synthetic bristle hairbrushes or boar's bristle hairbrushes, two common hairbrush materials.

Step 1: Wash Hairbrush with Shampoo

Fill a bowl with warm water and gently swirl the brush head in the water. Add a few drops of shampoo to the brush head and carefully agitate with your fingers or a toothbrush.

Step 2: Wipe Down Handle

While you are cleaning the bristles, take a minute to wipe down the handle of your hairbrush too and remove any sticky hairspray and styling product residue. Use a cotton swab to clean any grooves. Avoid soaking wood-handled brushes in water, as it could damage or warp the material.

Step 3: Rinse with Clean Water

Refill the bowl with clean warm water and again swirl the hairbrush head in the water to rinse.

Step 4: Let Air-Dry

Place the brush on a clean towel with the bristles facing down and let the brush dry completely before using it again. Plan on letting the brush dry at least overnight. Vented brushes without a padded base will dry much more quickly.

You might have seen information on how to clean a hairbrush with a dryer sheet. While dryer sheets work great for helping to control static, the water and shampoo method is ideal for deep-cleaning a hairbrush and dislodging buildup.

When Is It Time to Replace Your Hairbrush?

While good cleaning and a maintenance routine can help keep your hairbrush in good shape, there comes a time to retire your brush. A good brush can last for years, but Aguirre says you'll know it's time to go shopping for a new hairbrush when the bristles are worn down and the brush doesn't seem to get clean enough.

"Technology changes so often that getting a new brush may be just what you need," Aguirre says. "If your current brush is more than five years old, you may want to treat yourself and your hair to a new one."

But beyond a fresh start, purchasing a new brush does wonders for your 'do. "You'll be amazed with how a simple purchase will make your hair look and feel healthier," says Aguirre.

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