Does Combing Damage Hair?

by Gio
does combing damages hair?

Did you know? Something as innocuous as combing your hair can do a lot of damage.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you shouldn’t comb your locks. I’m saying not to do it absent-mindedly. That’s when the damage happens.

If you find that your hair looks worse after combing, here’s what to do:

How Can combing damage hair?

Rough combing can wreak all kinds of havoc on your hair. It damages your cuticles and makes your hair more prone to breakage. The harsher you comb, and the more often you do it, the more damage you’ll cause.

FYI, pay extra attention if you’re combing wet hair. Wet hair is very fragile and even more prone to breakage.

How Do You Prevent Combing Damage?

Of course, you can’t stop combing your hair. You just have to do it more gently. Here’s how:

  • Don’t use force: The rougher you comb your hair, the more damage you’ll cause.
  • Use a wide-toothed comb: The wide spacing between teeth allows you to go through your locks without harming your cuticles. This is especially important when you’re combing wet hair.
  • Apply conditioners: With silicones. No, they’re not bad for hair. Silicones provide a sleek and smooth feeling to hair, allowing combs to go through it easier.
  • Be quick: The more strokes you use, the more damage you’ll inflict to your hair.
  • Don’t comb hair too often: Comb hair when you really need to. Don’t do it out of habit.

Has your hair ever been damaged by combing? Share your experience in the comments below.

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Celeste June 24, 2011 - 12:12 pm

this is very useful, thank you!

beautifulwithbrains June 24, 2011 - 2:12 pm

Celeste, you’re welcome. I’m glad you find it useful. 🙂

Jamilla Camel June 24, 2011 - 12:35 pm

For the reasons you mentioned, I avoid combing my hair!

beautifulwithbrains June 24, 2011 - 2:13 pm

Jamilla, lol. It’s better doing it as little as possible and always treat hair gently. 🙂

CucumPear June 24, 2011 - 1:14 pm

The main problem with combs is that most are cheaply produced moulded ones. Where the two parts of the mould meet, a sharp edge remains that frequently isn’t removed and that will scrape against the hair and damage it.
I use wide-toothed combs that have been sawn from a block of hard rubber and smoothed. This kind of comb is more gentle, heat-resistant, anti-static, extremely sturdy and only a little more expensive.

beautifulwithbrains June 24, 2011 - 2:40 pm

CucumPear, I agree with you that it’s important to choose the right comb. There are a lot on the market that make more harm than good. You need a gentle, wide-toothed comb one and I’m glad you’ve found one that works for you. That type is best for hair so it’s worth it to pay a bit more for it. Thansk for sharing. 🙂

Trisha June 24, 2011 - 6:58 pm

I only brush (never comb) my hair right before I wash it. See, I have curly hair. If I brush or comb it, it turns into a frizzy mess. If it looked like an afro, I’d be okay with it, but it’s not anything that cool. So I can’t comb or brush my hair after washing it, or I won’t look any type of good.

(and that contributed to by day-2 snarled mess of hair.)

beautifulwithbrains June 24, 2011 - 7:30 pm

Trisha, that sounds annoying! You have beautiful hair though. 🙂 I like brushing hair before washing it cos it helps detangle any knots.

Makeup Morsels June 25, 2011 - 3:45 am

I run a plastic brush through my hair a couple of times in the morning, and never comb it when it’s wet. I’m curious, are there any combs in particular you would recommend? The one I’m using I got free at a hotel LOL so I’m sure it’s not the best option out there.

beautifulwithbrains June 26, 2011 - 7:33 pm

Makeup Morsels, most wide-toothed combs will do, as long as they are of good quality and don’t have any sharp edges.

Jeni June 25, 2011 - 5:05 am

When I had thick curly hair I used to use one of those hair pick comb things instead of a brush and it seemed to work well to prevent frizz. Now that my hair is really thin I don’t even own a comb – I just brush it with like 5 strokes and I’m done.

beautifulwithbrains June 26, 2011 - 7:28 pm

Jeni, I like hair pick combs for hair as they don’t have too many teeth and aren’t as damaging as regular combs. And just brushing hair with a few strokes is best when you have hair issues as it’s gentle and won’t cause further damage. 🙂

Tammy June 25, 2011 - 10:25 am

I only use a comb to smooth out my wet hair, and only brush my hair until it’s detangled to minimize damage. I do keep a little brush in my car, though, ’cause my hair gets tangled easily.

beautifulwithbrains June 26, 2011 - 6:13 pm

Tammy, my hair gets tangled easily so I know how annoying it is! It’s useful to have a comb with you when that happens. 🙂

Patricia February 5, 2012 - 6:28 am

I comb my hair in the shower with conditioner on, whenever I wash my hair and it GROWS TWICE AS FAST. With a wide tooth comb. I use Assue 3 minute miracle. Then wash off the excess.

beautifulwithbrains February 5, 2012 - 7:09 am

Patricia, I’m glad that works well for you. Thanks for sharing.

MetalPrincess September 6, 2013 - 2:50 pm

Does combing damage make loads of loose strands of hair come out while washing and brushing? I have this and it’s really annoying. So I’ve started using herbel essences Bee Strong Shampoo and Conditioner. Do you have tips to avoid loads of loose strands? My mum has this problem but my sister doesn’t and she washing her hair everyday!!

beautifulwithbrains September 7, 2013 - 8:42 pm

MetalPrincess, we are supposed to lose between 100-150 hairs each day and, when you wash it, your motions can disloge the hair that’s about to fall. If you’re losing more hair than that, then try being gentler when you comb it and wash it. If even that doesn’t work, then you should consult a doctor.


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