+ Hair Tool - Frizz
March 17, 2009 1:18 PM   Subscribe

What's the best hairbrush for thick, frizzy, wavy white girl hair?

My problem lies in the morning when I need to brush/comb it through - brushing/combing aggravates the frizz, ruins any styling attempts and eventually calms down 2-3 hours later. When it's less than clean, it's even worse.

I've read a lot of the AskMefi questions in the past, so I know not to wash my hair every day, and can often last 3 days if I don't have to go out, but it gets pretty greasy at the roots (I can't stop touching it). My end aim is that I want to wear my hair more naturally, so I do straighten it a lot less than I used to, and if I could just find the right way to detangle, I am sure I wouldn't feel like I needed to straighten it all out in order to look/feel presentable.

Just so you know, my hair routine usually goes like this: I wash it every other day, add John Frieda's extra-strength anti-frizz serum (I've tried numerous other products, and this is The One Thing That Helps), comb it through while wet with a wide tooth comb and leave it to dry naturally. Sometimes I clip it back, sometimes I tie it into braids for a few hours until it's dry. Don't even talk to me about attempting to blowdry it.

So what brushes/combs should I be using? I have access to most stores in Southern California, and I'm willing to pay for the be all and end all definitive tool to make my life easier.

Bonus points if you can recommend a tool that I can use to blowdry my hair without aggravating the frizz. I've had stylists throw up their hands in dismay when they realise what a hassle it can be without going all the way to straighteners.

Note: I'm really not looking for creams/serums, as I'm trying to make an investment in a tool that won't run out, but if you really think I'm doing something wrong, please let me know.
posted by saturnine to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried not brushing at all?. My hair is wavy and very thick. I never brush it. I still get a little bit of frizz, but that might be because I'm constantly messing with it.
Form what i've always been told, some of the biggest causes of frizz with hair like ours is brushing it and touching it.
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron at 1:33 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

My recommendation is to never brush or comb your hair. Instead, use conditioner and your fingers to detangle your hair in the shower and try shampooing as little as possible. I have very oily hair and skin and this method leaves me with curls and no greasiness.

If you're interested in wearing your hair curly, I can't recommend the book Curly Girl enough. The techniques in the book are the only thing that has ever made any difference in fighting frizziness while wearing my hair curly. The author has a line of products, but the book gives a lot of information on ingredients (rather than specific products) that you should try or avoid.

Also, getting a good cut from someone who specializes in curly hair is a huge help. I was so fed up with stylists always wanting to straighten my hair, I cut it myself for 5+ years. Now I see someone who specializes in curly hair and it's made a big difference.

Feel free to MeFiMail me if you want more info.
posted by annaramma at 1:34 PM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't brush my hair, either. Unless I'm putting it up and I need to smooth the lumps out.
posted by MaritaCov at 1:37 PM on March 17, 2009

I would like to add: 'I simply run my fingers through my hair in the morning'.
and tack on 'while it's drying' after "I'm constantly messing with it" and "touching it"
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron at 1:43 PM on March 17, 2009

Best answer: I do brush my hair and would go nuts if I couldn't. I don't do it all the time though but a good brushing gets rid of the hair you've shed and can help with removes flaky scalp skin. Plus, it just feels so good. Get a Mason Pearson boar bristle brush. I tend to brush at night, which allows for the benefits of brushing while giving hair time to calm down, too.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:51 PM on March 17, 2009

I agree -- wide tooth comb while it's wet; then scrunch and let it alone. If you realy want to brush, do what otherworldly glow says, and do it at night.

I know you don't want products, but I find that a bit of gel or cream helps it hold some curl. It doesn't have to be expensive.
posted by kestrel251 at 2:00 PM on March 17, 2009

Hello, Hair Twin: put down the brush. Step away. It can only lead to misery.

I use a wide-toothed comb when my hair's wet (some sites say not to do this, but, uh, yeah. That doesn't work.) but I absolutely do not brush it dry as it takes that as a cue to go all helter skelter and frizzy. I also found a stylist who has hair identical to mine and that helped a great deal.

Also, I know you said no serums, etc. but I'm gonna say this anyway: I'm a very pasty white girl who spends quality time with African-American hair products, which seem to better understand the whole nature of thick, curly hair as opposed to their non-African oriented counterparts.
posted by December at 2:06 PM on March 17, 2009

Use a very wide-toothed comb, and only when your hair is wet. (Using fingers only is better, but I can't stop with the comb.) Stop touching your hair while it's drying or dry. Do not use hot air to dry your hair unless it's unavoidable. (And it's really never unavoidable, except if maybe you need to go out in -20 weather with wet hair. Do not do this.)

Try to leave your hair in braids when you sleep. Pigtails works better for me than a single braid, but it depends on how you sleep. French braids are ideal.

I second the Curly Girl recommendation, though I've found it imperfect, it's still got good information.
posted by jeather at 2:07 PM on March 17, 2009

Oh, I also second the African-American hair products.
posted by jeather at 2:09 PM on March 17, 2009

Drying: if you need to blow dry, get a round diffuser that slides over the end of your hair dryer. They have them at most drug stores & big box stores (some hair dryers come with a diffuser). Aim for the roots by tilting your head sideways or even upside down, keeping the dryer a good distance away from your head. Realize it probably will be more of a "half dry" than all the way dry unless you want to stand there for a long time.

I never brush my hair, wet or dry. I use a conditioner (Suave) as a pomade on damp hair, comb through with a wide tooth comb, then style it with finger combing, scrunching, or putting it up and leaving it. If I really mess up or want to change styles for the evening, I get it damp again by running wet hands on top and through it, and maybe adding some styling creme or a dab more conditioner rubbed between my hands.

Some days I don't wash, but I rinse in the shower to calm it down, put some conditioner on, rinse that out, and then use more conditioner as above and comb and style. If I go w/out at least rinsing and conditioning, the back is like a rat's nest and it's less hassle than coping with styling dry hair. I'm in the shower anyway.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:15 PM on March 17, 2009

Yeah, brushing curly hair is a no-go. When I need to restyle in the morning, I use a spritzer to dampen the ends/top layer, finger-comb, and scrunch in a tiny bit of product. You don't want to actually wet the hair, just get it damp. And don't use too much product, especially near the roots.

Also, what were you trying to do with the blowdryer? I agree that trying to blow it straight at home is a sad joke, but if you have a diffuser, you can dry just the roots to poof up the top a bit and prevent the dreaded flat-head.
posted by dogrose at 2:16 PM on March 17, 2009

No brush at all. I don't even use a comb on my frizzy hair any more - just my fingers and a good conditioner.
posted by chez shoes at 2:18 PM on March 17, 2009

I have thickthickthickfrizzythickwavy hair. I wash it every night, brush or comb it while it has conditioner in it, put my product in it + scrunch, and then sleep on it wet or dry it with a diffuser. Brushing it dry is a disaster.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 2:20 PM on March 17, 2009

I have very wavy, thick, coarse hair, medium long. I use a brush with well spaced plastic bristles, the kind that have a plastic blob at the end so they don't hurt the scalp. Wash every 3 days, add gobs of silicone-based shine serum, gobs of heavy-duty gel, comb w/ big comb, scrunch if I'm feeling energetic, ignore. No hair dryer, ever. When I brush it dry on non-hair-washing days, I usually spritz heavily w/ water.

Wavy, thick, coarse hair has a thick, rough cuticle, and serum + gel seals the cuticle, makes it slipperier, and generally better-behaved. Really layered cut makes all the difference for me.
posted by theora55 at 2:42 PM on March 17, 2009

I just use my fingers. I don't own a hairbrush or a dryer. I try to leave it alone while it's drying, and detangle with my fingers throughout the day (I can feel it tangling up and frizzing as I sit here...).
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:10 PM on March 17, 2009

My solution: don't use traditional shampoo, don't use silicone-heavy products, and don't use a hairbrush. A high-thread-count cotton sateen pillowcase also helps. My worst hair years (0-16, sadly) were the ones where I brushed and brushed, hoping it would make my hair manageable.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 3:13 PM on March 17, 2009

I have curly to wavy (depending on the humidity) fine hair. I like the Denman brushes, but I brush it just before showering with some intensive conditioner or detangler. Then it doesn't matter how frizy it gets because I'm washing it momentairly. (Also this makes my scalp and my shower drain happier).

ps. search for the other curly hair threads on ask if you want a few additional tips.
posted by ejaned8 at 3:25 PM on March 17, 2009

In addition to the rest of this great advice--when you say you wash your hair, do you also condition it? I would suggest adding conditioner to your routine to help with the wet-brushing. You can even "conditioner wash"--wet hair, apply conditioner, rub scalp vigorously, detangle if needed, rinse well--every day, which would probably eliminate some of the root grease (and any concern about the roots getting additionally greasy while you're using conditioner and not shampoo). Experiment with amounts of conditioner (I'm surprised at how much my hair can take without looking greasy/weighed down) and leaving some in (stop rinsing before it's squeaky clean).

Detangling is a lot easier (and hurts a lot less) when you start at the ends of your hair. Grab a section of hair and comb the last inch, then when that's detangled, move up an inch or two; when that's detangled, move up another few inches.

Naturally Curly is a website with good resources and forums for folk like us.
posted by tyrantkitty at 5:19 PM on March 17, 2009

For blowdrying, my stylist (who I see because she specializes in curly hair) has started using one of these on my hair. (Haven't bought one for home yet, but I'm considering it.)

I love all the Deva products for curly hair. They smell really fresh and nice.
posted by JoanArkham at 5:40 PM on March 17, 2009

I'm not quite in your boat, but close. I recommend an 'afro-pick' (which may be functionally equivalent to some of the brushes mentioned above.) Comb when you get out of the shower, and tie it back (scarf, scrunchee, whatever) until it dries. Then leave it alone.

Don't worry it until you get out of the shower the next morning.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:53 PM on March 17, 2009

I have very thick, straight hair that used to be frizzy.

If you do use a brush, I'd second the Mason Pearson recommendation. Even though it got good reviews on Makeup Alley, I put off buying it for years. Big mistake. It really smooths out my hair. I think it takes the oils near the roots and redistributes them along the length of the hair. It doesn't seem to get rid of tangles in my hair though, so you might need to comb through your hair first.

As for hairdryers, I've heard good things about T3 Tourmaline hairdryers (T3 Evolution, I think). I'm not good with hairdryers, so I haven't tried it yet.

You might want to try using aloe vera gel as a light substitute for hair products. Again, this is a tip I picked up on Makeup Alley, and it's served me well for years now.

Recently, I tried washing my hair with castile soap (Kirk's Castile bar soap, to be exact). It left my hair very soft and shiny. Might be worth a shot.

Hope this helps.
posted by larkin123 at 9:48 PM on March 17, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks to every single one of you for your answers. I'm marking otherworldlyglow's answer as best for now, because it was so straightforward and also seconded by larkin123 above. I have to wash my hair tomorrow, so I'll continue obsessing over the advice here (I started to list what I found the most useful and realised there was too much) and start on narrowing it all down to what works for me.
posted by saturnine at 12:55 AM on March 18, 2009

« Older Fungal lovin', havin' a blast...   |   Clearance, Clarence Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.