If you saw my prior post on natural hair care, you know that I’ve been using natural hair products for a while now after going through a rather rough detox. During that time I’ve experimented with several products and tools – some good and some not so good – to discover what works best for me. In this post I’m featuring 3 of the most practical tools for natural hair care.
1. Scalp Massaging Brush. If you are switching to a more natural shampoo and you have thick and/or curly hair, I would highly recommend a rubber scalp massaging brush. If you are using a shampoo bar, it is a necessity. Since the more natural shampoos don’t usually lather as well as traditional shampoos, it can be difficult both to thoroughly clean your scalp and to remove the shampoo residue. You use the scalp massing brush to massage the scalp after applying the shampoo and again when rinsing it out. In addition it stimulates the scalp. And it feels good too! You don’t need to limit its use to the shower either, as you can also use it on dry hair for the same scalp stimulation. You may even want to add a blend of carrier oil and essential oils for a proper scalp massage.
2. Boar Bristle Brush. You’ve heard the saying about brushing your hair 100 strokes each night. While that may be overdoing it, I do believe that regular brushing is beneficial, especially if you don’t wash your hair daily. Brushing stimulates the scalp and conditions the length of the hair by redistributing oils from the scalp to the ends, which may also result in the need to wash hair less frequently. A boar bristle brush is generally the recommended choice but if you have thicker or textured hair, you may prefer a mixture of boar bristles and nylon. (I’ve tried a 100% boar bristle brush and the bristles aren’t strong enough to make it through the length of my hair.)
I also recommend combing the hair with a wide tooth comb first since it will make the brushing easier and cut down on the frizz. Unless you have very thin or short hair, you will need to section off your hair first and then brush it out by section. After combing it, I pin up the top two-thirds and start with the bottom layer. Then I release the next layer and brush it before finishing with the top layer. The “gold standard” for a boar bristle brush is Mason Pearson and while they do last a long time if cared for properly, they are expensive. If you’re just starting out with a boar bristle brush then you probably want to try a more economical option before making that investment. There are much more affordable options available, such as Spornette, Morrocco Method also carries both the boar bristle and the combination brush in multiple sizes.
As far as caring for the brush, you will need remove any hair and lint from the brush frequently and you should clean it periodically with a mild shampoo or soap. Also, you don’t want to use a boar bristle brush on damp hair and I also wouldn’t recommend using it to distribute oil or other styling products. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of a vegan alternative that is effective at redistributing the oil from the scalp but if anyone has any alternatives I’d love to hear about them.
3. Aquasana Shower Head Water Filter. If you already have a whole house water filter or are lucky enough to have naturally high quality water, then you don’t need this. But for the rest of you, I recommend this filter for your shower. This is not just for hair but for skin as well. It is relatively easy to install and the filters last me at least 6 months. In addition to the regular shower head filter, Aquasana also offers a version with a handheld wand. I’ve found that more natural products (not just shampoo but also dish laundry detergents) aren’t as effective with hard water. While this is sold as a water filter and not a water softener, I’ve found that the water does feel softer on my skin and my hair is shinier when I use this.
What are your “must have” hair tools?