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When you get your hair professionally styled at Health and Style Institute or a salon, you might have noticed that your stylist uses different types of hairbrushes.  Hairbrushes come in thousands of styles, materials, and designs. A low-end plastic brush costs as little as $1 and a hand-tied boar brush as much as $100+. The average price for a decent brush is from $5 to $25. Knowing what brushes to buy begins with understanding the difference in bristles (boar, nylon, porcupine, and metal) as well as the four basic categories of brushes (vented, cushioned, round, and classic). Other than that, choosing a particular design really depends on your style of doing hair.

Natural boar bristle cares for the hair and helps make it really soft and smooth because the bristles are the same material as the hair itself.  Boar bristles are considered ideal because they close the cuticle layer — the outside armor of your hair — and create shiny hair. Because boar bristles tend to be weak, manufacturers often mix them with nylon bristles, so they don’t collapse while you’re brushing through the hair.

Brushes made of wood or plastic usually have nylon or metal bristles.  Nylon bristles can be soft and flexible or stiff and firm. Nylon bristles offer little to maximum control, depending on how closely the bristles are placed and how flexible the material. Their aim is to massage the scalp in order to improve the circulation and help make the hair grow healthy and beautiful.  As a rule, the stiffer and more closely spaced the bristle, the more control you have over the hair. Metal bristles are best left for styling wigs and hair pieces.  Even with soft plastic tips they are too inflexible on the human scalp.

Another type of bristle is Porcupine, a term used for a tufted bristle — multiple bristles grouped together — that usually includes a combination of boar and nylon bristles. It’s gentle, but it exerts a good hold on the hair.

No matter the type of brush you choose, most hair stylists generally recommend you buy a new hairbrush at least once a year. While your brush may still appear to be in good condition, once the bristles become worn down they can actually cause damage to the hair. A brush in poor condition can even break or pull out your hair at the follicle. The majority of hair brushes have round tips at the end of the bristles. These are referred to as epoxy ball tips. They help the brush move through your hair easier without pulling on it. If the epoxy ball tips become damaged or break off, they can cause injury to the scalp by scratching it. The life of your hairbrush will also depend on other factors such as how often you brush your hair, your hair length and texture, and the type of hair brush you purchase.

Your hairbrush not only styles your hair but is needed to stimulate your scalp as well. This is important to ensure that hair contains enough natural oils to keep it looking healthy. As a person ages, the amount of natural oil in their hair tends to decrease and can leave hair looking dull. When the hair is brushed, a natural oil called sebum is released. Sebum both protects the hair and acts as a natural moisturizer. By brushing your hair daily with the proper hair brush, you can keep it healthy and shiny.