Should I Brush My Hair 100 Times at Night?
Many women have this romantic notion that if they brush their hair several times each night, they will have gorgeous, long hair. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Many women (and some men) are under the false assumption that brushing their hair 100 times nightly will lead to softer, more manageable hair. This myth is appealing because it was once true. My grandmother and great-grandmother, both pentecostal women with amazing locks, always swore by this method. Every night, they would carefully brush their hair from scalp to ends, fifty times while sitting, and fifty times with their heads turned upside down.
But what I didn’t realize was the other parts of the equation in hair awesomeness: They only washed their hair once a week, and they used no styling products.
You see, brushing the hair repeatedly does one job and one job only, which is it distributes the natural oil from the scalp down to the ends of their hair, creating a natural conditioner which protects the hair.
For modern women who wash their hair daily or every-other-day, this trick does little to help us. First of all, most of us just don’t make that much oil in the short time between washings. Second, our hair is weaker than our ancestors because of all the heat styling and products we use. Finally, most of our brushes are synthetic and are harder on hair.
In fact, brushing the hair 100 times a night can actually cause more damage for the modern woman. Brushing roughs up the cuticle (the outer layer of the hair) and further weakens the hair. For our grandmothers, this was no big deal since little other damage occurred to their hair. But to a modern woman who washes daily and uses a hair dryer and a flat iron and mousse and hairspray and straightening serum on color treated hair, this can be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back (or the brush that breaks the hair)!
This is not to suggest that brushing the hair 100 times is always a bad idea. It’s a great idea if you have a really oily scalp, if you do little styling with your hair, if you have really really long hair,
if you do indeed wash your hair maybe once a week, or if you’re temporarily unable to wash your hair on a regular basis (i.e. camping, doing anthropological field work in the jungle, getting more in tune with nature, I don’t know).