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How to Brush Curly Hair Properly: Tips for Minimizing Frizz and Preventing Damage (2024)

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how to brush curly hairCurls are a badge of honor, twisting rebelliously against expectations of straight conformity. Yet the daily ritual of brushing coils risks unleashing chaos, tangling strands in distress.

Take heart, curly friend; the power is yours to nurture unruly locks into luminous spirals. Arm yourself with curl-wisdom won through trial-and-error to brush properly, minimizing frizz and preventing damage.

Together we’ll explore techniques for wet detangling, suitable brushes, finger-prepping, ideal routines and more curl-liberating secrets.

Key Takeaways

  • Use wide-tooth combs or wet brushes with soft, flexible bristles to prevent tugging or catching
  • Start at the ends and gently work up to detangle while hair is slickened with water or conditioner
  • Opt for finger detangling when possible to separate curls individually without disruption
  • Air dry or diffuse carefully after brushing to maintain defined, frizz-free curls

Should Curly Hair Be Brushed?

Should Curly Hair Be Brushed
When caring for your curls, you’re right to question if you should brush curly hair at all.

Traditional brushing can disrupt curl patterns, cause breakage, and create frizz.

However, skipping brushing altogether allows tangles to build up.

The solution is to avoid excessive brushing and instead gently detangle curls using your fingers or a wide-tooth comb.

Work in sections, starting from the bottom of your hair and slowly making your way up to the roots.

Apply a nourishing curl cream or natural oil first to help slip knots apart without damage.

Opt for totally tangle-free sections before progressing upwards.

With this slower, gentler, and more intentional detangling approach, you can maintain your curls’ integrity while keeping strands smooth and frizz-free in between washes.

Ultimately it’s about balance – strategic, gentle detangling preserves both your curl pattern and your hair’s health.

Is Wet or Dry Brushing Better?

Is Wet or Dry Brushing Better
When it comes to brushing, curly hair requires special care.

Wet brushing helps maintain curl shape and eases detangling due to the slick surface of water, but exceptions exist.

Meanwhile, dry brushing risks disrupting your curl pattern and causing frizz.

Determine what works best for your hair to minimize damage.

Wet Brushing Benefits

Most curly hair experts recommend wet brushing as it provides some key benefits, including slippery moisture that aids detangling without loosening the curl pattern when you’re careful.

The water creates a slick surface that allows bristles to glide smoothly through knots and tangles, gently combing them out while keeping curls intact.

Selecting the right wet brush is key – look for soft, flexible bristles with wide spacing to lift hair without catching.

Moving slowly section by section, concentrate on ends first where snarls accumulate.

The water reduces friction, enabling thorough detangling and frizz prevention without disturbing your spirals’ natural shape.

With some caution, wet brushing helps maintain defined curls between washes.

Dry Brushing Risks

Having covered the benefits of wet brushing for curls, you’re risking frizz and disrupting curl patterns by brushing dry hair.

The lack of hydrating elements when brushing dry hair leaves strands prone to breakage.

Opt for wide-tooth combs or bamboo picks to gently detangle. Adding gel or oil enables protective coating.

Limit dry brushing frequency to special occasions needing precision styling. Otherwise focus efforts on nurturing curls’ integrity through regular moisturizing and finger detangling.

Ultimately keeping hair nourished and minimizing abrasive brushing preserves the hair’s health.

Picking the Ideal Curly Hair Brush

Picking the Ideal Curly Hair Brush
When selecting a curl-friendly brush,

  • Prioritize bristles made of nylon or natural boar bristles over plastic.
  • Opt for a brush with widely spaced bristles to glide through curls without catching or tugging.

You’ll also want to choose a brush size and shape that fits comfortably in your hand for maximum control as you gently brush through sections of hair from ends to roots.

Using the right brush is key for minimizing frizz and preventing breakage as you care for your curls.

Bristle Type

How do you choose the right bristle type to find a curl-friendly brush that won’t cause extra frizz or damage? Here are three factors to consider when comparing bristles for your curly hair brush:

  • Gentle Detangling: Look for brushes with soft, flexible bristles that glide through your curls without tugging or pulling, minimizing breakage and hair loss.
  • Bristle Comparison: Nylon bristles are recommended as they create less friction than natural boar bristles, reducing frizz and preserving the integrity of your curl pattern.
  • Scalp Massage Benefits: Opt for brushes with rounded tips on the bristles to provide a soothing scalp massage while brushing, promoting blood circulation and healthy hair growth.

By choosing the right brush with suitable gentle detangling properties, nylon-bristle comparison, and scalp massage benefits in mind; you can prevent unnecessary frizzing and minimize potential hair breakage during brushing sessions as part of an effective curly hair care routine.

Bristle Spacing

Tips for Minimizing Frizz and Preventing Damage:

Frequently, you’ll want a brush with wide enough bristle spacing to glide smoothly through curls without catching or tugging strands.

Opt for a detangling brush designed specifically for curly hair, with bristles spaced widely enough to allow curls to pass through freely. This prevents painful pulling and reduces frizz by not disrupting the curl pattern.

Wider spacing also enables better scalp access for a gentle massage while brushing.

For very coiled or thick hair, choose an extra-wide tooth comb for knot removal without excessive breakage.

Regularly brushing with the right wide-spaced tool minimizes tangles and maintains defined curls between washes.

Finger Detangling for Curls

Finger Detangling for Curls
You can achieve effective detangling by using your fingers to gently separate curls, allowing for precision and control while minimizing frizz and breakage.

Work in sections, grasping curls between your fingers and patiently pulling apart knots.

Apply a moisturizing curl cream first for optimal moisture and frizz prevention during the tactile detangling process.

Finger detangling enables personalized care as you intuitively gauge how much pressure to apply based on curl elasticity.

Gradually separate strands, smoothing down frizz as you work towards curl ends.

Should any tangles feel too stubborn, don’t yank hair to pry apart. Instead, patiently grasp sections and slide fingers down the length of hair to gently coax knots free.

Persisting with this method ensures fuller-looking curls that remain well-defined and frizz-free post-detangling.

As finger pads glide over strands, friction and resulting breakage minimize.

Thus, finger detangling lets you achieve a smooth, hydrated curl texture while proactively preventing damage.

Follow with scrunching curls in a microfiber towel to further define strands.

Continue applying gentle, consistent tension as needed throughout all hair sections.

Using Combs on Curly Hair

Using Combs on Curly Hair
When using combs on your curls, opt for wide-toothed options that can detangle without excessive pulling or friction.

Wide-toothed combs are designed with teeth spaced far enough apart to pass smoothly through curls without catching or yanking hair strands.

Unlike brushes, combs don’t disrupt curl patterns but they allow for precision styling.

Pair combs with finger detangling, using your fingers first to gently separate larger knots then follow with the comb for small tangles.

Start from the ends then comb up towards the roots in sections.

Always comb gently following the direction of your curl pattern, and avoid combing dry hair to prevent breakage.

With mindful technique, wide-toothed combs help maintain defined curls between washes for a flawless curly hair routine.

Avoiding Pain When Brushing

Avoiding Pain When Brushing
Tips for Minimizing Frizz and Preventing Damage:

When brushing curly hair, it’s crucial you’re gentle and patient to avoid pain or damage.

  • Work in small sections, holding hair taut but not too tight.
  • Brush in the direction of the curl rather than against it.
  • Having the right brush helps too – choose one with soft, flexible bristles spaced widely apart.

Technique Tips

By brushing curly hair in sections and using your fingers to gently detangle problem areas first, you’ll minimize any pain or damage during the brushing process.

Minimize Pain and Damage When Brushing Curls

When working through curls, it’s essential to be gentle. Break hair into sections before brushing rather than taking on too much at once. Use your fingers to lightly separate any knots before introducing a brush. Apply a leave-in conditioner to lubricate strands, minimizing stress and strain.

Select a brush designed specifically for curly hair, like a wide-tooth comb or soft-bristle brush, to glide smoothly without snagging.

Following these simple technique tips allows you to brush curly hair as needed without causing additional frizz or breakage. Gentle, intentional brushing preserves your curls’ integrity. Approach brushing in a cautious, nurturing way so your locks stay healthy and defined.

How Often to Brush Curly Hair

How Often to Brush Curly Hair
While avoiding excess brushing is important, a regular detangling session is key for maintaining healthy curls and preventing knots.

  • For looser wave patterns (2a-2b), aim to brush once daily, using a wide-tooth comb or Detangler brush. This helps set your shape without disrupting definition.
  • Tighter curls (3a-3c) typically only need brushing 1-2 times per week. Use a seamless comb or your fingers to gently detangle when needed. Over-brushing causes frizz.
  • Coily 4a-4c curls require less detangling. Once weekly or every other week is sufficient if you use lots of hydrating stylers. When brushing, always start from the ends and methodically work up to prevent pain or damage.
  • No matter your curl type, brush gently with lots of moisture to make the process pain-free. Avoid excessive force and brush more frequently if your hair is prone to extreme tangling. With the right tools and method, brushing curly locks can be simple.

Maintaining Curls After Brushing

Maintaining Curls After Brushing
After brushing, focus on drying methods that will keep curls intact.

Air drying works best, as heat from blow dryers can cause additional frizz and damage.

You can also use the cool setting on a hair dryer to gently dry curls without disruption.

Drying Methods

After brushing your curls, you’d do well to air dry or use the lowest heat setting if blow-drying to minimize damage and frizz.

Allowing wet curls to air dry naturally is ideal, as it prevents introducing additional heat that could disrupt curl patterns.

If time is limited, blow-drying with a diffuser attachment on the lowest heat setting can minimize potential harm. When heat styling, always prep damp curls with a thermal protectant. This nourishes strands and creates a buffer against high temperatures.

Whether air-drying or diffusing, gently scrunch curls as they dry to encourage bounce and definition. Resist the temptation to frequently brush wet strands; overhandling can cause frizz or stretching.

With a careful approach, both air-drying and protective heat styling allow you to maintain hydrated, frizz-free curls after brushing.

Common Brushing Problems

Common Brushing Problems
When brushing your curls, you’ll inevitably face some common problems.

Dealing with painful tangles and keeping frizz at bay can be frustrating, but having the right tools and techniques makes all the difference.

Start by using a wide-tooth comb and curl cream to gently work through knots, and finish with an anti-frizz serum to keep your locks smooth.

Dealing With Tangles

You can tackle tangles by:

  • Working in small sections
  • Using a wide-tooth comb or curl cream before brushing
  • Gently teasing apart knots with your fingers.

When confronting those Tangle Troubles, be patient – rushing through curly strands risks Breakage Prevention.

Apply a nourishing Frizz Fighter like a curl cream or leave-in conditioner to lubricate locks, making knots slide out smoothly.

Then section hair into manageable parts for Gentle Detangling with your fingers, slowly unraveling knots.

Should a resilient snarl persist, gently work out the Knot-Free Solution with a wide-tooth comb’s tapered teeth.

Moving methodically in this fashion helps prevent yanking on delicate curls, saving you from a bad hair day.

Controlling Frizz

Keep frizz at bay by applying an anti-frizz serum or curl cream post-brushing.

Look for formulas with moisturizing ingredients like shea butter or glycerin to combat humidity-induced frizz.

When styling, opt for products designed specifically for curly hair that provide long-lasting definition without crispy hold.

If spending lots of time outdoors, use a frizz-fighting styler first, then layer your favorite curl cream on top.

For extra assurance, wrap locks in a silk scarf or bonnet overnight. This protects shape and blocks moisture absorption.

With the right arsenal of frizz-fighting serums, protective styling habits and TLC between washes, you can master frizz-free curls.

Following a Brushing Routine

Following a Brushing Routine
To establish a healthy brushing routine for your curly hair, start by incorporating these simple steps into your daily or weekly hair care regimen.

Begin each detangling session with a gentle scalp massage using your fingertips to stimulate blood flow and condition the roots.

Next, section your curls and evenly distribute a smoothing, frizz-fighting serum from midlength to ends to provide slip and protection.

Use a wide-toothed comb to carefully detangle one section at a time, starting from the bottom.

At night, practice a modified routine by finger combing to refresh shape without overbrushing.

Make seasonal adjustments as needed, using lighter products in summer and richer creams in winter to maintain definition.

With a consistent, gentle approach you’ll achieve longer-lasting curl definition and reduce hair breakage over time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some recommendations for curly hair brushes for kids?

When selecting curly hair brushes for kids,

  • Opt for soft, flexible bristles to gently detangle without damaging delicate strands.
  • Seek wide-tooth combs and seamless tips to prevent snagging.
  • Prioritize comfort and ergonomics for easy handling.

Most importantly, brush minimally and with care to nurture their beautiful curls.

Should I brush my curly hair before or after styling it?

I would gently recommend brushing your curly hair before styling.

Being gentle and using a wide-tooth comb or specialized brush for curly hair helps minimize frizz and damage when preparing curls for styling.

Properly detangling first allows products to better penetrate and define curls.

How do I deal with very tightly coiled curls that seem impossible to brush?

Empower those coils!

Focus first on properly moisturizing hair.

Gently detangle small sections using your fingers or a wide-tooth comb.

Patiently work in leave-in conditioner to help curls yield to needed brushing without extreme tension causing breakage.

Are there any techniques for brushing curly hair extensions or wigs?

Carefully brush wig curls with a wide-tooth comb.

Start at ends, work upwards slowly.

Use leave-in conditioner for lubrication.

Ensure delicate brushing motions along direction of curls.

This nurtures natural pattern, limits tangles and frizz.

What kind of brush is best for brushing out curls before straightening hair?

Try a wet brush with flexible bristles.

Gently detangle small sections from ends to roots before blow drying straight.

Add a heat protectant.

Brush in sections again with a ceramic brush once hair is dry, keeping tension to smooth the cuticle flat.


As the old adage goes, To everything there’s a season. Your curls’ season is one of embracing routines that minimize damage and maximize shine. Arm yourself with curl-wisdom on proper brushing techniques, suitable tools, and nurturing products.

Tend to your spirals with care and brush curly hair properly so its true beauty radiates all season long.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.