Brushing hair often feels instinctual—you start on dry hair and brush downward from the roots to the tips. However, those with natural curls know it takes a more delicate approach to add volume to your bouncy, juicy curls.
Luckily, you can achieve exquisite curls, coils and natural styles with a hair brush—and a curl-amplifying technique, of course.
Curious to know how to brush curly hair best? This guide walks you through the three most recommended expert techniques to cultivate your natural curls—snagging and breaking not included. Keep reading for the step-by-step breakdown.
Step 1: Gather Your Tools
The first step is to gather your arsenal of curly hair accessories, tools and products. And yes, you will need more than your styling brush for great curl definition.
Unsure of what you’ll need? Here’s a quick list of products and natural hair tools that help natural curls thrive:
- Brush, preferably with soft bristles so it’s gentle on your hair
- Conditioner, such as PATTERN’s Leave-In Conditioner to add extra slip when detangling
- Misting spray bottle, to keep the hair damp as you brush
- Curl-defining products, such as gels or creams
Why are these products your curly-hair go-to’s? They moisturize and protect your hair to avoid any natural hair breakage when you’re detangling. That way you’re working with your luscious natural curls, instead of against them.
Is It Bad to Brush Out Curly Hair?
For some naturals, brushing their curly hair is a big no-no. That’s partly because the wrong technique can do more harm than good. But, with the right technique, brushing your curly hair can have breathtaking results, as it:1
- Detangles your hair, which prevents single strand knots and split ends
- Stimulates your scalp and promotes hair growth
- Helps to remove the loose strands that your hair sheds throughout the day
- Distributes your natural hair oils as you brush to make your hair shine
There are so many benefits of hair brushing, so it’s important that you’re practicing the right techniques and know how to brush curly hair without losing curls.
On the other hand, a hair pick is also a different type of tool that you can use to style your hair. If you want an in depth look into hair picks, read our comprehensive guide on how to pick your hair.
Step 2: Start with Wet or Damp Hair
Moisture is a curl’s best friend. To prevent dry hair, those with tight curls should rehydrate their hair daily, while those with looser curls can probably get away with moisturizing every few days.
But one thing’s for sure—when it comes to brushing through the coil and curl pattern with ease, water is essential. (And your favorite moisture-enhancing curl cream, of course—but definitely water.)
When brushing curly hair you can:
- Wet your hair in the shower and use a Lightweight Conditioner or Hydration Conditioner
- Use a detangler for curly hair
By applying water and a moisturizing product, the hair brush has an easier time slipping through the strands without damaging your curls. In fact, wet hair is an effective way to define and detangle altogether since the extra moisture will cause the hair to bind and curl beautifully when brushed. Many curlies opt to detangle and brush their hair in the shower for this reason. Experimenting with different recommendations is key to learning how to style curly hair.
How Often Should Curly Hair be Brushed?
You’ve probably heard the suggestion that you should brush your hair 100 times a day. While that may work for some people, it most likely won’t work for everyone.
How often you brush your hair depends on:
- Your hair type – Those with tight curls should avoid brushing too often to avoid friction, which may damage your curls. To keep the natural texture of your hair, limit hair brushing to once a week. Consider finger detangling, if needed.
- Your hair’s needs – If your hair has been feeling a little more brittle or dry recently, avoid frequent brushing. Instead, use moisturizing products while finger detangling to nurture your hair.
- Your own schedule – If you’re busy throughout the day, reserve your self-care for the night. Or vice versa if you enjoy starting your day with a pampering session.
Remember: Curly hair needs to be detangled and a hairbrush is an effective tool to do so. But, you should brush your hair however often works best for you. You know your hair better than anyone. So if brushing during every wash day works, then that’s great. Just be mindful to not over-do it.
Step 3: Brush from the Ends to the Roots
Our first instinct when brushing hair is to move from the roots down. However, this method is not suited for those with natural hair types—your natural curls deserve something extra. Instead, work from the ends of your hair and slowly move your way up to the roots.
This will help to:
- Reduce the amount of hair tugging
- Lessen excess hair shedding
- Guarantee your hair is tangle-free from bottom to top
Learning how to comb curly hair properly ensures your natural curls are buoyant, beautiful and flourishing.
Define Your Curls with PATTERN
How do you know when you’re brushing your hair properly? When your curls and coils come out defined, soft and juicy, then you know you’re doing something right.
Hair health is the most important thing at the end of the day. At PATTERN, our curly hair products reflect just that. If you’re ready to incorporate brushing into your wash day routine, then try out our Shower Brush. It’s perfect for detangling all hair textures but is gentle enough to clump and define your curls.
And to help glide the brush through your hair, check out our Hydrating Mist, crafted with aloe vera, coconut oil and avocado oil. Treat yourself to natural hair products done right with PATTERN.
- Lindeberg, Sara. "The Benefits of Hair Brushing and How to Do It Properly." Healthline. 24 July, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/brushing-hair#frequency