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How to Brush Curly Hair Without Losing Your Natural Curls

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There are plenty of benefits to brushing curly hair. Aside from the obvious that brushing detangles the hair; It adds shine with the extended benefit of exfoliating the scalp.

However, if you have grown up with curly, dry, and frizzy hair, you have probably experienced the frustration of never-ending, long sessions of your mom struggling to comb out your curly hair without trying to hurt you.

A girl thinking How to brush curly hair

But that is probably because of the technique that was being used. If you brush your curly hair incorrectly you will not experience any of the above benefits.

Trying to figure out the right way to brush your curly hair without damaging or frizzing it up can seem like a daunting task to undertake, with so many nuances involved.

Aside from heat tools, there is likely no other hair tool in the market that can cause as much damage as your hairbrush, when used wrong.

From knowing what types of tools to use to figuring out the right way to brush your curly hair, this article will help make the seemingly tedious process of brushing your hair simple and straightforward.

Since curly hair has different needs than other types of hair, the care needed to keep your curls healthy is different, too. The tips mentioned below will allow you to eliminate any damage that may happen as a result of bad brushing practices as well as reduce frizz without losing your natural curls.

*This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. I only recommmend products that I use, love, or thoroughly researched.

Is It Bad to Brush Out Curly Hair?

The spiral shape of curly hair makes it a lot easier for them to get entangled and consequently, difficult to comb through. One lazy night of falling asleep without using a bonnet could end up with your hair in a tangled-up mess in your comb’s teeth.

Brushing out curly hair is often demonized. However, it is not bad to brush curly hair – that is, if the process is carried out correctly. The difference lies in how one approaches the method of detangling their hair. Therefore, it is not bad to brush out curly hair, as long as you use the right tools and methods to do it.

How Often Should You Brush Through Curls?

While reaching for your comb or hairbrush to brush through your curls every single day can be a bit of an overkill, your curls should be brushed at least every wash day.

This detangling would need to be done while the hair is wet instead of being dry, something I will discuss in a little more detail in the next section of the article.  

Is it Better to Brush Curly Hair Wet or Dry?

As mentioned above, when it comes to brushing curly hair, it is best to do so while the hair’s wet. This reduces the friction between the comb/brush and the curls while also retaining the original shape of your natural curls.

Many people wonder if brushing curly hair dry is bad. The truth is, if you comb curly hair while they are dry, your hair would become an undefined mess of frizz. Doing this would also ruin the curls’ natural pattern and the increased friction between the brush and the hair would cause unnecessary damage and breakage.

This is particularly true for hair that is more textured and curls that are more defined. Your detangling session should not end up with you having to endure chunks of curly hair potentially shedding along with being in pain.

Is It Normal for It to Hurt When Brushing Curly Hair?

While I agree that brushing curly hair is no breezy situation, you should definitely not be in a world of pain while doing it.

If your scalp hurts while you are brushing your hair, you are doing something wrong. A good way to go about brushing your curly hair is to divide them into multiple sections.

Start by splitting the hair into two sections from the middle. From there, divide the two sections into subsections of thirds, creating six total parts.

After that, moisturize your hair with a hair moisturizer. You can also use water for this purpose. Once all this is done, it is time to brush your curly hair. Comb each section bottom first, working your way up towards the roots.

Dividing your hair into smaller sections would minimize any pain and breakage that can happen as a result of brushing curly hair.

How to Comb Curly Hair When Dry?

As curly hair is already dry and brittle, combing them while they are dry can lead to breakage and even permanent damage if done too often and too roughly.

It is best to avoid combing your curly hair when they are dry. If you have to do so, use a good detangling brush and a hair moisturizing agent, such as oils, to reduce friction caused by dryness.

What is the Best Brush for Curly Hair?

My top picks are:

Behairful Brush – This brush is great for wet and dry curly hair but is my top recommended brush to brush dry curly hair. I use this brush daily on my daughter’s hair and use it on my hair right before wash day. It gently glides through knots creating less friction which decreases breakage. Use DORISJEAN for 10% off.

KAZMALEJE Paddle Brush – This brush can be used as a detangler but I use it to define my curls after putting my favorite styling product in. I use the KAZMALEJE comb to detangle.

Felicia Leatherwood Detangler Brush – This brush was designed with texture hair in mind. The flexible bristles move with your hair gliding through with minimal breakage. I like this brush more as a definer but many curly hair girls love to use it as a detangler.

Here are some runner ups:

How to Brush Curly Hair Step By Step Guide

Step 1: Moisturize Your Hair with Oil

You should always brush your curls while the hair’s wet to avoid losing the curls. For this reason, the hair combing ritual should be carried out every wash day.

To start, lightly oil your hair with a hair oil of choice. Use your fingers to distribute the oil evenly throughout the hair and remove any big knots in the process.

Take your detangling brush and brush through your hair as gently as possible.

If you feel like your hair is not super tangled and can do without the oil, you can skip this step and hop straight into the shower.

Step 2: Shampoo the Curls

Once in the shower, it is now time to apply a gentle shampoo. Ideally, your shampoo of choice should be sulfate-free.

In any case, rub the shampoo well – preferably on your scalp only – and then rinse it out. You do not necessarily need to shampoo the lengths of your hair. When the shampoo water slides off of your scalp, it will clean the rest of your hair, too.

Step 3: Divide the Hair into Sections and Apply Hair Conditioner

Before applying your hair conditioner, divide your hair into multiple sections and condition one at a time. Dividing your hair up ensures that every part is thoroughly moisturized and detangled.

A good trick to recognize an effective condition for curly hair is to notice how slippery it feels. Generally, the slipperier the better.  

Step 4: Brush Your Curly Hair

Once you have generously applied your hair moisturizer, it is now time to comb your hair.

First, gently run your fingers through your hair. Then, take a detangling brush and start from the ends and comb towards the top. You can also use a wide-toothed comb for this purpose.

This will help get rid of clumps along with making your hair super smooth and shiny.

Once you have brushed your hair, rinse out the conditioner. It is now time to get out of the shower.

Step 5: Use Leave-in Conditioner or Gel

Once out of the shower, you should apply a leave-in conditioner of your choosing. You can also use a curl cream. Curl creams are usually thicker and richer in terms of texture. They are more suitable for those of us with very curly and defined hair.

In any case, the technique to apply these products is the same as how you would apply the conditioner.

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How to Brush Curly Hair Without It Getting Frizzy ?

It is important to ensure that you are brushing your curly hair without it getting frizzy at all times.

Since curly hair is already dry, they are prone to frizziness. Here are a few things to keep in mind to brush curly hair without causing frizz:

  1. Always comb when wet to avoid resistance and breakage.
  2. Make use of hair oils frequently to keep your curls moisturized.
  3. Do not blow-dry your hair as it dries out the scalp.
  4. Never brush your hair dry as they can cause unnecessary frizz and damage.
  5. Don’t be harsh or quick in your brushing technique as it can cause hair loss problems and frizz.
  6. Use hair creams, hair serums, or leave-in conditioners after combing to keep your curls looking healthy, shiny, and smooth.

What Can You Use Instead of a Brush on Curly Hair?

If you don’t want to rely on a brush, you can use a comb or your trusty hands to detangle your hair without causing frizz.

Keep in mind, though, that there are some tasks that only a brush/comb can perform, such as detangling stubborn clumps or trying out a certain hairstyle.

Don’t’ forget to apply a hair cream, hair serum, or lightweight oil no matter what you decide to use to brush your curly hair to avoid losing curls.

Is it Bad to Wet Curly Hair Every Day?

How often you should wash your curly hair would depend on the type of curls you have. Loose curls can be washed 2-4 times a week while more coily and tight curls should be shampooed less frequently – preferably once a week.

A good trick to keep in mind here is to get a feel for how shampooing makes you feel afterward. If your hair feels too dry and clean, it is a cue for you to probably reduce your hair wash days.

Moreover, it is important to be mindful of the fact that washing your curls every single day can cause them to lose their natural oils, making your already dry hair even drier.

To learn more about this topic read the full article: Is It Bad to Wet Curly Hair Everyday?

Mistakes to Avoid While Combing Your Curly Hair

Caring for curls can be a handful as they are more delicate and require more attention than wavy or straight hair. To ensure you are not damaging your hair in the process of taking care of them, here are a few mistakes to avoid at all costs to keep your curls thriving:

  • Avoid overcleaning. Washing your hair daily is a big no-no.
  • Skipping conditioner during the shower. Conditioner gives the moisture that is needed to safely comb your curly hair without causing frizz or losing your natural curls.
  • Stop heat styling frequently. Using heat tools regularly can be the biggest destroyer of your natural curl shape. 
  • Avoid using random styling products. Using the wrong hair styling products can damage your curls as they could contain undesirable chemicals. Always make sure you are aware of the ingredients being used in a curly hair product. 
  • Choose the right tool for detangling your curls. A fine-toothed comb is the perfect example of something that may not cause damage to other types of hair but can be significantly suboptimal when it comes to curly hair types.

The Bottom Line

We can all agree that curls require some extra love to survive and thrive. Combing and brushing curly hair the right way can be the difference between you having healthy or damaged hair.

If you want your gorgeous locks to stay luscious, voluminous, and healthy, use the tips and techniques mentioned in this article to brush your curly hair without losing curls and keep the frizz away without having to make monumental efforts!

Video: How to Detangle Matted Dry Curly Hair