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Equipment Series -- Brushes

Choosing a new hairbrush seems as though it should be a simple thing. However, a visit to any department store will show that the task requires some thought. You will find that there are dozens of shapes, sizes and styles to choose from with as many names as there are manufacturers. I will attempt to give a basic description of several types of brushes and their uses.

The classification I call the Hair Brush is one that many of those of us who are over-forty grew up with. It has many, many close-set bristles. This brush can be used on long straight hair to create a smooth, sleek look. It is also used to blend together roller curls and remove partings after a wet-set. As it also removes some of the fullness, if this brush is used on fine hair without much body, it can straighten and flatten the style.

The Vent Brush is probably the most popular type. This is the most often used brush in blow-drying hair. It gets its name from the holes that let the air to flow through, thus speeding up the drying process. The ‘bristles’ of this brush are more like the teeth of a comb. There are usually six to ten rows of teeth that are spaced far enough apart to allow the brush to move freely through the hair without pulling. The Vent Brush is effective for fast drying and for adding fullness to a style when the brush and the blow dryer are kept moving in such a way as to lift and fluff the hair.

Rounding out the categories is the Control Brush which gives more control in styling. Its plastic or hard rubber teeth are spaced closer together than the Vent Brush but not nearly as close as the Hair Brush. You will find that this brush offers some resistance as it moves through the hair. This quality is useful for smoothing unwanted wave and body and giving direction to thick hair. One very useful Control Brush is a Paddle Brush. This is a wide, flat Control Brush used to straighten long hair.
The blow dryer and Control Brush are used in a slower, more planned, fashion.

Don’t be confused by the many hybrids, combining different attributes of these three types of brush. Simply, keep in mind what you want your brush to do for you and look for the features that will help you accomplish the effect you want.

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