Bad Hair Days No More

About a two weeks ago, I cut my hair short. Usually, I have brown, wavy hair that falls past my shoulders, but with the summer heating up, I just could not handle it anymore. So I went to my hairdresser, explained what I wanted, showed her a ton of pictures and then watched as she sheared off inches.

It ended up looking great! I honestly never thought I would be brave enough to cut it even the slightest bit shorter, but I did. The next problem? I had to figure out how to style what seemed like a whole new head of hair. The last time I had cut my hair short was in middle school and let’s just say that it wasn’t my greatest look. Not because of the fact that it was short, but because I did not know how to style it. This time, I obviously wanted it to be different.

I knew, like most girls with wavy or curly hair, that the shorter it gets the tighter the waves and curls become. Especially in the humidity of the summer. Most importantly, I knew that brushing out these curls and waves could lead to what most call “a rat’s nest.” Gross. So I set out to buy a new brush. Let me say this now, the type of brush you use does make a difference for your hair. I am not saying you have to spend $50 on a brush that seems like it should be plated with keratin in the bristles, but spending $25 on one could save you from a million bad hair days.

With this said, it is actually really hard to find out which brush is right for you. It seems stupid and materialistic, but it is true. There are so many different types of brushes. There are ones that are thicker, thinner, small, large and even travel size. Their bristles are never alike either as brushes can come with nylon, boar and wooden bristles. To make it even more complicated, each type does different things to different types of hair.

It took me forever just to find the right brush to use for blow outs, half because I am picky, but also because I didn’t want to spend money on a brush that I would end up not using. Of course, I ended up finding the right hair appliances. But this was after reading a ton of reviews, researching, talking to an Ulta specialist and then deciphering the price factor. I ended up buying the Olivia Garden Ceramic and Ion Thermal Brush for around $20. I love it. It is super light, so it’s really easy to blow dry my hair, and always leaves it shiny. Definitely recommended by me to those who have wavy hair or just need a great round brush.

But in case you don’t, here are other recommendations that I found while doing research.

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Wavy Hair

Considering that my hair is wavy, I know what people need for this section the best. I used to use a wooden bristle square-shaped brush, but then I realized that it was beginning to tear out my hair. For wavy hair, through my experience, your best bet is to buy a wide toothed comb. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just make sure that it has space in between the teeth. I usually detangle my hair in the shower, starting from the ends and working my way up to my scalp, but it can also be used with dry or damp hair. It’s pretty versatile, as it works at those smaller tangles from your waves, but also keeps them in tact rather than messing them up.

If you like to use a round brush to blow out your hair, then I still recommend the Olivia Garden Ceramic and Ion Thermal BrushI never used to have the patience to blow dry my hair with a round brush, but after buying this one it is a breeze. The brush is really light weight and the bristles do not tangle in your hair. Because it is an ion thermal, it also leaves my hair looking extra shiny and soft after use.

As for straightening your hair, I like to use The Conair Go Straight Hairbrush.  I don’t use it alone, but rather use it when using a hot tool. It’s pretty much the problem solver to all straightening problems. Most importantly, it acts as your hand, so it keeps your fingers from getting burnt from your hair. It also, however, separates your hair into its bristles, so when you glide your straightener down your section of hair, it gets every piece rather than only the strands at the surface. I used to straighten my hair all the time and would get so frustrated about having to redo layers of my hair, but this brush truly solves all the problems. When used with a product, I recommend Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Anti-Frizz Serumyour hair ends up looking like you just walked out of a salon.

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Curly Hair

For curly hair, I would stick to using a wide toothed comb. This keeps your hair bouncy rather than brushing it out into a rat’s nest. Also, make sure to use it in the shower or when your hair is still wet. Brushing out curly hair when it is dry almost always leads to frizz. In Style actually recommends a comb that has two sets of wide teeth.

I am a big advocate of letting your hair air dry, but I am also aware that this is not always possible, especially during the winter. So when you do blow dry your hair, at least make sure to use the right products. Make sure to use a heat protector. This goes for ALL HAIR TYPES. A lot of people think that heat protector is only for hot tools like straighteners and curling irons, but hair dryers can equally provide your lovely locks with the same heat damage if you are not careful. I recommend John Frieda’s Heat Protecting Serum. It’s not too expensive and can be bought in most convenience stores. The product does come in a smaller bottle which is purposeful since you do not need more than one to two pumps of the formula in order for it to work. Just make sure to rub it on your hands and then through all of your hair.

When blowing out your hair, it is also best to use either a concentrator or a diffuser. If you are straightening your hair through the blow out, then opt to the concentrator. If you want your curls to be the main feature, then go towards the diffuser. Most hair dryers come with the two heads, so you don’t even have to pay extra for them. Just make sure not to lose your concentrator. It’s really hard to find a replacement, especially for Hot Tools products.

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Straight Hair

For straight hair, you need a brush that will detangle your locks without pulling them out, especially if your hair is on the thinner side. Try to find a medium sized brush that contains both boar and nylon bristles. If that is too hard to find, try a brush that has either and decide based on preference. The nylon bristles will work at detangling knots, while the boar bristles will spread natural hair oils and make your hair shiny. If you have thinner hair, then definitely go towards the boar bristle brush. It’s very gentle on both your hair and scalp and even helps to promote hair growth as it spreads your natural oils that come from your scalp.

If you plan on using a curler or a wand, you should also plan on buying some really good heat protecting product. You can buy the John Frieda formula that I mentioned above, or even invest in one from a local salon. Personally, I find that the curling iron and wand damage my hair even more than the straightener, so I always either put extra formula in or splurge on a more expensive kind.

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