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You don't have to get a bristle brush, but it's good for people who have frizzy hair and to distribute the oil from your scalp to the rest of your hair. Different brushes and combs each have a different purpose:
- Wide toothed comb (looks like an oversized thick comb with huge teeth and they're far apart): used for detangling hair, especially when it's wet. It's also good to use while blow drying wet hair a bit.
- Vented brushes: Good for blow drying and some styling
- Large Round brushes: styling aid to straighten out hair and curl the bottom
- Small barrel round brushes: good for small sections of hair and bangs
- Any brush mentioned with the addition of metal barrels and nylon stick-like bristles: Aids in straightening and smoothing hair when blowdrying.
- Bristle brush (ideally, mostly jnatural boar with some nylon to aid in frizz): this brush is used after the hair is already dry. It's used to style and smooth down hair and eliminate static. It also flattens hair and makes it straighter. The downside to these brushes is that it takes all the air out of your hair, making your hair look limp (which isn't fun for people who have thin hair - the body in hair is all they have!). If you use the brush from ears down, it won't flatten the hair near your scalp and it won't de-volumize your hair.
Goody, Inc. makes "ouchless" brushes that don't have the plastic bulb on top. The plastic bulb actually snags and breaks hair more.
To clean your brushes - you can fill up a bathroom sink with hot water and some old shampoo or some hand dishwashing detergent (sink detergent, NOT dishwasher detergent), like Dawn or Palmolive, and let that soak all day. Rinse thoroughly afterward. You can also use just baking soda or add baking soda to your shampoo/detergent solution for an extra oompf.
If you are finding a lot of buildup in your hair (some is normal) - and if you scratch your head and there's a ton under your fingernails, you'll need to tweak your cleansing method. Depending on your method, you will always need to finger scrub with the pads of your fingers, but you can increase the baking soda, or add conditioner to your baking soda to help get your scalp clean.
I've noticed (especially for curly hair and those prone to oily scalps) that baking soda and water alone doesn't clean a scalp well and that the combination of a silicone free/lightweight conditioner plus baking soda works really well to get rid of the buildup, but doesn't ruin your curls by overdrying your hair. Another method is to get the large detangling comb or the bristle brush and brush hard or scratch (also called scritching) your scalp so that that gunk loosens up. I don't do this much, it takes too much time and I would think it would hurt your scalp if done too vigorously.
Hope this helps.
Actually, I didn't realize you're making a paste - I also dilute the baking soda and conditioner in a bottle and work that into my scalp and hair. The paste method worked for a brief period and later didn't work well at all. It breaks my hair more than helps it.
If you don't want to use conditioner, mix the BS with honey and add hot water to your bottle and then use that. For most people the baking soda by itself is too drying, especially in the winter, it makes for horrible staticky hair without some sort of conditioning agent.
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