Hair

You're probably not washing your hairbrush enough

And what's lurking beneath the bristles isn't pretty...

By BTYB Lady Jayne
The humble hairbrush has long been an essential beauty tool. Used daily, it makes sense that we should occasionally give it a thorough clean, right? You've no doubt heard about washing your hairbrush, but how often do you really need to do it?
It turns out that an unwashed hairbrush can contain up to 3,500 colonies of bacteria. That's more than your bathroom sink — and even your dog's food bowl.
But it makes sense. Think about it: the bristles of your brush are probably full of hair, oil, dead skin, everyday dirt, product residue, lint, and who knows what else. And just think about what effect all that built-up gunk has on your just-clean-from-the-shower hair...
Gross, right?
New research has shown that while 84 per cent of women use a hairbrush daily, only 25 per cent clean their tools every week. And we know you'd rather spend your down time catching up on missed eps of The Bachelorette, but taking 10 minutes out of your day to clean your brush can make a world of difference to the quality, texture and style of your hair — move over Blake Lively!

So, how often should I wash my hairbrush?

Your hairbrush will need a thorough clean once a month, possibly more depending on your haircare ritual.
If you tend to use styling products and dry shampoo like they're going out of style (guilty), your brush will become clogged more quickly, so will need to be washed more like once every week or two.
Start with de-hairing any strands that are caught in your brush after every use so when it's due for a wash you'll save yourself some time. And any major residue should be removed daily so it doesn't become a sticky mess.

How do I wash my hairbrush?

Removing any hair is a good place to start. Use your fingers or a comb, and if the hair just won't budge, a small pair of scissors will come in handy. Just be careful not to cut any bristles!
From there, it's pretty simple - warm water, natural soap (you don't want to add any more residue to that nasty thing) and a toothbrush or cotton bud to get right in-between the bristles and remove any stubborn residue. If your hairbrush is in serious need of a clean, try letting it soak in some soapy water first to loosen any built-up gunk.
Wooden brushes or boar bristles need a little more TLC and it's best not to soak natural-based brushes. Give your brush a few swishes in warm, soapy water before using your toothbrush to clean.
Everyday products like tea tree oil and baking soda offer natural antibacterial properties, so try adding a dash of one of them into your cleaning ritual every now and then. And always make sure to leave your brush laying bristle-down to dry!
While you're at it, take a look down your sink's plug hole and grab a coat hanger to work on de-hairing that as well.

How often should I change my hairbrush?

While there's no definitive answer for this one, it's best to replace your brush when the bristles become bent or damaged, or when your brush breaks (duh). The more regularly you clean your brush, the longer it will last so it's definitely worth doing!
If styling tools and hair products are a mainstay in your styling routine, it might be worth investing in a couple of different brushes to prolong the lifespan.
Opt for a paddle brush for everyday use and detangling. We love Lady Jane's Flexi-Glide Brush for quick and easy detangling — use on dry and wet hair!
And if blow-drying and volumising is a priority for you, look for a round brush like Lady Jayne's Ceramic Radial Brush with ionic bristles and heat-activated ceramic heads to lock in natural moisture for a smooth, salon-worthy finish.
Lady Jayne's Flexi-Glide Brush, $9.95; Ceramic Radial Brush, $28.99; Flexi-Shine Brush, $19.99; Porcupine Radial,$28.99; all available at Chemist Warehouse, Priceline and independent pharmacy stores.
Brought to you by Lady Jayne