As any hair professional, painter, or cabinetmaker can tell you, clean tools not only work better, they are more of a joy to use.
Whether or not you use hair products, your brushes and heated styling tools still collect hair, dust, and grime on a regular basis. Brushes get matted with hair and dirt, and curling and flat irons get coated with dried styling product. When you use dirty implements, they leave the residue of old styling products on your hair, and your tools won't work as well.
Here are a few pro tips on cleaning your tools to keep them in tip-top shape, performing their best, and keeping your hair looking fantastic.
Cleaning Hairbrushes and Combs
Cleaning any type of hairbrush, whether synthetic, natural, round, or paddle, starts with getting all of the hair out from between the bristles.
How to clean hair brushes
- Use a pencil or pen to lift the hair away from the base of the brush. If you're cleaning a round brush, lift one section of hair and then cut through it with scissors - this will make it much simpler to pull the rest of the hair out. Once you've removed as much hair as possible using the pen, use your fingers or tweezers to get the last bits out.
- Next, run the brush under warm water and apply a little shampoo to the bristles and base. If you have a brush with natural bristles, try not to use a shampoo that contains silicone. It will coat the bristles and make them less effective at absorbing and redistributing your hair’s natural oils.
- Using an old toothbrush, gently scrub the base and bristles of the brush to free up any hair product buildup.
- Rinse the brush well under warm water. Then dry it as well as you can with a towel. When drying a natural bristle brush, simply lay the brush bristle side down on a towel and let it air-dry overnight.
Combs may not gather as much hair and dust as brushes, but they do build up with styling product - especially if you use a teasing comb. You can use the same process as above for cleaning any type of comb as well.
Curling Irons, Flat Irons, and Hot Rollers
When cleaning any heated styling tools, start by unplugging them and making sure they are completely cooled down.
How to clean a curling iron
- Use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or tissue to wipe away styling product buildup from the barrel or flat of the iron.
- Next, dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and use it to clean away any residue trapped in the tiny crevices of the iron or rollers.
- With a clean, damp cloth, wipe down all surfaces of the styling tool.
- Dry the styling tool with a towel, and leave it out to air-dry.
The lint, dirt, and hair that builds up in a hair dryer can not only blow back into your hair, it can also break the dryer if not cleaned out regularly. Here’s how to make sure that doesn’t happen:
How to clean a hair dryer
- First, unplug the dryer and find the air vent on the side or back.
- Remove the vent grill (or cover) to get to the filter. If you can’t remove the grill, try to clean the filter through the openings of the grill.
- Use a toothpick and/or tweezers to remove the big pieces of lint from the filter.
- Next, use an old, dry toothbrush to scrub away any left over dust.
- Replace the vent cover. Then plug in the hair dryer and let it blow for a few seconds to release anything that might have fallen into the dryer while you were cleaning it.
So, how often should you clean your hairbrushes and styling tools?
It depends on how often you use them. If you use a lot of hair styling products and style your hair with a curling iron or flat iron on a daily basis, you'll want to clean your tools at least once a week.
If you only break out the heated styling irons on special occasions, you can get away with cleaning them less frequently.
As a general rule, give your brushes and styling tools a quick rinse or wipe down once a week, with a good, deep clean once a month.
Finally, remember to clean the handles and bodies of all your styling tools and hairbrushes. Regular dirt and grime builds up on them, as well as styling product from your hands and any sprays you use.
Now that your tools are clean, it's time to learn how to detangle hair the right way.