Don’t believe the old wives’ tale that brushing your hair with 100 strokes before going to bed keeps it soft and healthy. Too much brushing can irritate your scalp and stress your hair, causing it to break and fall out. I recommend brushing long hair a few times a day, not more.
The same advice applies to using combs: be gentle and, if your hair is long, hold your hair in your hands and comb the ends out first. Whether you are using a brush or a comb, start from the bottom, then brush in sections, working up towards your scalp.
I am a big fan of paddle brushes. I particularly like the Aveda paddle brush, and there is a tiny handbag-sized brush from Boots that is only about £1 but is really good. Paddle brushes give your scalp a little bit of gentle stimulation, though you don’t want to overdo it.
If you get dandruff, brushing will help to massage away those dead skin cells. I would always recommend that people with dandruff brush and wash their hair every day.
If you have curly hair, of course, combs are better – most people with curly hair will know this already. Although, even if you have curly hair, I would recommend you brush it before you wash it.
Whatever your hair type, I would suggest you brush it before you shampoo and then apply conditioner through your hair with your fingers. You want to minimise brushing when it is wet because that is when there is an increased risk of stretching and breaking.
Many people with hair loss stop brushing altogether. That is the wrong thing to do. If you are going to lose it, you are going to lose it; not brushing only means it sits there for a few days longer than it would anyway. A paddle brush will also contain the hair that has fallen out, rather than having it fall on to the floor or into your hand, which can be psychologically quite difficult.
Brushing your hair upside down or shaking your head upside down after you have finished brushing it will help give your hair volume.
Sara G Allison, a trichologist and the author of Hair Today, More Tomorrow: How To Keep Your Hair On, was talking to Nell Frizzell