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The everyday obsession with shiny hair has lead hordes of women towards hair products like leave-in conditioners, hair gels, hair sprays — all just so that they can have glossy hair.
Boar bristle brushes are a popular alternative as a means of naturally maintaining your hair’s shine and volume. They manipulate your scalp’s original nourishment system — sebum, the natural oil your scalp release to hydrate and smoothen out your hair strands.
The only drawback is that because they interact primarily with oils, boar bristles get clogged pretty often after which they stop being effective as natural hair smoothers.
Fortunately, this is a quick fix if you’re familiar with bristle cleaning protocols.
On the off chance that you’re not, we’ve got your back. Read on to learn some quick tips and tricks on how to clean a boar bristle brush for maximum efficiency.
Why Should You Clean Your Boar Bristle Brush?
Aside from detangling, another major purpose of combing or brushing your hair is to essentially pull out any accumulated dirt or dust that might have settled on your scalp or along your hair shafts.
Any hair care products you use like leave-in conditioners, oils, or gels, also add to this mess.
As the vehicles that carry all this muck out of your locks, your brushes often end up getting fairly dirty.
So, when you don’t clean them regularly but continue to run them through your hair, you are essentially providing the grime that your brushes so painstakingly removed from your hair an opportunity to spread back along your strands.
This issue becomes even more serious with natural fiber brushes, like boar bristle brushes. In comparison to synthetic fibers, boar bristles have significantly more pores.
This makes them both more flexible and better are collecting any accumulated dirt.
However, if they are not regularly cleaned, their pores clog up. Eventually, the bristles become ineffective in the cleaning department.
In fact, once this happens, you will actually be making your hair increasingly filthy with every additional brush stroke.
Thus, to keep your brushes in their best condition, regular cleaning sessions are extremely crucial.
How to Clean Boar Bristle Brush
You now have a fair idea of why it is so essential to keep your boar bristle brushes clean. It’s time to move to the actual cleaning process.
It isn’t particularly difficult to clean a boar bristle brush. However, it is important to make sure you’re very detailed on how you go about it.
Because they’re more porated, boar bristles can’t be cleaned with the old rinse-and-pat-dry routine that might work for other denser synthetic fibers.
While there are variations in how you can go about cleaning your boar bristle brush, all the protocols boil down to the following four steps:
Step 1: Removing All the Muck
The first step is to essentially prep your brush for its deep clean. It starts with removing all the hair that is stuck in your brush’s bristles.
If this mat of hair is too difficult to pick out with your fingers, you could try using the thin end of a rat-tail comb.
It’s the end that is typically used to draw out the part when you’re styling your hair. Lift the mat a little further along the bristles for you to be able to pick it out with your hands.
If the knots are too stubborn to just slide off the bristles, you can also try trimming the hair build-up into sections.
This is more effective when you’ve raised the original mat of hair at least halfway up the height of the bristles. From there you can then raise the mat in cut sections.
To get to the remaining gunk, you can also try a medium-toothed comb to run through your bristles before you soak it in a rinse.
While this technique will not definitely pull out the dirt from the bristles, it will loosen the mounds on the bristle shafts. Then they will fall off a bit easier during the rinse.
Step 2: Soaking the Bristles in a Rinse
Once you’ve de-gunked to the best of your capacity, it’s time to set your brush up for a much-deserved deep clean.
Prepare a very basic rinse. Mix a couple of drops of shampoo or body wash you have available at home into some warm water.
It doesn’t have to be of any particular strength or lather. There is no definite ratio or volume to this mixture. It entirely depends on how much dirt you estimate will be clogged in your bristles.
This is based on how long it has been since you last washed your boar bristle brush, and how long and dense your bristles are.
If the brush has a wooden base or padding of some sort, getting these sections wet is definitely something you want to avoid. Because they don’t dry out as fast or as completely as the bristles on your brush, your damp brush handle and padding are prime spots for mildew and mold to grow.
In such cases, make it a point to mix your rinse in a shallower container. make it just deep enough for only the bristles to be submerged.
When your rinse is ready, put your brush bristle down into the rinse and let it soak anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.
The exact length depends on the nature of the bristles you are working with. If you have pure boar bristles, they need to be soaked for at least 20 minutes. Natural bristles fortified with synthetic fiber bristles won’t need as long.
Step 3: Washing Out the Unclogged Pores
After your brush has been soaked sufficiently, it’s time to wash out the grime that your bristle has been cleaned of.
If you’re unsure whether your bristles are fully unclogged, a neat way to make sure is by resubmerging it in a fresh rinse.
Essentially, when making your rinse, make a larger batch that you can divide into two separate containers. One for the actual soak and the second as a tester.
After your bristles are fully soaked, give them a quick wash under warm water. Put them into the testing soak for about a minute.
If you see some grime still swirling out from your brush, it means that there was more gunk than your previous soak could handle. You need a second soak to fully clear out your pores.
Don’t let you’re your bristles soak too long in this second soak. It will eventually cause them to dry out and become rough. No more than five minutes.
Once you’ve got all the muck out, rinse your bristles out first with warm water and then with cold water.
The order of the water temperatures is actually very important. Warm water makes your bristles’ pores wide open for the first wash to easily remove any remnant dirt or soap. The cold water helps close these pores back up to maintain your bristle integrity.
Step 4: Air Drying the Boar Bristle Brush
After you stop seeing any soapy water wash out from your brush’s bristles, shake or flick the excess water off.
Pat it dry with a towel before you leave it someplace to air dry.
When doing so, make it a point to leave your brush bristle down so that none of the remnant water trickles into the padding.
It is extremely important that you leave your brush out to dry completely before you bring it back to use.
If you don’t, you’re essentially setting up an environment for your hair to come in repeated contact with mold and other fungi.
Unfortunately, there are no definitive means of determining whether your brush has fully dried.
If you think it’s dry but it starts to smell in a couple of days, then that it probably hasn’t fully dried.
All you need to do is to put it back out to dry, preferable somewhere with good circulation. Wait until your bristles are actually fully dry.
How Often Should You Clean a Boar Bristle Brush?
While knowing how to clean boar bristle brushes is definitely a plus, the factor that makes or breaks your cleaning routing is regularity.
Boar bristles clog up significantly faster than their synthetic counterparts and thus need to be cleaned much more regularly.
Aside from picking out any caught hair after every session of brushing, your boar bristle brushes need to be deep cleaned at least every fortnight. Once a week would be even better.
Washing it any more frequently, however, would be counterproductive.
After every washing session, your brush needs up to two days to fully dry out. That means that you’re limited to using it only five days a week as is.
If you wash it any more that, you’d simply be increasing the chances of your brush getting mold or other such growths.
Takeaway – Maintaining Your Boar Bristles for Ever-Healthy Hair
Boar bristle brushes are one of the best investments you can make for your hair’s health.
They might seem a bit pricey (especially the higher-end ones that average at about $100). They’re definitely more work to maintain than your regular brushes. But the natural shine that they bring to your hair is unbeatable.
And now that you’re up to date on exactly how to clean boar bristle brushes for the best results, healthy, glossy hair has never been easier to achieve.