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You're Probably Holding Your Hair Brush Wrong — How To Detangle Like A Pro

Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Beauty & Wellness Editor
By Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Beauty & Wellness Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Image by Liliya Rodnikova / Stocksy
January 19, 2022

Don't panic, but you're probably holding your hairbrush wrong. OK, that might not be cause for alarm for most people, but for those with an easily knotted mane (right there with you!), any tip that makes detangling a touch easier is a tip worth investigating. 

In fact, NYC-based hairstylist Matt Newman calls this hairbrush tip his "favorite beauty hack of 2021" over on TikTok. Below, he explains why your angle is everything. 

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How to hold your hairbrush for zero tangles. 

Perhaps you have your detangling down to a science: Maybe you run a brush through the strands right before your shower, or maybe you work through knots in the shower under loads of conditioner. (See here whether you should detangle your hair wet or dry.) And you might use different tools to achieve different outcomes, but if you do use a brush (be it a bristle brush or sturdy paddle number), Newman suggests checking the direction those bristles line up.  

"Don't detangle with your hairbrush horizontal," he notes. "Look how the bristles are aligned when you hold it vertically." Oftentimes, the bristles will have neat, vertical rows so the hair can easily slide through the gaps. Whereas if you angle the brush against the grain (aka horizontally), the strands have to twist and turn in order to weave through those bristles, which can lead to snarls.

As soon as I saw this tip, I had to put it to the test. I typically detangle with a brush before showering and stick to a wide-toothed comb when my hair is wet—so before hopping under the spray, I coated my hair in argan oil, gave myself a brief scalp massage, then held the brush vertically as I ran it through my strands. I totally agree with Newman when he says: "The brush just slides through your hair." I didn't have to stop as many times to work through stubborn knots with my fingers, and I was able to detangle my whole mane without any urge to pull or tug. 

You'll still want to start at the ends of your hair and work your way up to the roots, and you'll want to have a detangler, leave-in, or oil to give the strands some slip. But holding the brush vertically definitely makes the venture a whole lot easier—and less painful. 

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The takeaway. 

It's a simple tip, yet it can make or break your detangling experience. Holding your hairbrush vertically means fewer knots, an easier glide, and, for many, fewer strands floating to the floor. 

Jamie Schneider
Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Beauty & Wellness Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Associate Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.