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Selecting The Correct Wave Brush

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Karen Shelton View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 22 2005 at 7:09pm

Selecting The Correct Wave Brush For Hair Type & Potential Wave Formation

This topic will eventually be added to the FAQ at the top of this Men's 360 Waves Forum - but for the short term will be posted here in case anyone wants to add their info at the bottom.

Basically there are two types of African American male hair that should be considered.  Yes, there are always exceptions to every rule but for the most part the texture of the hair falls into these two groups:

1.  Thin, Fine, Delicate Hair that tends to be easier to wave and which tends to be easier to get to lay flatter.

2.  Thick, Coarse, Resistant Hair that is harder to wave w/out more work.

Important Wave Faq:  The starting texture of the hair is the MOST important determination regarding whether hair can achieve full circular aka 360 waves or not.  Thin, fine, delicate hair has a better chance to achieve full 360 waves than super coarse hair.  However, coarse hair with lots of brushing and work can achieve a good wave, if not a full wave.

The brush is a VERY important part of the wave process.

Wave brushes come in the following options:

Texture of the brush bristles:

  • Soft bristles for soft fine hair
  • Hard bristles for coarse hair

Types of bristles:

It is generally considered best to use either 100% boars bristle or a mixture of boar.  For a stiffer bristle the brush may be mixed bristle.

  • 100% soft boar bristles for fine hair
  • 100% hard boar bristles or mixed boar bristle for coarse hair

Some brushes are specificially designed for waving.  These may be called "Marcel" brushes related to the Marcel waving that was done on African American hair.

It is very important to select a brush that is designed for waving and not pick up just any type of hair brush.

Length of the brush:

Brushes that are specifically designed for waving come generally in two lengths.

  • Long brushes
  • Short brushes

Waving Brushes are made with or without a handle.

Long brushes with a handle are generally 9" to 9 1/2" longer with an indentation for the hand.

Short brushes with a handle are generally 6 to 6 1/2" long with an indentation for the hand.

Both sizes of the handled brushes - long or short - are about the same width which is 2 1/4" to 2 1/2".

Brushes without the handle also can be long or short and can sometimes be round. 

Select a brush based on how comfortable it fits your hand.  Since you will be doing a lot of brushing, you will need to select a brush based on your Hair Texture - Fine vs Coarse AND whether you are working on full 360 Waves vs Partial Waves. 

Also, it is easier to carry a no handled short wave in your pocket than a long handled brush.

Advantages of Long Brush

1.  Allows you to brush the opposite sides of your head from the hand you use to brush more easily & efficiently.

For example, if you are right handed, the longer handle will allow you to more easily cross over hands and completely brush the left side without having to stop and switch hands.  If you are left handed, the longer handle will allow you to brush completely the right side of your head w/out having to stop and switch hands.

2.  Allows you to more easily brush from side to side and front to back with one full brush sweep.  This means less brushing and in effect less work for brushing. 

Overall, covers more area with one hand and requires less brushing.

Disadvantages of Long Brush:

1.  Harder to smuggle into class w/out the teacher seeing it. :-)
2.  Takes more space & won't easily fit into pocket so it is less portable that a smaller or no handle brush.
3.  May take time to learn to use.

Advantages of Short Brush

1. Allows you to brush smaller areas of the head where wave patterns may be more resistant to forming.

2.  Easier to carry around and smuggle into class.  :-)

Disadvantages of Short Brush

1. Does NOT Allows you to brush the opposite sides of your head from the hand you use.  You will need to stop and switch hands in order to brush the far sides and the back of your head with a short brush.

2.  Requires more brushing time since a smaller brush covers a smaller area of the head.

3.  Could add to the problem of Over Brushing.

What is Overbrushing?
OverBrushing occurs when your use the wrong brush or wrong bristles for your hair texture.  This is MOST common for people with fine, thin texture that might be tempted to use a hard bristle brush. 

Not only will the hard bristle brush cause "scalp burn" on delicate or fine textured hair, it may cause bumps on the lining (also known as the skin on the scalp).

It is harder to OverBrush coarse hair.  In fact, the harder the bristle, the better for coarse hair.

Where To Buy Brush

The Clubman is an example of a good Marcel brush that is available in hard or soft bristle.  Look for the Clubman Collection - Marcel 720L is the long handled version.

Conair makes a very soft synthetic boar's brush for potential wave brushing.

There are also other brands that are designed specifically for Wavin.  Ask for a Wavin brush and then examine the bristles to make sure that they are compatible with your time of hair.

Wavin brushes also are made in a circular version with no handle and fits into the palm of the hand.

Most waving brushes can be purchased at Sally Beauty Supply or similar locations.  Check with Asian Beauty Supplies as well.


Question - Why do Asian Beauty Supply stores carry such a wide variety of Waving products?  Want to know the answer?  Will be included in the next FAQ.

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This Faq Was Written By Karen Marie Shelton - Copyright 2005 - All rights reserved -

Edited by Karen Shelton
That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger or drives you totally insane. :-)
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