Downton Abbey aficionados will know that a great deal of hair brushing accompanies much of the interaction between ladies maids and ladies, when wrongs are put right, and advice and sympathy is passed from ‘upstairs’ to ‘downstairs’ characters. So how many of us have wondered whether that hair really needs so much brushing? Or is it just a scriptwriters’ technique to prolong the conversational opportunity?
The reality is that what you’re witnessing in those hair brushing scenes is historically accurate. Brushing was, until relatively recently, the best way of cleaning hair.
Shampoo wasn’t invented till the early 20th Century. Prior to that, people washed their hair a few times a year, with soap, and in between times, kept their hair clean by brushing. Now, our obsession with washing is causing our hair to lose its natural lustre which then needs to be artificially introduced with more chemical products. We’re literally washing the life out of our hair.
The science behind the strategy is that frequent washing strips the hair of its natural oil. Hair can feel dirty when there’s a build-up of sebum at the roots, but it’s this natural oil which moisturises and protects the hair, and gives it a wonderful shine. Brushing with a natural bristle brush, starting right at the roots, and finishing at the ends, takes the oil from the roots and distributes it all the way along the shaft leaving it glossy and bouncy. Your scalp will feel amazing as the brushing encourages blood to the follicles. Done regularly, you will see the volume of your hair increase dramatically, and you’ll acquire a positively lustrous mane! It’s great for growth and health too.
If you start to brush your hair regularly this way, you’ll find the need for washing becomes less frequent. Shampooing once a week with an organic product that’s low on detergents and chemicals should be plenty. In between times, you can rinse the hair to freshen it up when you shower.
Frequent washing with a detergent-laden shampoo strips all the oil from the hair, and the follicles have to work overtime to produce more to compensate. This results in an ever-defeating cycle of constant washing with unsatisfactory results -> oily roots and dry ends. Natural bristle brushing is the best way to free yourself of this cycle and to achieve a properly polished head of hair.