Brushes are an essential piece of kit, and if you look after them, they’ll look after you and your clients too.
“Brushes are something we use every day and just like all our other tools they need looking after; that goes for clients' tools too,” says Balmain ambassador, Simon Tuckwell. “Not only does a clean brush look aesthetically pleasing, but it’ll work better. Keeping your brush free from hair will allow the heat to circulate your brushes better, providing an even heat, which means a fast blow-dry time,” he adds. It can be an arduous process, but there are expert tips and tricks to help speed up cleaning your kit.
A clean slate
“Regularly cleaning your hairbrush is super important. Hair brushes over time gather bacteria and product build-up which is unhygienic for your client,” says hairdresser and Kent Salon user, Andrew Kyriakou. Below are his tips for cleaning and sanitising your brushes:
Step 1: Start with removing any excess hair to avoid any tangling
Step 2: Rinse your brush with lukewarm water, this will breakdown any product remaining on your brush
3: In shallow lukewarm water, add a drop of shampoo and clean your brushes. Do not let your brushes submerge in water for long periods of time
Step 4: Let brushes air dry fully before storing
YOUR GUIDE TO CLEANING…
1 A COMB
“This essential kit is constantly in your hand or your client’s hair, so to avoid cross contamination and keep your combs in top condition change them through the day and do a deep cleanse at the end of each day,” says Georgia Bell, Society Hair owner and Denman ambassador. “Firstly, give them a light brush to remove loose hair. Then leave to soak in warm soapy water, agitating gently to remove build-up of scalp oil and product. Rinse thoroughly and leave on a clean towel to dry. Always check what material your combs are made of before dropping into sanitizing solution or harsh chemicals or putting into steam cleaning cabinets,” she says. “After cleaning, I always check my combs for damage –a broken tooth can snag a client’s hair or scalp, so choose quality combs to avoid breakage.”
2 A ROUND BRUSH
To keep round brushes in tip-top condition, first of all de-hair the brush, fill a spray bottle with some warm soapy water and spritz the bristles, says Anna Chiesa, founder of The Balance Brush.
“Using a tint brush or soft toothbrush, gently brush between the bristles, loosening any product build-up. Spritz again with fresh clean water and dry off with a clean towel,” she says. “Do not immerse your wooden brushes in water as this will damage the wood. We added a key design feature to our brushes, a flat top for tidy work stations. This prevents brushes from rolling onto unclean floors when laid down between sectioning and blow drying.”
3 A FLAT BRUSH
This essential piece of kit can be prone to build-up, so make sure you’re regularly cleaning your flat brushes. “Don’t forget to wash your brush with shampoo regularly to remove products and hair, to ensure the brush can do its job and smooth out the cuticle,” says Adam Reed, ghd global ambassador. “After the brush is washed, dry it using a hairdryer to ensure it is totally dry before you start styling your client’s hair.”
DON’T FORGET TO WASH YOUR BRUSH WITH SHAMPOO REGULARLY TO REMOVE THE BUILD-UP OF HAIR PRODUCTS AND HAIR
How can I speed up brush cleaning?
Cloud Nine UK creative ambassador Lisa Farrall recommends using warm water and shampoo to clean your combs and brushes, and she has some tips for making the process easier. “A clarifying shampoo works perfectly as this helps break down any build-up on the bristles,” she says. “After removing excess hair, I find a toothbrush or hard bristle brush works perfectly to remove product from the bristles. You can even soak plastic combs in a bowl of shampoo and warm water to soak while you do your brushes.”
How often should clients wash their hair brushes?
Celebrity stylist and Alfa Italia ambassador, Luca Jones recommends that clients wash their brushes every one to two weeks.
“This could be increased though, especially if your client uses a lot of styling products, especially dry shampoo,” says Luca. He recommends that they use shampoo to cleanse their brushes, as it will help break down oily residue and styling product build-up.
What about brushes made of natural materials?
“Brushes with different materials should be washed correctly to keep them looking fresh for as long as possible,” says Gary Taylor, owner of Edward & Co for Hot Tools. “I use Disicide+ Spray on most of my brushes as it can be used on all materials including wooden or rubber brush handles, natural and synthetic bristles,” he says. “Any brush that can be used in the basin are often plastic or similar, so these can be washed with warm water and liquid soap.”
Cleaning solutions for your brushes
There are lots of different ways to clean and sanitise your brushes, and it will reassure your clients in the chair when they see that your tools are pristine. “Prior to the pandemic, I often noticed hairdressers crosscontaminating between clients which has forever been a bugbear of mine,” says Paul Falltrick for CleanIT.
Becky Sutherland, owner of Pink Lemon Hair for Knot Dr, recommends Barbicide to clean her Knot Dr tools. “I do this by removing any hair that’s been left in the brush then using a Barbicide spray I spray all the brushes fully, and placing the combs in the solution. I would then rinse the brushes and dry them thoroughly with a clean towel,” she says.
Alternatively, Casey Coleman, Cloud Nine UK creative ambassador recommends apple cider vinegar and baking soda. “Firstly, use a pintail comb and slide it in between the bristles and separate the hair from the brush. Then fill a bowl with hot water, add apple cider vinegar and baking soda and dip the brush in. Get an unused toothbrush and use it to scrub off the excess dirt to leave your brush feeling brand new,” he says. And just like that, brushes are back to their best!