Brushing Curly Hair..?

Hello All! ,

I have been lurking on this site for a few months. I am currently transitioning and I am approaching month 6 (september) of my transition.

Just a little bit about my routine..

So, for the past 5 months or so I have been trying to treat my hair as though it were natural, I have not used ANY heat for about 4 months. Everyday I co-wash, lately I have been using v05 moisture milks passion fruit smoothie. After I co-wash (I style in the shower) I apply Garnier Fructis Sleek n Shine leave in throughout the entirety of my hair. From there I take a bristle brush (it has little rubber sticks in between the bristles, sort of like a denman but not really ) and brush my hair back into a bun. I then apply Curl Acivator Gel by Smooth n Shine and brush a little more. I step out the shower. Immediately tie a satin scarf around my head and continue to get dressed. I leave the scarf on for anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Take it off and apply a really small amount of ECO styler gel to my edges.

So, that's what I have been doing lately. However yesterday I just wanted to play around in my hair so I deep conditioned all day yesterday with a plastic cap using HE Hello Hydration , rinsed and applied a small amount of the Garnier leave-in, well I wanted to see how my hair behaved without any gel, I was under the impression that it is the gel that defines and causes your curls to pop. Here is my question finally lol :

So yesterday after I applied the leave-in I began to brush my hair backwards as though I was going to make a bun, I was caught off guard as my hair pattern began to pop immediately. As I stated previously, I thought the GELS is what helped your curls pop, but it was starting to look like brushing with very little product has a better effect. I parted my hair from ear to ear and began to brush my hair and I was floored, it looked like a whole new head of hair. I could not believe how defined my new growth was.

So curly girls, does brushing (for you) seem to be the best way you get your curls to "pop" or at least a good way? I was thinking about the curly primer method last night, but I was not sure if what I was doing was the same thing because I think the point of the curly primer method was the separate the curls so that you can better define them, this however was clumping the curls but not necessarily defining them, I hope that makes sense!?

Anywho, I was just a little confused, so : does brushing wet curly hair with leave-in seem to be a good way of clumping/defining curls?

Do you do something similar? If so please share. Thanx for listening (reading)


Last edited by dc05; 08-26-2009 at 12:29 PM.
Congratulations on your transitioning! Your hair sounds beautiful!

I do not have 'curly' hair, more of 2c with a little 3a at the ends. When I define/separate my waves, I comb them with a fine-toothed comb when my hair is still soaking wet, wait about a minute, and then smooth my hair b/w my palms. This makes my waves clump together. I do scrunch with a gel after this, however, to
1. provide hold (make sure they stay clumped!),
2. prevent frizz, and
3. seal my hair so no moisture escapes during the day.

So, in recap... I guess the gel isn't the thing that defines, it only keeps the definition after I mess with my hair.
Thanx for your speedy response!

Okay, so as you stated, it is the act of smoothing that seems to make your "waves" clump. Interesting. I think that is what happened yesterday!

Im excited now . I know the weight of my relaxed hair probably stretches out my texture a bit, but in general I know, that better clumping for me (so for) seems to come from smoothing.

Last night, the crown of my head seemed to be doing a really strange "wave" thing, it almost resembled type 2 hair, but again, Im guessing because my hair was wet and also because of the fact that I still have relaxed hair attached, in reality that section is more likely a loose "type 3" area.

I'll have to try your method (with the gel) when I finally BC , thank you again .
Hi DC05,

Brushing my wet hair with a denman does help to define the curls. Your hair has to have some weight (either from product or water) in order for the curls/clumps to form. I think the brushing forces your hair into a blank canvas or solid sheet so to speak and the weight of the product or water will cause the hair to separate nicely and form defined curls.

My concern for you is that you are brushing wet hair with a bristle brush. The problem with bristle brushes is not the tight/close formation of the bristles but the actual bristle itself. They can severely damage your hair as bristle brushes have sharp tips that can penetrate into the hair shaft and tear it, causing splits, especially when the hair is most vulnerable -- that is when wet. Denmans have bristles that have a rounded tip so they don't cause this problem. They are not that expensive and much better than a bristle brush. Or like nomilknogluten you can use a fine tooth comb that doesn't have a seam along the tips to get the same effect.

Remember, wet hair is extremely fragile.
~belasuna
3a/b, very dry, fine/med-coarse, high porosity
CG since 7/27/09
Bella Curl Products
CW: protein free-cleansing creme
CO: protein free MRcondish
Styler: FSG + protein free LI Elixir, Gellie, Shine & Seal Serum
Lady of Elixir, Keeper of the Secret Blend, in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
Hi DC05,

Brushing my wet hair with a denman does help to define the curls. Your hair has to have some weight (either from product or water) in order for the curls/clumps to form. I think the brushing forces your hair into a blank canvas or solid sheet so to speak and the weight of the product or water will cause the hair to separate nicely and form defined curls.

My concern for you is that you are brushing wet hair with a bristle brush. The problem with bristle brushes is not the tight/close formation of the bristles but the actual bristle itself. They can severely damage your hair as bristle brushes have sharp tips that can penetrate into the hair shaft and tear it, causing splits, especially when the hair is most vulnerable -- that is when wet. Denmans have bristles that have a rounded tip so they don't cause this problem. They are not that expensive and much better than a bristle brush. Or like nomilknogluten you can use a fine tooth comb that doesn't have a seam along the tips to get the same effect.

Remember, wet hair is extremely fragile.
Originally Posted by belasuna
Mm.. Yes I am a little concerned now about that bristle brush that I have been using lol, so what would you suggest for brushing wet hair back into a bun? I do plan on getting a denman brush soon by the way
24 Months Post Relaxer

*Length : BSB (Below Shoulder Blade)/ Brastrap Length
*Long term goal: TB length (stretched of course)
*Short tern goal: Mid-back length (stretched -- by June 2011) / Shoulder length (FULL) curly
I started cg about a week ago with mixed results so far- my hair feels clean for the most part but I also stopped brushing it every night and while styling, which means my hair had thinner curls/less clumping than what I had been accustomed to.
Then I figured, I've brushed my hair all this time with no terrible effects- surely if I do it whilst soaking wet and already detangled (like I did pre cg) I could get back the thick curls instead of the smaller, more puffy curls.
This worked yesterday- and today too although not as much. I might have rushed the drying and used my diffuser too much.

At any rate, I:
- leave my hair saturated with water. (tomorrow I'm going to try it with a touch of condish as a leave in) My hair is wet enough that it will drip once in a while. Do NOT squeeze out the extra h2o.

- I do the rest of this upside down.Then I apply product, plenty of it. I am trying just mousse right now.
- then I will comb a part in my hair if I want one, some days I just let it fall wherever.
- in the back at the nape of my neck, I brush that hair outwards away from my head, not towards the top of my head. This section of hair will fall better this way. I twist it for the time being.

-Then I brush the hair in sections; i do the back, the top and the sides but section your own however it works for you. just keep in mind the direction you are brushing your hair-if your head is upside down but you want the sides to fall normally, don't brush towards the floor. brush according to where you want the hair to fall when you are done.

Brushing soaked hair with enough product in it will create thick curls. The brush encourages the clumping more than a comb or any other method I've found. This works upside down for me because the curls can hang freely and the roots will get a shot of warm air so they will begin to set with some volume instead of being flat.

- then - I diffuse upside down. I've tried high heat and low heat and I'm not sure what works best yet, but I have figured out that i can only diffuse until the curls have set a bit. and then clip and WALK AWAY! I didn't walk away this morning and I didn't get what I was hoping for so maybe tomorrow.

Oh- and I use a gigantic goody paddle brush that has rubber tipped bristles. My hair has already been detangled thoroughly. So far the brush hasn't caused me any grief...
Hi DC05,

Brushing my wet hair with a denman does help to define the curls. Your hair has to have some weight (either from product or water) in order for the curls/clumps to form. I think the brushing forces your hair into a blank canvas or solid sheet so to speak and the weight of the product or water will cause the hair to separate nicely and form defined curls.

My concern for you is that you are brushing wet hair with a bristle brush. The problem with bristle brushes is not the tight/close formation of the bristles but the actual bristle itself. They can severely damage your hair as bristle brushes have sharp tips that can penetrate into the hair shaft and tear it, causing splits, especially when the hair is most vulnerable -- that is when wet. Denmans have bristles that have a rounded tip so they don't cause this problem. They are not that expensive and much better than a bristle brush. Or like nomilknogluten you can use a fine tooth comb that doesn't have a seam along the tips to get the same effect.

Remember, wet hair is extremely fragile.
Originally Posted by belasuna
Mm.. Yes I am a little concerned now about that bristle brush that I have been using lol, so what would you suggest for brushing wet hair back into a bun? I do plan on getting a denman brush soon by the way
Originally Posted by dc05
You can use a comb very gently. I find it gets my hair equally as smooth as a brush. And you can use the palm of your hand for an additional smooth down. Denman is definitely the way to go. It is very forgiving (ie gentle on the hair).
~belasuna
3a/b, very dry, fine/med-coarse, high porosity
CG since 7/27/09
Bella Curl Products
CW: protein free-cleansing creme
CO: protein free MRcondish
Styler: FSG + protein free LI Elixir, Gellie, Shine & Seal Serum
Lady of Elixir, Keeper of the Secret Blend, in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
Hi DC05,

Brushing my wet hair with a denman does help to define the curls. Your hair has to have some weight (either from product or water) in order for the curls/clumps to form. I think the brushing forces your hair into a blank canvas or solid sheet so to speak and the weight of the product or water will cause the hair to separate nicely and form defined curls.

My concern for you is that you are brushing wet hair with a bristle brush. The problem with bristle brushes is not the tight/close formation of the bristles but the actual bristle itself. They can severely damage your hair as bristle brushes have sharp tips that can penetrate into the hair shaft and tear it, causing splits, especially when the hair is most vulnerable -- that is when wet. Denmans have bristles that have a rounded tip so they don't cause this problem. They are not that expensive and much better than a bristle brush. Or like nomilknogluten you can use a fine tooth comb that doesn't have a seam along the tips to get the same effect.

Remember, wet hair is extremely fragile.
Originally Posted by belasuna
Mm.. Yes I am a little concerned now about that bristle brush that I have been using lol, so what would you suggest for brushing wet hair back into a bun? I do plan on getting a denman brush soon by the way
Originally Posted by dc05
You can use a comb very gently. I find it gets my hair equally as smooth as a brush. And you can use the palm of your hand for an additional smooth down. Denman is definitely the way to go. It is very forgiving (ie gentle on the hair).
Originally Posted by belasuna
Ah ok. I will have to order that denman real soon, this is my daily hair style, a bun.

I had a feeling that the brush I was using was not the best tool to use. I know for a fact that while transitioning I am probably doing things to my hair that I shouldn't so I have incorporated some protein treatments into my hair care routine.

Thanx for the advice!
24 Months Post Relaxer

*Length : BSB (Below Shoulder Blade)/ Brastrap Length
*Long term goal: TB length (stretched of course)
*Short tern goal: Mid-back length (stretched -- by June 2011) / Shoulder length (FULL) curly

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