A boar bristle brush is a personal hygiene and styling tool made with hog hairs. One might have the label of “wild boar,” but this simply refers to the distinct hog species involved, as most companies harvest the hairs from domesticated or farm-raised animals. Known for being gentle and preventing damage, it has several benefits, such as the ability to attract and remove dirt. Sizes, shapes and colors vary, but a wooden handle is common. A high-quality one is very durable and can last a lifetime, although it usually is expensive. Both genders can use this product, and it frequently appeals to naturalists and environmentalists.
In general, this kind of brush works best on very fine or fragile hair, which has a smaller circumference. The reduced size means that the strands usually aren’t as strong and can break quite easily. Boar bristles are softer than nylon or synthetic types, so they don’t pull as harshly and, therefore, reduce the risk of damage. By themselves, they can be too soft to do much good, however, so manufacturers often pair them with some nylon ones to get the right combination of strength and flexibility.
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This tool also works for people with drier hair, because it distributes oil from the scalp and roots downward to the tips, where moisture is usually most scarce and damage is the worst. Those who want to increase shine also like it, because it aligns or closes the keratin scales on the outer, or cuticle, layer of the hair. It is easier for oil to travel over the whole strand and for light to reflect as a result.
Similar to many other brushes, this product is not really intended for detangling, which is best done with a wide-tooth comb. It is used to style or control, smooth or increase volume. Round versions are best for shaping and giving some lift, while paddle types work better for straightening and creating a glossy finish.
To some degree, it is also good for cleaning. The bristles are able to attract dust and dirt, getting it off of the strands. This means it’s necessary to routinely clean the brush, but it can provide a sleeker, more well-maintained and hygienic look. Combined with the ability to smooth, lift and redistribute oil, this trait actually can reduce the amount of shampoos, conditioners and other products a person has to use. Ultimately, this reduces exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and saves both time and money.
Another reason people turn to a boar bristle brush is that it can very gently massage the scalp. Stylists and dermatologists think that this stimulates blood flow and removes debris, which keeps follicles healthy. This doesn’t work for everyone, however, because the softer bristles sometimes cannot fully penetrate all the way to the bottom when someone has a lot of hair.
Boar bristle brushes are available in infant to adult sizes, and their design varies depending on the effect a person wants to achieve. They can be circular, oval, rounded with bristles attached 360°, square or rectangular. Usually, regardless of size or head shape, the handle is made of wood, although there are synthetic ones available, as well, and the color depends on the type of wood used and whether it has been treated. The bristles are blond, brown or black. Many people and businesses such as spas like the natural appearance most versions have.
Durability and Cost
As long as a person maintains a boar bristle brush properly, a high-quality version should last a lifetime, but the durability comes with a literal cost. The most expensive varieties easily can be 10 – 20 times as much as cheaper, plastic options. Experts usually argue that this investment is well worth it, given how much the product can improve appearance, prevent unnecessary damage and reduce the need for other expensive items.
Regular cleaning can make this brush more effective and extend its life. The first method is to move a comb through the bristles to remove any dirt, debris or hair, followed by rubbing in some shampoo with the fingers. Stubborn debris that remains usually will come off if gently rubbed with a toothbrush. If the handle is wood, it’s important to rinse the shampoo out carefully so as not to get it too wet, and air drying is best.
Both men and women can use a boar bristle brush successfully, and the colors and materials generally give a fairly gender-neutral look. Manufacturers commonly target advertising at women, however, simply because it is more common in many cultures for their hair to be longer. They usually are more concerned with styling as a result.
Appeal to Environmentalists and Naturalists
People who follow an environmentally-aware lifestyle or who try to avoid chemicals and synthetic products often select this kind of brush, because it is made from natural sources. It can be recycled if necessary and will biodegrade over time. Individuals who pick one for these reasons often pay close attention to the treatment of the boars from which companies harvest the bristles, lobbying for humaneness.