Are boar hair brushes good – what you need to know

Are boar hair brushes good?
Boar hairbrushes – R+Co and Mason Pearson

Boar brushes are a great way to make hair look healthy. We have used boar brushes for many years. Boar bristle brushes add shine to your hair naturally and are a great way to clean your hair. Plus, they are one hundred percent natural and chemical-free. I love boar brushes because they last a lifetime. Keep reading my recommendations for the best brushes and a list of the advantages and disadvantages of boar hair brushes.

Boar hair brushes are good because they add shine to your hair by spreading your scalps natural oils along the hair shaft from root to tip. According to Meesh, Hair Product Analyst, “Boar hair brushes also clean your hair by removing dirt and debris.” We have used boar brushes for hundreds of years as a natural way of cleaning your hair long before they invented shampoo.

Benefits of using boar hair brushes
Benefits of using boar hair brushes Recommendation And Use
Cleans your hair with every brush stroke I recommend getting into a regular schedule, once in the morning and once at night.
Gives your hair a natural shine Your scalps natural oils are distributed all along the hair shaft making your hair look shiny.
Makes hair feel softer Natural oils also conditions without the use of conditioner.
Gives hair a natural healthy look With regular brushing you may not need as much hair product such as conditioners.
All-natural With boar you are brushing you hair with all natural boar hair.
Last a lifetime With proper care and cleaning high quality boar brushes last a lifetime. I recommend a light cleaning at least once a week depending on use.

According to Jon Alan Salon, “The right tools are KEY to recreating that salon blowout look.

Boar hair brush advantages

According to Stacey, Hair Research Analyst, “Did you know boar bristles contain the same ingredients as our hair? Hair is made up of a protein called keratin.” Both human hair and boar bristles contain keratin. By using a boar brush, you are using an all-natural styling tool to brush your hair. Hey, it’s me Ed at HairBrushy, “Be sure to read my article called choosing a boar brush to find out more about “first cut” bristles and see my article of the top 15 best of the best boar bristle brushes.” Boar bristles are not smooth like nylon bristles.

In the photo at the top of this article are two of my favorite boar brushes. The Mason Pearson oval brush and the R+Co. Both brushes are very high quality and will last a lifetime if taken care of. 

The bristles have tiny overlapping edges all along the bristle. If you look at human hair which is similar to boar bristles, up close under a microscope, you can see the tiny shingle-like structures. It’s the tiny overlapping structures that give boar bristles the ability to grab and spread your natural oils throughout your hair. Boar bristles do a much better job of spreading your natural oils than nylon bristles. Many people think boar bristles absorb oil from your scalp, and that is why it is so good at spreading your natural scalp oil. But that is undoubtedly not the case. It so good because of these tiny shingle-like structures and can grab and capture the oil. Oil from your hair will ultimately build up on the brush, and a good cleaning is needed.

Human hair under a microscope
Human hair under a microscope, you can see the tiny shingle-like structures

How compare the image above with a close up of a Nylon fiber below. As you will note the Nylon fiber is much smoother and does not have the tiny shingle-like structures.

Close up of Nylon
Close up of a Nylon fiber

Using a boar bristle brush to style your hair is wonderful and here is why. And you really can’t beat it. That is why you see so many professional stylists using round boar bristles brushes. The same tiny shingle-like structure is also good at grabbing and holding your hair. When styling your hair using a boar bristle brush, you can feel you have more holding power and tension. The tension allows you to pull and hold the hair in place while the heat from your hairdryer sets the hair molecules in place. This action is how you create those nice waves and bouncy curls. The same action also allows you to straighten your hair with ease. 

According to Ash Salon, “Benefits of hair brushing:

  1.  Brushing distributes natural oils to lubricate your scalp and hair, resulting in healthy, shiny hair.
  2.  Removes loose hair
  3.  Brushing stimulates the capillaries, increasing circulation.

    Daily brushing revs up hormone and oil producing glands, which keep the pores of your scalp (and hair) open, allowing them to breathe and retain their natural oils.

Are boar bristle brushes bad for you hair?

According to Meesh, Hair Product Analyst, “As you rightly know, with everything, there are disadvantages, right? And, yes, you are right if that was what you were thinking. One of the biggest disadvantages of a boar bristle brush is you can’t use it on wet hair.” If you use a boar bristle brush on wet hair, you will either pull your hair out or stretch it till it snaps, giving you a head full of split ends. The reason this happens is your hair is weakest when it is wet. Combine the wet weak hair with the grippy characteristics of the boar brush, and you end up pulling your hair out with every brush stroke. So the advantage of the boar bristles becomes it’s the biggest disadvantage when your hair is wet. So my advice is never, ever brush wet hair with a boar bristle brush. To read more about boar bristles and hair damage, read my article called, do boar bristles damage hair

According to O2 Salon, “Natural bristle brushes work best for evenly distributing oil from your scalp through the rest of your hair, resulting in softer, shinier looking hair. The soft bristles will not cause breakage and are great for fine hair. You can find board bristle brushes with either plastic or wood handles and in various sizes.

Oh, but wait, there is another big disadvantage to boar brushes. And just like the disadvantage above, no one really talks about this one either. Boar brushes are great at causing static electricity. So if you have dry hair, with little to no natural oil in your hair, and a dry brush, in an environment that is also parched, then you have the perfect set of circumstances for static electricity. When you get done brushing your hair, you will look like a Lion. Your hair will stand straight on its ends. There are several things you can do to combat this problem. I have written several articles that will go into detail on what you can do. You can start with this article, How to tame frizzy hair, and you also use this product, Redken Frizz Dismiss Instant Deflate Oil-In-Serum For Frizzy Hair. There are many other products, but this one seems to work very well. These conditions are prevalent during the winter months when you are indoors mostly, and it subjects your hair to dry heat. The reason this happens is just the nature of rubbing two things together in a dry environment that causes static electricity. And remember, the boar bristles with the shingle-like structure are very grippy, so it’s going to cause even more friction than a nylon brush.

Another big disadvantage you should know about is you should not use a boar bristle brush to detangle your hair. And yes, you have guessed it by now, it’s because of the grip of the boar bristles. Again, it will pull out your hair. There are much better options that will not pull out your hair and get the job done faster.

Are boar brushes good summary

To sum things up, boar bristles have many advantages, but they also have some grave disadvantages. However, now you know what the disadvantages are, you can now stay clear by not engaging in the critical problem causing actions. Boar bristles brush are the go-to brush for most professional stylist when creating waves, curls, or adding volume. And the reason is that of the superior tension they provide. Boar brushes are a great tool to have in anyone’s drawer, and with practice, you can get the style you are looking for. By keeping your brush clean and well maintained, it can last a lifetime. So for that reason, I do not mind spending a little more on a high-quality boar bristle brush. Please comment below. I would love to hear what your brand you are using and why. 

According to Philadelphia Hair Design, “Keys to a salon-quality blowout at home

1. Prep your hair with the right products

I choose a de-tangler to infuse moisture and slip before brushing through my wet hair.

    Redken One United Multi-Benefit Hair Treatment Spray

    Sam Villa Signature Series Paddle Brush

A primer to protect my hair from heat and speed up the blow dry process.

    Redken Pillow Proof Primer

A styling aid to create the effect I want to see.

    Redken High Volume Duo Volumizer

  2. Section your hair with intention

You’ll want to work from the bottom to the top so that the hair you’ve already dried is out of the way.

Divide in three main sections, the nape (bottom), the back and sides, and the top.

Keep your sections of hair small and manageable.

    Sam Villa Dry Sectioning Clips

  3. Use professional tools

The quality of your blow dryer and brush do matter! So if you’ve had that same Conair for 20 years it may be time to upgrade. Over time the heating element on a blow dryer can go and it will begin to create damage from overheating, or the filter becomes clogged and severely slows down timing.

    Sam Villa Light Professional Ionic Blow Dryer

The type of brush you use is just as important! With round brushes we have the option to use a synthetic bristle thermal, or a natural/boar bristle. These will give different effects because of the difference in tension they create. I prefer a thermal because of the speed. If you’ve got a natural bristle one

    Sam Villa Signature Series Thermal Styling Brush


Cross-section of a human hair
According to, Mechanical properties and structure of alpha-keratin fibreswool, human hair and related fibers “Being of biological origin, keratin fibres, unlike synthetic polymer fibers used in textile manufacture, are not a continuous material along their length. They consist rather of a compact grouping of cells which originate at the bottom of the fibre follicle. At the bottom of the follicle, the fiber—which is bulbous (see Figure 1.1)—contains the germinal matrix in which cell division occurs. Three distinct varieties of cells are produced in the follicle base, which eventually form the three basic components of any wool or hair fiber: the external cuticle, the cortex and the medulla. In the mature wool fiber the cuticle consists of a layer of flat scales about 1 micrometer (pm) thick just overlapping each other, providing a covering for the fiber of one scale in thickness. For human hair, however, the scales of the cuticle are about 0.5 pm thick and overlap each other considerably, resulting in a covering of 6-10 scales in thickness. The scales form a ratchet-like structure resulting in a directional friction effect, with the fibers being smoother in the direction of growth. This ratchet-like structure of the scales during the growth of the fiber interlocks with the structure of the inner root sheath of the follicle (see Figure 1.1). This inner root sheath structure moves forward with the fiber as it grows outwards and supplies the mechanism by which the keratin fiber is anchored on the sheep’s back or on the human scalp. Pulling out a hair ‘by its roots’ actually results in tearing away at the inner root sheath in the follicle.”
Hair Structure and Hair Life Cycle
Diameter of a Human Hair
Nylon fibers visualized using scanning electron microscopy