Hair Of The Boar That Bit Me
As a man with long hair, you’ve given some thought to your hair brush. By now you’ve heard of a boar bristle brush, and you might wonder what the hell those are all about.
Juxtaposed to your standard nylon bristle brush, here we cover the key differences between the two, the benefits of each, and which is best-suited for your hair type.
This is important. Don’t brush this off.
Boar Bristle Brush
- Natural material
- Micro-textured bristle surface
- Polishes every hair shaft
- Distributes oil, removes buildup
- Smooths and promotes shine
Nylon Bristle Brush
- Synthetic material
- Smooth bristle surface
- Deep, thorough penetration to the scalp
- Massages and promotes blood flow
- Excellent detangling
Differences Between a Nylon and Boar Bristle Brush
Seems obvious, however the difference is not just in the material, but also the configuration of the bristles—sometimes called quills, pins or spokes.
A nylon brush typically has rows of individual nylon spokes attached directly to the brush, or to a cushioned pad. You’ll often see nylon spokes with little balls on the tips.
Are Boar Bristles…Actually From Boars?
Yes, boar bristles are actually harvested from domesticated and wild boars. Some are sourced from boar farms where the animals are shorn humanely, others from boars that have been slaughtered for food.
An invasive species in the United States, government programs aimed at eradicating boars have likely become another source of boar’s hair. If you’re looking at this from an ethical perspective, in the worst-case scenario it’s morally equivalent to eating bacon or a holiday ham.
Benefits of a Boar Bristle Brush
Renowned for their smoothing and polishing qualities, boar bristles are made of keratin, with similar structure to that of human hair. They’re among the most rigid natural bristles, and combined with their resilience and durability they are ideally suited for hair brushes.
Arranged in dense bundles, each of these rigid shafts has a micro-textured surface, allowing a boar bristle brush to “catch” every single hair. This distributes the natural oils from your scalp while removing dead hair and skin cells, polishing the hair shafts with each brush stroke.
You might read claims that boar bristle brushes reduce friction and tension, but that’s not actually true. Because the boar bristles “cling” to each hair, tension increases, while two textured surfaces (the boar bristle and your hair shaft) rubbing against each other naturally creates friction.
Friction opens the door to static, which can lead to frizz, thus it’s important to brush gently with a boar bristle brush while limiting the number of brush strokes.
Benefits of a Nylon Brush
A synthetic material, nylon bristles can be manufactured to specification for rigidity, softness and smoothness.
Rigid nylon spokes provide superior penetration, offering deep, thorough scalp massaging. This exfoliates the scalp, promoting blood flow and helping break up oils, buildup and residue.
With a single-spoke, widely-spaced configuration, nylon brushes are excellent for detangling. Unlike tightly-packed, textured boar bristles that grab every hair shaft, the smooth nylon surface glides through small sections of hair effortlessly, reducing tension and friction.
For superior detangling and deep scalp massaging, ball-tipped nylon spokes cannot be beat.
Mixed Nylon & Boar Bristle Brush
A mixed nylon & boar bristle brush offers benefits from both bristle types. A single nylon spoke provides penetration to the scalp, while the boar’s hair smooths and polishes.
With a strong dual performance, the mixed brush may concede some of that deep scalp massaging and exceptional detangling.
Nylon or Boar Bristle Brush for My Hair Type?
If you have thin, fine or super-straight hair, a boar bristle or a mixed nylon & boar bristle brush are excellent options. You want something gentler, less rigid, and you don’t need as much of that penetration or detangling. Also great for shorter hair.
For thick, coarse or wavy hair, you want that DEEP penetration, all the way to the scalp. Comfortably-spaced bristles with a smooth surface will glide through and detangle that mane with ease, crowning the nylon bristle brush a winner for these hair types.
Brushing is not generally recommended for super curly or kinky hair. You’re more likely to get the best results with a wide-toothed comb or pick—though a widely-spaced, wooden-spoked brush is worth looking into.
Finally, a hair-brushing enthusiast of any hair type could effectively use both. First the nylon bristle brush for penetration, massaging and detangling…followed by a few strokes with the mixed boar bristle & nylon brush for polishing, smoothing and shine.
Anything But Boaring
You didn’t think the difference between hair brushes could be this exciting, but there you have it. We didn’t even get into proper brushing technique or how to clean your hair brush, but you can dive into those equally important topics below.
In the meantime, have a close look at these exquisite hair brushes from The Longhairs, made for guys who brush their hair. Solid, wooden, and emblazoned with the bound shears, you never thought you could feel true love for an inanimate object…until now.