Boar Bristles or No?

In Educate by El Rubio3 Comments

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.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Boar Bristle Brush

  • Natural material
  • Tightly-spaced
  • Micro-textured bristle surface
  • Polishes every hair shaft
  • Distributes oil, removes buildup
  • Smooths and promotes shine

Nylon Bristle Brush

  • Synthetic material
  • Widely-spaced
  • 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.

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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.

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A boar bristle brush, sometimes called a boar’s hair brush, uses boar bristles arrayed in a formation of tightly-packed clusters. Each of these bundles may contain as many as 20 individual boar bristles.
You can also find a mixed boar bristle & nylon brush, where a single nylon quill is inserted in the center of each boar bristle cluster, slightly longer than said bristles. These may or may not have ball 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

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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.

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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

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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.

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Ball-tipped nylon spokes amplify the massaging action, allowing the brush to glide smoothly along the scalp, while adding cushion to prevent scratching, abrasions or discomfort.
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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

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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?

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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.

Superior Hair Brushes from The Longhairs

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The Continental

Solid and burly, yet elegant and refined, The Continental strikes the perfect balance between a professional craftsman’s tool and a priceless work of art.
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The Mane Hog

The perfect blend of nylon and authentic boar bristles polishes as it smooths, exfoliating while stimulating more than just blood flow.
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How To Clean Your Brush

Your brush is filthy, coated in a thick layer of oily, linty buildup. Don’t drag that crud through your mane. Learn how to clean your hair brush.
CLEAN YOUR BRUSH
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How To Brush Your Hair

Brushing is a critical part of your hair maintenance routine, and proper technique is crucial. Here’s how to brush your hair for men, amigo.
DO IT RIGHT

Do you have a preference between a nylon or a boar bristle brush? Do you use both? Brush it out in the comments.

FAQ

What are the benefits of a boar bristle brush?
It distributes natural oils, removes buildup, smooths hair, and promotes shine.

How does a nylon bristle brush help my hair?
It provides deep scalp penetration, massages, and effectively detangles hair.

Can I use a mixed bristle brush?
Yes, it combines the benefits of both boar and nylon bristles, balancing scalp massage with hair smoothing.

Which brush should I use for my hair type?
Boar bristle brushes are best for fine or straight hair, while nylon brushes are ideal for thick or wavy hair.