Hair-Care Tips

Can Brushing Your Hair Before You Shower *Really* Combat Hair Loss? Here’s What Pros Have To Say

Photo: Getty Images/Credit: Kathrin Ziegler
These days, anyone with a ring light and enough followers can dole out supposed “expert” advice online. Whether it be tips about managing fungal acne (which is not a medically recognized form of acne) or an explainer on rice water’s benefits for hair (which are actually very real), it can be hard to separate fact from fiction.

So when we saw the age-old women's magazine myth that that brushing your hair before showering could potentially help combat hair loss resurfacing on TikTok, we knew better than to take it as gospel truth. Instead, we decided to do some of our own work and talk to a few pros—Shab Reslan, trichologist and healthy hair expert; William Gaunitz, trichologist and hair loss specialist; and Gabby Longsworth, Ph.D, certified hair practitioner—who all agree that brushing your hair before the shower has no correlation with combatting hair loss.

According to Reslan, frequent hair brushing and scalp massages can help increase circulation in the scalp and strengthen hair growth, but whether it happens pre- or post-shower isn't particularly important. If you want to brush your hair before you hop in for a lather and rinse, go for it: It will help prevent tangles in the shower and allow for easier shampoo and conditioner application, but it certainly isn’t a requirement for the sake of combatting thinning.

Regardless of when you decide to brush, Dr. Longworth notes that it's important to remember that doing so forcefully can actually cause hair loss by pulling on knots and causing breakage, so you'll want to take care to be extra gentle. In general, hair tends to be most vulnerable when it's wet, so you're better off reserving your brushing for dry strands (which is likely where the "pre-shower is best" theory came from). The only exception here is if you have curly or coily hair, which is more prone to tangles that will get yanked by a brush going through dry hair. In this case, your best bet is to use a wide-toothed comb on freshly-conditioned hair in the shower.

In lieu of (or, if it's your thing, in addition to) brushing, the pros recommend a few other pre-shower practices to help stimulate hair growth. Gaunitz suggests simply massaging the scalp for two to three minutes to break up any calcification under the skin, or applying a little bit of castor oil directly to the scalp and letting it sit for 30 to 45 minutes before you shampoo to help pump more blood to the area. Or, once you're in the shower, Reslan recommends using a scalp massager while you let your conditioner sit, which will increase blood follicles to the particles while allowing extra time for the product to penetrate your strands.

While hair loss is totally normal (and very common), if you've noticed an uptick in the amount of hair that's falling out, Longsworth suggests visiting a dermatologist or general practitioner to run some blood tests—certain nutritional deficiencies, diseases, stress, COVID-19, and other well-researched symptoms are known to cause hair loss. With all that in mind, it’s worth the reminder: Not everything you read online is the truth, so be sure to fact-check any "miracle" solutions before you waste your time on something that doesn't work.

For more intel on dealing with hair loss check out the video below. 

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