One important but often overlooked aspect of a hair journey is the comb you use. The common advice when selecting a comb--natural or relaxed--is to make sure of two things:
- Your comb is wide-tooth
- Your comb is seamless
The spacing in wide tooth combs help to aid detangling without ripping out the hair. Seamless combs, unlike your standard plastic comb, do not have the lines from molding in between the teeth which can snag strands. Popular seamless combs include resin "bone" combs and wooden combs. I can say I've tried every kind of comb out there--expensive seamless resin combs, wooden combs, shower combs, fine, medium and wide. I still find use for all my combs. Among my favourites is a Goody shower comb which is great for detangling damp and dry hair.
By far--the BEST comb I have ever tried?
It's a wooden comb.
My first wooden comb was a comb purchased from the Body Shop for under $10 that I used in my natural hair. For me this comb was pretty good (and I will tell you why in a moment) and lasted a fair amount of time until I lost it on vacation. :(
Since then I'd been through natural resin combs but I just didn't like them as much as the wooden comb. Some way or another, I discovered Japanese camellia oil for hair. With that discovery I also discovered Japanese wood combs. THIS below is my holy grail comb.
Why Wood Combs Are Awesome
Benefits of the wooden combs (according to Natural Japanese Beauty) include:
- anti-static (less frizz) - so it works with your hair rather than against it
- reduce split end damage - because it is so gentle
- help stimulate scalp and promote hair health - distributes oils evenly throughout
Any handmade wooden comb should have these benefits. The important thing is that the comb has a smooth, solid finish. Many cultures worldwide have/had wooden combs--not just Japan--and a quick look through Wikipedia will show you this.
With Japan, everything always seems to come back to geishas and samurai--apparently their wooden combs (made of sandalwood and peach wood) were used as accessories as well as to bring shine to hair. The traditional way of maintaining the comb is to soak the comb in camellia oil and comb it through before washing. Camellia oil has been used for about a century in Japan and throughout Asia for ensuring silky, soft hair.
So my comb is a scented peach wood comb that I purchased on Ebay. Since it's from China, it was the least expensive option for me. Excellent quality, gentle on the hair, smooth (seamless and without splints) and I guess I should mention--beautiful! The interesting thing about my comb is though it is not wide-toothed really, it still detangles very well and helps my often frizzy, tangly locks look smoother. It also effectively gets rid of shed hairs caught in my tangles. I find that it's best used with a light oil like camellia oil to help the comb glide through your hair. This can be done by adding a few drops to your hand and applying it to your scalp and hair or applying the oil to the teeth of the comb.
Because it is wooden, I never use it on wet hair--which is fine because I only detangle my hair when it is dry anyway. Occassionally I oil my comb to protect and clean it. I do use camellia oil because it is traditional and a very light oil. Any natural plant oil like olive, coconut or argan oil should be good also.
- natural origin
- smells beautiful
- smooths out hair
- distributes oil
- price, depending on origin
- must keep away from water--not good for damp/wet hair
- scent fades
Should you buy a Japanese/Chinese comb? It's up to you. I chose this comb because I love the look of it. I will admit that this comb definitely outperformed the Body Shop comb.
Recommend?: Absolutely Yes!