Six women ditched the bristle—and each one had a very different seven-day experience.
The article was repurposed with permission from Refinery29 .
So much of our identity is tangled up in our tresses. Our hair shows the world who we are—or who we want to be. And our combs and brushes play a big role in getting it to that point—so to say we rely on them heavily would be an understatement.
But what would happen if you were asked to give up your hairbrush for an entire week? Would your mane go crazy? Could it affect the way you feel about yourself in the day-to-day?
Actually, bidding farewell to your brush could benefit your strands (if not your confidence). Over time, brushing can lead to significant weakening and damage to your hair. Not good.
Of course, we had to know for sure if ditching the bristles could make our manes look better. So we decided to test that theory with six of our brave staffers. Their hair types run the gamut, and their experiences did, too. Some found the week liberating, while others found it insanely stressful. Most of them came to one final conclusion: Maybe we don't need our brushes as much as we think we do.
Type: Straight, long, and thick
I am the laziest beauty junkie around, which means I love me some new products but hate fussing with my hair and makeup. For my daily three-step hair routine, I shower in the morning, give my hair a quick rough-dry, then brush it through so that my locks dry straight on my commute. But this morning was different.
After I finished blow-drying, I automatically reached for my boar-bristle hairbrush. It took all my willpower to unwrap each finger from the handle and let the brush go. Not to be thwarted, I reached for my Moroccan Oil instead and ran a few drops through my ends so that I wouldn't be left with a tangled, gross mess. The day turned out to be one of those rapid-fire Mondays with me whizzing from one meeting to the next without a second thought about what I ate—let alone looked like—so my hair was fine (I think).
The next day, I had to be on camera for a quick video shoot, so I was
forced to look at myself in the mirror and contend with the fact that, yes, I had not run a brush through my hair today. I have that annoying hair texture that's not really straight and not quite wavy. Without some manipulating, it looks like I left a ponytail in my hair for too long.
By the third day, this not-brushing thing was starting to catch up to me. My hair felt tangled, icky, and just not cute. I have what I consider to be typical Asian hair, which means I've got an oily scalp—oil that needs to be distributed down to the ends of my hair so that I don't end up with buildup and gunky roots. I actually wailed out loud, "I want a hairbrush!" like a petulant child while sitting at my desk. In my office. Next to the people I manage. I gathered the hunk of hair, twisted it into a bun, and called it a day.
On the last day (hurrah!), my $10 umbrella folded on me twice on my way to work during a lovely NYC downpour. I arrived to work with my hair un-brushed, wet, and smelling faintly of our city's signature scents. I can't tell you how happy I was that I could brush my hair again.
My usual hair game is to wear it down and proud, but not being able to brush made it feel like a mop of tangles, which compelled me to get it up and out of the way in a workday bun. While not brushing probably didn't make my hair look too different (thanks to a healthy dollop of conditioner in the shower), I was convinced I looked like I had been fished out of a sewage drain.
While, yes, I'm always a fan of finding out the low-maintenance way of achieving a makeup or hair look, I think brushing your hair is nonnegotiable, like showering (though plenty of people do manage to wiggle out of that one).
This experiment proved that while brushing my hair doesn't make a substantial difference in how I may look, skipping it has a disproportionate effect on my self-perception. So even though this knowledge is liberating, I'm not planning on throwing away my hairbrush any time soon. Though, I might not pack it for an overnight stay at the boyfriend's anymore.
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