New to Van Clarke? Subscribe to our newsletter for 15% off your first order. Start your haircare journey today.

Why Good Brushes Matter

September 05, 2023

Why Good Brushes Matter

Professionally, I wouldn't touch 99% of the hairbrushes for sale on the market. What goes on inside big companies, I don’t know. One might make plastic household Items like bowls and bins, and maybe someone thinks, “Hey, let's make a mould for a hairbrush and we can corner the £5 market”. Cheap or inferior brushes can ruin your hair by causing excess wear and breakage.

And then there may be venerable makers for floor brushes and clothes brushes that attempt to place the same bristles in a round stick to make a hairbrush. It really isn't that simple.

So many variables come into play in making a really great hairbrush, from the balance of materials used to the variability of bristle length, flexibility, density of placement etc. and if these things aren't considered with a high degree of finesse, the result is a clumsy clunky tool which is neither pleasant nor safe to use.

It may seem mundane, but everyone needs the basics of a good quality comb and brush. I know some clients can have a blind spot here even if they’re spending £100s on the latest electricals.

Many years ago we ran an ‘amnesty’ in the salon for clients to bring their home hair tools in. I can’t remember the exact terms of the offer but we wanted to see what clients were using on their hair at home and encourage an upgrade where necessary. Needless to say, some of the items were shocking. I’ve kept the best one to this day - a comb with both ends sharply snapped off and several teeth missing. It’s more jailbreak weapon than hair tool and would certainly give hair strands a punishment beating.

Having the proper kit is an essential part of home haircare, and a good professional brush that's kinder to your hair is key to keeping it looking healthy and beautiful. Correctly spaced bristles minimise stress to the hairshaft and detangle without ripping or tugging, so your hair stays naturally healthier, thicker, and if you want, longer too. 

Here are our key favourites which we simply couldn’t work without.

1. Large Round Styling Brush

This Soft Bristle version has more flexible bristles so it's gentler on fine to medium hair to avoid breakage and splitting. These are the handmade artisan brushes I've used throughout my career and continue to use in our award-winning London salon. The natural boar bristles glide beautifully across the hair, smoothing the cuticle as you brush. A Firm Bristle version uses smooth nylon and is perfect for medium to thicker hair types that perhaps need a little more taming. A Medium size is great for shorter hairstyles or shorter under-lengths that need precise blowdrying.

2. The No.1 Brush 

Perfect for all hair types, long or short, and including hair extensions, this was named by British Beauty Blogger, among others, as her favourite ever brush. Our No. 1 Brush is a game-changer in brush design. Detangle and style in one, whilst protecting the hair, boosting thickness and gently massaging the scalp. Voted No.1 by industry professionals, this brush has super smooth and flexible bristles made from Japanese nylon, that glide through the hair releasing knots without snagging or pulling.

Healthcare for Hair:
Does not pull or tug, which means brushing and detangling without snapping or breaking.

Helps minimise stress to the delicate hair shaft, to maintain healthier and thicker hair.

So gentle, it’s an ideal solution to brushing children’s hair.

3. Mixed Bristle Paddle Brush

This mixed bristle brush works for general brushing of long hair as well as straight blow drying. The smooth nylon bristles have round tips to massage and stimulate the scalp while the shorter natural boar bristle gives just enough tension to smooth the cuticle helping eliminate frizz and gain a silkier look and feel.

4. Let's not forget the Combs

Cheaper plastic combs are moulded in two halves and then sandwiched together. That process tends to leave rough edges on the teeth that can then tear the surface cuticle of hair. This is the start of further damage and decay.

Saw-cut combs are hewn from one piece of material and then the teeth are sawn out. Through history this material may have been ivory, bone, ebony or tortoise shell. Ours are made from vulcanised rubber, by artisans specialising in this process for the last 150 years. Each comb goes through more than forty production stages, lastly, polishing the teeth and tips by hand to ensure they are smooth.

Our saw-cut vulcanised rubber combs are the only combs we use in our London salon. They're hand made from a mix of rubber, sulphur and linseed oil and are 100% organic. We obsess about the care of hair. And it's why we devote ourselves to creating the very best products.

Large Handled Safety Comb - £22.50
Small Safety Comb - £16.50

Michael Van Clarke

Also in Blogs

Gaby's Bakery - Ciambelle al Vino – Italian wine cookies
Gaby's Bakery - Ciambelle al Vino – Italian wine cookies

June 15, 2024

We picked up a packet of these delicious crunchy biscuits from one of the foodie shops in the lanes around the Trevi Fountain. Ciambelle al Vino are lightly infused with wine and coated with sugar crystals. This recipe from Rome is one of the easiest and uses very few ingredients.

Continue Reading

Do You Know Your Hair Type?
Do You Know Your Hair Type?

June 14, 2024

It’s almost certainly a combination. You won’t have one hair type, in the same way that you’re unlikely to have one skin type on your face. Treating your eye area like your T-zone will cause...

Continue Reading

In the Chair - Real People Real Hair - Tara
In the Chair - Real People Real Hair - Tara

June 14, 2024

I love long hair. But sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, and if it’s not cut properly it can drown the wearer and make shampoo-days a dreaded event. Tara had gorgeous hair but the haircut had no shape. Just the usual...

Continue Reading