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Should I brush my hair after waking up?

Whether or not to brush your hair after waking up is a common question many people have. There are pros and cons to both brushing and not brushing your hair in the morning. Ultimately, the decision depends on your hair type and style preferences. In this article, we’ll examine the benefits and drawbacks of brushing hair after waking up so you can decide what works best for your morning routine.

Pros of Brushing Hair After Waking Up

Here are some of the benefits of making post-sleep hair brushing a regular part of your morning:

Reduces Bedhead and Tangles

One of the biggest pros of brushing your hair after getting out of bed is that it helps smooth out bedhead and tangles. Tossing and turning at night can cause your hair to become knotted and matted. Running a brush through your locks helps detangle strands and neaten your appearance first thing. This is especially useful if you have long hair that’s prone to post-sleep knots.

Stimulates Blood Circulation

Using a brush to gently massage your scalp after waking up also stimulates blood flow. Improved circulation provides nourishment to your hair follicles and roots. Over time, this can promote faster hair growth and a healthier scalp. So consider brushing an invigorating part of your morning routine.

Distributes Beneficial Oils

Brushing hair after waking redistributes naturally-occurring oils from your scalp along the lengths of your strands. This adds shine and smoothness to your hair. The natural oils help protect your hair from environmental damage too. Spreading the oils down your hair shafts results in extra hydration and conditioning.

Makes Hair Easier to Style

Eliminating bedhead and loosening tangles goes a long way towards making morning hair styling easier. After a thorough brushing, your hair will be smooth, neat, and detangled. This provides the perfect base for your regular hairstyle or other updos. The brushing essentially primes your hair for quicker and easier styling.

Cons of Brushing Hair After Waking Up

Despite the benefits, there are also a few potential drawbacks of brushing your hair post-sleep:

Can Cause Breakage on Some Hair Types

For those with very fine or fragile hair, brushing first thing can actually cause breakage, splits, and damage. The fibers may be weakest when coming out of the compressed overnight state. So tugging a brush through knots and tangles can overstretch delicate strands to the point of breakage. Those with thicker, coarser hair likely won’t have this issue. But fine-haired folks may want to use extra care or avoid morning brushing altogether.

Can Worsen Bedhead

It may seem counterintuitive, but for some people, brushing can actually worsen bedhead. The brushing motion essentially backcombs sections of hair, tangling strands rather than aligning them. This relies heavily on your specific hair texture and how you brush. But overbrushing or brushing the wrong way for your hair type can make post-sleep snarls even worse.

May Remove Excessive Oils

While spreading oils from roots to tips is beneficial, brushing may redistribute too much oil. This is particularly problematic for those with naturally oily scalps or fine hair. The brushing motion can coat strands with oil, leaving hair limp and lank looking. For those prone to oiliness, brushing could exacerbate greasy-looking hair.

Can Be Time-Consuming

Finally, brushing your hair after getting out of bed adds another step to your morning regimen. For those short on time, it may not be feasible to do a thorough brushing session after waking up. The extra minutes spent detangling each morning can add up quickly. So brushing may not be realistic for super rushed schedules.

When to Brush Hair After Waking Up

Here are some tips on when brushing your hair after waking up will be most effective:

  • If you have longer hair, brushing will help smooth out knots and tangles.
  • If you have dry hair, brushing distributes beneficial oils from your scalp.
  • If you have dandruff, brushing exfoliates flakes from your scalp.
  • If you regularly use heat styling tools, brushing provides protection by evenly coating strands.
  • If you want extra volume, brushing creates lift at the roots.

On the other hand, here are scenarios where brushing may not be recommended:

  • If you have very short hair, brushing isn’t as necessary.
  • If you have damaged, fragile strands, brushing could cause breakage.
  • If you have very oily hair, brushing may spread too much oil.
  • If you have natural curls or waves, brushing can cause frizz.
  • If you’re extremely rushed in the mornings, skipping brushing will save time.

How to Brush Your Hair After Waking Up

Here are some tips for brushing your hair effectively and safely after getting out of bed:

Use a Wide-Toothed Comb First

Start by gently combing through knots and tangles using a wide-toothed comb. The spaced teeth will loosen snags without tugging. Work in small sections from the bottom-up. Hold hair above the spot you’re combing to minimize pulling.

Brush Starting at the Ends

Once larger tangles are smoothed out, you can switch to a bristle brush. But avoid initially brushing at your roots. This can cause breakage as knots get brushed up into delicate new growth. Instead, start brushing a few inches away from your ends. Slowly work up towards your scalp.

Use Light Strokes

Don’t aggressively rip a brush through your hair. Opt for gentle, light strokes when brushing to minimize snagging and pulling. Work out tangles patiently and methodically. Keep tension very light as you brush to prevent hairs being pulled out.

Use Leave-In Treatments

Apply leave-in treatments or detangling sprays before brushing. These lubricate and condition hair, allowing bristles to glide smoothly through. Less force will be needed, minimizing chances of breakage during brushing.

Don’t Brush When Soaking Wet

Wait until hair is at least damp or partly dry before brushing. Brushing completely soaking wet hair can stretch strands to the breaking point. Let hair air dry for 5 or 10 minutes out of the shower before brushing.

Best Brushes for Post-Sleep Brushing

The type of brush you use also matters when it comes to effectively brushing out bedhead and knots:

Boar Bristle Brush

With soft, flexible bristles, these distribute oils without damaging hair. The dense bristles also smooth strands and boost shine. Look for ones with bristles and handles made fully from boar hair.

Paddle Brush

These have wide, flat surfaces set with plastic or boar bristles. The broad heads detangle big sections of hair at once for efficiency. Paddle brushes work well for longer hair. Opt for ones with ball-tipped or rounded bristles to be gentle.

Wet Brush

Designed specifically for brushing wet, post-shower hair, these have soft, flexible bristles set into a cushioned base. These gently loosen knots and tangles on wet hair without ripping. The seamless design avoids pulling or splitting hair when brushed.

Wide-Toothed Comb

These act as a pre-brush tool to remove the largest knots and tangles gently. The wide teeth minimize snagging wet hair compared to finer-toothed combs. Use these first before brushing to prevent extra breakage.


Overall, brushing your hair after waking up has definite benefits, including smoothing bedhead, distributing oils, and making morning styling easier. However, it also has some drawbacks, like potential breakage and added time to your routine. Those with dry, thick hair will likely benefit from brushing to tame tangles and boost shine. People with very fine or oily hair may want to skip brushing. Using the proper brushing technique and tools is also key. With a boar bristle or wet brush, focus on gentle, light strokes working up from the ends to minimize damage. So consider your individual hair type and needs, then decide if post-sleep brushing is right for your morning regimen.