A Brush is No Longer Just a Brush: But Do They Work?

Just a quick trip to any drugstore will reveal that a brush is no longer just a brush anymore. Forget which bristle is best for your hair or which shape is best for your style. Now, some brushes come with dual purposes. but are they worth it?


First up, let's take a look at Oil-Infused Brushes and Combs. I've tried several of these by Ricky's of New York, but they are popping up everywhere now. These brushes and combs are made with different oils infused into the bristles. Now don't get me wrong, these styling tools aren't dripping with oil. In fact, it's such a small amount of oil that you can leave it sitting safely on counter tops and it isn't going to leave a mark. Brushing or combing your hair with one of these will leave a little bit of shine and fight a little bit of frizz. I've never been able to make my hair feel greasy with any of these tools (keep in mind, my hair is thick and dry), but I'm not sure you could if you tried. I keep one of the combs with me at all times to shine up my hair on days when I need a little styling help. These brushes and combs range from $5-$30. If you don't see them at your local Target or Walmart, be sure to look in the Ethnic hair care section. I've seen them everywhere!


Next is ionic technology. It's been everywhere for a very long time. In our hairdryers, flat irons and curling tools, ions are the big thing. But how do they work? I asked a super smart scientist (without getting permission from his employer first. Oops.) that we will call Dr. Atomalox. According to Dr. Atomalox, ionic technology for use in hair styling is totally possible. Basically, an ion is an atom, or a bunch of atoms, that has a positive or negative charge because it has lost or gained one or more of its electrons. Ionic technology agrees with Paula Abdul, in that opposites attract. Damaged hair (hair that doesn't have a smooth cuticle) is often missing an electron. So using a brush that is adding ions to the hair may change the electrostatic charge of the hair, making the cuticle lay smooth and look glossy and pretty.

The one thing Dr. Atomalox wanted to make sure we all understood was that the hair must come in contact with the tool for it to work. So in the case of brushes and flat irons, it is possible for ionic technology to work. It is far less likely for ionic technology to be effective when used as part of a hairdryer, because the ionic-infused air rushing out is quickly adding its unbalanced charge to everything around it, not just to your hair.


I was recently blown away by all the types of Ionic brushes available at Target. Conair, Goody and others have a plethora of tools to try. I picked up the Goody brushes. According to the package, the Goody brushes contain tourmaline, a mineral which is often used in ion-infused products as a way to change the electrostatic charge of the hair. But do they work? Here is what I found.

It totally depended on my hair. I tested this brush on the hair of about 10 people. Every single person's hair looked much better after I had brushed it (duh.) However, some hair reacted differently to the brush. On some people, the brush just seemed to brush the hair. On others, it made a much bigger difference, making the hair seem less frizzy and "smaller". I can say that on everyone, it had no affect on those little broken, shorter hairs that tend to pop up a few inches from your part. You may have to try one or two of these brushes to find one that works for you (if your hair is even damaged in a way where this would work for you). It's hard to judge the amount of mineral used on the brush or the quality of the mineral used. I am definitely a fan of the Goody brushes.


The mack daddy of ionic brush technology goes to Braun Satin Hair Active Ion Brush. This brush will set you back about $65. It uses ions generated by a battery, meaning that you know ions are being distributed by the brush directly onto your hair. There is no wondering if the ionic technology is actually working or not. This brush actually got similar results as the brushes mentioned above and was tested on the same number of people. It worked on some people better than others, so I really think the end result depends on how your hair is damaged. I can say that with this brush, you can hear a whoosh of air coming out of the brush, so you know it's doing something. You don't have to worry about the efficacy of the minerals used on the drug store brushes.

Either way, I got different results on everyone, depending on their hair type. I can't even try to determine why those who had a better reaction got one. Everyone had slightly frizzy, processed hair, so I'm not sure why this technology was more effective on some versus others.

What do you think? Would this work for you or will you pass? It's scientifically possible, we know that. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

All items were purchased by me, with the exception of the Braun Satin Brush.

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CONVERSATION

7 Comments:

  1. I've been looking at the oil-infused brushes for awhile now. I'll have to pick one up at Rickys and give it a try.

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  2. I did just that in the testing phase!! I literally sent out an all employee email asking people to come to office so I could rub a balloon on their head. Thank goodness they are use to me, or I'd worry...Since I couldn't get permission to use the Tesla ball at a nearby museum, I thought a balloon would be a good test. It definitely had different reactions on different people. On some, it made a major difference. On others, it didn't do any more than regular brushing would do. I think it would be more effective with winter hair versus humidity hair. Either way, a lot of it must have to do with your hair and the type of damage that it already has.

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  3. MarciaF (Beauty Info Zone)October 3, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Great comparisons. I really enjoyed reading your 'scientific' way of testing too. Shows what ends (of the hair) a beauty blogger to go through to get to the truth!

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  4. You know how when you rub a balloon on something it'll make your hair stand on end? That's just a charge difference. I imagine that ionic brushes would work fantastically in the winter when everyone's hair is full of static! I think perhaps I'll grab one of those brushes when the air starts to turn drier.

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  5. You haven't talked about the difference between battery operated and non battery operated ionic brushes, do the ions last less long over time?

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  6. You have not mentioned about the difference between battery operated and non battery operated ionic brushes, do the ions last less long over time?

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  7. I would imagine that the ions produced by batteries would last longer than ions produced by minerals. I would *think* the minerals could wear away or flake off of a brush that just creates ions with minerals embedded on a brush.

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