Why You Should Be Using an Extension Brush on Your *Natural* Hair

Reason #1: Because Jen Atkin says so.

Wrist, Cup, Black hair, Eyelash, Long hair, Watch, Serveware, Step cutting, Bracelet, Nail,
Wrist, Cup, Black hair, Eyelash, Long hair, Watch, Serveware, Step cutting, Bracelet, Nail,
(Image credit: Design by Kevin Peralta)

My natural hair is thick, curly, and frizz-happy, so when I go a few days without brushing my hair (full disclosure: this is always), my nape becomes one large tangle. If it's winter and I've been living in collar-grazing sweaters, scarves, or turtlenecks—forget it, it takes me at least another 30 minutes to unravel that hot mess.

Combing my fuzzy strands has always been painful, time sucking, and endlessly distressing as it feels like I'm losing half my strand count with each stroke. But I have no one to blame but myself. On a "comb" day, I usually reach for whatever brush is nearest to me just to get it over with—bad beauty editor, I know!

In the back of my mind, I've always known there's a better way, so when celebrity hairstylist and OUAI Haircare founder Jen Atkin revealed that she often uses a hair extension brush on her clients (many of whom who have first names that begin with K, mind you) and their natural hair, I was intrigued.

"Something with too much tension will stretch the hair too much, which exposes it to breakage," explains Atkin, adding that she always uses Sheila Stotts' extension brush to detangle because it doesn't pull hair.

Suitable for wet and dry hair (synthetic or real), Atkin's go-to round brush boasts spaced-out metal bristles—less bristles = less damage—that are super-gentle on the hair and get the job done (with help from the fingers on the most delicate portion of the tangles). I know this because I bought one immediately after getting this Atkin intel and it's cut my detangling time in half with far less strands lost in battle. Not to mention, the silver teeth-like bristles provide the most heavenly scalp massage. 

I have since learned that the Sheila Stotts Removal Brush basically has cult status in Hollywood. When I spoke to hair genius Lacy Redway, she too agreed hair extension brushes are great for detangling. But has one rule I plan to stick to: "Always detangle as much as you can with your fingers first before using a brush." Furthermore, she says that it's always a good idea to try a drug store version of your aspirational brush first (The Wet Brush Original is only $8.99) to make sure the bristle combination responds to your hair type. 

Whatever you do, I implore you, at the very least, to reexamine your detangling regimen to ensure you've got the right brush in tow, because if you've got arduous texture like mine, your lifestyle is at stake.

Line, Racketlon, Beige, Kitchen utensil, Racquet sport, Racket, Balance,

(Image credit: unknown)

Sheila Stotts Removal Brush, $28; sheilastotts.com.

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I’m the associate web editor at Marie Claire. I love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. I firmly believe that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.