Fashionista Beauty Helpline: Do I really need to clean my hair tools?

BBeauty editors and editors are used to receiving texts late at night (or early in the morning, or literally around the clock) with no context and burning questions. No, we’re not talking about the “U up?” variety. These requests are for skin concerns, product recommendations, and makeup issues…and we’ve seen them all. With that in mind, we welcome you to our series, “Fashionista Beauty Helpline,” where we answer the beauty questions we get asked most frequently — and handle them from experts who really know their stuff.

We’ve all heard experts stress the importance of regularly cleaning your makeup brushes to keep them (and your own general hygiene) in top working order – but what about hair tools? Many of us rely on brushes, combs, hair dryers, and even hot tools like curling irons and flat irons every day and cling to them for years. With all that use, they’re bound to get a little grimy and gross; Product buildup, dead scalp skin cells, and lost strands can create many problems. So how are we supposed to treat?

Once we started thinking about this, we started asking ourselves many other questions: how often do these tools really need to be cleaned? What are the steps and techniques involved? Do I need special cleaners or cleaning tools? And finally, how do you know when a well-worn hairbrush or iron becomes a lost cause that needs to be replaced rather than just refreshed? We turned to two experts — professional hairstylists Bridget Brager (a T3 Ambassador) and Tiffany McRae (an Amika Pro educator) — for clarity.

“Due to Covid and health precautions being at an all time high, people are more alert and aware of cleanliness,” McRae told Fashionista, when asked why she thinks this topic is getting hot. fashion in the field of beauty at the moment. “I think the confusion comes from how contamination happens, what is a ‘clean’ tool and what isn’t.”

Brager agrees that lifestyle changes — and beauty routine shifts — during the pandemic are a contributing factor here. “I think we’ve all invested in new tools and experimented with fun new ways to up our beauty game since Covid hit, and that makes sense to me now that maybe we see the need for it. caring like never before,” she says.

The reality is that neglecting to properly clean your hair tools can have real downsides: “The risk of not cleaning your tools regularly is that it can seriously damage your hair,” says Brager. “In the long run, to keep your hair in the best shape possible, your tools need to be performing at peak performance. The only way to do that is if you take care of it and maintain it.”

Ahead, learn these experts’ tips for cleaning and maintaining all your hair tools, then get started and create some of your most impressive at-home hairstyles yet.

How important is it to clean hair tools regularly?

TM: “Regular cleaning of tools is important because you can be sure that residue from the tools is not added to the hair. This avoids disturbing the expected end results, as tools that are not cleaned regularly can make them less effective.

The reality is that every time you use a tool, it is no longer clean. However, it is up to you to clean it based on this fact or visible residue. If it is based on the fact that when you use your tool it is no longer clean, you can clean your hair tool after each use. However, if you prefer cleaning based on visual with product buildup, cleaning can be based on when you see a certain amount of residue.”

How often should different types of hair accessories be cleaned?

TM: “How often you clean a tool depends on how often you use it. If you use your hair dryer daily and you’re the only one using it, monthly maintenance is sufficient.”

BB: “Overall, aim to clean your tools and brushes every one to three weeks for best styling results. The more you use them, the more you may need to clean them.

For hair dryer vents, anytime you see lint or dirt building up, you need to be sure to clean them out for best performance.”

How do I clean my hair dryer?

BB: “If your vent comes off easily, soak it in warm water with Dawn dish soap or clarifying shampoo and scrub it with a toothbrush. If I’m on the go, I like to use a brush toothbrush and a Lysol wipe.”

TM: “Open the filter housing and use a hair dryer filter brush to remove the dust. If you use your hair dryer once a day, I recommend that you clean your hair dryer vent and filter once a day. once a month. A hair dryer’s filter is protected by a vent that you need to unlock to access the filter. Depending on the brand, look at their instructions on how best to clean your individual dryer.

How to properly clean a hairbrush? Are there different methods for cleaning a bristle brush versus a plastic brush?

BB: “For synthetic brushes and combs, you must clean [them] once every two weeks, depending on product usage or amount of dry skin buildup. If you see a buildup, that’s your sign to clean them for better use. Always remove hair after each use of a brush or comb to avoid knots and tangles.

For boar or natural bristle brushes, I recommend [cleaning them] once a week, depending on product use, dandruff or buildup of dry skin – cleanse at the first sight of any of these.

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If you have a brush with a wooden handle, fill a cup with your cleaning solution and soak the brush head for 10 minutes. Then begin the debris removal process. Lay all brushes bristle side down to drain and dry. To speed up drying time, use your hair dryer.”

TM: “If you notice an excessive amount of buildup, residue or strands of hair, you can remove the hair from the comb immediately after using it. Use a hair removal tool to remove all hair from your brushes and combs. Rinse with lukewarm water and air dry.

hair tools behind the scenes

What about curling irons or flat irons?

BB: “If you tend to use setting sprays or styling products, remember that products can bake onto your tool, causing uneven heat distribution. This can cause the tool to stick to your hair. Once you see it, remove it immediately.For best results, clean once a week.

While your hot tool is cooling, wipe the barrel or plate on a dry towel – when the tool is hot, baked-on grime is easier to remove. After the tool has cooled, use a warm, damp cloth to clean it thoroughly, then dry it completely.

TM: “When the iron is off and cool, apply a mixture of baking soda and water with a warm cloth to remove any buildup.”

Are there any special cleaners or tools I should use to maintain my styling tools?

BB: “There are hot tool products on the market that easily remove buildup. Hot Tools makes an easy to use spray. Or you can mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide until it becomes a paste and rub it into hot tool plates to easily remove product buildup and dead skin residue. Be sure to wipe off completely with a damp cloth.

For my combs, I use Barbicide, which is an antibacterial cleanser that you soak your combs, razors, and shears in. Barbicide tends to break down hair, so I usually use dish soap or Dawn clarifying shampoo on anything porous.

How do you know when a hair tool needs to be replaced rather than just cleaned?

TM: “A tool must be replaced when it no longer functions with the strength it had in the past.”

BB: “Scratches or dents on ceramic or metal are a huge red flag with irons. Often hot tools are encapsulated by ceramic or special metals to heat your hair evenly with the promise of less damage. You never want to put hot metal on your hair without protection – that can lead to significant damage.

If you find that your hair tools have frayed threads or the cord is badly knotted or split, replace them immediately. These are fire hazards.

Plastic that has been melted or defaced can interfere with styling and can melt on your hair. This happened to me before with a client before the Oscars!”

Are there certain ways to use or store hair tools after use to keep them clean longer?

BB: “T3 has some great heat resistant storage cases, which I think are awesome and incredibly stylish. These cases help keep your hot tools protected from the elements and organized, allowing a tool to last a long time and to operate efficiently.

I also suggest storing your hair tools low to the floor so they don’t fall over and shake or alter the mechanics of the tool causing them to short out and not perform to their potential.

Be sure to keep your bristle brushes away from hot tools so your bristles don’t melt. And make sure you don’t put anything on it because I can compromise the silk and your next blowout.”

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