Pay Attention To How You Brush Pre-Ponytail For The Best Results (& To Prevent Damage)

Ponytails are arguably one of the easiest yet most versatile hairstyles to ever exist. Pulling your hair up with a hairband, scrunchie, or spiral hair tie can save the day when you're rushing out the door, give you a grace period if you haven't had the time to wash your hair, or keep your hair off of your neck during hot, humid times of the year. Then, like magic, ponytails can make a 180-degree turn for a classy nighttime look with some light curling to go with a sleek pulled-back look or a low ponytail that can be an instantly glamorous style. Throw in a braid along one side of your hair, twist your ponytail in on itself for a topsy-turvy fashion, or craft your own ponytail flair. No matter your ponytail of choice, be certain to pay attention to a few key tips for brushing your hair before pulling it up so you can minimize damage to your hair while avoiding a bad ponytail.

When it comes to brushing your hair, Real Simple recommends finding a brush designed for your hair type. For most hair types, you won't even want to introduce a brush until your hair is relatively dry post-shower, which is one of the most common hair care mistakes. The way you brush your hair is important, too. Avoiding a bad hair day also means avoiding a bad ponytail, so here are the details you should know for protecting strands and avoiding bad ponytails.

Brush your hair in sections

Yes, it's easy to roll out of bed and immediately grab a scrunchie to tie your hair back into a ponytail. It's also tempting to throw a hairband around your pulled-back locks when your hair is too tangled to deal with. However, if you're following the proper technique for brushing your hair before pulling it into a ponytail then you can stay on top of tangles altogether. You should avoid brushing from top to bottom at all costs, advises Healthy Women. Even though it may seem more efficient to brush from the root of your hair to the ends, you'll actually be creating extra work for yourself. When you start at the top and brush downward in one swoop, you're likely to increase hair breakage while creating knots and tangles as you merely push strands tighter together without actually detangling strands. This creates those frustrating, painful knots at the ends of your hair that can take significant time, patience, and detangling to remove.

To avoid a bad ponytail, tangles, and knots, brush your hair in sections from ends to roots. Section off about two or three inches from the ends of your hair and brush that section out in full, then move up another few inches and brush out that section alongside the first section. Work your way up until you've successfully created tangle-free hair from the ends to the roots, rather than from the roots to the ends. Then enjoy your smooth ponytail.

Avoid brushing and styling wet hair

It can be appealing to jump out of the shower, quickly brush your wet hair, and pull it up into a ponytail, but this is ultimately unhealthy for your hair. When hair strands are wet, they become more elastic and prone to breakage since they can be pulled more than dry strands are able to sustain. In other words, until your stretched-out wet strands dry, they're at risk of breaking, snapping, or becoming bent, per Healthline

For a ponytail that's pulled back when hair is wet, the elastic hairband or tie used to hold the hairstyle in place can also pose a risk of bending or damaging your locks. If you are truly in a rush and a ponytail seems like your only option, then invest in a quality wet brush with elastic or silicone bristles that can easily move through your wet hair without causing additional damage. But if you can wait, then letting your hair dry naturally before brushing it is the best way to go. Blow drying your hair is also an option, but routine exposure to artificial heat can also damage your locks. The best rule of thumb is to allow your hair to air dry when you can, but on days when that isn't possible then choose a wet brush and a low-heat blow dryer before you pull your locks up into a ponytail.