Published on January 24, 2019

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Illustration by Aaron Bengochea

Hairbrushes have a rather singular purpose, right? Detangling hair is their main job description. Perchance, perhaps they’re aesthetically pleasing as an added bonus. Don’t tell that to these minimalist, lightly colored wooden brushes though because they’re multipurpose: They can encourage hair growth, reduce stress, and help control excess sebum on the scalp (aka less oily hair).

What sets these wooden brushes specifically apart are their pins, usually made of natural hornbeam wood, which acts as little massage tools for the scalp. “The pins are designed to massage and gently stimulate without damaging follicles,” says Josh Rosebrook of the brushes in his namesake natural hair and skincare line.

The wooden pins are created at an optimal length to penetrate and massage the scalp, no matter your type or texture, and to feel incredibly relaxing and soothing—without damaging the hair follicles. “The pins also effectively pull the nourishing, natural scalp oil through the hair, while the hornbeam wood works a bit like a sponge to help absorb some excess sebum,” he says. They’re basically a masseuse in the palm of your hand.

Beyond making you feel fantastic while combing through your hair, these wooden brushes can work to stimulate lymphatic drainage and flow. “It’s healthy to massage your scalp for relaxation, stress reduction, follicle stimulation, and to encourage lymph flow,” says Rosebrook. Apparently, there are two sets of lymph nodes on the scalp—one group is about two inches behind the top of the ear, and the other is about one inch behind the middle of the ear. Those nodes connect to and run vertically behind the ear, and below the earlobe, and then down the neck. With that in mind, you’ll want to focus on massaging the entire scalp, but it’s especially beneficial to focus on those areas for an additional moment. “I suggest pressing the round pins of the brush all over the scalp, pausing and pressing a few times in these important areas to help encourage lymph drainage,” says Rosebrook.

Not only is it extremely relaxing, but it also helps circulate fluids and activates the follicles, which is key to healthy hair growth. “The hair is formed by the nutrients in the bloodstream, so the manual stimulation supports this natural process,” says Rosebrook.  

It’s ideal to do this daily, but even if you save it for right before washing your hair in the shower every few days, you’ll find it both beneficial and relaxing. Be sure to wash your brush once a month with soap and water to remove any potential buildup too.

Now that we’re aware that our usual brushes are sleeping on the job, here are a few wooden-pinned brushes that would be happy to replace your standard comb.

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Josh Rosebrook Wooden Brush Set, $35

Not all wooden brushes are created equal, as proved by this beauty. Handcrafted from Forest Stewardship Council–certified ash wood from France, with natural hornbeam wood pins, this brush is as sustainable as it is effective and beautiful. Even the white stain on the brush is biodegradable, nontoxic, and vegetable-derived. It has created by Rosebrook specifically to achieve these scalp massaging benefits, so it’s perfect for this lymphatic drainage technique.

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Courtesy of Muji

Muji Wooden Hair Brush, $20

While you can’t find this brush from Muji online, it is in stores. The sleek, chic version comes at a great price point and has more pins than usual, so you can get a thorough scalp massage quicker.

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Courtesy of Iris Hantverk

Iris Hantverk Hair Brush, $25

This Swedish-made brush is composed of beech wood and has a really wonderful backstory. Each brush is labored and handmade by visually impaired craftspeople, and they’re made precisely as they were a hundred years ago.

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