How to Comb Thinning Hair? Techniques to Minimize Hair Loss During Styling

Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

When hair starts to thin, it can become more fragile and prone to breakage. This makes the combing process require more care and caution to avoid causing excessive hair loss. So what’s the proper technique for combing thinning hair?

How to Comb Thinning Hair

Comb thinning hair very gently using a wide-tooth comb, slowly working through small sections from the ends up to the roots to avoid ripping, tugging, or causing stress to fragile hairs.

Use a Wide-Tooth Comb

Choose a comb with widely spaced, rounded plastic teeth. This glides through hair more gently than fine combs.

Work in Small Sections

Divide hair into four sections and comb just one at a time so hairs don’t tangle and knot.

Start at the Ends

Gently work the comb from the ends upward towards the roots to untangle without pulling.

Rinse with Cold Water

Finish combing only after conditioning and rinsing with cool water to seal the cuticle.

What to Avoid When Combing Thinning Hair

Certain combing mistakes can aggravate hair loss. Avoid:

Fine-Tooth Combs

Thin combs scratch the scalp and get stuck in fragile strands.

Combing Wet Hair

Never comb strands when dripping wet as they are most prone to breakage then.

Harsh Detangling

Don’t rip through knots as this can pull out hair.

Combing All Sections Together

Combing it all at once stresses wide areas of hair unnecessarily.

How to Be Gentler When Combing

Here are some extra tips for combing thinning hair as gently as possible:

Use a Pre-Shampoo Treatment

Coat strands with oil before washing to reduce tangling during combing.

Apply Conditioner

Only comb hair after cleansing and conditioning to protect strands.

Always Start At the Ends

Never begin combing at the roots as this can rip hair out.

Hold the Comb Horizontally

This puts less tension on strands than vertical combing.

Combing Techniques to Avoid Traction Alopecia

When arranging thinning hair, also avoid these styling mistakes:

Tight Hairstyles

Don’t pull hair tightly back into ponytails or buns every day.

Constant Teasing

Repeated backcombing or teasing strains the roots.

Aggressive Brushing

Don’t brush back hair harshly or sweep it straight up.

Heavy Hair Accessories

Avoid bulky clips, ornaments or extensions that pull on strands.

When to See a Dermatologist

See a doctor if your hair continues to shed excessively despite gentle combing and styling techniques. Specialized treatments can get increased thinning under control.

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