Is a Boar Bristle Brush Good or Bad for Your Hair?

Submitted via the Facebook page via private message:

Why do you advise readers to stick with a conventional plastic brush for hair health, instead of a boar bristle brush? I have read many places that boar bristle helps grow long healthy hair by spreading oil from the scalp along the strand. Boar bristle brushes are also nice because they remove loose hairs and clean out dust and lint. Are they actually bad for your hair?


Dear Kendra,

You are probably referring to my earlier post, Which Hair Brush is Best for My Hair?  Actually, I do recommend boar bristle brushes for the hair, as they do exactly what you said:  Distribute the hair and the natural oils of the scalp along the hair shaft, as well as pull dirt or dust particles off the hair.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using a boar bristle brush:

1.)  Choose a boar bristle brush based upon the spacing between the bristles.

Flat hairbrush

Narrow spaced brushes are best for thick hair. This is because less hair is grabbed with each stroke.

Easy to remember:  The thinner the hair, the thicker the space needs to be between the bristles!

Boar bristles are lighter and finer than nylon bristles, so they move more quickly and easily than nylon bristles, creating more volume with every stroke.  This is a beautiful thing for those with fine to medium hair, but a nightmare for those with thick or curly hair.

So the key for those with thin hair is to use a brush with wide spacing, so more hair can be grabbed with each stroke.  Try the Scalpmaster 12 Row Wire Bristle Brush #125 ($19.99,  Those with thick hair, on the other hand, want narrow spacing so less hair is grabbed with each stroke – and less volume is introduced.  Try the Sephora Collection Boar Detanging Brush (shown right, $24.00,

2.)  If your hair is short and oily, skip the boar bristle.


Nylon ball-tipped brushes are best for those with shoulder-length or shorter hair, as the ball tips provide resistance that prevents static. But these tips just get caught in longer hair. (Photo credit: chrisinplymouth)

Sure, I love a boar brush.  But if your hair is short (shoulder-length or above), you’d be better off with a nylon ball-tipped brush.  These brushes have more resistance as they travel through the hair, so they will introduce less static to your hair, allowing you to maintain your cute little bob or whatever ‘do you are currently rocking

Actually, round, spiral brushes are great for those with short and/or layered hairstyles: Use one with a 1″ barrel to recreate a fresh-looking hairstyle, every time you blow dry your hair. An excellent one is the Conair 88014 Tourmaline Round Brush ($5.99,, which holds the heat better than many other varieties.

Those with longer hair, on the other hand, may prefer non-ball-tipped, straight boar brushes, as these tend to get tangled in the hair less. I once got a round, ball-tipped nylon brush stuck in my hair…but that’s another story…:-)

3.)  The Longer the Hair, the Bigger the Brush.

silver hairbrush

The longer your hair, the bigger the paddle of your brush should be. (Photo credit: Joanna Bourne)

Similarly, let’s consider the fact that those with long hair shouldn’t use ball-tipped brushes.  That means their brush introduces static into their hair with each stroke.

How to combat this?  Use a bigger brush!  Not only does this prevent static, but it also eliminates the probability that you will break your hair, as fewer strokes are needed.

4.)  Cost matters.

Few people disagree: Some of the best hairbrushes in the world are from Mason Pearson.

A high-end boar bristle brush is worth it.  Most cheap boar bristles brushes contain bristles from domesticated boars in China and Japan.  And as you might expect from a boar spending his days chillaxin’ indoors, he has much softer bristles than his wild, untamed cousins.  But the softer bristles won’t distribute oils through the hair as well as the harder, wilder ones.

For this reason, a great investment is a boar bristle brush like one from Mason Pearson (starting at $67;  The company is well-known for making world-class hair brushes; in fact, Princess Diana was known for carrying one.  That said, keeping things from a scientific perspective here, high-quality boar bristle brushes are well worth it for both efficacy as well as durability – the brush should last a lifetime with proper care and cleaning.

Bottom Line

When buying a boar-bristle brush, remember the following rules:

  • The thinner the hair, the wider the spacing between bristles needs to be.
  • The longer the hair, the bigger the brush needs to be.
  • If your hair is shoulder-length or shorter, forgo the boar bristle in place of a round nylon ball-tipped brush, which has greater resistance and introduces less static into your hair.  (And, as a bonus, is great for styling).
  • Cost matters.  Invest in a high-quality boar bristle brush.


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Spotlight On: Acetyl Hexapeptide-3

iQ Natural Line Serum contains 20% argireline (acetyl hexapeptide-3), the highest we’ve seen in any product thus far.

As per reader request, our Ingredients Glossary is back!  We’re kicking it off with acetyl hexapeptide-8, a neuropeptide sold under the commercial name of Argireline or AHA-3, which is used as a muscle relaxer.

What It Is, What It Does

Argireline is also found in Hydroxatone, advertised as “an alternative to Botox.” We wouldn’t go that far, but it is a solid product that works better for some people than others. We suspect it is due to differing thickness in skin.

You may remember a few years back when there were lots of radio commercials advertising Hydroxatone as an “an alternative to Botox”.  Well, the main active ingredient was none other than acetyl hexapeptide-3.  Argireline works on the same muscle-to-nerve connections as BotoxTM, which makes sense, given that it is actually a shortened peptide sequence of BotoxTM.  Argireline raised eyebrows literally and figurately after a 2002 study found wrinkles were reduced in depth by 30% when it was injected into the skin, similar to BotoxTM.

What Science Says


Botox is an injectible, and argireline has only been shown to have effects like Botox when it is similarly injected. As a topical treatment, some people exhibit facial freezing/firmness, others do not. Most, however, have some reduction in wrinkles over time. (Photo credit: AJC1)

Unfortunately, while injections of argireline produced similar results to BotoxTM, argireline in skin care creams have never been proven to diffuse through the top layers of skin to reach the crucial muscle-nerve connections like injectable BotoxTM.

Despite this, I have seen some people have wrinkle-reducing results after using creams that contain argireline.  In fact, a study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science showed a 10% concentration of Argireline reduces wrinkles by 30% over a 30-day period.

On the other hand, unfortunately, some people do not have any results at all after using argireline.  It is likely argireline may diffuse through thinner skin and have a greater effect than in those with thicker skin, as I have noticed greater results in older people.  Still, the only way to know is to try.

Is it Safe?

English: Standing on a box to interview uniden...

This woman has lovely facial contours with no sagging. Despite internet rumors, argireline or Botox will NOT cause facial sagging. In fact, studies show Botox actually stimulates collagen production and facial firmness over time.

No studies to date have been directed specifically at argireline safety.  However, despite what you may read elsewhere, argireline will not lead to permanent facial sagging.  Though argireline temporarily inhibits the neurotransmitter neuroepinephrine (like Botox does), the effects of topically-applied argireline are temporary.  Even the most concentrated dose of topical argireline on the market today is not likely to last for more than 8 hours at a time.

Furthermore, even injectible Botox is found to stimulate collagen production due to stretching of the skin, which increases skin firmness over time, effectively fighting sagging (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2008).  This effect is even more pronounced when Botox is used in conjunction with a stimulating filler treatment like Sculptra.

Recommended Products with Argireline

Of those creams with argireline, your best skin care bet is IQ Natural Argireline, with 20% argireline.  I can’t guarantee that it will work for everyone, unfortunately, but it has the highest concentration of argireline of any cream I have seen on the market thus far.

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Dr. Cynthia Bailey: How Skin Ages – And the Best Skin Care to Prevent It

About the author: is proud to introduce Dr. Cynthia Bailey, M.D. to our writing team.  Dr. Bailey, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist based in Sebastopol, CA (the northern California wine country).  Over the past twenty years, she has seen over 13,000 patients.  She is the owner of Dr. Bailey Skincare and Dr. Bailey, where she recommends products and runs her own blog.  For more, please visit our About page.

Dr. Cynthia Bailey, M.D.

Dr. Cynthia Bailey, M.D.

One of the biggest concerns many people have as they age is the negative affect it will have on their skin. As much as we might like to avoid it, we’re genetically programmed to age. Fortunately, the affects don’t have to be so apparent if you take the proper steps to retain healthy skin.

Taking precautions and being proactive in your skin care can help ensure you age gracefully. But when should you start? At 20? 30? When does the skin begin to undergo the aging process and when should we being taking steps to minimize the damage? Be prepared to start young.

What happens when you age?

English: Skin layers

Skin aging is the result of intrinsic and extrinsic processes. Intrinsic are natural processes largely out of our control, whereas extrinsic are controllable factors like diet, cigarette smoking, and sun exposure.

There are two types of aging: Intrinsic aging — caused by the natural aging process; and extrinsic aging — caused by external factors like diet, cigarette smoking, and sun. Both of these affect the aging process (Skin Ageing). Your skin changes with passing years making it more susceptible to many of the issues we associate with age. (MedlinePlus)

  • The epidermis thins despite retaining the same number of cells.
  • Melanocytes (cells that hold pigment) start to decrease, and the remaining cells expand.
  • The connective tissue alters, which changes elasticity.
  • The glands produce less oil.
  • Blood vessels becomes more fragile.

Essentially, as you age, skin becomes more delicate and less able to repair itself. This can lead to sagging and wrinkles, discoloration, sun damage, and broken blood vessels, which is why it’s essential to take excellent care of your skin.

When do you start to age?

English: 95 y.o. woman holding a 5 month old b...

The skin is always aging, whether you are 5 months old or 95 years old. The key is to take care of your skin on a preventative level right away. Dr. Bailey recommends retinoids, vitamin C, and glycolic acid products.

There isn’t an exact moment when skin begins to age visibly, because much of that is dependent on lifestyle. For example, if you had a childhood spent in the sun without protection, you may begin to show aging in your late 20s and early 30s (Press Democrat). If you have been vigilant about factors like sun exposure and diet, your skin might not show extensive signs of aging until your 50s or 60s.

This is why it’s so crucial to take care of your skin on a preventative level right away. So, no matter what age you are now, you should be taking steps for an anti-aging regime. While that might not mean an intensive regime and dermatological procedures, people of every age should start keeping their skin looking young.

How do you prevent aging?

KEY BISCAYNE, FL - MAY 10:  Lia Calavro (L) an...

Sunscreen is the most important beauty product, whether you’re laying on the beach or indoors all day. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

It’s impossible to stress how important sunscreen is in keeping skin looking young. UVA and UVB sunrays are potent factors for accelerated skin aging all-year-round, not just in summer, which means using sunscreen every day. You need something with an SPF of about 30 to ensure limited sun exposure. But, SPF is only half of what you should look at because it only blocks sun-burn-causing UVB rays and not wrinkle-causing UVA rays. For that, micro zinc oxide is crucial because it’s the only ingredient that completely blocks UVA rays. When applying, you should use about a shot glass for the body — changing the amount to account for how much skin is covered by clothing — and about a third of a teaspoon for the face — once again changing to account for the amount of exposed versus covered skin.

What about sunscreen?  How much do I need?

A teaspoon. The length is about 14 cm.

How much sunscreen to use? Dr. Bailey says 1/3 of a teaspoon for the face.

The most precise “official” recommendation you’ll ever hear about sunscreen is a teaspoon for the back and the neck, but this is based upon a bald head and neck.  Most people have hair on their scalp and often down the back of their neck, so you don’t need quite this much.  The percent of body surface area for the human face varies depending on body size, but the head (including scalp and neck) as a percentage of body is about 9%.  Considering you need a shot glass (6 teaspoons) for your entire body, I tell people about 0.6 teaspoons for a bald head and neck, and about 0.3 teaspoons (1/3 of a teaspoon) for the face alone.   I’ve done it, and it feels right.

How do I smooth out wrinkles?


Peptides or not? Like Dr. Baumann, Dr. Bailey is not sure peptides work quite yet.

In addition to this, you can also begin using products designed to increase collagen production, which will help smooth out wrinkles. The sooner you start doing this the better it will work for your skin. The best ingredients for doing this are prescription tretinoin cream, glycolic acid products, and Vitamin C. There’s also preliminary evidence that new peptides might work to do this, but it’s not certain.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re still youthful looking or you have a few fine lines, it’s always a good time to start considering taking care of your skin in terms of aging. Take both preventative and proactive steps to ensure you stay young looking. You’ll be glad you did.

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Liposonix: Cost, Reviews, Results

After one liposonix session


Let us discuss the Quest for a Perfect Body.

We’ve talked before about CoolSculpting and the use of cold to freeze off fat cells before, but that stubborn last inch that just won’t budge has a new enemy to fear now. First we attacked it by freezing, now we turn up the heat! Enter LipoSonix.

LipoSonix® by Solta Medical

Solta was incorporated in 1996 as Thermage, Inc., and commercially launched its first aesthetic device, Thermage, in 2002. It went on to acquire many great technologies over the years, the last addition being LipoSonix.

LipoSonix was already being used outside the USA for a while. Two generations of the device have already been made, with the second generation approved by the FDA in 2011 for marketing in the USA for waist circumference reduction. The second generation provides a larger treatment area, promising faster treatment, less pain and side effects, and better results.

The Science

Watch a video on how LipSonix works

LipoSonix uses high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). This technology has been around for fifty years, and is being used in treating tumors and atrial fibrillation; only very recently has it been used in body contouring. LipoSonix uses very high ultrasound energy that is focused about 1-2 cm below skin surface. This leads to the generation of heat in the fat cells, causing their destruction. The heat is generated by shear forces that cause increased friction between the fact cells(1). At this depth only fat cells are destroyed without damaging the skin or surrounding tissue.

A study (2) using a LipoSonix prototype in 2006 found that the HIFU beam is so specific that it only heats the area it targets, leaving the surrounding fat beyond that area, the skin above it, and the abdominal cavity below it, within normal range (no thermal scattering). Histology done on treated and surrounding areas confirmed that change is only limited to the targeted zone. It is remarkable how focused this energy is; this technology is so specific that, unlike Radiofrequency for instance, it does not need cooling of the skin while at work. The skin is not substantially affected by LipoSonix.

The target temperature is reached very rapidly (1-2 seconds), leading to thermal coagulative necrosis and fat cell death. This stimulates the body’s healing response to attract macrophages that take in the damaged fat cells and dispose of them like they would any other foreign body.

As for how the released fat affects the body, it’s the same as with CoolSculpting: the fat does not raise lipid levels in blood stream or affect liver function tests.

How Hot?

About 60 to 70 degrees Celsius (140 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit), restricted to the targeted area with no thermal scattering. Surrounding areas (skin, fat, abdominal cavity) remain within normal body temperature.

The Experience

LipoSonix treatment handle

  • Informed consent and before and after comparison parameters are obtained, including pictures, weight, and waist circumference.
  • After lying down, the doctor marks your abdomen using a washable marker. This divides the treated area into sites for placement of the treatment head.
  • The treatment head is placed on the previously marked areas. In each area the treatment head is held still while the transducer, delivering the HIFU, moves automatically to deliver the energy. The device then indicates to the physician when it is time to move to the next area.
  • You may feel warmth, cold, prickling, tingling, discomfort or pain in the area treated.
  • The procedure takes approximately one hour.


The End Result

LipoSonix promises are bold – 1 treatment, 1 hour, 1 size smaller* ™.

Men and women alike can enjoy the benefits of this procedure

Men and women alike can enjoy the benefits of this procedure

You will start noticing change about 8 weeks post procedure, but the final results can be seen 3-6 months post procedure. At that point, if you so desire, the procedure can be repeated. After one session, you can expect to lose between 1 and 4 inches in the waistline (or go down 1 or 2 sizes).


Depending on your location and the area treated, cost can be anywhere between 1,500 and $4,500! 


These are very comparable to CoolSculpting, in terms of being non-invasive with minimal pain, minimal downtime, and end result.

Side effects

  • Redness: for a few hours.
  • Swelling: for a few days. You may be advised to wear pressure garments or to not exercise for a day or two so that the swelling does not worsen.
  • Bruising: for a couple of weeks.
  • Dysesthesia (abnormal sensation): for a few weeks.

Suitable Candidates

  • In good health.
  • BMI < 30.
  • You can “pinch an inch” of fat in the area to be treated.
  • Realistic expectations.


  • Not for obese patients (BMI > 30). Does not help in weight loss.
  • Not a replacement for liposuction surgery.
  • Not intended for:
    • Patients who are pregnant.
    • Patients who have bleeding disorders, on anticoagulants or platelet inhibitors.
    • Patients who have electrical implants.
    • Patients who have a hernia.
    • Patients previously treated with lipolysis, liposuction or surgery in treated area.
    • Tattoos and scars in treated area (to avoid unpredictable acoustic effects). (3)

Bottom Line

LipoSonix is a new and very promising method for body contouring. Its benefits have been established by many studies, and many patients are already very satisfied with its results.



  1. ML. Jewell et al. Evaluation of a Novel High Intensity Focused Ultrasound DeviceL Preclinical Studies in a Porcine Model. Aesthetic Surgery Journal 2011; 31 (4): 429-34.
  2. PF. Fodor et al. The Precision of HIFU for Non Invasive Body Sculpting: In Situ Measurement of the HIFU Treatment Zone within Adipose Tissue. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2006; 118 (4): 161-2.
  3. KM. Coleman et al. Non Invasive External Ultrasonic Lipolysis. Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery 2009; 28 (4): 263-7.
  4. E. Gadsden et al. Evaluation of a Novel High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Device for Ablating Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue for Non Invasive Body Contouring. Aesthetic Surgery Journal 2011; 31 (4): 401-10.

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