A Hair Above: Combs To Love


Last week, as I began paring down my belongings in preparation for an across-the-ocean move, I looked at my hairbrush with fresh scrutiny. The castoff of an egomaniacal, long-haired ex, it’s a hulking hot pink thing with lime green bristle tips. It's lasted through five moves and three states. While it does the job, the brush remains so profoundly ugly I’ve always hidden it in a drawer. And so, in a fit of de-cluttering, I tossed it.

But finding a sleek, smaller replacement wasn’t as easy as I expected. Every hairbrush at the drugstore promised something different—from a battery powered ionic generator (??) to patented frizzocontrol technology to obscenely high numbers of boar bristles. After considering Googling “how many boar bristles is too many?” I gave up and bought a comb.

My hair dries straight and relatively untangled, so a comb has never been part of my regimen. After handing over a Hamilton for my little Swissco number, I feel straight out of Little House on the Prairie, waiting for Pa to hitch up the wagon and make a Starbucks run. Sure, they didn’t have plastic then, but whatever. It’s a feeling.

A nice comb is the kind of thing our grandmothers had as younger women, and are probably still using; it’s an elevated essential worth investing in. Mason Pearson, makers of cult classic hairbrushes, also have a line of combs priced between $21 and $30. They're handcrafted in Switzerland and each tooth is cut one by one. On a 75 tooth comb, that's a lot of work.

For those who favor metal combs, the alliterative Chicago Comb Co. makes a number of luxe options ($35 to $55) that can be engraved—at no extra cost!!—with names, initials or short messages. Be warned, they use an antique engraving set lacking the number sign, so #badhairday is out. Aerin offers their golden comb in a handy travel size ($32), for those planning to ride off into the sunset in the back of an Uber with the hunky founder of a mattress startup...or something. Personally, I'm partial to the ivory-colored alternative.

Whenever I catch the newest member of my grooming crew sitting atop my dresser, I really do appreciate its simple beauty. Then I wonder why I kept that hideous pink monster around for so long.

Photos by Tom Newton

Put your new comb to good use with an extreme side part.