What is that grey lint on your hairbrush?

February 2021 | 5 minute read

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on whatsapp


Clean beauty industry maven Mary Futher founded kaia naturals® after spending 20 years working for global beauty companies. Mary now shares her weekly column, delivering a quick fix, home remedy, or clean beauty product suggestion for a variety of human discomforts that some may find too embarrassing to discuss.

Struggling with Oily Hair?

Struggling with oily hair is so common that most who suffer from excess scalp oil, do not investigate the reasons why hair remains greasy, even shortly after washing it. Having oily hair is more than the stereotypes of poor hygiene or natural causes. If you can relate, this is something you should address as there is one tool we use on our hair and scalp daily, that may play a bigger role in causing your oily hair than you would imagine.

How Dirty is Your Hairbrush?

Have you ever looked at your hairbrush and wondered what the grey lint residue is that builds up around the bristles? Most people would assume this to just be old hair, because what else would you find in a hairbrush? Here is what really is in your hairbrush… 

The residue that you see in your hairbrush that resembles grey lint is dead skin cells, along with old, matted hair and hair product residue. This creates bacteria and your hairbrush slowly becomes more and more contaminated. 

The University of Arizona released a study that reported hairbrushes house around 3400 bacteria colonies per square inch. If that does not gross you out enough, let us compare the average hairbrush to a typical bathroom sink which houses about 2700 colonies per square inch.

Keep in mind, when your hairbrush is filled with old hair and bacteria, you are combing that same bacteria through your hair and redistributing it on your scalp. Although this bacterium may not be detrimental, it can lead to scalp odor, skin irritations and most commonly – oily hair! 

A Haircare Tip from Me to You

Women on average spend $55,000 on their hair and hair products during their lifetime. One way to reduce buildup in your hairbrush and on the scalp is to start investing in clean beauty products that are not heavy and do not weigh down the hair and leave residue on your hair tools.


I developed the takesumi detox overnight dry shampoo with product buildup on the scalp in mind. On top of being a natural dry shampoo that is safe from aerosol and harsh chemicals, the powder is made form micronized rice starch which is less likely to build up on the scalp and in your hairbrush while at the same time, keeping your hair oil free!  

Two Ways to Clean Your Hairbrush

Now that we know cleaning our hairbrush is essential, there are two ways you can go about it. The Quick Sanitize works best for those with chronic oily hair as it can be done daily to help lessen the buildup on both the brush and the scalp. The deep clean works for any other hair type and should be done monthly to get rid of any bacteria and help keep the scalp healthy.  

The Quick Sanitize 

Step 1: Remove the hair from the brush. For a paddle brush, remove the hair from the bristles using any long stick or object to not disturb the bristles. For a round brush, pull the hairs out from the bristles and use scissors to cut the remaining hair out of the brush. Each time you use your hairbrush, remove any hair that it collects. Dispose of the hair.

Step 2: Sanitize the hairbrush after the hair removal using a sanitizer. Spraying the brush with 70% isopropyl alcohol or simply mix one part water and one part apple cider vinegar and spraying that recipe onto your brush will disinfect.

Step 3: Place the hairbrush with the bristles facing down and allow the hairbrush to dry overnight fully before using again.

The Deep Clean

Step 1: Remove the hair from your brush as you would for The Quick Sanitize.

Step 2: Fill a bowl with warm water and a few drops of natural shampoo and dip your hairbrush into the soapy water, swirling the brush around to ensure that all bristles are coated. Be sure not to submerge the hairbrush as it may cause damage to the base and handle.
Step 3: Take a clean, unused toothbrush, wet it, and put few drops of the natural shampoo on top. Using the toothbrush, clean around the bristles and the surface of the hairbrush.
Step 4: Rinse off your brush with clean water and shake off excess water. Spray your hairbrush with a sanitizer of your choice and place bristle down overnight on a towel to dry.

armpit odor solution


Better Together | underarm bar + natural deodorant

Eliminates stubborn armpit odor using the power of apple cider vinegar, salt, and activated charcoal 

Recommended Reads

The Secret Remedy For Scalp Pain

A sensitive scalp originates from inflammation coming from blood vessels beneath the area. This floods the nerves within your hair follicles, causing pain and sensitivity. And though there are many conditions that could lead to scalp pain – such as infections, headaches, and skin disorders – one factor that is often overlooked is…

Read More »
How to Hide Thinning Hair Naturally

How to Hide Thinning Hair Naturally

Believe it or not, hair thinning is a common problem for many women of all ages, and it’s usually caused by stress, tight ponytails, menopause, and even using harsh products and treatments as well. Here are a few easy tips to help you cover up hair thinning that you may feel self-conscious about!

Read More »

Join the community

Subscribe to our blog below to stay in the know on all taboo topics and bodily discomforts.