The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

October 22, 2010

Perfect Plastic-Free Wooden Hairbrush

I’m in love with Life Without Plastic’s new plastic-free wooden hairbrush. Bald people, please don’t run away. This post has something for you too.

This is not the perfect hairbrush.

plastic hairbrush

My old beat up plastic brush has served me well for many years. I would continue to use it except that the little plastic balls on the ends of the plastic bristles are coming off, and without those balls, the bristles are murder on my hair. (Don’t worry. I have another use for the old plastic one. And it’s cute, as you’ll see at the end of this post.)

plastic hairbrush

So I went looking for another brush that wasn’t made of plastic and didn’t have little plastic balls to come loose in the environment. About a year ago, I bought this one.

This is not the perfect brush either.

boar bristle hairbrush

I used that boar bristle brush maybe twice. I wish I could have tried it in the store before bringing it home. In addition to the fact that it’s an animal product, and nowadays I’m trying not to support the exploitation of animals, it just doesn’t work for me. It barely gets through my hair, just kind of grazing the surface.

Other wooden brushes I found came packaged in plastic boxes. Sure, I could ask the companies to send me a brush without the plastic, but most likely that plastic box would simply be tossed out on the seller’s end.

This is the perfect hairbrush.

natural wood hairbrush with wood bristles

So I was excited when Jay from Life Without Plastic contacted me to let me know about his new completely plastic-free hairbrush made from wood and natural rubber. (If you purchase one via this link, I will receive a small commission to support my plastic-free mission.)

Jay shipped me one to try out. I didn’t have to ask for no plastic packaging because Jay doesn’t use it.  The bristles are made from wood, not plastic or animal sources, embedded in a natural rubber base. The brush is manufactured in Germany, so it comes quite a distance to North America, but I’m planning on having mine for a long time.

natural wood hairbrush with wood bristles

The brush works beautifully and actually feels like a cross between a comb and a brush. The wood bristles detangle well and give your scalp a massage at the same time. In fact, Jay told me that he uses it for just that purpose since he doesn’t have much on his head that needs to be brushed.  (Here is Jay’s round head along with mine at the Green Festival last year.)

Jay Sinha

So, what about that plastic brush that I’m not throwing away? I may not like it, but I know a couple of critters who do. (Only with supervision of course. It’s not food, Arya!)

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4 years ago

It’s possible that there was a translation issue, but I’ve contacted the manufacturer of these before and they told me the rubber base on all their brushes is synthetic…

5 years ago

I bought SHARCA bamboo hair brush on
This is the best brush that I ever bought . It is so gentle for my hair I recommend it !!!!

6 years ago

Interested in buying one, how do I purchase?

5 years ago

I bought SHARCA bamboo hair brush on
This is the best brush that I ever bought . It is so gentle for my hair I recommend it !!!!

8 years ago

Hi! What is the name of the brush from German or how do I order it?? I am very interested!

Ms schambach
8 years ago

Hi where can I get this brush, assuming yours is already taken I am really interested in purchasing one! Love all your posts!

8 years ago

where can I buy it?

9 years ago

I have been using the same wood/boar brush (the square men’s kind, I have short hair) since my high school years, over 35 years ago. Still in perfect shape with a nice patina to the wood. Yes,it has boar bristles but these are a by-product after the pig was killed for meat, no one raises or kills hogs for their bristles, so no need to waste them.

9 years ago

A pity Jay’s one uses beeswax. I’m looking for a vegan hair brush for thick wavy hair.

9 years ago

does a wooden brush work for tightly coiled really fine stranded but thick density afro american hair

9 years ago

did u consider ivory comb?

10 years ago

How is your brush holding up? I have a wooden brush (different brand) that needs replacing.

A little help please
11 years ago

But where can you BUY Jay’s brush? I can’t bloody well find it anywhere!

Beth Terry
11 years ago

Did you click the link in the very first paragraph? That is where you can buy it.

A little help please
11 years ago
Reply to  Beth Terry

Thank you! I was wondering if there is a stainless steel version of this, one that I can take in the shower with me? Something that I can easily wash when it gets dirty…

12 years ago

Thanks for the feedback, Jay. : )

12 years ago

I love my wooden combs… by ArtisTree and Sierra Legacy! No thank you to this brush… because the way it’s designed, the ‘bristles’ lift from the base and pull out my hair. Widu Long Bamboo Bristle Brushes work very well!

12 years ago

I love scrubbing all over with a scrub made from sugar and oil – olive oil, almond oil, whatever is handy. Make a paste, scrub all over, rinse off. Okay, you have to clean the shower out afterwards! but it is worth it – your skin feels super soft and supple. If I have some coffee grounds, I throw them in too.

Lynn Fang
12 years ago

I want a wooden brush! My favorite natural product has got to be baking soda – it is one ingredient you can use all over your house as well as your hair and body (as a natural deodorant). I’m totally in love with my baking soda + water shampoo and use it every time I shower. #2 would be soapnuts, for another versatile item. I’m all for multifunctional products!

12 years ago

I would love this brush. I feel kind of embarassed because I am just starting out on my quest to replace the mass-produced plastic and junk in my life….everyone else seems to be a bit farther….but my fav non-plastic item?

My home-made shopping bags. I made a ton and I love love love going to the store and being able to refuse to take plastic bags for produce or groceries. We just moved to a new area and I finally live close enough to a farmer’s market that I can skip stuff from t he store altogether.

Thanks for helping me to get motivated and for enlightening me!

12 years ago

JR Liggets shampoo bar FTW! I also am totally in love with baking soda in a cardboard box for a variety of uses.

Oh, and the Lifefactory water bottles are also excellent.

12 years ago

My favorite plastic free personal care product is baking soda.

12 years ago

Awesome! I so want one of those brushes! I also need a plastic-free razor! Any ideas?
For me, I use shampoos bars and natural soaps from the farmer’s market. I also use Natracare pads. And I don’t wear make-up, so that eliminates a lot of plastic!

Jay Sinha
12 years ago

Hello Beth and Blessed – and everyone!
Yikes, what a story, Blessed. I could feel the emotion when you said, ‘Oh’. Regarding your questions about cleaning the hairbrush, we have been using a cloth soaked in warm, soapy water, but I asked the makers of the brush directly to get the best answer – they are a wonderful family run company. They recommend using a small soft bristled brush to take off any residues like hair spray or conditioner or ‘nasty soapy gunk’, and then rinse the brush in cold water. The bristles are very strong and should not break when used normally. But hey, we all know life happens, and bristles may break. They can be replaced. We don’t currently carry extra ones, but we will a little further down the road. The natural rubber cushion is glued in so you cannot remove that for cleaning purposes. And they say it is really not worth it to try and replace the cushion if it wears out because it is glued in so well. But if you treat the brush properly, it should last a long time. To maximize the life of the brush it is best not to expose it directly to hot air (i.e., hair dryer) or sunlight. Such extremes of heat will weaken the natural rubber cushion.
Good luck, Blessed. Hope that’s helpful. What great comments. I got lots of ideas from reading about everyone’s faves.
Thanks for doing what you do, Beth.

12 years ago

My favourite platsitc free personal care products are my diva cups & cloth panty liners. Thanks for the opportunity! I’m entering for the wooden brush – I have long, straight, THICK hair & boar’s bristle doesn’t work at all on mine either.

12 years ago

I’ve been looking for a non-plastic brush without bristles for a while now. This one looks great! My favorite non-plastic products are my Liggett’s shampoo bar and my baking soda deodorant in a thrift shop glass cheese shaker.

12 years ago

Hi Beth!

My favorite non-plastic bathroom products are my jar of coconut oil, my regular washcloth, and my Diva cup. I know it’s silicone, but….definitely changed my life, and all the friends I have encouraged to get one. Thanks for all the tips and encouragement. I’m close to being “no poo” but think my incredibly thick, wavy hair could benefit from this lovely brush to distribute the oils!


Fiona Gregory
12 years ago

Does he have a non-plastic comb? Now that is hard to find.

Kacie Scanlon
12 years ago

It’s a combinations of plastic-free personal care products that I like best because they make me chuckle. I always joke that I shower in salad dressing because other than bar soap which I use for both hair and body (+shaving), I use vinegar to rinse my hair, honey to wash my face, alum salt as deodorant, and coconut oil as lotion and de-frizz cream. I just need to throw some lettuce into the mix somehow and I’ll be set!

12 years ago

Awesome giveaway!!

Fave product is my eco loofa for sure. Took a little while to get used to it though.

12 years ago

Perfect timing! I was just having a battle with my old brush this morning and thinking about how much I hate it! It’s all plastic but it’s been passed down the generations, or at least one generation, from my mom to me. But we have totally different kinds of hair (she has thick and curly, mine is thin and straight), so it’s never really been a good fit. I’ve kept using it because it’s in perfectly good shape, and I hate to be wasteful, but boy is it a drag!

Anyway since I have thin and straight hair, I’d be willing to try either brush. And if I win, I’ll find a nice curly-haired person who needs a brush, and they can have my old one.

My favorite plastic-free items are, as about seventeen other people have said, my lunapads! Periods are a way happier time with fleece than with plastic!

12 years ago

I’m so excited to see this post! For about 5 years I’ve been looking for a good, long lasting hair brush, not made in China and without animal hair. Right now, we’re using a collapsable brush I got from Clinque “bonus days” about 10 years ago (when I still used Clinique). I’m sure my 4 year old daughter is going to get to a point soon where that just will not do! :)

My favorite natural, plastic-free personal care product is the sugar scrub I learned to make via the comments in your “Flushing plastic down the drain” post!

12 years ago

I would love to try this plastic-free brush! I have really long (waist-length), thick hair. I’ve wanted a new brush for a while, but I am running into the problems you mention here – the choices are either plastic or animal-based. Now there’s another option, it seems! :) :)

My favorite natural, non-plastic personal care product is either Kirk’s Original Castile Soap or vinegar (in a glass bottle) for shampoo.

Tina Ambrosetin
12 years ago

I like the wooden toothbrush

12 years ago

By far, my homemade deodorant is my favorite plastic free personal care product. It’s super easy, it totally works, and it’s something I had never considered in my ‘previous life’

12 years ago

My favorite plastic-free personal care product is bar soap from the farmer’s market with virtually no packaging! I use it in a soap sock, and I use very little, so it lasts forever. This brush would be great for my hair. Most brushes tend to make my hair frizzy, and this seems like it would work perfectly without the frizz.

I’m also about to start using baking soda for deoderant (from the bulk bins at the natural foods co-op, to avoid excessive packaging).

Montessori Mama
12 years ago

I have learned so much from these comments! Thanks everyone! I love using cloth diapers for my baby and creatively eliminating plastics from my life. In my classroom, we use natural materials (usually from thrift stores) and as little plastic as possible, too! I get most of my recipes from http:/ but now I have a new website! I’m also in the market for a new plastic-free brush, so if I don’t win, I know what to get ;) I have to say that my favorite is having “Naked Lady” or clothing exchange parties with friends. We rotate clothes every couple of months and donate the rest to my favorite thrift store!

Amy A.
12 years ago

I haven’t moved over to a plastic-free brush yet, so this is a great giveaway for me! My favorite product is baking soda! You can do sooo much with it!

Stephanie Perry
12 years ago

i have been using cloth menstrual pads for years, and to top it off i make them myself with fabirci scraps that i acculumate from other projects, i always buy organic cotton/hemp and bamboo as wel for my sewing to reduce the impact on the envrironment through textile processing….before i started using cloth i was getting rashes….that also encouraged me to cloth diaper my children, and i also make my own diapers.

12 years ago

Oh, this looks like the perfect brush for wavy/curly hair! (I have been similarly burned by the ineffectiveness of the boar’s head brush. Felt like it was just patting me lightly on the head!)

My current favorite non-plastic personal care product is the baking soda rinse I’m using in lieu of shampoo right now. Seems to be helping my ahem, dandruff!

12 years ago

Awesome! I’ve been using a wooden handled brush for a long time, but the bristles are plasic. I’d love to try this one out. I guess I’d have to say Tom’s of Maine toothpaste is my favorite (mostly) plastic-free personal care product. Except I squeeze it onto my plastic toothbrush. :(

12 years ago

Beth, I think you might be right about the baking soda being better in hard water. I have really long, really thick, really fine hair that is actually very hard to work shampoo through, which was why I did not think the baking soda would work for me–I thought it would be hard to work through and rinse effectively. But I think I shall have to try, as that will be a more frugal long-term solution than those lovely shampoo bars anyway (which I can’t find made locally).

But if you get around to asking the people donating the wooden brush how THEY recommend cleaning them, please be sure to share! : )

12 years ago

I’d love this brush! Baking soda as deodorant is my favorite personal care product…

12 years ago

Also very timely, as I’m also looking for a new hairbrush. Like many others, I have to say just switching to regular, package-free bar soap was very revolutionary for me. At some point several years ago, it occurred to me that as I was using a shower gel, there were all these plastic bottles piling up. Switching to bar soap is simply one of the easiest ways to start consuming less plastic. I’ve really enjoyed Sodasan soaps.

12 years ago

I am also happy to have started using rags for menstrual products – I kept thinking that I needed a specially sewn pad-shaped, buttonable reusable pad, but out of impatience I just ripped up a few old shirts and socks, and they seem to serve well (although when I have time and access to a sewing machine, I’d like to sew a few better and thicker ones for heavier-flow days).

Ditto to Sandi Ratch – my body is a pretty awesome (non)product in itself. Now that I don’t shower every day, my skin is less dry and needs little to no lotion on a day-to-day basis (the good natural soap I use it less harsh than the old standards I used to use). When I washed my hair daily, I needed to use wax or pommade to make it less poofy – and then of course I had to wash it the next day because there was product in it. Now that I wash it less often, the natural oils and such make it so I can break that cycle. I was delighted to find Lush’s packaging free, vegan “squeaky green” bar shampoo (I’d tried baking soda, but it just didn’t seem to work as well).

I also stopped shaving entirely about a year ago – it took quite some time (and a very supportive partner) for me to accept that my body hair is not “gross” and undesirable – it’s a mammalian trait. So I can say that my body is the best plastic-free non-razor and non-shaving soap.

Like a few others here, I do have very short hair and don’t brush it – but I have a lovely eco-conscious sibling with long wavy hair, so I think the brush would be a wonderful and appreciated gift. [On that note, it was my sister that introduced me to Lush products – by getting me a gift with trial sizes of many products (shampoo, face wash, body soap, and moisture bar etc), all of which came in one little cardboard box.]

12 years ago

I would love to win this brush. As I read your post, I was brushing my hair with my own plastic hairbrush that is missing many of its plastic balls, and looks just as bad as the one in the picture. I’ve been wanting to replace it with a plastic-free and animal-free alternative.

My favourite product is Lunapads. I have used them for over 6 years and I love them.

12 years ago

I love the cat video! Our cat had its own little brush, and she looooooved to kind of brush her face on it herself when one of us held it still for her. She became high from it, it was so cute to see :-)

The big word on your new brush is German for “wooden peg”, by the way.

My favourite is using olive oil as a moisturizer after the shower. The oil is sold in glass, and it’s simply the best for my skin.

Sarah S
12 years ago

I started using baking soda to wash my face at night. Cheap, plastic free, and a great exfoliant.

Jordan Howard
12 years ago

My favorite natural care products is BURT’S BEES, from the honey almond lotion to the watermelon body wash.. oh and let me not forget the coconut hand creme and peppermint lip balm. :) Burt’s Bees continues to be the best chemical free personal care products!

This brush is amazing!! Would love to have it.

12 years ago

I use a wooden hairbrush (with wooden bristles and I think a rubber base and wooden handle) and love it. It does feel so good on the scalp. It’s called the Widu, and is made in Italy. The bristles do break occassionally, but at least our brush came with a few replacement bristles.

BUT a horrible thing happened. I was so proud to be going “no poo” and started using natural shampoo bars, and LOVED them. Never even had a greasy transition period while my scalp adjusted. And then, one day, everything went horribly wrong. The shampoo bar failed to lather. I could not get it worked through my hair, and it did not seem to rinse all the way out even with cider vinegar as a rinse, which left my hair feeling gunky and greasy at the same time. I could not figure it out, and kept trying. Finally I gave up and started using a “natural” (but in plastic bottle) shampoo, and it got better.

A month later, I was talking to my husband about my frustrations, and said something like, “I just can’t figure out what happened. It’s not like our water suddenly changed or something!” And at that, my husband got a guilty look on his face and admitted that it had–apparently the whole-house water softener we use had run out of potassium and so he had turned it off while we were visting family for the weekend, and never turned it back on.

Oh. So, I learned the hard way–shampoo bars and hard water don’t mix. Literally.

But here is why I am saying all this!

a) does this count as an entry in the contest, because we have 6 heads in the family and could use another brush!

b) the real tragedy of the story is what happened to our beautiful wooden hairbrush. It got the nastiest soapy gunk coated on all the bristles, which attracted all kinds of dirt and hair and fuzz before I even realized there was a problem and which has necessitated me cleaning them one. bristle. at. a. time. So, let that be a warning to other people who are thinking about experimenting with alternative hair products–wait to get your beautiful new brush until you have worked out the products effectively!