I wonder how my little niece Lauren will take the news that I discussed her hair with one of the stylists who did Kate Middleton's hair the day she became the Duchess of Cambridge (he also cut her bangs just before she announced she was expecting her first child with Prince William).
Lauren is seven, so she probably won't go all fan-girl like I did when I met Richard Ward (above) at The Shopping Channel the other day. But she'll be amused, I think, that I told him that all she has to do is lean back on the couch for her superfine hair to turn into a mass of tangles. It's true. In fact, Lauren's delicate, knot-prone hair is the reason I took notice of Richard Ward and the brush he and stylist/distributor Jessica Morello are selling in Canada exclusively via The Shopping Channel.
A few months ago, this odd-looking implement hit my radar. The Macadamia Hair No-Tangle Styler Brush ($15, select salons and Trade Secrets) is the first I'd seen of an emerging tangle-brush trend. Characterized by odd shapes, pliable soft plastic bristles in varying heights, and fun colours, these brushes promise easy and gentle detangling. I immediately squirrelled it away for my younger niece -- her delicate hair is already the bane of her mother's existence. It's impossible to keep tidy and knot-free, and combing out those tangles is, for Lauren as well as her mum, a painful process to be avoided at all cost. This brush changes things. It really does what it promises, coaxes tangles out gently and easily, without much tugging or pulling. Lauren loves it (as much as a seven-year-old can love a hairbrush).
Several weeks later I gave Lauren the Goody Tangle Fix ($10.99, Walmart, Target, Loblaws, mass retailers) to try in comparison. The bristles didn't feel as supple and smooth to me, so I wasn't surprised when my sister-in-law Pam confirmed that it pulls at her daughter's hair. The Macadamia Hair No Tangle Styler Brush is better.
Richard Ward's Tangle Angel ($27.95+S&H, theshoppingchannel.com) is a much fancier version that took him three years to develop. Launched eight months ago in the UK, it made its Canadian debut just this week and has a few points of difference. Unlike other detangling brushes (including the Tangle Teezer released seven years ago in the UK by Shaun P, who once worked at the Richard Ward Salon), the Tangle Angel has a sturdy handle so it stands up on a dresser or salon styling station. "I wanted to make a professional brush for my hairdressers, and have it sold only at salons," Richard told Beautygeeks. "Antibacterial and anti-static solution has been injected directly into the bristles, and you can use it with your blowdryer like a paddle brush. It's heat resistant to 150 degrees -- you can leave your hairdryer on it and it won't melt."
Available in three colours, including black for less girlie types (Richard has a black Angel), pink is the most popular, especially with the hairstylist's 12-year-old daughter Elysia. "She was an absolute nightmare, she always has long hair, didn't want to have her hair washed, hated brushing -- we used to have a fight every time we washed her hair. This changed everything," he told me. "I showed her the initial early molds of Tangle Angel, and she went crazy over it. She's a real girlie-girl, who loves her ballet and dancing."
The Tangle Angel has a sibling, a Shine Angel round blowdry brush, and will be joined in September by the Tangle Cherub, a travel-sized version. And that's not all. "A lot of people have said to me, 'Do you know what, I hope you don't mind, but I've been using it on my dog, and the dog loves it,'" laughs Richard. "I don't know anything about pets, I don't even have one, so we really researched. And all we could find in pet brushes were these horrible, perfunctory, metal wiry things. So now we're making the Pet Angel, in the shape of a paw."
Only the Tangle Angel is available in Canada, though. The Shine Angel, Tangle Cherub and Pet Angel can only be procured via nice friends willing to bring you souvenirs from a trip to London, England.
Tip to remember: whatever type of brush or comb you use, always start detangling from the ends of the hair. "Start from the bottom and work up, because then you're brushing the knots into nothing," says Richard.
Have you tried a detangling brush yet?
UPDATE Nov 12: Cranky Beauty Pants reviews the detangling brush that started this craze, the Tangle Teezer. And her perspective may make baby Prince George cry...