Wooden combs vs. Plastic combs – which is better? Did you know by changing your comb, you can minimize hair problems?
But which is better – a plastic or a wooden comb?
You can easily find plastic combs all over the market nowadays – they’re a dime a dozen. But how do they measure up to wooden combs? Here’s what you need to know.
Wooden Combs vs Plastic Combs – Table of Contents
- Plastic Combs Are Made From Fossil Fuels
- Plastic Combs Cause Static, Frizz & Tangles
- Plastic Combs Aren’t Healthy For Your Hair
- Plastic Breaks Easily
- Plastic Comb Advantages
- Are Wooden Combs Expensive?
- You Might Need to Buy Wooden Combs Online
- Find Sustainably Sourced Wooden Combs
- All of the Wooden Comb Advantages
Plastic comb disadvantages
These are the disadvantages to using a plastic comb – and in my honest opinion, their cons hands down outweigh their pros.
1. Plastic Combs Are Made From Fossil Fuels & Hard to Recycle
For starters, plastic combs are just that – plastic.
To make plastic, we must extract crude oil from the earth (an unsustainable process in and of itself), then manufacture it into plastic in fossil fuel powered factories that also pollute.
To top it all off, most plastic combs come packaged in excessive plastic anyway. If we’re going to break up with fossil fuels, that includes ditching plastic in all its forms – yes, even combs are a part of that.
To make matters worse, only 9% of plastic actually gets recycled. Since its creation in the 1950s, we’ve generated over 8.3 billion tons of it (and counting).
Truth is, plastic combs are likely too small to properly recycle. It would get lost at a recycling facility.
A lot of people believe that any kind of plastic can be recycled, but this is false.
There are 7 main types of plastic (called resins) and depending on your state’s laws of recycling, certain resins won’t be accepted. As a general rule, plastic #1 and #2 are the most widely recyclable plastics – but even this depends on if there’s a market for them.
Recycling is an industry. Once all the plastics are sorted and disinfected, they’re put into bales. Someone needs to buy these bales in order for them to actually get recycled. If no one buys them, they don’t get recycled.
For that reason, and the mere fact plastic combs just wouldn’t make the recycling cut (based on their size), wooden combs are the better alternative material wise.
Wooden combs can be composted at the end of their life, whereas plastic combs will take hundreds of years to break up into microplastics that only do further harm to our environment.
It is important to note where the wood comes from on your wooden comb. Making sure the wood is sustainably sourced is equally important. We sell pure neem wooden hair combs that are responsibly sourced.
2. Plastic Combs Cause Static, Frizz & Tangles
Plastic combs aren’t exactly gentle on the hair. They tend to create tangles at the end of the stroke that knot.
Often times they may even hurt your scalp or break and damage your hair. Not sure about you but plastic combs are always super pointy and kind of unpleasant to use.
You wind up poking your head a lot and scraping your scalp more than anything else.
Wooden combs, on the flip side, are carbon based just like your hair, skin and scalp.
Your hair and wood have a negative electrical charge, which means the wooden comb actually helps your hair lay down and gives it a smooth, glossy look.
Wood carries a negative ionic charge that matches your hair, which helps smooth your locks and tame flyaway strands. It always helps seal in valuable moisture.
3. Plastic Combs Aren’t Healthy For Your Hair
Let’s not forget – plastic combs are made from fossil fuels.
Plastics release way more toxic chemicals over time than we previously thought, according to a new study, which hurts both people and the planet.
And is that what we really want to touch our hair and scalp every day?
Combing hair with wood not only feels better (and you’re less likely to hurt your scalp), but it’s healthier for you too.
A wooden comb easily distributes natural oils from the scalp throughout the entire hair strand.
Plastic combs can’t do this properly because your hair’s oils stick to them instead of getting distributed. By switching to a wooden comb, your hair will be much less greasy looking and have a healthy shine and bounce to it.
4. Plastic Breaks Easier Than Wood
Let’s be real – a flimsy plastic comb is not made to last.
My dad’s plastic combs are missing several teeth. And sometimes the handle even breaks. They’re nowhere near as durable as a wooden comb.
It’s not surprising when you think about how cheaply most of them are made.
Wooden combs are incredibly durable and will last you years without any of the teeth breaking.
Our pure neem wood comb has two sizes for your convenience: Fine tooth and wide tooth comb. And when it’s at the end of its life, you can just compost it. It will return to the earth.
Plastic combs must be tossed in the trash where they’ll sit in a landfill for hundreds of years – not exactly sustainable.
5. Plastic Comb Advantages
There aren’t many advantages to using a plastic comb over a wooden comb, but I can think of a few.
- Plastic combs are easier to find and therefore more accessible. You’ll likely find one in your local CVS and beauty store quicker than you will a wooden comb.
- Plastic combs are likely cheaper than a wooden comb. That’s largely to do with the fact it’s mass produced and not hand crafted.
- Plastic combs are reusable, at the least. They may not be as durable as wooden combs, but they’re not single use either to be fair. Treat it right, and it may last you for years too.
Disadvantages to a wooden comb
Time to look into wooden combs. Let’s start with the cons.
There are a few disadvantages to buying a wooden comb, so we have to discuss them. But they aren’t nearly as numerous as that of a plastic comb.
6. Wooden Combs Can Be Expensive
Let’s face it – Wooden combs can be pricy. That’s because wood is more expensive than plastic for mass-manufactured items. You can’t source a large volume of aesthetically identical pieces, making it harder to produce identical items.
However, this means your wooden combs will be incredibly unique which only adds to their overall value and beauty.
At least in my book! And it’s important to note you’re probably helping fund someone’s livelihood when you buy a handcrafted wooden comb over a mass-produced plastic one.
And that’s always worth supporting, if you have the means to.
7. You Might Need to Order Your Wooden Comb Online
Because wooden combs aren’t in as high demand as plastic combs (which are still the norm as of right now), you might have a harder time finding one in stores.
That means you might have to resort to ordering one online. This means wooden combs aren’t as accessible, making them harder to find.
And when something is harder to find, people are more likely to buy the readily-available one, especially if they’re not tech savvy. Even if it means choosing the less sustainable option (in this case, plastic combs).
8. Not All Wooden Combs Are Sustainably Sourced
Wooden combs come from, well, wood. But not every wooden comb is created equal. Some brands won’t tell you exactly what kind of wood it’s made from. This is a red flag because they could be sourcing the wood from mismanaged forests.
It’s important to know the wood your comb is made from isn’t tearing up a healthy ecosystem and contributing to deforestation. Check to see if yours says what kind of wood it came from – even better if it’s from a brand you trust (like us).
Our supply chains only use fair, safe, and ethical labor and we use renewable materials as much as possible in our products, packaging and shipping.
9. All of the Wooden Comb Advantages
Now that you’ve seen the downsides to using a wooden comb, here are some benefits of using a wooden comb.
- Wooden combs are not made from fossil fuels – they’re made from natural materials that can be composted at the end of their lives.
- Most wooden combs are not mass produced. This is good because it doesn’t support mass consumerism. Feeding off that, many wooden combs are handcrafted and ethically sourced.
- Wooden combs can be made from a wide variety of woods – our is made from pure neem wood which is naturally antimicrobial and has anti-fungal properties.
- Brushing your hair with a wooden comb will better help tame flyaways, frizz and reduce the amount of tangles you’ll encounter.
- Wooden combs better distribute your hair’s natural oils which prevents grease buildup and creates shiny, healthier hair.
- Wooden combs actually massage the scalp in a way that feels good, calms nerves and quiets the mind. The scalp actually likes the feeling of wood.
- Brushing your hair with a wooden comb can help with blood circulation and healthy oil production.
- Promotes hair growth. We comb longer with a wooden comb because it feels good. But that also means the prolonged combing stimulates the follicles to produce more hair strands. This in turn produces thicker, longer hair.
- Less chance of dandruff and itchy scalp. Dandruff comes about when our scalp is irritated. Because wooden combs are gentle on us, they won’t nick or cut the scalp, hence less chance of dandruff.
Conclusion: Wooden combs win
Ultimately, wooden combs are the better choice both for your hair, health and the planet. If you’re on the market for one, consider choosing our pure neem wood hair comb. You can choose what size teeth you want, and it will come to you 100% plastic free!
If you already have a plastic comb, we’re not telling you to throw it away – that would be wasteful. Instead, use it until you can’t anymore, then replace it with a wooden comb. You’ll never go back!
What did you think of this wooden combs vs. plastic combs guide? Do you agree with our assessment? Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author:
Ariana Palmieri is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste living and sustainability. Her work has been featured on Going Zero Waste, Mother Earth Living, Green Matters and several other publications. Get her free e-book “10 Ways to Reduce Trash” by signing up to her newsletter and learn how to reduce your waste today.