Side Hair Combs

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FAQs: Side Hair Combs

What are side combs for?

Side combs are used to keep the hair out of one's face. They are typically worn by people with long hair, but they can be worn by anyone who does not want their hair to fall in front of their eyes.

What do side combs look like?

Typically, a side comb is made of several prongs that spread away from each other at about a 45 degree angle. Some are rounded, while others taper to sharp points. Most side combs are between 4-8 inches in length and about 1/2 inch wide or slightly wider.

Do women wear side combs?

Yes. In fact, many men's hairstyles of the 18th century included a side comb for this purpose. Men typically used larger side combs to achieve certain hair styles where the hair was pushed away from the face and eyes.

What materials are used to make a side comb?

Side combs have been made in a variety of materials, including tortoiseshell, ivory, horn, pewter, silver, gold plate over brass/copper, wood and bone. Many were intricately carved or etched with decorations such as flowers or leaves.

Tortoiseshell is a very traditional comb material, made from actual tortoise shell as well as plastic/bone materials.

Antique ivory typically refers to older ivory combs that have been passed down through generations and may even include details such as initials or other small engravings. Some people appreciate antique ivory-made combs because they're often larger than contemporary options and sometimes come with interesting details that add to their aesthetic design.

Bakelite is a plastic-type material that was produced in a wide range of colors during the early 1900s up until the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Plastic. Many contemporary combs are made of plastic, which is often lighter and more affordable than tortoiseshell or ivory options. Some have interesting shapes which can be used for certain hairstyles.

How is a side comb attached to the head?  Why does it need to be so long?

Typically, they were held in place with the pressure of the fingers on either side of the teeth, using them much like chopsticks. The longer length usually kept them oriented in front of the face while not obstructing any view or vision while down or to either side.

What are other uses for this type of comb?

Side combs were used by both men and women throughout history, but originally they were only worn by women who had long hair which was often up in some sort of elaborate style. Today, many people find these combs useful for keeping their hair out of their eyes while giving it a "swept-over" appearance that is popular in certain styles.

How do you use side combs on hair?

the same way you would with any sort of comb—to detangle, separate, groom, and style your hair. For modern styles, it is most often used to sweep the hairs over the shoulder or behind the ear.

What's the best material for side hair combs?

The answer to this question is subjective. There are many people who enjoy antiques, whether they are made of Victorian pewter or 18th century tortoiseshell. Others will prefer new combs that are sturdy and designed for modern use. Side combs made out of bone may be the most durable, though also some of the heaviest.

What's the difference between a side hair comb and an ear hair comb?

Typically, women with very long hair wore these sorts of combs in their elaborate hairstyles so nothing would obstruct their view. Ear hair combs (aka Ear Picks) were developed specifically for cleaning ear wax from ears. They have sharp points that are used to dislodge wax and dirt from the ear canal.

How big should a side hair comb be?

The size of a side comb is dependent on the intended use. If it's for long term wear, then typically they are around 4-8 inches in length and about 1/2 inch wide or slightly wider.

What is a fishtail side hair comb?

A fishtail side hair comb is simply a traditional style side hair comb that has two prongs which spread further apart at an angle instead of being closer together like a more modern styling tool. The end result looks somewhat like a fish tail, hence the name.

How do you use a fishtail side hair comb?

Typically, you hold onto your head with one hand and use the other to slide the comb through your hair. This can be done by starting at the nape of your neck (where your "hairline" is) then slowly sliding up towards your face while spreading out any tangles in between each tooth on each pass. When you get closer to your head, start using smaller sections so that nothing gets caught in the teeth-especially if it's not yet detangled to your satisfaction. Repeat until all tangles are out and you're satisfied with the result!

Are there different types of side hair combs?

Yes. There are many different styles and variations of side combs. From small teeth (very similar to a rat-tail comb) to longer, wider teeth, some more elaborately carved and designed than others.

How do you clean side hair combs?

A soak in warm soapy water will usually dislodge any dirt or grime that has accumulated.Wipe them thoroughly with a soft cloth afterwards, and they should be good as new!

Can side hair combs be customized?

There are some companies who will offer custom combs-you might check Amazon or your local antique store for these options.

Can side hair combs be dangerous?

Side combs can be dangerous if not used with care. Always use it at your own risk! You should keep them away from water and any source of heat, as they may become more fragile over time.

What is the best size/length/thickness for side hair combs?

This is completely subjective. Some prefer longer teeth, while others like smaller ones for everyday styling purposes. Typically, a comb about 4-6 inches in length and less than 1/2 inch wide fits most people's needs when it comes to applications, but this varies from person to person.

What is the ideal side hair comb material?

Side combs may be made from a variety of materials, including tortoiseshell, ivory, and bone, to name a few. A lot depends on personal preference and what you plan on using it for-some people prefer metal or plastic over organic materials, while others would only consider using antique combs (if they can find them!).

What's the best side hair comb design/shape/style?

This also varies from person to design and style. Some like simple, elegant designs, while others want intricate patterns or embellishments. Again, it all depends on your needs and wants!

Rat-tail combs (simple hairstyling combs)-typically much smaller than regular styling combs, rat-tail combs are made with much thinner teeth and can be very versatile when it comes to styling.

This is simply a description of how the teeth are shaped on the comb. Typically, longer, thicker teeth work best for long hair, while shorter or thinner ones may be used for shorter hairstyles.

Do side combs have handles?

Some do, some don't! If they don't have handles, then they may be referred to as simply "side combs".

Do side combs have teeth?

Yes. This is simply a description of the shape/style/design of the comb's teeth. Some are shorter and thinner, while others are longer and more substantial in size. It all depends on the look you want to achieve!

What does "teeth" mean when it comes to side combs?

This is simply a description of how the teeth are shaped—typically longer, thicker ones work best for long hair, whereas shorter or thinner ones may be used for shorter hairstyles.

Are there different kinds of rat-tail combs?

Yes. There are both metal and plastic varieties with different shapes, sizes, and designs; some include brushes as well! Rat-tail combs are relatively inexpensive and some people like using them for everyday hairstyling.

How do you use rat-tail combs?

Rat-tail combs can be used on wet or dry hair, but typically work best with shorter styles since the teeth tend to be smaller/shorter than regular styling combs.

What does "teeth" mean when it comes to rat-tails?

This is simply a description of how the teeth are shaped-for instance, if they're long and thick, they may work better for longer hair, while shorter ones tend to work better for shorter styles.

Should the hair be wet or dry when using side combs?

Side combs can be used on both wet or dry hair, but tend to work best with shorter styles since the teeth are typically smaller/shorter.

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