Does Horsehair Scratch? The Answer Might Surprise You!

If you’re considering buying a horsehair brush, you might be wondering if the horsehair bristles will scratch your skin. After all, horsehair is pretty stiff, so it stands to reason that it might be a little rough on your skin. The good news is that horsehair is actually pretty soft, and it’s unlikely to scratch your skin unless you’re using it incredibly vigorously.

So, does horsehair scratch? In general, the answer is no. Horsehair bristles are soft and flexible enough that they won’t damage your skin or cause irritation unless you’re using them very aggressively. And with proper care and regular cleaning, horsehair brushes can last for years, making them a great choice if you’re looking for something that’s high quality, long-lasting, and gentle on your skin.

What is Horsehair?

Horse hair is the long, thick hair that grows on the manes and tails of horses. It’s actually composed of two different types of hair: the shorter, stiffer hair is called “guard hair,” while the longer, softer hair is called “filament.”

Most horsehair brushes use a mix of both guard hair and filament, as this provides the best balance of strength and softness.

Depending on the quality of the brush, the average horsehair will be between 0.7 and 1.0 millimeters long, but there are some brushes that use longer or shorter hair as well.

Why is Horsehair Soft?

Horsehair is soft for a few different reasons. First, the hair fibers on a horse’s tail and mane are protected by an outer layer of waxy filaments called the “cuticle.” This layer keeps the hair protected from damage and makes it softer to the touch.

Second, horsehair gets washed and conditioned regularly as part of a horse’s grooming routine. This helps to keep the hair from becoming too stiff or coarse on its own.

Finally, most types of horsehair are soft enough that they will not scratch your skin when used on their own, so even brushes that contain mostly guard hair can be used without worry.

How Does Horsehair Compare to Other Types of Bristles?

Compared to other types of bristles like boar’s hair, nylon, or synthetic bristles, horsehair is actually one of the softest and most flexible options. This makes it gentle on your skin and ideal for use on sensitive areas like your face or neck.

Synthetic bristles do not last as long as horsehair bristles and tend to be much stiffer, so they can be more likely to scratch your skin.

If you’re concerned about scratching or irritation when using a brush, then choosing a horsehair brush is an obvious choice. Horsehair bristles are soft, and flexible, and provide excellent results without risking damage to your skin.

So if you’re looking for a quick and gentle way to remove dirt and oil or you want to exfoliate your skin before applying makeup, horsehair brushes are a great choice.

Why is Horsehair Popular for Brushes?

Horsehair is relatively inexpensive, it’s strong enough to withstand a lot of wear and tear, and it’s soft enough to be gentle on your skin. Horsehair is also unique in that it does not absorb much water, which makes it ideal for use with paints and other liquids.

Finally, horsehair comes in a variety of colors, so you will often find a brush that matches your style perfectly. The key is to try a few different options and find the one that feels best in your hand.

Horsehair is an excellent material to use in makeup brushes because it’s gentle enough for daily use without sacrificing results. You can find horsehair brushes of all shapes and sizes, making them versatile tools for any beauty routine.

While horsehair brushes are usually pretty gentle on your skin, they can scratch if you use them too vigorously.

If you’re concerned about scratching, look for a brush with particularly soft bristles. You can also try using a brush with natural boar bristles; these are even softer than horsehair bristles and are less likely to cause scratches.


If you’re looking for a versatile brush that won’t break the bank, horsehair is a great option. Keep in mind that horsehair bristles can scratch if you’re not careful, but overall, this type of brush is an excellent choice for most people.

Try a few different brushes and see what works best for you. Whether you’re looking for a brush that’s gentle on your skin or one that gives great results, horsehair is a versatile material that can work well in most situations.