Are you fond of using different hand combs?? Would you like to know how the first-hand comb came into existence?

Hand carved combs are tradition which has travelled down from ancient hair ornamentation. The art of making wooden combs is tradition which is 100 years old and it is practiced by minority of banjaras in India today. There is array of wooden combs which is decorated with detailed carving, jail work, and inlay of silver and gold ornamentation which is a treat for the curious eyes.

Hairdressing forms an integral part of grooming from time immemorial. In India, hair dressings and ornamentation play an important role that depicting culture, cultures and beliefs, and even social status. It was an art and can be traced back to 2000 BC.

Many paintings depict hairdressing. There are hair rushes with soft silk bristles which are given to the new born or young bride.

Usage –

  • Wooden combs are used to detangle hair and also remove tiniest of lice.
  • Small combs are used as hair pins for ornamentation.
  • The versatility of combs led to different usages.
  • Rajput and Sikh man use small ones which are handy and helpful to brush their beards with.
  • Women used to apply multani mitti and kali mitti for nurturing their hair.
  • A wooden comb is used to massage women’s hair with sesame seed oil.
  • Grooming with a wooden comb has been believed to bring ease in labour pains amongst pregnant women
  • Fine bristles of comb are vital in driving them away.
  • Wood is utilised to craft these combs is obtained from trees like sheesham, Ber, kadam which are known for their health benefits.


  • Combs is to believed that combs prevent hair fall. Combs don’t create static electricity like plastic counterparts.
  • According to craftsmen and users, there is less breakages as it does not meddle with neurotransmitters.
  • Grooming with wooden comb is believed to ease labour pains amongst pregnant women.
  • Combs don’t have sharp edges and bristles are rounded.
  • Innovative designs are expanding its usability.
  • Wooden combs have cavity at handle portion in which oil can be filled and corked.

Design –

Combs are carved out of hardwood. Different kinds of designs are catering to different uses. The con on designs is that of teeth

on both the sides. The sides of small comb are providing better grip. The other type of comb is made of flat block cut in semi circular shape with teeth on one side and curve forming a grip. Wooden comb is having patterned handles. Ladies favour the ones which are adorned with mirrors, threads and sequins. Innovative designs have evolved over the years for decorative and functional purposes. One type of comb is having a cavity above the teeth bristles. Oil spreads into hair while combing.

Challenges –

With the fast pace of lifestyle today, kesh shringar is a dying practice. There is a need for a comb in the dressing set which massages and pampers in the salons. People are more directed towards picking up easily available and cheaper plastic combs. There are a smaller number of craftsmen practicing the art and old banjaras can be spotted sparsely in exhibitions.  

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