Sarah Stacy on Worthington's high-tech hair brushes
Bad Hair afternoon last week. No hairbrush in handbag, let alone comb - not even a toothbrush for defrumping the fringe. So I dive into a chemist in Shepherd Market and seize on a wooden-handled object with a label boasting that it is indispensable for hair of all lengths and textures. Pay and dive out again, unfortunately tearing off wrapping and throwing away receipt. When I apply said brush to my medium-length, fine but very thick and, at that moment, unkempt hair, it glides off the surface. I try again; another ricochet. This suitable-for all-hair-types brush is about as much use to me as a dead parrot.

But my luck turned. Still tangly, I arrived at a beauty tea (coffee eclairs - delicious); I had totally forgotten the purpose but it turned out to be all about hairbrushes. Popular barnet-bobber Charles Worthington was publicising his new Results Accessories range (available from larger Boots nationwide). And very good it is too. He swapped me his volumising brush for my dead parrot and I was undoubtedly the winner. "The purpose of brushing and combing is to make hair look groomed and give it a silkier smoother texture, plus volume and oomph," says Worthington. Each hair is made up of overlapping layers of dead keratin cells, a fibrous protein also found in nails and skin. When the layers lie flat and smooth, each strand reflects the light, making your hair shine. When the layers are damaged - or ungroomed - no light is reflected and your hair looks dull. In pre-conditioner days, the mandatory 100 strokes a day did the job by encouraging natural oils to travel down the hair shaft. With today's galaxy of products, some experts argue that not only is brushing redundant except for styling, but that it damages the hair. Thankfully for all of us who find tipping our head upside down for a good brush both soothing and restorative, the consensus is that the danger lies in tugging at wet or very tangled hair.

The piece de resistance of the Worthington collection is the Big Hair Rollerbrush which has a detachable handle and three roller-like heads. This one makes you feel a real pro when you're blow-drying: you wind hair round the bristly aluminium barrel, squeeze the handle and bingo, the handle comes free leaving the self-grip roller in your hair. Prices range from pounds 3.50 for the comb to pounds l3 for the Big Hair Rollerbrush.

Exclusively for 'Real Life', Charles Worthington is offering free Volumising Brushes, each worth pounds 5.50, to the first 25 readers to send a postcard to: Real Life/Worthington Brush Offer, PO Box 649, London SWll 3TZ. The winners will be the first 25 names drawn at random after the competition closes at 11.59pm on Friday 30th May. The Editor's decision is final.