What is a face or finishing comb?
These types of combs come in a variety of models, including greyhound, poodle and face combs. They normally have teeth the full length along the spine, but can have the traditional comb design with a handle one end, teeth on the other (that style is more popular for face combs versus finishing combs).
The main difference between everyday grooming combs, and finishing combs, is that finishing combs are anti-stat. Anti-stat combs have a coating on the teeth to avoid static build-up, and usually offer a combo of both coarse and fine in one comb. Some include a wider handle (Resco have lovely shaped handles on theirs in particular), with handles made of aluminium or plastic for lighter weight and a comfortable hold, giving less fatigue for professional use.
The teeth on an anti-stat comb are usually coated stainless steel and tend to have white or coloured teeth to indicate they are anti-stat (but do look for the all-important anti-stat claim - as a coloured comb does not always mean it’s anti-stat!).
What is a finishing comb used for?
The models with teeth the full length of the spine are used the same as a greyhound or poodle comb. Popular for tangle removal to help prevent knots and mats forming, to remove debris and dead, stuck coat that bristle and pin brushes can miss, and lift and fluff the coat before, during and after clipping and scissoring.
However it’s that anti-stat treatment that makes them so popular with specialists for grooming use, for faster tangle removal, lifting and fluffing the coat, and checking for an even, smooth finish when clipping or scissoring to finish the groom. Any frequently brushed coat will benefit from an anti-stat comb, but wool and finer coats even more so. Most popular for longer, fluffy, curly, wavy or wool coats - for thin, silky, drop coats - and for fine, silky combination coats in particular.
Those coat types are more prone to static during grooming which causes knots, and more prone to coat damage from frequent grooming. The anti-stat coating helps teeth glide through the coat more easily, won’t cause static to build-up during use, helps protect frequently brushed and longer coats from damage, and helps prevents tangles forming (static and tangles go together!).
When buying finishing combs, you may like a combo that gives you the option of fine teeth mixed with either coarse or medium. Fine teeth are better for faces and ears in particular, for very fine coats, for shorter areas like the eyebrows and beard, for picking up finer tangles that wider-tooth grooming combs will miss, for checking ears, and for teddy bear heads. Coarse (wide) tooth spacing makes for faster work for coat prep for all coat types.
What dog breeds and coat types is a finishing comb best for?
If budget allows, every breed! They are most popular however for static-prone, frequently brushed coats, including the Bichon, Poodle, Labradoodle and other ‘Oodle mixes with a fleece or wool coat - also for also thinner, silky coated, drop coat breeds like the Maltese - and for those beautiful but tangle-prone feathery areas, ears and tails on combination coats - like the Golden Retriever and Spaniels. Anti-stat combs tend to come with a higher price tag however, so professional groomers, breed specialists, and those that exhibit show dogs are more likely to invest in them.