Comb or hair comb in Tagalog is called “suklay,” a grooming tool used for untangling, styling, and arranging hair. It typically consists of a row of narrow teeth or prongs extending from the handle. The teeth of a comb are designed to glide through the hair and are made of various materials, including bone, plastic, metal, and wood.
Combs come in different colors, shapes, sizes, and designs. The gap between comb teeth (tooth spacing) varies, depending on the type and intended use of the comb. The wider gap helps minimize pulling or snagging that can cause hair breakage. On the other hand, fine-toothed combs can help achieve a more polished and neater look. A lice comb (suyod) is a special kind of hair comb, while a payneta is an ornamental comb.
For women, suklay is commonly used with other hair care tools, such as brushes and hairdryers to achieve various looks and maintain hair health. Nevertheless, this tooth-stripped tool is widely used by people of all ages and genders to manage and style their hair. Apart from its functional purpose, a comb often carries cultural significance or a status symbol.
In the Philippines, Filipinos have been using suklay even before the arrival of foreign influences. At that time, combs were hand-carved from various materials found in their environment, such as bamboo, bone, and wood. When the Spaniards arrived in the 1500s, metal combs became very popular among the affluent and ruling classes.
As centuries passed by, comb-making became a specialized craft in certain parts of the Philippines, especially in Pakil, Laguna. Local craftsmen employed different techniques such as carving, etching, and inlaying to create more decorative and functional combs. To this date, suklay continues to be widely used in the country, especially by women.
Modern combs made from plastic and other synthetic materials have become more prevalent in the Philippines. Nevertheless, traditional handcrafted combs are still highly appreciated and valued for their cultural significance and artistic beauty. The local suklay serves as a reminder of Filipino craftsmanship and the country’s rich heritage.
Combs are set to remain indispensable in daily hair care routines. Aside from homes, they are also commonly used in salons and barbershops to groom, style, and maintain hair health. Suklay allows people to choose their desired hairstyles while keeping their hair neat and presentable. In essence, a comb is more than an ordinary grooming tool.
Use suklay in a sentence.
Ibigay mo sa akin ang suklay at aayusin ko ang buhok mo.
Give me the comb, and I will fix your hair.