Not all hair brushes were created equal. Although it’s not always easy to differentiate between them. But ultimately, what works wonders for your friend – who has a long, thick mane – might be less than effective for your ultra fine crop. The secret to picking the perfect hair brush lies in knowing what materials will help bring out the best in your hair and its natural texture, rather than working against it. So we’ve taken this into account in our ultimate guide to hair brushes, highlighting what you should look out for when purchasing one to suit your hair type and styling needs.
For ultra fine or thin locks, a natural bristle brush is your best bet. They may be a little more dear than synthetic options, but the benefits are well worth the investment as they’ll last longer, too.
You’ll want to keep an eye open for boar bristled brushes, as they’ll help boost volume and evenly distribute the hair’s natural oils. This may sound counterintuitive if you have thin locks, but it’ll help give your hair a natural sheen, rather than leaving the oils to sit on the roots and scalp. Just remember to double-check that your hairbrush isn’t a mixture of natural and synthetic bristles, as the combination can be less than gentle on super fine tresses.
If you have thick or long hair, a large, flat paddle brush will be your best friend. Its benefits are twofold: its shape and size makes brushing a soothing experience, plus it’s anti-static.
Bristle-wise, go for plastic with pins on the end, as they’ll help to gently stimulate the scalp, but are sturdy enough to get through thicker, coarser hair. Paddle brushes are also cushioned, which acts as a gentle detangler for knotted thick locks, meaning less breakage. Be sure to keep an eye on those balls and pins on the tip of the bristles, though, because once they start to disappear, you’ll no longer be getting a nice massage while brushing, and most importantly, there’s no protection from breakage, which means it’s time to replace your hairbrush.
Hairbrushes for curly or natural hair? Before you start shaking your head in disdain, hear us out. There are two options for tangle-prone curls, coils and kinks. The first: a wood-bristle brush like bamboo. The idea is that it’s similar to finger-combing and is, therefore, gentle enough for your tresses. They’re also durable and, like boar bristles, can help distribute the hair’s natural oils, which is an added plus for anyone with thirsty natural hair or very curly locks.
The second option is a synthetic brush. But it’s important to bear in mind that not all plastic hairbrushes are the same. The bristles need to be slightly further apart than usual, while flexibility is also a key feature to look out for. It’s this freedom in movement that’ll help you avoid breaking and snagging fragile curls and afro textures.
If you’re looking to create full-bodied styles or just want to make your flat hair appear thicker, consider a teasing brush. While you could use a normal brush that’s slightly wider for backcombing or creating volume, teasers are specially designed with serrated boar bristles, a natural material that’s softer on your locks. The subtle variation in bristle height also helps to create friction, but without damaging the strands.
Round brushes are a styling heaven-send when blowdrying your hair straight or creating curls. Investing in natural boar bristles will help you achieve a flawless ‘do, because they’ll help distribute the hair’s natural oils and simultaneously offer volume that’s static-free. The best kind are the ones that are vented in the middle with compact bristles to help evenly spread heat.
Be careful to avoid metal, as you’ll literally be cooking your strands! Instead, stick to ceramic or ceramic and tourmaline combinations, which are easier on your hair because they provide less friction and, therefore, fewer tangles. And did we mention they also help combat frizz? Surely that’s a win-win. Tip: when the bristles start to fold or tilt over, it’s time to change your brush. And remember to clean your brush regularly. After all, the cleaner the hairbrush, the cleaner the hair!