What’s the Right Way to Brush Hair Per Hair Type?

Brush your way to shiny, tangle free hair. 

When you are crafting your perfect hair care routine, it’s important to look at all aspects of what you’re doing, from your shampoo down to your brush. Everyone has a different hair type, and the best way to brush hair will be totally different for straight-haired gals and curly girls. And because the way you’ll brush hair is different, it only follows that you’ll also need different tools. Today we’re going to demystify everything to do with the best way you should be brushing hair based on your hair type. Read on for our handy hair tips!

coarse hair african-american hair types
In the natural hair community, coarse hair means your strands are on the thicker side.

1. Thin, Fine Hair

Best Brush: Soft Boar Bristle Brush

If you have baby fine hair, a soft boar bristle brush is your hair’s BFF. Did you know that Nexxus came out with a line of brushes? They are super nice and Nexxus Ibiza OC7 Oval Flat Hair Brush is perfect for fine hair. It’s a mixed boar-bristled brush that is densely packed. This makes it easy to use on fine hair because it helps prevent knots or tangles. The bristles help create shine as well as a gorgeous, smooth texture.

Now, how to brush hair that is thin. It’s always best to treat fine, thin hair with extra care. Always brush hair while it is dry, because wet hair can be easily stretched. For people with straight but fine hair, we suggest that you brush your hair with the boar bristle brush in the morning and at night to help distribute oils for super shiny hair. While you brush hair, make sure to start at the bottom and work your way up. It’s the best way to ensure you won’t get knots in your hair from brushing.

2. Thick Straight Hair and Wavy Hair

Best Brush: Paddle Hair Brush

For thick hair, we recommend a paddle brush. The Ibiza Cx2 Paddle Hair Brush is perfect for thick, straight, and wavy hair. It has wide spaced wooden pins that can easily work their way through thicker hair types. Plus, it’s great for scalp massage too.

Brushing thick hair whether it’s wavy or straight, is best done on dry hair. If you are prone to knots or tangles, gently comb through your wet hair with your fingers. If you have a big knot, it’s ok to use the brush, but if you don’t need to, don’t brush wet hair. After letting your hair air dry, or blow dry then you can brush through with your paddle brush. Again, you should always work from the bottom upwards. Also, this brush is great for taking with you if you get tangles during the day.

3. Curly Hair

Best Brush: Detangler Brush

For curly hair, it’s always best to air on the side of caution and use a detangler brush. These types of brushes are made for the purpose of unknotting tangled hair. If you are prone to tangles it’s a good one to have on hand.

Brushing curly hair while it is totally dry can turn your defined ringlets and into a poufy style. So, in general, it is best to avoid totally brushing curly hair while it is dry (unless it’s the look you’re going for). Instead, detangle your hair with your fingers before washing your hair to help avoid knots made while shampooing. Then, when you’re done washing your hair, apply a detangling product. We’re big fans of Dove Absolute Curls Leave-In Detangler for dry, curly hair types because it helps make detangling easier. Then while your hair is damp or wet, gently detangle with the detangler brush.

4. Natural, Curly Hair

Best Brush: Wide Tooth Brush Or Comb

For natural, curly hair it may not be a great idea to totally brush your hair. It can mess with your curl pattern and be hard to fix when it’s done. Instead look for brushes or combs with wide teeth. These will let more hair in between each tooth, which is less likely to mess with your curls.

On this hair type, we recommend brushing hair with a wide tooth brush while your hair is still wet to avoid breakage. For curly hair types, dry is more prone to breakage. You can do this in the shower after you wash your hair and have applied a leave-in conditioner like Suave Professionals Avocado + Olive Oil Smoothing Leave-In Conditioning Cream which will help condition and soften your hair while creating the perfect base for the hair brushing or detangling process.  On dry hair, it may be better to detangle with a hair pick on moisturized hair. Hair picks are great for natural hair types to have on hand for hair styling, too.