Your ultimate hair brushing guide.
What you’ll need
Have you ever wondered why you can’t seem to replicate that killer style your hairdresser gave you at the salon, no matter how hard you try? Well, not only does your stylist have years of training and experience under his or her belt; there’s also the matter of the tools they use to achieve that perfect hairstyle. Hairstylists know that every hair brush is different which is why they use professional-grade tools specifically tailored for different uses and hair types.
To give you a better look at what some of the best hair brush products, the best brushes for styling and the best brushes for your hair type are, look no further than our cheat sheet below. Happy hunting (and hair brushing):
The Best Hair Brush for Your Hairstyles
1.Detangling, wet: wide-toothed combs, plastic detangling brushes
We’ve all grown up reaching for our wide-toothed combs after washing our hair in the shower. However, recent hair product innovations have given us more options in the detangling arena, especially for finer hair. Brushes that specifically target tangled hair, or detangler brushes, have exploded onto the market, virtually revolutionizing how we deal with caring for fine hair when it’s wet or damp.
As the best hair brush for fine hair, detangler brush bristles tend to be made of a thin, strong yet flexible plastic. Having flexible bristles is essential for the health of your hair, as it has more “give” on the strands that prevents bristles from tugging too much, which can be damaging.
Shorter, specially-formulated, super flexible plastic bristles unravel knots without pulling on strands, thus minimizing breakage. For extra protection, a leave-in conditioner or detangling agent such as Dove Quench Absolute Leave-in Detangler can minimize friction and lubricate the hair shaft, accelerating the process. These products can also coat your strands to protect them, and leave your hair slippier so knots will untangle easier. Always use a detangler brush working from the very ends of your hair upwards. This allows you to take out any knots without making more knots in the process. Slowly brush your hair until you have brushed through all of your hair for knot-free strands.
2. Detangling, dry: synthetic-bristle brushes
Thicker hair benefits from brushes with synthetic bristles, like nylon, to remove knots. They bend easily and manage to get to deeper tangles near the root with minimal to no breakage. When priming hair for a blowout, brush through a lightweight oil, such as Love Beauty and Planet Hope and Repair Coconut Oil & Ylang Ylang 3-in-1 Benefit Oil using a nylon brush before exposing your locks to heat.
3. Blowouts: natural-bristle brushes
A favorite of hairstylists due to their versatile yet softer pull, as well as the manner in which they smooth down the cuticle, is the natural-bristle brush. Like a boar-bristled hairbrush, they’re gentle on strands but don’t sacrifice hold, making for the shiniest and most controlled blowouts. Since they’re gentler than plastic, they’re safe to use on all hair types and do wonders in imparting a uniform, high-end sheen, since they also come with the highest-end of price tags.
4. Curling/styling: round magnesium-barreled brush
The best hair brush for curly hair is a round brush with a metallic core. This is specifically made to trap and distribute heat quicker and more efficiently onto the hair shaft. Due to bristles that spiral around the brush, they’re ideal for creating curls on fine, limp locks and even imparting some lift at both the crown and the ends. Don’t forget to prep hair with a smoothing heat protectant, like TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray, so hair doesn’t fry while it “sets” or coils around the barrel.
5. Finishing/everyday styling: mixed-bristle brushes
All hair textures can shine with the use of a mixed-bristle hairbrush. Not only does it come at a more affordable price point, but the combo of natural and synthetic bristles also offers a one-two style punch. Natural bristles smooth the cuticle and help distribute one’s natural oils from the scalp down to the ends, while the bendy nylon bristles help give some pull and styling control to the hair strand. To optimize, brush hair gently from root to tip using a slight pull from the wrist, and finish with a light-hold styling spray such as Nexxus Comb Thru Finishing Mist to lock in some touchable shine.
6. Straightening: paddle brush
Ladies with thick hair that’s either straight or wavy are no strangers to the paddle brush. The wide surface area (hence the name) works wonders in drying hair quickly with as little bend or kink as possible. Also a great everyday styling option, this hair brush is ideal for minimizing frizz by creating sleek, poker-straight hair.
7. Drying: rectangular vented brush
This particular hair brush helps hot air pass through and reach all angles of the hair shaft, making for a faster and more uniform drying process. Used primarily as a drying tool, this brush uses synthetic bristles and forces lower tension on the hair. Use with a frizz-fighting thermal protectant, like TRESemmé Get Sleek Heat Protection Spray, to keep unwanted texture at bay while drying.
The Best Brushes for Different Hairstyles
1. Straight Hairstyles
When you are styling your straight hair (or straightening your hair) the best brushes for you fall under the paddle brush category. They are the brushes with the widely spaced pins on a flat, well, paddle. We like the Nexxus Ibiza CX2 Paddle Hair Brush for its sturdy wooden pins and flexible base. It helps detangle hair without causing breakage or being too aggressive. Use it to help you create a half-up pony hairstyle or a pin straight look.
2. Super Smooth Styles
For hairstyles that require the ultra-smooth look (think Old Hollywood waves) you’ll be in need of a flat hair brush. These are kind of the miracle brush! Not only do they help to get you the smoothest, most uniform hair, but the bristles also help to distribute oil which is good for your hair health and shine. A flat brush can also help to smooth down those annoying flyaways. Our favorite is the Ibiza OC7 Oval Flat Hair Brush. It has mixed bristles that help to detangle while you’re at it.
3. Blowout Hairstyles
If you are doing the perfect salon blowout at home, you totally need a round brush. A round brush helps you get that perfectly voluminous and bouncy look. There is really no good way to get the look without it! Right now we’re into the Ibiza B5 Round Hair Brush. It’s the right size for long hair and even short bobs! It also has that bonus of the boar bristles in this brush to help distribute shine while you style.
4. Curly Hairstyles
A wide-tooth comb is the best option for detangling curly hair. With a comb, you can target your specific tangles and knots that’ll to help uncurl your hair without breakage. Keep your comb on you for touch-ups throughout the day if you are prone to getting knotty.
5. Updo Hairstyles
For perfected updo looks you’re going to need a couple of options. It’s good to have a rat-tail comb on hand for creating perfect parts, plus you can use the comb to detangle whenever you need! If you have hair that likes to pop right out of your style, a boar bristle brush can help to keep things smoothed down.
Hair Brushes for Every Hair Type
1. Mixed Bristle Brush
Best for: braids
To aid in brushing your edges when wearing your braided hairstyles while adding tremendous shine, pick up a mixed bristle brush made with a combination of boar’s hair and synthetic bristles. Not only is this the all-in-one brush, but it’s universal, too!
2. Rat-Tail Comb
Best for: thin hair
Yet another dual combo brush, the rat-tail comb allows for easy sectioning and parts with the long handle, as well as smoothing benefits with the fine teeth. In addition, rat-tail combs are the perfect instrument for adding massive volume to thin hair through the process of teasing. The fine teeth are perfect for, who would’ve guessed it, fine hair! They make brushing and clumping hair together to create texture a super simple step.
Another handy trick of the long end is that it’s perfect for tucking lumps and bumps back into place to lend to the overall coiffed look you’re aiming for. Needless to say, you’ll be rocking a perfectly parted, head of super voluminous flowing waves in no time with one of these.
3. Teasing Brush
Best for: wavy/curly hair
If you’re looking for the same benefits of a rat-tail comb, but need a little more TLC in the process, a dense boar’s bristle teasing brush is just what your styling routine is craving. Boar bristles aren’t as harsh as the teeth of a plastic comb, which means it’ll be more gentle on your hair.
4. Vented Brush
Best for: wavy or straight hair
If you’re like us, you love those extra five minutes snuggled in bed when your alarm starts buzzing. Unfortunately, many days we have to snap out of it in order to make ourselves presentable for the day ahead. But what if there was a way? Vented brushes change up the pace and allow for a few extra ZZZ’s by cutting down drying time through the process of heating hair from all of its angles. And, as we know, the less time our hair is under heat, the healthier and less prone to breakage it is. #Win
5. Round Brush
Best for: creating blowout styles
Looking for a salon-like blowout from the comfort of your own home? Who isn’t?! To achieve this look, use a round brush to both dry your hair and pump up some volume into your hair. Although this brush can be a staple in anyone’s hair regimen, it’s particularly beneficial for those with fine hair due to its volume-enhancing qualities. Just remember to spritz some heat protectant, like the TRESemmé Get Sleek Heat Protection Spray to your locks before you start the blowout process.
6. Paddle Synthetic Bristle Brush
Best for: thick hair
For all the thick-haired gals out there, allow us to introduce you to the best hair brush for thick hair with the paddle brush. The paddle shape, paired with synthetic bristles, will smooth frizz while embracing the shape of your natural flow. Synthetic bristles are the way to go when managing your lush mane because they’re strong enough to detangle your locks and, unlike boar’s bristles, nylon won’t create the added volume that comes with the inevitable static associated with more natural brushes.
7. Detangling Brush
Best for: Fine or limp hair or aging hair
Some experts consider fine hair to be the most fragile and prone to damage. It also tends to be oilier than thicker hair types, as the sebum from the follicles can liberally coat the hair lengths. This is also the reason why fine hair is oftentimes considered to be limp hair as well, as it falls flat easier than other hair types. Using a detangler brush can help with the proper distribution of these hair oils and reduce overall stringiness. It also properly coats hair with an optimum level of moisture from the follicle, giving it some brushed-out volume as well.
It may seem a bit unlikely, but people with finer hair can also have a lot more density than people with thicker hair, making this one of the reasons it’s prone to knotting. A detangler brush can also address this issue with minimal to no damage to the strands.
Hair strands on older women tend to be thinner, more brittle and overall have a much sparser density than younger women, which is why extra care needs to be taken in their upkeep. The detangler brush can carefully remove any knots and kinks in aging hair without exerting unnecessary force on already-fragile (and thinning) locks.