Everyone who has hair, brushes their hair, though you may never have given much thought to the kind of brush you use. Using the right hair brush for your hair and your styling needs can make a difference in your hair’s health and appearance.
The appropriate brush for someone with long, curly hair will be drastically different than the best brush for fine or thinning hair.
Some brushes, like the round or vented kind, are best for styling, while others work to detangle, and some may even remedy static and frizz. Here we’ll cover different types of brushes and what they can do for your hair.
There are so many different kinds of hairbrushes and combs available, it can be overwhelming to know which one is right for you. Depending on the type of hair you have, you may want to use a specialized brush.
Hair detangler brush
Detangler brushes are good for all hair types — even the thickest, curliest hair — and they can be used on both wet and dry hair. They minimize damage from brushing knotted hair, and their thin flexible bristles make it easier to painlessly get knots out of kids’ hair.
The original wetbrush is an affordable option. Its fine, soft bristles are strong enough to work through the toughest knots, and soft enough not to cause damage to wet hair. The American Academy of Dermatology Association warns against brushing wet hair because it’s more prone to breakage. However, if you have very textured or curly hair, brushing when wet is a good idea. They typically have heat-resistant bristles that won’t melt or break when blow-drying hair.
A shower hairbrush is a wet hairbrush with vents for fast drying. Its flexible design and soft bristles are perfect for sopping wet hair. Many come with a hooked bottom for easy hanging off your shower caddy.
Cushion brushes have soft rubber bases and stiff wire or plastic bristles. The stiff bristles are effective at stimulating the scalp and are good for brushing out dandruff or buildup from hair styling products, and possibly for stimulating hair growth.
Thermal brushes are round or paddle brushes with a barrel made of a material that conducts heat, such as ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium. This can speed up drying. These are generally used by hair stylists, or people who frequently use a blow-dryer.
Tiny boar bristle brush
Boar bristle brushes are popular because of their ability to redistribute the natural, healthy oils in the scalp, which enhances hair health and creates smooth, shiny locks. Every type of hair can benefit from a boar bristle brush, but a 100-percent boar bristle brush with soft bristles is a good choice for people with fine, thinning, or aging hair.
Nylon bristle brush
Nylon bristle brushes are made from a synthetic material that reduces static and effectively detangles thick hair. Some brushes combine nylon bristles with boars’ hair bristles to both reduce static and detangle while also getting the health benefits and natural shine that boars’ head bristles offer.
Curved brushes are ergonomically designed to fit the shape of a human head. Most are made of lightweight plastic and contain vents, which make them a good choice for travel, the gym, or anytime you want to dry your hair quickly.
Natural bristle brush
For vegans or anyone who wants the benefits of a boar bristle brush without using animal products, some brushes combine other natural fibers, like agave, with synthetics to achieve a bristle that looks and feels like boar bristle.
Mixed bristle brush
Mixed bristle brushes combine the shine-enhancing effects of boar bristles with the scalp stimulation and easy detangling of nylon or wire bristles. This combination can be most effective for those with long or thick hair.
The wide base of paddle brushes enable them to cover a lot of ground quickly while smoothing hair. They’re a great choice for people with long, straight hair.
A vented brush is the best choice for quickly blow drying soaking-wet hair. The vents allow hot air to flow through, reaching all layers of hair.
Vented brushes can reduce static during blow drying because they allow heat to flow through the brush, helping to illuminate static and frizz. Ionic brushes are said to reduce static and frizz by adding negative ions into hair, and metal combs may fight static.
Round brushes are a good choice for blow drying hair and styling loose waves. They’re fully circular, which makes it easier to blow the hair under, resulting in curls or waves (depending on the size of the brush).
Teasing brushes are small and designed to be used at the crown to add volume and texture to fine or limp hair, and it can create the illusion of fuller hair, which may be attractive to those experiencing hair loss.
Rat tail brush
Rat tail brushes and combs are teasing brushes with a long, thin stem that can be used for separating and lifting sections of hair to tease and create more volume.
Wide-tooth combs have thick teeth with space between them. They can be used on thick or curly hair when wet.
Straightening brushes are a mix between a hot iron straightener and a paddle brush. They heat up, can quickly straighten and smooth hair, and are less damaging than a traditional hot iron.
Smoothing brushes are paddle brushes with soft boar or nylon bristles. They can be used for creating sleek styles and eliminating bumps when pulling hair back into a ponytail or bun.
The best brushes for fine hair are extra-soft boars’ bristle hair brushes, which are gentle on the hair and scalp and maximize natural shine. They have stiff bristles that help to detangle without pulling out hair.
A paddle brush is best for thick hair. Try one with a mix of boars’ hair and nylon pins; the nylon pins are tough enough to brush thick hair quickly and boars’ hair increases shine by redistributing the natural oils.
Paddle brushes can be good for long hair, because they allow you to brush through a large portion of hair at once, eliminating knots and redistributing oil.
A soft bristle brush is best for thinning hair because it’s gentle and won’t rip out your hair. If you’re looking for more volume at the crown, you can use a teasing brush, which is smaller and designed to reach the root of the hair.
Curly-haired people may prefer to use a sturdy, wide-toothed comb while in the shower. This can help prevent frizz and breakage that can come with combing dry curly hair. Detangling brushes with stiff bristles also work well.
Paddle brushes work well on straight, long hair, because they are able to work through a lot of hair at once while evenly distributing oils. A brush with a rubber pad works well for straight hair that is prone to static.
For hair that is weak or brittle, use a soft boar bristle brush (or a similar synthetic version) that has soft bristles that are gentle on the hair.
Brushing your hair has more benefits than just simply detangling knotted strands.
Brushing distributes oil from the scalp down the hair shaft, which helps condition dryer ends, it stimulates the scalp and gives it a massage, which may boost hair growth, and it helps remove any loose hairs from your head (which is why it’s normal for hair to end up stuck in your brush).
There are so many types of brushes to choose from, yet many people don’t give much of a thought to the kind of brush or comb they use. Choosing the right hair brush for your hair can really make a difference in how your hair looks and feels.
Some are best for styling, and others are made specifically for detangling, reducing static, or adding shine. It’s always a good idea to choose a brush with your specific hair type in mind.