When it comes to makeup, our looks are only as good as the brushes we use. Hence why you’ve convinced yourself to splurge on that $60 contour brush. Well, the same rule applies when it comes to hair. The only difference is, when was the last time you actually thought about your hairbrush? While we constantly give praise to our more beloved straighteners and curling wands, the powers of a good old hairbrush (aka the unsung heroes of hair styling and hair care) are typically overlooked. If this sounds relatable, you’re probably in need of the right hair brush.
Choosing the right hair brush and using it correctly can make all the difference in achieving your perfect hair look. There are so many different kinds of brushes on the market... but do you know which one to use for what? Are you using the brush that is right for you?
Here's a quick guide on the most popular and widely used hairbrushes:
# 1 Paddle Brush
Hair type: all
Best for: detangling hair
Owned by many, the paddle brush is known for its ability to quickly detangle hair with ease and comfort. Not only does its flat, wide, rectangular surface allow the brush to move with your control but it also provides exceptionally smooth results without breaking the natural pattern of wavy and curly hair. For a pin straight look use the paddle brush to prep the hair and follow with the flat iron.
Pro Tip: Paddle brushes are made with different types of bristles. For thick hair, choose a brush with sturdier bristles like nylon and synthetic, which can run smoothly through textured hair.
#2 Round Brush
Hair type: medium to thick
Best for: blowouts
With the proper round brush and a lot of practice (and lots of upper body strength), you can nail salon fresh blowdry at home. Typically, round brushes are made with a metal or iconic barrel which heat up when used with a blow dryer (it works pretty much like a curling wand). The round brush helps tame frizz and delivers the desired amount of bounce to your hair.
Not only are there tons of bristle options when it comes to round brushes, but they also come in a variety of sizes. There are two things to consider when choosing the size of your round brush: the length of your hair and the size of the curl/wave you want to create. Round brushes are ideal for creating that volume and body in your hair. Small size brushes create a nice bend in the ends, while brushes with larger barrels are known to straighten hair and give body.
#3 Detangling Wet Brush
Hair type: All
Best for: detangling hair wet and dry fine hair
Hair is at its more delicate state while it's wet. So to prevent breakage, you’re going to want a brush that is specifically designed to release tangles. Wet brushes are typically made with wide-tooth plastic bristles that can easily undo stubborn knots painlessly and easily. Because the bristles are super flexible, they work through the knots instead of breaking the hair.
#4 Rat Tail Comb
Hair type: all
Best for: parting hair into sections
Sometimes the best brush isn’t a brush at all. The rat tail comb gets its name from its long and skinny end, which is used to part the hair in precise, clean sections. Next time you want to wear your hair in dutch braids, part your hair into two equal sections with this hair comb. Believe us, it makes everything so much easier. This comb can also be used for gently backcombing your hair.
#5 Natural Boar Bristle Brush
Hair type: fine-medium hair
Best for: styling dry hair
For high-shine Hollywood waves, you’re going to want to try the boar bristle brush. Although they might not look the most delicate on the scalp, the boar bristles are designed to gently glide through the hair (like the paddle brush) without snagging or pulling on roots, making it the go-to brush for women who have fine hair. Because of its ability to evenly distribute natural oils from the scalp through the hair, we recommend using the boar bristle brush after heat styling. You can also brush your hair right before bed to condition dry ends.
Remember, finding products that are right for your hair type can make a world of difference. Try these different kinds of hair brushes out and see how you can transform your hair!
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Christine White is a stylist, educator and the owner of Chroma Salon in Sarnia, ON.