How to Pick the Best Hairbrush for Your Hair

Hairbrushes Can Make a Huge Difference When Styling Your Hair

Close-up of a woman brushing her hair
Nacivet/Getty Images

If you've always used budget plastic brushes from the drugstore, you may not realize the impact a good brush can have on your hair. Whether your hair is straight, curly, thin or frizzy, a well-made hairbrush can mean the difference between okay hair and hair that wows.

When it comes to picking the best hairbrush for your hair, you need to consider:

  • your hair texture and
  • the style you're going for.

Check out this list of the Best Hairbrushes on the Market.

Boar Bristle vs Synthetic Bristles

Any hairbrush with natural boar bristles mixed in with plastic is a good bet for your basic paddle and round brushes used during blow-outs and styling hair. 

Natural bristles are easier on hair than nylon or plastic brushes and they redistribute oils throughout hair, boosting shine. They also massage the scalp which is good for scalp health. Eva Scrivo, the celebrity hairstylist, and owner of Eva Scrivo Salon in NYC swears that brushing your hair can solve so many hair problems, from dry ends to scalp problems. Natural bristles are best for this, nylon only bristles are too harsh on the scalp and won't distribute hair oils.

Cheap, plastic hairbrushes aren't necessarily bad for hair (except for the ones with the double bristle, one long, one short -- these can tear at hair), they just don't benefit hair as much as natural bristles.

Synthetic bristles do have their place in brushes, however.

They make great detanglers, help hair dry faster and they help stabilize softer natural bristles when brushing hair that's heavier in texture.

There are many natural bristle brushes on the market at different price points, so you can find a good brush regardless of your budget.

Why Your Hair Texture Matters

Consider your hair texture when choosing brushes.

If you have normal to thick hair, a brush with a mix of nylon and natural bristles will work best.

For fine hair, a brush with only natural bristles won't tear at hair.

If you have coarse, thick hair, skip the natural bristles and consider an all-nylon hairbrush, which tends to be stronger.

What Types of Brushes Should You Buy?

The type of brush you use depends on what hairstyle you're after.

The Paddle Brush

Hairbrushes come in a variety of forms, but all are either flat or round. The paddle brush is best for smoothing hair. It's great for curly hair, thick hair, straight hair and just about any hair that is susceptible to frizz and static. When blow-drying , it works well at the end to smooth hair so you get perfect straightness without any curling under that you'd get with a round brush.

Opt for a mix of boar bristle and synthetic bristles when buying a paddle brush. 

The Round Brush

For big, bouncy waves, nothing works better than a round brush. The bristles are tightly packed in and grip the hair, allowing you to hold hair in place while drying it. Round brushes generally come in 4 sizes from small to extra large. Choose your brush based on your hair length. Use a smaller round brush for short hair and the extra large one for really long hair.

You can buy round brushes with metal cores that conduct heat and act as a curling iron, helping you perfect beachy waves during your blow dry. 

The Classic Brush

The classic brush is a flat brush that isn't shaped in the form of a paddle. These are great basic brushes that work well on all hair types.

A vented brush is good for adding body to really fine hair.

The Detangling Brush

There are actually plastic brushes on the market created for detangling hair when it's wet. And they work. The bristles are spaced far apart so you experience less breakage, but these are not meant for super fine, easily breakable hair.

See How to Detangle Fine Hair.

Use More Than One Brush

When styling hair, you can use more than one brush. Depending on your hair's texture, you might use a plastic brush to detangle wet hair, then use a paddle brush to blow-dry your hair.

Get the full scoop on blow-drying your hair in 13 Mistakes People Make When Blow-Drying Their Hair and also check out this piece on managing bangs, How to Blow Dry Bangs (& Avoid the Dreaded "Bubble Bangs").