Having the right hairbrush is essential to creating the look you want. But with all the brushes on the market, it’s hard to figure out which is best for your hair type and style. Here’s a rundown of the most popular brush types and materials including a description and uses for each. All types are available in a variety of sizes but, in general, the longer your hair, the larger the brush. If you have specific questions about brushes, feel free to ask me in the comments section below.
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How to Pick the Right Hairbrush 1 of 12
Styling Brush 2 of 12A classic styling brush is a hairstylist's essential. These brushes have a curved rubber base, rounded plastic bristles, and no vents. They are great for smoothing, creating volume, and flipping hair under or out. I use mine to blow dry bangs and bob haircuts. The styling brush is also great for doing a simple wrap dry.
Denman makes very popular classic styling brushes. $10-18.93
Paddle Brush 3 of 12Paddle brushes are wide and flat like a paddle. They have bristles on one side, set in soft cushion. They are terrific for detangling and massaging the scalp. If your hair is long and fairly straight, this brush is a great choice. It's best for creating smooth, sleek styles without a lot of volume.
This lightweight Aveda paddle brush has a nice wooden handle and scalp-stimulating bristles. $20
Grooming Brush 4 of 12The grooming brush is great for stimulating the scalp, increasing blood flow, removing any debris from your hair, and distributing oils from your scalp to your ends. The most famous grooming brush is the Mason Pearson. However, if you are looking for a more affordable option, I recommend the Denman grooming brushes.
The Mason Pearson grooming brush has been a classic since 1885. Available at Folica. $190
Round Brush 5 of 12Round brushes have circular tube-shaped barrels and the bristles go all the way around the base. They are used for straightening, creating volume and bounce, curving ends under or out, and even adding curl to hair. They are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials
My favorite round brushes are ones that combines boar and plastic bristles like these by Spornette found on Folica. $16.99-$17.99
Vent Brush 6 of 12Vent brushes have holes or vents in the base for air to flow through while drying. Allowing the heat to travel through the brush decreases drying time. Most brush varieties, including styling, paddle, and round brushes come in vented versions.
Cricket makes this basic vented styling brush. Get it at Folica. $5.99
Cushion Brush 7 of 12If your hair is fine or delicate and you have issues with breakage, a cushion brush a good option. The air-filled cushion is very gentle and the plastic bristles move easily through hair. Many paddle brushes are also cushion brushes.
This Spornette Classic Cushion brush is a great choice for gentle styling. Available at Folica. $5.99
Thermal Brush 8 of 12Thermal brushes have a base or core that conducts heat and therefore retains heat from your blowdryer. When used properly, these brushes cut drying time but you must take care not to overheat and damage your hair.
I love my Olivia Garden Ceramic Thermal brushes. Found on Amazon. $20.75
Boar Bristle Brushes 9 of 12Boar bristle brushes are made with actual hog hairs. They are natural and have a number of benefits including the ability to attract dirt, distribute oils, and impart shine. A boar bristle brush can offer a lot of tension, making them great for straightening. Beware that because they tend to be dense, they can be hard to pull through thick hair. For most people, I suggest a combination of boar and plastic bristles.
Marilyn round brushes are high quality choices if you prefer boar bristles. Available at Drugstore. $32
Ceramic Brushes 10 of 12Ceramic materials create far-infrared heat, which helps hair to retain moisture. Ceramic brushes also heat evenly, making them a safer thermal option. They also ionic, which helps smooth hair and impart shine.
Spornette makes this great ceramic option. Found on Be Beautiful. $11.39
Ionic Brushes 11 of 12In the world of hairstyling tools, "ionic" refers to tools that give off negative ions, specifically. Negative ions help break up water molecules more quickly, cutting drying time. Negative ions also help seal the cuticle, leaving hair healthy and shiny. Ceramic and tourmaline brushes both emit negative ions when heated.
This ionic paddle brush will help reduce drying time and create healthy luster. Available at Sephora. $11.39
Teasing Brush 12 of 12Teasing brushes are specialty brushes that are used to backcomb or tease hair. Getting one of these small, stiff brushes is well worth it if you like your hair with a little height. They are fantastic for creating retro updos and voluminous styles.
Pick up one of these fun Cricket Amped-Up Teasing Brushes at Folica. $3.99