Last Updated on March 26, 2021
Even more popular than the comb is for most women, the brush is often seen as the key hair styling aid, smoothing out frizz and untangling snarled hair with ease. Even men with longer hairstyles may find that a brush can tame their locks.
However, with so many brushes from which to choose at your local big box store, beauty supply store, or online shop, it can be difficult to know which one you need in your life or whether you should invest in more than one.
This quick look at the 13 most common brush types will help you narrow down your wishlist and give you confidence on your next shopping trip.
Types of Hair Brushes
1. Paddle Brush
The brush with which you are likely the most familiar is the paddle brush. Often shaped as a large oval or rectangle, the paddle brush is great for getting out snarls, getting rid of frizz and increasing shine.
While you can use it to help create your next blowout, it does not create quite as much volume as some of the other contenders on this list do.
2. Detangling Brush
At first glance, the detangling brush may look similar to the paddle brush, but it has a few key differences that keep it from pulling and breaking your wet and weakened strands.
The biggest difference is that the bristles are generally harder, mimicking the feel of of a wide-tooth comb. Tiny plastic tips on the end of each bristle help massage your scalp, increasing blood flow to hair roots.
You should never use any other type of brush on snarled, wet hair.
3. Boar Bristle Brush
The natural bristles on the boar bristle brush are excellent at increasing shine by smoothing your natural oils through your strands. They will make your hair shiny without being greasy.
In fact, one hidden talent of the boar bristle brush is eliminating greasy hair because it pairs well with dry shampoo. If you have had trouble getting rid of the tiny white specks of dry shampoo in your tresses in the past, try brushing them through with this natural bristle brush.
Boar bristle brushes are incredibly gentle, making them a perfect solution for people with all hair types. This brush will accentuate your natural hair-do and works equally well on straight and curly hair.
4. Synthetic Bristle Brush
If you have found that natural boar bristles leave your hair with a bit more static than you would like, opt for a brush with synthetic bristles, which are often made from nylon.
Synthetic bristles are typically found on the more affordable paddle brushes sold today. They work well for those with very thick hair.
5. Mixed Bristle Brush
To enjoy the best of both worlds, consider a brush that has synthetic bristles that are surrounded by natural bristles. These brushes are great for detangling your hair while also adding shine.
They work well on nearly all hair types and are excellent investments for your hair care arsenal.
6. Metal Bristle Brush
You may rarely see the metal bristle brush sold, but it does have its own special place in the hair care world. These brushes really shine when they are used for getting rid of very stubborn snarls.
In addition, they can be used to brush out curly hairdos without creating much frizz. However, you must be very careful when you are using a brush with metal bristles because the metal can be quite harsh on the roots of your hair.
7. Cushion Brush
The cushion brush combines synthetic bristles with a rubber pad to get rid of static completely. It should only be used on dry hair for detangling and smoothing.
In fact, you may have seen your hairstylist using this tool to finish off your latest professional style.
8. Thermal Brush
The thermal brush should be your go-to tool for giving yourself a home blowout with a professional finish. Usually made of synthetic bristles or a mixture of synthetic and natural bristles, these brushes also feature metal bases to heat up your hair naturally with the power of your hair dryer.
Another option that has become increasingly popular lately is the electric brush, which is sold in a paddle or round shape depending on whether you want a highly volumized look or sleek, straight tresses.
9. Vented Brush
Another good option for drying your hair is the vented brush. The many openings on the base of the brush allow plenty of heated air to get through the brush as you pull it gently through your hair.
The teeth on this brush are spaced quite widely to allow for the fastest drying time possible.
10. Round Brush
Round brushes can be used for detangling and smoothing a curly style or for giving yourself a blowout depending on the style of the brush.
Keep in mind that the diameter of the brush will determine the tightness or looseness of the curl you achieve. If you want beachy waves in long hair, opt for a very wide brush.
If you’ve recently gotten a perm, a round brush when blow-drying is the only type of brush experts recommend if you MUST use one at all.
11. Curved Brush
The curved brush is one of the most difficult to find but can be good for those looking for a new way to amp up the natural shine of their tresses. It can also speed up your styling process.
As it fits itself to your head, it picks up and brushes through more hair in a single stroke than a traditional paddle brush does.
12. Mini Brush
A mini brush is usually made of natural bristles because it is used to distribute oils to get rid of frizz. However, unlike the full-size boar bristle brush, this mini brush is only an inch or so long and is used at the end of your styling routine to brush tiny flyaways into place.
13. Teasing Brush
Teasing brushes are also made of natural bristles most of the time because these bristles are great at grabbing hair. These narrow brushes should be pulled in the opposite direction on the backside of sections of your hair to add the volume you need.
Start a few inches from your roots, and brush toward your scalp for the best results.
With so many brushes sold in stores today, it may seem difficult to choose the right option for you. You may find that the first brush you choose does not tame your frizz or add the right amount of volume to your hair.
Before you give up your search altogether, try a different size or style of brush or opt for a different type of bristles. Eventually, you will find the perfect hairbrush for your look.