Types of Hair Brushes and Their Uses

By: | Last Updated: November 11, 2021

Did you know that our hair types are just as diverse as the hairbrushes on the market? This means that no matter what your hair type is, there will be a hairbrush for you!

You may not be paying too much attention to the kind of brush you use, thinking that all brushes do the same thing. 

But after reading this article, you will know more about the subtle differences of the most common hairbrushes in the market.

Read on to know more about:

  • Different types of hair brushes and their uses
  • Different bristles for hairbrushes
  • Best hairbrush for your hair type
  • Best hairbrush for natural hair

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Different Hairbrush Guide

1. Wet Detangling Brush

Tangle Teezer | The Ultimate Detangler Hairbrush for Wet & Dry Hair | For All Hair Types | Eliminates Knots & Reduces Breakage | Apricot Blaze

Perhaps you have been told that brushing wet hair is not advisable. Since wet hair is heavier than dry hair, it is more vulnerable to damage and thus, should not be subject to more stress brought by brushing. 

Well, this is true. But the hair care industry evolves and adapts to the needs of its customers. 

Upon recognizing the need for a safe brush for wet hair, the hair care industry gave us a wet detangling brush.

Wet detangling brushes come in different shapes and sizes but one thing is common among them: their extra soft and flexible bristles.

One of the most prominent brands in the wet brush chain is the Tangle Teezer. Tangle Teezers are known for their unique structure. 

Imagine a hairbrush head without a handle. Then imagine it being made of rubber. That is what a Tangle Teezer looks like. 

It takes pride in its compactness since it fits perfectly at the palm of your hand and is durable since the base and the bristles are all made of rubber.

The rubber bristles are extraordinarily gentle on wet hair. They are flexible enough not to snag your hair. 

Since the bristles are gentle and elastic, you can use them to massage your scalp as you shower. Doing so helps in circulating blood flow in your scalp, resulting in hair growth and a healthier scalp.

There are other wet detangling brushes on the market that are shaped much like a normal hairbrush. However, such brushes are more likely to break and are more difficult to clean since they are plastic instead of rubber.

Although wet detangling brushes are made for wet hair, they are also suitable for dry hair.

2. Round Brush

Drybar Single Shot Round Blow Dryer Brush, 2.25 inch Barrel

The top half of round brushes consists of a cylindrical barrel surrounded by bristles.

This strategic 360-degree positioning of bristles is probably the round brushes’ main advantage. Because of this, we can use round brushes as curlers when paired with blow dryers.

Round brushes can be made of wood, plastic, or metal. Generally, these hairbrushes all give volume to the hair, especially if you use the right size. 

You can use these to tame flyaways by combing your hair in the opposite direction of the flyaways.

Wood round brushes have their charm. Usually, wood hairbrushes come with natural boar bristles. These bristles are better at taming frizz and creating volume. We will talk more about boar bristles later in this article.

Meanwhile, metal round brushes are perfect for styling the hair. As I mentioned earlier, we can use round brushes as improvised curling irons, but a metal round brush does the trick better.

When paired with a blowdryer, the hot air from the blowdryer will heat the metal barrel of the round brush. The absorbed heat helps form the curls easier than round brushes made from other materials.

As for the right size of the round brush, you have to consider two things: the length of your hair and the type of curl you want.

 A good rule of thumb is buying smaller round brushes for shorter hair. However, if you want loose curls, you may opt for bigger brushes. 

If you have thick hair, it is best to stick with bigger brushes to best serve their purpose.

3. Paddle Brush

Revlon Straight & Smooth Berry Paddle Hair Brush

Paddle brushes are best used for long, thick, and straight hair. What makes paddle brushes unique is their large, flat, and wide heads.

This head is air-cushioned and is full of plastic bristles with ball tips. This structure helps quickly detangle the hair, especially those that are naturally straight.

Instead of adding volume to the hair, paddle brushes make the hair straighter and sleeker. It is perfect for flattening static hair and smoothening already straight hair.

Those with thicker hair may opt for paddle brushes with wider heads and longer bristles. In contrast, those with finer hair may opt for paddle brushes with softer bristles.

Since paddle brushes have cushions, dirt and lint may be stuck on them. So, it is best to regularly clean your brush at least once every month. 

4. Cushion Brush 

Cushion brushes have rubber cushions and stiff bristles. The cushions are anti-static and are known to help tame frizz.

The stiff bristles are useful for brushing away dandruff or other built-up dirt from various hair care products.

Also, the bristles can stimulate and massage the scalp to keep it healthy and encourage hair growth.

The main specialty of cushion brushes is sleek and polished hairstyles. It is not advisable for textured hair as it will only cause unnecessary frizz.  

5. Denman Brush

Denman Hair Brush for Curly Hair D3 (Black) 7 Row Classic Styling Brush for Detangling, Separating, Shaping and Defining Curls

Denman brushes are best known for being one of the few hairbrushes specifically designed for those with naturally curly hair.

It has a sturdy handle, seven rows of nylon pins, and a rubber cushion. This structure is not as good at detangling as other brushes, but it sure helps separate curly hair strands with minimal damage.

This brush is best used when curls are wet. It helps distribute products more evenly on curly hair. 

Also, it adds definition and bounce to the hair as it amplifies the spirals of the locks and shrinks the hair more to make it look bouncier. 

6. Dressing Brush

The main purpose of a dressing brush is…to dress the hair. This brush is best used for creating ponytails or other hairdos that require a smooth, silky finish.

Dressing brushes also help smoothen out an already done hairstyle. Hairstylists use it to add finishing touches to the hair.

This brush works best on straight hair because it has numerous fine bristles that will surely help keep each strand in place.

7. Wet Brush

A wet brush is called the way it is because it is used primarily on wet hair. It has softer bristles and a plastic handle. 

This brush caters to the needs of fragile, wet hair. It helps detangle the hair while in the shower and evenly spread hair care products.

8. Curved Brush

Come to think of it, our head is round, but why are our hairbrushes flat? Wouldn’t it make much more sense if we have curved hairbrushes?

We can only imagine that this was the thought process of those who created the first-ever curved hairbrush.

A curved hairbrush is designed to fit the shape of the head. This curve would hasten the smoothening process of the hair since it takes more strands in each passing. 

9. Vented Brush

Vented brushes got their name from their “vents.” Unlike other brushes that have cushions on the bases of the bristles, vented brushes have holes instead. These holes serve as airways for better circulation of air when blowdrying. 

Because of its unique structure, a vented brush allows you to dry your hair quicker than other hairbrushes. Note that shorter exposure to direct heat means less damage to your hair.  

10. Teasing Brush

We use teasing brushes to lift the roots of our hair. Doing so will create the illusion that the hair is fuller or thicker than it actually is.

Teasing the hair is very useful when styling an updo. The teased strands support the overall look of the hairdo so that it doesn’t look flat and lifeless.

When putting hair extensions, it is advisable to tease the roots first so that the extensions have a firm base.

When you plan to buy your teasing brush, you might consider buying one that has a pointed handle. The pointed handle will be useful in sectioning the hair since you will do that a lot in the teasing process.

11. Straightening Thermal Brush 

DAFNI Allure Portable Hair Straightening Brush - Styles Hair Up to 10 Times Faster Than a Flat Iron

Imagine a paddle brush made of metal that heats up. That is what a straightening thermal brush looks like.

You might ask, “do straightening brushes work? The answer is yes. 

People with wavy hair or those who have already straightened their hair and just need a quick touch-up are the ones who usually use straightening brushes.

Several users claim that straightening hairbrushes are better than flat irons. Not only because it is easier to use but also because it does not damage the hair as much as flat irons do.

Unlike flat irons that cause the hair to look lifeless, straightening hair brushes add volume to the hair. The bristles help a lot in doing so.

To use a straightening brush, you simply have to heat up the brush and then brush it through your hair as usual. Rest assured that you will get straight hair in no time!

12. Thermal Brush

Drybar Double Shot Oval Blow-Dryer Brush, 2.44 inch Barrel

Thermal brushes are brushes that heat up. Usually, they look like round brushes, but thermal brushes are made of heat conductors like ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium. 

These are used to create natural-looking curls. Use this when you want a curl that is not as formed as the ones you get when using curling irons. 

Also, these are easier to use than curling irons. Curling irons do not have bristles. This means that you have to wrap your hair around the iron manually. 

Thermal brushes have bristles that make this job easier for you. The bristles can hold and lift the hair strands and heat them as such. This way, you wouldn’t need to use both hands when curling your hair. 

If you have naturally straight hair that is hard to curl, thermal brushes might not work well if you plan to use them as a curler. You may want to opt for regular curling irons instead. 

When choosing a barrel size, consider your hair texture and thickness and the type of curl that you want to achieve. 

Those with longer and thicker hair may opt for larger barrels, while those with short and fine hair may do well with smaller barrels.

READ NEXT: Comb vs Brush – Which is better for your hair?

Bristle Brushes

We already talked about the different kinds of hairbrushes. By now, you must have realized that the shape and structure of the brush are very important factors when choosing a brush that best suits your hair type and hair goals.

In this section, we will dig deeper into the part of the brush that actually touches your hair and scalp — the bristles. 

The type of bristles in your hairbrush is just as important as the hairbrush itself. Here are three different bristles that can be found on various hairbrushes:

Natural Bristles 

Natural bristles are made from animal hair, most commonly boar hair. 

Boar hair has a structure similar to human hair and even has keratin, a protein also found in human hair. 

These similarities are probably why boar hair is considered the safest and most beneficial bristle for us.

 Boar hair is humanely shaved from domesticated boars. So you don’t have to worry about it being harmful to animals.

There are several reasons why boar hair is considered the ultimate bristle for hairbrushes:

  • it evenly distributes our hair’s natural oils from roots to tips
  • it encourages blood flow by gently stimulating the scalp, which then results in healthy hair growth
  • adds shine to the hair
  • minimizes damage caused by friction

There are also natural bristles that are plant-based. If you are vegan and do not want to consume or use any animal product, you can look for natural vegan bristles.

Vegan bristles are usually made from plant fibers like agave. Despite the difference in the material used, it still offers the same benefits as boar bristles.

Natural bristles are soft and gentle, so they may not fully permeate thick and coarse hair. But they still work, nonetheless.

Synthetic Bristles

Synthetic bristles are made from unnatural materials such as nylon, plastic, or wire. They are usually stiffer than natural bristles, which means they are more useful for detangling.

Although stiff, these bristles are flexible enough to adapt to different hair textures. Also, it efficiently reduces static hair.

It does not offer the same shine as natural bristles, but it can still distribute natural sebum throughout the hair.

Since these bristles are strong and thick, they are suitable for brushing through thick and coarse hair.

Mixed Bristles

Mixed bristles are simply the combination of natural bristles and synthetic bristles. 

Suppose you want to get the best of both worlds, i.e. effective detangling courtesy of synthetic bristles and health benefits of natural bristles. In that case, hairbrushes with mixed bristles are perfect for you.

Does the hairbrush you use make a difference?

Yes, the hairbrush you use makes a huge difference. 

There are brushes for specific purposes, like the teasing brush and wet detangler brush. Some brushes work better on specific hair types, like the Denman brush, which works best on curly hair. 

The structure matters as well, like the vented brush, which is best paired with blowdryers. Whatever your desired hairstyle, there is a special brush for you.

You might not notice it at first, but once you pay attention to the needs of your hair and try different brushes to cater to its needs, you will realize how different hairbrushes affect your hair.

But, of course, you do not need to go through all that hassle. That is why we brought this article to you, so you don’t need to undergo a tedious trial and error process.

By reading the sections above, you will know how each hairbrush is structured, its uses and specialties, and the hair textures on which they work best. 

What hairbrush is good for your hair?

To know the best hairbrush for your hair, you have to consider your hair texture, length, and the hairstyle you are aiming for. 

Use those three criteria as guides and then read the sections above.

You do not have to follow these religiously, but here are random good rules of thumb when it comes to hair care:

  • thicker, longer hair needs larger, wider brushes with long bristles
  • curly hair needs widely-spaced bristles to avoid frizz
  • naturally straight hair needs volume to avoid looking lump and boring
  • natural sebum from the scalp should be distributed to the hair; a gentle scalp massage is beneficial

More than the hairbrush itself, also take into consideration the bristles that would come with your hairbrush.

What kind of brush is best for natural hair?

Some say that it is best not to brush natural hair at all. But others say that there are brushes that help natural hair achieve its full glory.

One suggestion is using a natural 100 percent boar bristle brush. No matter the hair texture, this brush does an excellent job at distributing natural sebum from the scalp and other hair care products throughout the hair. 

This helps moisturize the dry curls of natural hair.

Another popular suggestion would be the classic Denman brush. Denman brushes have flexible bristles that are dense enough to comb through thick hair yet spread wide enough to avoid snagging.

This list may also help you find the perfect hairbrush for your hair type.

Haircare starts at the simplest habit!

We often take for granted the simple things in life, such as the act of brushing our hair. It has been too natural for us, too mundane, that we do not pay much attention to it.

However, these simple acts that we do on a daily basis have the biggest impact on our lives in the long run. 

Brushing the hair with the wrong brush may not look alerting to you, but years later, you will realize that your hair could have been in a much better state if you had used a different hairbrush.

You did not find this article by chance. You were meant to be here (and reach this far) because you are destined to take better care of your crowning glory for the rest of your days by changing one simple habit today.

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