Different Types of Hair Combs and Their Uses

By: | Last Updated: November 11, 2021

Combs have a long archaeological history. In fact, archaeologists believe that people have been using combs for as long as 5000 years ago. 1

Archaeologists have unearthed collections of combs from different eras. They have observed how these combs evolved through time, including changes in their structure and the materials used to make them. 

Over the centuries, different materials were used to make combs, such as bronze, wood, bones, iron, animal horns, and even tortoise shells. They have evolved in shape and structure, but their purpose remains the same — to groom the hair.

Fast forward to now, most of our combs are made of plastic or wood. It seems as if we have perfected the structures of combs that will be most helpful in keeping various hair types well-groomed and tangle-free.

As you read on through this article, you will know more about:

  • The different types of hair combs and their uses
  • The best comb for hair fall
  • The best comb for your hair

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Different Types of Hair Combs and Their Uses

All-Purpose Comb

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If you are not a fan of hair care or hair styling, I bet that the only comb you could have ever owned would be the all-purpose comb.

Usually, all-purpose combs have a 7-inch shaft and one row of teeth attached to the shaft. 

Half of the comb has wide gaps between the teeth, while the other half has fine teeth with narrower gaps in between.

Ideally, the wide-toothed side is used for detangling, while the fine-toothed side is used for creating a sleek hairstyle or combing thin hair.

The all-purpose comb is perfect for an entire household. It can cater to women’s, men’s, and children’s hair.

Also, its size is only ideal for home use. It is not as compact as other combs and is not convenient for traveling.

Wide Toothed Comb

Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Detangler Comb, Wide Tooth Comb Detangles Wet or Dry Hair Milky White

Wide-toothed combs have a shaft, a handle, and large teeth with wide spaces in between. 

These are commonly used to detangle all types of hair but most especially curly ones.

Since the teeth are far apart from each other, it can not straighten the tiny knots, but it can detangle your hair with minimal snagging. 

You can use this comb in the shower after applying hair conditioner. Alternatively, you can use it after shower before styling your hair.

Fine Toothed Comb

Opposite to the wide-toothed comb is the fine-toothed comb. It has thin teeth which are narrowly spaced apart from each other.

This comb is not designed for detangling hair since the spaces between its teeth are too narrow. It will only snag your hair and cause breakage.

Fine toothed combs are ideal for styling the hair. This can be used after detangling the hair using wide-toothed combs.

People with fine or thin hair will find this tool useful, but curly, thick, or coarse hair will probably never need a fine-toothed comb.

Detangler Comb

Wet Brush Original Detangler Wave Tooth Design Hair Brush with Ultra Soft Intelliflex Bristles, Travel Hair Detangling Comb for All Hair Types and Less Breakage (Black)

As the name suggests, detangler combs are primarily used for detangling hair. 

Imagine two wide-toothed combs placed one inch away from each other and are bound together at the shaft. That is what a detangler comb looks like, although there are other designs as well.

The advantage of using detangler combs instead of a wide-toothed comb would be that the detangler comb’s structure helps speed up the detangling process.

The space between the combs allows the hair to smoothly detangle without it curling back again again.

This comb is extremely helpful for those with curly or coily hair. 

Rat Tail Comb

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Rat Tail Combs have fine teeth and a long thin handle. It looks very much like a normal fine-toothed comb, except that its handle also serves a specific function.

These combs are used to tease fine hair to add more volume. Its handle is used to separate hair into parts. 

Whether you want to part your hair on the side or the middle, a rat tail comb will be best for that job. 

Pin Tail Comb

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Pin Tail Combs are similar to Rat Tail combs except that their teeth are even finer, and their handle is made of metal which is much thinner than that of a rat tail comb.

These combs serve a purpose similar to a rat tail comb, but Pin Tail combs offer more precision. 

When working on hair highlights, for example, you can use a pin tail comb to separate small hair strands. 

This comb is also helpful in styling natural hair. Since pin tails offer more precision, they can better section stubborn natural hair. 

Barber Comb

Without a doubt, the barber comb is the kind of comb that men are most familiar with. As the name suggests, it is the kind that barbers use when trimming hair.

 A barber comb looks like an all-around comb in the sense that half of it is wide-toothed while the other half is fine-toothed. Also, it doesn’t have a handle, only a shaft to which the teeth are attached.

However, the difference is that the length of the teeth of barber combs is much shorter than all-around combs. Additionally, barber combs have one tapered end.

The distinct structure of this comb helps barbers cut close to the scalp without injuring the customer. The tapered end specifically helps in cutting close to the nape or the ear.

Pocket Comb

GOODY Ace Classic Bobby Pocket and Purse Hair Comb - 5 Inch, Black - Great for All Hair Types - Fine Comb Teeth for Thin to Medium Hair

A pocket comb is named the way it is because it easily fits in our pockets. It looks like an all-purpose comb but smaller.

The teeth of pocket combs are equally spaced apart from each other. This is the comb that men usually bring around with them.

 Since it is small, it has narrowly spaced teeth but is wide enough to detangle men’s short hair.

The obvious advantage of using pocket combs is that it is compact and convenient for traveling.

Afro Pick Comb

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An afro pick comb looks a lot like a wide-toothed comb but with longer teeth that look like a gardening rake, which is where it got its name. 

These combs are used for untangling thick, long, and curly hair. 

Its long teeth allow it to penetrate through the fluffy thickness of curly or coily hair. It easily untangles coarse natural hair.

Teasing Comb

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A teasing comb is distinct because of its teeth. Its teeth are uneven in length and are tightly placed together. Teasing combs are used to add volume to thin and fine hair. 

To use this, you have to grab your hair strands and pull them upwards. Then, comb your hair in the wrong direction, from mid-strand to roots, using a teasing comb.

CHECK OUT: Comb vs Brush: Which is better for your hair?

Which type of comb is best for hair fall?

Combing does not directly affect hair fall. That means avoiding combing does not prevent hair fall, and combing does not increase the hair fall rate. 2

However, it is still true that bad brushing habits can contribute to hair fall due to breakage. 

To avoid this, make sure to use a comb that suits your hair type. Thicker and textured hair needs wide-toothed combs. 

Also, be mindful of your combing habits. Make sure to brush your hair only twice a day, and not to brush your hair from the roots, start mid-length instead.

Given all the information stated above, we can conclude that it is best to use combs that can effectively detangle hair with minimal snagging.

Such combs include the wide-toothed comb and the detangler comb. These work best for all hair types and textures.

READ NEXT: Types of Hairbrush

Which type of comb is best for my hair?

Children with fine hair can use fine-toothed hair combs. Women and men with short straight hair can use normal combs to untangle their tresses, while wide-toothed combs are best for those with curly and coarse hair.

Enjoy Healthy and Tangle-free

We have covered everything there is to cover about combs and their uses. The rules for hair care are simple. You only have to take note of it, and you’re ready to go. 


  1. Jackson-Arnautu, N n.d, History of Comb, LEAFtv, accessed 24 August 2021 <https://www.leaf.tv/articles/history-of-the-comb/>
  2. Gohil, B., Can Your Hair Brush Be Causing Your Hair Loss?, RHRLI, accessed 24 August 2021 <https://rhrli.com/blog/can-your-hair-brush-be-causing-hair-loss/>

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