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How to Choose the Perfect Brush for Every Styling Situation

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Prose
April 4, 2019
Home Hair Tips Grooming How to Choose the Perfect Brush for Every Styling Situation

Owning one brush is probably not enough to meet your hair’s many styling needs. What detangles without causing damage might not provide enough tension for a sleek blowout—and what smooths and polishes straight, fine-hair may make coarse curls fuzzy. So how do you find the right brush-strand match? Start with your hair goal, then pick your tress type.

You want to detangle:

Straight, thin or very fine hair

To gently remove tangles without tearing your hair and causing splits, consider investing in something called a Wet Brush. It has soft, flexible bristles that slide through damp strands, unwinding tangles without excess aggression.

Pro Tip: To minimize breakage always start brushing your ends first (that’s where tangles are typically worst), then slowly move upward, toward your roots.

Curly or wavy hair

Because textured hair is especially vulnerable to snagging and knots, most professionals recommend using a detangling tool that is extra gentle and won’t grab at your strands. Your best option: a wide-tooth comb, which will gently work through stubborn knots, without pulling so hard it dismantles your hair’s natural bend. To use, begin by gently detangling your ends, then work up toward your roots.

You want to air dry or re-style:

Straight, thin or very fine hair

To set hair before it air dries—or to reshape and polish it once it’s dry—your best bet is to use a cushion brush that doesn’t tug or pull, such as a Mason Pearson. This brush type allows air to flow between your strands and the brush, enabling the bristles to glide over the surface of the hair, leaving it soft, smooth and super-shiny.

Curly or wavy hair

To re-fluff or re-shape textured tresses, a Denman brush is the ticket. “This brush type has two distinct features—it typically has nine rows of bristles and it’s beveled—which allows you to shape and define textured hair without pulling out curl or causing frizz,” says Faith Huffnagle, Prose director of education and veteran stylist. “For best results, use the brush in an arched motion, focusing on the hair’s underside,” she suggests.

You want to blow dry:

Straight, thin or very fine hair

You will be best served by a metal or ceramic round brush, which acts like a curling iron when it’s coupled with the heat of the blow-dryer. This multi-tasking tool will help you score volume, bend and curl (if you desire) as you dry.

Curly or wavy hair

“Using a boar-bristle round brush or a nylon-boar mix will smooth the hair, condition the cuticle and create shine.” says Huffnagle. “This brush type also provides enough tension to smooth, but won’t pull too much, ripping or tearing fragile textured hair.”

Bleached hair

When it comes to choosing the right blow-drying brush, you should also consider whether your hair is fragile as a result of extreme blonding. “If your hair has been lightened significantly, you’ll need to treat your vulnerable strands more like curly hair, even if your strands are naturally straight or fine,” says Huffnagle. Why? All that coloring has made your hair especially susceptible to breakage so you cannot use too much heat or too much tension. Your best strategy: Pair a natural bristle brush (like boar) with medium heat. “This combination will condition and add shine with minimal damage,” says Huffnagle.

 

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