Elevate Your Hair Care Routine with the Perfect Brush
With so many options available, choosing the perfect brush can seem overwhelming. Streamline the process by asking yourself what exactly you need your brush to do—comb through tangles or impart a style? Then consider the bristles: synthetic ones detangle and dry hair quickly, while boar bristles help pull hair taut to create a smooth, shiny look.
The right mix of form and function are a match made in hair heaven. As any stylist will tell you, your brush factors into the overall look and health of hair. We consulted with Faith Huffnagle, Prose Director of Education and veteran stylist, to get her professional take on the ten most-widely used brushes and combs.
1. Vented Brush
This brush’s claim to fame is its quick drying time. Gaps in its base allows for greater air circulation and better root lift. Typically made with stiff plastic bristles with ball tips for comfort, it doesn’t offer much in the way of control, so it’s ideal for short cuts. Rough drying hair 80 percent of the way, before using a vented brush, will help minimize hair breakage.
2. Detangling Brush
You can spot a detangling brush by its soft, flexible, plastic bristles that easily rake through wet hair without causing tangles. With its no-tug factor, detangling brushes are particularly great for children or thick or textured hair that doesn’t cooperate. Use on wet strands, starting at the ends and work upwards towards your roots. Avoid using with a hairdryer, as it can melt the plastic bristles.
3. Cushion Brush
The cushion brush is the consummate workhorse. You’ll find it in many shapes from a rectangular paddle brush to the oval smoothing variety. Its name refers to the soft, rubber cushion base that lets air move back and forth into the brush, accompanied by bristles that bend to prevent breakage in fragile hair. Typically found in boar or nylon-boar bristle mixes, it’s great for styling, blowouts and pulling hair back into bump-free ponytails. Use it before bed to redistribute oils from scalp to dry ends, boosting hair’s shine and helping extend the time between shampoos.
4. Boar-Bristle Round Brush
For long, fragile and wavy hair types, boar-bristles are the gold standard, offering tension and control to ensure supreme smoothing. For at-home blowouts, it can be one of the hardest brushes to master, but worth the effort for the volume, shine, and healthy finish it delivers. It’s available in several barrel sizes to create a varying degree of lift, volume and bend. As a general rule, the smaller the barrel is, the tighter the curl. Larger barrels (over three inches in diameter) are the easiest to maneuver, avoiding getting hair tangled while still rolling and curling.
5. Thermal/Ceramic Round Brush
These thermal or ceramic-cored, bristled brushes work with the heat of the hairdryer to act like a curling iron. Synthetic bristles gently detangle, wrapping hair around the brush as small holes in the barrel lets air pass through, molding strands into a shiny, bouncy curl. This brush is best suited for straight, fine hair.
6. Heated Straightening Brush
A hairdryer/brush/flat iron hybrid that aims to smooth hair in one easy step. Your degree of success with this time-saver all comes down to choosing one with the right ratio of bristles for your hair type. Tightly-packed, long bristles allow the brush to get close to the scalp and pull hair taut with each pass. Conversely, with wider-spaced the bristles, the better its volumizing power. Additions like ionic technology help quell the frizz factor.
7. Wide-Tooth Comb
Everyone should have a wide-toothed comb in their shower. Hair is weakest when it’s wet, so these wide-spaced teeth detangle without tearing. Use while conditioning hair to ensure every section of your head gets equal moisture and nourishment.
8. Teasing Brush
The name of this tool says it all: the closely bundled bristles help create bulk and build volume at the base of the scalp. Use on dry hair, backcomb, then softly brush over to take styles to new heights.
9. Rat Tail Comb
With its long handle, the tail comb makes sectioning hair a breeze. It’s great for creating cool braids, a perfectly defined part or a flawless roller-set. The fine teeth also help smooth out cowlicks and bumps.
10. Extension/Wig Comb
This unique brush has looped, nylon bristles to gently smooth through natural or synthetic-haired wigs or extensions without altering the style or texture.