Some hair products are non-negotiable. (See: shampoo and conditioner.) But finding the best hairbrush can be a game-changer for your hair care routine, resulting in easier styling, less frizz, and overall healthier hair. That said, finding the right hairbrush for your hair type isn’t always that easy. Depending on the design and construction, whether it’s boar bristle or nylon pins, for example, can make it better for brushing out a certain hair texture or creating a certain hairstyle. So we asked hairstylists to spill the details (and their top picks) on the best hairbrush for every situation.
How to choose the best hairbrush
Straight hair, fine hair, long hair, whatever you’re working on, using the right brush can help. “Different brushes have different uses,” says Leigh Hardges, stylist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon. “Hair types, shapes and sizes all serve a purpose.” It takes into account not only the construction of the brush, but also its weight and its ergonomics in the hand.
Hair is a big problem. Most of the time, you’ll see either boar bristles, which are stiffer, or nylon, which makes the bristles more flexible. This difference influences their use. “The boar bristles help carry the natural oils to the ends of the hair. I like to use the boar on clients with fine, fragile hair,” says Hardges. “The nylon bristles are the workhorses of the brushes. They are optimal for heat styling and detangling.
That said, you don’t necessarily need 10 different brushes to get a good hair day on the books, says New York hairstylist Mikel McIntyre. If you’re not sure where to start, he says, “get a good detangling brush and a good proper styling brush — and you’re set.”
How to brush your hair properly
First off, it’s always helpful to start with a detangling spray, especially if you’re working with damp hair. “Apply and blend with your fingers, then start brushing from the bottom,” says McIntyre, who is currently a fan of Verb Leave-In Conditioner Mist. “You’ll notice a much cleaner blow-dry or blow-dry style.” Whether you’re working with damp or dry hair, this brushing technique is essential for getting the best results. “Always start at the ends and work your way up the section of hair,” says Hardges. “Otherwise you end up pulling more tangles into the ends.”
How to take care of your hairbrush
Some brushes can be an investment (we see you, Mason Pearson), so it’s worth taking good care of yours no matter what you choose. Remove loose bristles from your brush weekly and clean with a mild shampoo if you notice any grime or buildup on the bristles. “If the handle is wooden, be sure to let it dry completely or it will warp,” says Hardges.
If you are losing hair left and right, take it as a signal to invest in a new one. With that in mind, consider adding these brushes to your arsenal or replacing your years-old model that doesn’t quite cut it.