A hairbrush is an essential beauty tool, but one that we don’t think twice about in our routines. Many of us have probably been using the same one for years — even if it’s only doing the bare minimum for our hair care. With a variety of paddle brushes, vent brushes, detanglers and more, there’s plenty of hair-taming options to suit your specific hair type.
“All brushes are not meant for every hair texture,” celebrity hair stylist Ro Morgan says. Whether you have strands that are straight or curly, thick or thin (or somewhere in between), finding the right hairbrush for your hair type will optimize your ability to style your locks.
Your brush of choice also depends on what hairstyle you want to achieve. “I highly recommend the use of multiple hairbrushes for different styling needs,” Morgan says. Veteran hair stylist and founder of his eponymous hair care line Stephen Knoll agrees, noting that it’s smart to have several hairbrushes on hand. “For instance, if you are doing a wavy, curly style and you want to keep the curls very formed you are going to use more of a vent brush so that you don’t disrupt the curl,” Knoll says. “If you want a very loose flowing look, like a Rita Hayworth look, then you are going to use a brush like a Mason Pearson that really fluffs the hair out.”
For your everyday hair care, Morgan says those with straight to wavy hair should brush their hair at least twice a day — once in the morning and once in the evening, before bed. “This will help stimulate the scalp and help distribute oils through the hair,” Morgan explains. For those with curly hair, the stylist says to hold off on brushing unless some detangling is needed, since “brushing can disrupt curl pattern.”
Whatever your hair type, find your best hairbrush with these 17 expert-approved picks for smoothing, detangling, enhancing curls and making hair more manageable.
Hairbrushes for curly hair
$17.99 at Amazon
While Morgan says this brush is great for detangling any hair texture, he especially likes it for curly hair. “The flexible bristles are spaced wide enough to prevent breakage and help give curl definition,” Morgan says.
$14 at Ulta
Clayton Hawkins — hair stylist to Olivia Rodrigo, Elizabeth Olsen and other celebrities, and a Tangle Teezer ambassador — says this brush will work out knots without ruining curls. “The brush’s long, firmer teeth specifically designed for naturally curly and coily hair speed up detangling and flex seamlessly over tangles,” Hawkins says.
$35 $27.95 at House of Beauty
A choice that offers control for both defining curls or smoothing them, this styling brush is a versatile option for those with curly hair. It has nine rows of nylon bristles that are spaced apart to avoid tugging or tearing the hair. Knoll recommends this brush because, “if your hair is coarse, curly or frizzy you want to use more of a vent brush, so in other words a brush that has less bristles.”
$12 at Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross
Morgan says an edge-taming brush is a must for anyone, but especially those with curly hair. This three-in-one tool features a mini comb to separate the fine hairs, a mini vegan boar bristle brush to smooth and shape and a pointed end to separate and add finishing touches.
Hairbrushes for fine hair
“With fine hair you should use a brush that has more bristles because it will move through the hair more easily,” Knoll advises. “The fine hair strand does not have the resistance and the flexibility to adapt to just any old brush and would get caught in the hair.” Mason Pearson brushes have long been an industry favorite, and this boar bristle brush is designed specifically for those with fine, medium to long hair. Those who want a bristle-only brush can opt for the Handy Bristle Brush ($275 at Bloomingdales).
From $43 at Amazon
Ibiza Hair’s B Series offers five sizes of round boar bristle brushes that help detangle and tame fine hair. “Blonde, lightweight bristles give hair shine without causing breakage to delicate, fine and color-treated hair,” Morgan says. “Love the cork handle,” he adds.
$21.95 at Denman
Although Knoll assures that he is not a Denman spokesperson, the hair stylist vouches for the brand’s styling tools. “Quite honestly, I prefer to use a Denman on everyone,” he says. He recommends this versatile styling brush for those with fine, curly hair. The seven rows of nylon pins define the curls when wet and provide grip when styling.
Hairbrushes for thick hair
$30.95 at Amazon
This large paddle brush can take on thick strands and is a great everyday option for various styling needs. Morgan likes it for detangling, blow-drying and straightening.
$62 at Sephora
This dual-bristle brush works for medium to thick hair whether it’s straight, wavy or curly. The ethically sourced boar bristles help distribute your hair’s natural oils, while the nylon pins smooth your locks. Knoll says to opt for a brush that has straight pins like this one. “Avoid brushes that have rounded tips — it should be a smooth bristle, no added cap at the end —because those little bulbous caps get caught and they snap and break the hair,” Knoll says.
$130 at Bloomingdales
This detangling brush has six rings of straight, nylon bristles sans the caps Knoll says to avoid. It’s designed to be used before and after shampooing, optimizing your hair care routine and keeping knots out of the equation.
Hairbrushes for detangling hair
$14 at Ulta
“For straight hair, The Fine and Fragile Ultimate Detangler brush is the GOAT,” Hawkins says. “The brush’s soft-flex teeth are tough on knots, but gentle to sensitive scalps, and detangle wet hair effortlessly with no pulling, tugging or breakage.”
$16 at Ulta
Smoothing out your hair can either be the finishing touch on your look or a step towards a more intricate hairdo — and this brush can help you achieve both. “The Ultimate Finisher is designed to dry-style,” Hawkins shares. “I use it to create updos, volume and texture, add smoothness and shine and to maintain and blend hair extensions, clip-ins and weaves. It’s the perfect finishing brush in your routine.”
$17.95 at Amazon
A vent brush, named for the “vents” that open to the back of the brush, is an ideal styling companion for those that blow-dry their hair. While the bristles smooth the hair, the vents allow the air from the blow-dryer to circulate freely, giving more volume and lift to your hairstyle. Knoll uses Denman’s vent brush and his Stephen Knoll Hydrating Serum Mist to tame tangled locks.
Hairbrushes for wet hair
$9.98 From $6.75 at Amazon
An under-$10 option that’s earned over 46,000 5-star ratings on Amazon, the original Wet Brush continues to prove itself as the best brush for detangling wet hair. It’s one of Morgan’s favorites for the job, as its flexible bristles seamlessly remove tangles in hair thick or thin.
$14 at Ulta
Hawkins also loves the original Ultimate Detangler for “effortlessly detangling wet hair.” The brush is specifically made for use on wet hair and its two-tiered teeth easily navigate through knots, leaving behind smooth, tangle-free locks.
$5.11 at Angel Hair & Beauty
While Knoll recommends brushing your hair before you hop in the shower — “If you’re starting with matts in the hair, when it gets wet it’s even worse trying to comb it out” — combing the hair while wet gently eases any tangles while washing. “Typically, what people do is they start at the scalp and start combing down — [this] turns tangles into knots, condensing them,” Knoll says. “Always start from your ends, the bottom, and work your way up to the scalp, carefully releasing any little tangles.”
$8.99 $7.99 at Amazon
Massaging the scalp may contribute to healthier hair, but scraping a hairbrush against your head is more abrasive than it is relaxing. Instead, Knoll recommends stimulating the scalp with a massaging tool that doubles as a detangler. The hair stylist likes this flexible option that is gentle on the scalp and on unknotting hair.