Skip to main content

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Hairbrush for Your Hair Type

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Hairbrush for Your Hair Type
SkinStore Editors
Writer and expert11 months ago
View SkinStore Editors's profile

Want every day to be a good hair day? If you’re not brushing your hair with the right brush or comb for your hair type, you could be missing out and even causing more harm than good.

While most of us put far more thought into our arsenal of hair care products, choosing the right hairbrush deserves equal attention. Not every type of hairbrush is compatible with every hair type, and if you’ve ever gotten a brush stuck in your hair, either because your hair was too thick for it or the brush was too firm for your delicate hair, then you know just how damaging the effects can be. The options for choosing a hairbrush may seem endless and overwhelming, but selecting a hairbrush with the right shape, size, bristle type, and barrel material can make a huge difference in styling your hair and its health.

Consider this the ultimate guide to decoding the different types of hairbrushes to find the perfect one for your hair.

What is the Benefit of Choosing the Right Hairbrush?

Different hair types need different types of hairbrushes so that the hair looks and feels good. Improperly brushing and styling your hair with the wrong type of brush can do more damage than you may think, causing breakage, tangles, knots, and snarls, especially if you brush from the root down instead of the tip up.

Not all hairbrush types are created equally, leaving many people to question, “what hairbrush should I use?” Some work their magic to detangle, others add shine and then there are those that are better suited for styling the hair. When it comes to choosing amongst the various types of hairbrushes, choose one that compliments your hair type, length and texture and goals and fits in your hand comfortably.

Detangling Hairbrush

Hair Type: All types of hair, especially fine hair

Best For: Detangling wet or dry hair

Wet hair is more delicate than dry hair, so it requires a gentle hairbrush that can smooth out tangles and knots but not at the expense of breaking or damaging the hair. When it comes to brushing wet hair, a nylon detangling brush like the Mason Pearson Detangler glides through hair thanks to its patented pneumatic cushion that conforms to the scalp, so no damage is incurred. This brush is ideal for using before and after shampooing the hair and works well for all hair types.

Wet & Shower Hairbrushes

Hair Type: Long

Best For: Detangling and blow drying

You shouldn't use just any brush to detangle wet hair. That's because when the hair is wet, it's more apt to snap and break since you can easily push it past the point of its natural elasticity. With its semi-soft bristles, the Tangle Teezer The Original Thick and Curly Azure Blue is great for detangling thick and long hair. It also fits perfectly in the palm of your hand to provide control while brushing out the hair without causing breakage.

Vented Hairbrush

Hair Type: Fine to medium hair that’s a short to medium length

Best For: A quick blow dry

A vented hairbrush is a styling must-have when you're short on time yet need to style your hair to look picture-perfect. The open back on the T3 Dry Vent Brush allows air to flow through the vents to enhance your styling routine and cut down on drying time. Use the brush on wet or dry hair to loosen tangles and snarles without tugging on the hair.

Curved Hairbrush

Hair Type: Oilier hair

Best For: Distributing oil from root to tip

If your hair is oily, you'll want to keep a curved hairbrush, like the Mermade Hair Quick and Dry Detangling Brush, on hand to distribute the natural oils so they're less concentrated at the roots. Although this curved hairbrush is vented and heat resistant for faster drying when used on wet hair, its unique curved shape and flexible bristles allow for easy distribution of the natural oils.

Cushion Hairbrush

Hair Type: Frizzy

Best For: Combatting frizz and static

All hair types, especially long hair, can easily fall victim to frizz and static which is brushing with a cushion hairbrush is a must. The T3 Detangle Duo Detangling Brush and Shower Comb Set is the perfect duo for smoothing out strands and improving frizz, too. First use the shower comb on the hair after washing and conditioning and then run the detangling brush through to further release tangles and knots, leaving the hair ready for perfect frizz-free styling.

Paddle Hairbrush

Hair Type: Straight and curly

Best For: Blow-drying and brushing

Paddle brushes are a staple because their large surface smooths the hair while blow-drying it and can refresh the style once dry. The GHD Oval Dressing Brush features natural bristles that glide through the hair to help distribute the hair’s natural oils, leaving it shiny and smooth.

Nylon Bristle Hairbrush

Hair Type: Thick, coarse hair

Best For: Detangling and scalp massage

Nylon bristle hairbrushes do an excellent job of detangling denser hair by penetrating through the thickness and bulkiness of the hair. The Basik Edition Porcupine All Purpose Hairbrush is the gold standard of nylon bristle hairbrushes. Its stiff, ball-tipped bristles glide through the hair to tame and control it without pulling or snagging, making this brush a favorite amongst coarse and curly hair that needs a little help in the manageability department.

Mixed Bristle Hairbrush

Hair Type: Medium to thick hair

Best For: Smoothing out knots and adding shine

Sometimes, a mix of bristles is the best solution for controlling the hair, which is usually the case with medium to thicker hair types, especially if it is longer. Mixed bristle hairbrushes feature a combination of nylon and boar bristles; the nylon bristles work through knots and tangles, while the boar bristles help smooth the cuticle by distributing the hair's natural oils, giving thicker hair more shine and manageability. The combination of the bristles allows the hair to look healthy, smooth and shiny every time.

Natural Bristle Hairbrush

Hair Type: All

Best For: Naturally conditioning the hair

Hairbrushes with natural bristles, like Raincry Restore Large Reinforced Natural Bristle Paddle Brush, are best suited for daily brushing. The natural bristles are equipped to distribute the scalp’s natural oils down the hair shaft and to the ends to help keep hair shiny, soft, smooth and healthy.

Boar Bristle Hairbrush

Hair Type: Fine to medium

Best For: Adding shine and smoothness while minimizing damage

Soft boar bristles, made from wild boars' hair, work wonders to give a gentle massaging benefit to the scalp while promoting shine and reducing breakage. While boar bristle hairbrushes are available in various shapes and sizes, each serves its own purpose. For example, boar bristle paddle hairbrushes detangle and revive dry, styled hair, while boar bristle round brushes, like Christophe Robin Special Blow Dry Hairbrush, grip the hair taut to help smooth it hair when blow drying so the hair emerges polished.

Tiny Boar Bristle Hairbrush

Hair Type: All hair types, especially fine, thin and delicate hair

Best For: Taming flyaways and slicked-back styles

Thin and tiny boar bristle hairbrushes are a must-have for achieving slick ponytails, sleek buns and any other hairstyle where you want the hair to be as taut to the scalp as possible. The smaller, shorter boar bristles gently pull the hair tight, sans any lumps or bumps, for a smooth, flawless style. But these smaller boar bristle hairbrushes also provide TLC for fragile hair prone to breakage.

Looped Hairbrush

Hair Type: Extensions and wefts

Best For: Gentle detangling synthetic hair

If you're a fan of wearing hair extensions, not just any hairbrush will do. Instead, a looped hairbrush, which features small nylon loop bristles rather than a traditional bristle, is essential for keeping extensions in place without pulling or snagging them while brushing the hair.

Anti-Static Hairbrush

Hair Type: All hair types, especially fine, thin hair

Best For: Frizzy hair that misbehaves

Static hair and flyaway's become a problem when electrons build up on dry and dehydrated hair. With nowhere for these electrons to go, the hairs stick up and out. Brushing the hair with an anti-static hairbrush can help quell these hard-to-tame flyaway's.

Ant-static hairbrushes are typically compromised of metal bristles, which reduce the build-up of electric charge within the hair to limit static. Wood brushes with natural bristles are another option—avoid using plastic hairbrushes, an electricity generator that can instigate static hair.

Thermal Hairbrush

Hair Type: Fine to medium

Best For: Adding volume while eliminating frizz

A good thermal hairbrush, be it paddle style or a rounded one, features a combination of bristles, a ceramic, tourmaline or titanium barrel, which conducts heat, and vented slots. Thermal hairbrushes also help speed up drying time while preventing breakage since there's less need to pull on the hair to get it smooth. For a more bouncy blowout with tons of volume, try a round brush, like the Mermade Thermal Round Brush, which adds volume to the hair while minimizing frizz. Twist a round brush around the hair and gently pull it out to create soft waves.

Round Hairbrush

Hair Type: Medium to thick hair that’s short to medium length

Best For: A smooth blowout and straightening the hair

A round hairbrush with natural or nylon bristles is a must-have for creating a smooth blowout. That's because round brushes with a ceramic-coated barrel, like the T3 Volume 2.0 Round Brush, allow for heat to flow out of the brush, mimicking the effects of what a curling iron can achieve.

The shape of a round brush and its rigid bristles make it easier to bend the ends of the hair and achieve lift and volume at the root when using the brush to pull the hair taut and upwards. Just remember larger round brushes create more volume while smaller ones give more curls.

Teasing Hairbrush

Hair Type: All hair types

Best For: Adding volume at the crown

These long, thin brushes feature shorter bristles that grab onto hair to lift the roots so you can tease the hair for added volume at the crown. The key to getting the volume to last is to spray the roots with either dry shampoo or volumizing spray, then move the teasing hairbrush up and down the root in one sweeping motion to create volume without damaging the hair.

Wide Tooth Comb

Hair Type: Curly, wavy and coarse hair

Best For: Detangling and combing out wet hair and waves

Wide-tooth combs detangle curly, kinky, coarse hair without disrupting the natural curl or wave. For these hair types, which can be harder to manage, it's best to comb out the hair when wet with a wide-tooth comb than a brush, which can cause breakage. Mason Pearson Pocket Comb makes untangling curly hair a breeze since the uniquely-designed comb slides thru the hair without pulling or snagging it.

Rat Tail Comb

Hair Type: All

Best For: Creating the perfect part and sectioning the hair

Brushes are great and have their place in an everyday hair routine, but certain hairstyles, such as braids and half up-half down styles, require a fine-tooth rat tail comb.

The skinny pointed end creates distinct sections and a clean part, while the comb portion controls stray hairs and makes backcombing easy. The Mason Pearson Tail Comb is comprised of smooth acrylic, which prevents hair damage during styling while still getting every hair to lie perfectly in place.

Find the best hair brush for your hair type and shop all Hairbrushes and Combs at SkinStore!

SkinStore Editors
Writer and expert
View SkinStore Editors's profile
Our team of beauty experts cover everything from skincare to makeup, picking out the most effective products from the best brands and latest trends. Stay up to date on everything beauty with the SkinStore blog, and find all your essentials in one place.