When it comes to buying a hairbrush – quite possibly, the most commonly used beauty tool – many of us just grab the first one we see off the shelf. However, as I tell my clients as well, using the right hairbrush can make a big difference in maintaining healthy hair and how effectively you are able to style it. For example, just like one cannot (and should not!) use a blush brush to apply eye shadow, hairbrushes – in the same way – come in various sizes and shapes that are designed to do specific functions.
Natural Bristle Brush vs Synthetic Bristle Brush
First of all, let’s talk about bristles. Brushes of varying shapes and sizes are with natural bristles, synthetic bristles, or a combination of the two. Natural bristles are derived from various animals like squirrels, goats, horses, boars, etc. It is recommended that people with thicker hair should use synthetic bristle brushes as it can be easier to de-tangle and will cause less static, and people with fine to normal hair textures should use natural bristle brushes as the bristles are softer and are easier on thin hair textures. Brushes also come in a natural-synthetic bristle mix and are often called porcupine brushes’. These brushes are good for normal to thick hair, and it combines the benefit of natural bristles mixed together with nylon quills, that help in de-tangling coarser hair.
Paddle Brush: For Everything!
This brush is the whole package deal! Paddle brushes usually have bristles coming out of a soft pad and are great for massaging the scalp, detangling, and smoothing naturally straight hair. It’s also great for other hair types. The air-filled rubber cushion is designed to bend with your scalp to minimize damage from pulling. It would be the ideal brush for anyone that feels that their hair straightens easily when heat is applied.
Round Brush: For Blowouts
Round brushes can be used for any blow dry look you’re going for and they are great for both creating styles with body or smoothing down the hair. Round brushes give you great control during styling.
Metal Brush: To Create Curls
I tell all my stylists to avoid using metal brushes on wet hair as they tend to pull and damage hair. However, they are a perfect tool to use as a finisher since they can smooth down a final look. I would recommend using it to hold a curl in place or to create height at the roots during the finishing stages of a hairdo.
Vented Brush: For Volume
If you blowdry your hair a lot, these brushes can be of great help. These brushes have holes or openings through the back and are designed to help decrease blow-drying time by allowing air to flow through the brush to the hair. Vented designs are available in paddle and round brushes and are good for creating and augmenting texture, and adding volume.
Wide-Tooth Comb: For De-tangling
If you have sensitive and thin hair, this comb is perfect for you. Wide tooth combs are what you want to use for de-tangling, especially if you’re in the shower or right after you get out of the shower. Avoid brushing damp hair instead, always use a wide-toothed comb!
Tail Comb: To Smooth Hair or Backcomb
If you’re looking to style bangs or separate hair while flat ironing, choose a smaller toothed comb because they grab the root. These combs are mostly used to tease hair or for backcombing. A piece of advice: Use a matte tail comb over a shiny tail comb as it will give you more control and your sections won’t fly around everywhere.
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