Which hair brush is the best kind to buy? I’m confused on which ones to buy and when.
Believe it or not, there is an actual science to hair brushing, with 100,000-200,000 hairs on each person’s head being brushed at an approximate speed of 10 cm/sec. It sounds like a Physics 101 problem, but fortunately experts have already determined which brush shapes, designs, and bristle types are catered best to specific hair types and styles. It seems almost everyone could have their hair managed better with a different type of brush! I’ll describe some of the most popular types of brushes for managing each type of hair below.
Note that I did not include any wooden brushes, simply because many modern plastic brushes fight static more effectively, having carbon filaments included within the brush. I also included larger brushes, because more surface area is covered with each stroke with larger brushes. This means less strokes to cover your head, so you’ll have less damage over time! Bigger brushes = better hair!
Rubber cushioning makes brushing thick hair easier, as the cushion expands and retracts with the thickness of your hair. Nylon bristles are thicker and stronger than boar bristle brushes, making it easier to move through thick hair, but also move more slowly, preventing static. The ball-tipping also helps in this arena, reducing the amount of drag and resistance on your hair so you don’t look like Einstein! Try the Revlon RV2641 Soft Touch Porcupine Brush.
Of course, if your thick, straight hair tends to get a lot of tangles, you may want to forgo the ball-tipping. In that case, I love the Scalpmaster 12 Row Wire Bristle Brush #125 ($19.99, Amazon.com).
For centuries, boar bristles were only considered to be high-quality if they were white, meaning that they were not dyed. However, in recent times, it has become much more economical to import boar bristles from China and Japan, from which countries the boar bristles are black. Within the black-bristled brushes, those that are supple tend to come from domesticated boars, and manage the hair less effectively. On the other end of the spectrum, those that are slightly more dry from “wild” boars are best for redistributing oils throughout the hair. Boar and wire bristles are lighter and finer than nylon bristles, so boar and wire bristles move more quickly and easily, creating more volume with every stroke of the brush. Wide spacing enables more hair to be grabbed with each stroke of the brush. Those with shoulder-length or above hair may prefer ball-tipped brushes, as these have more resistance and less static, whereas those with longer hair may prefer non-ball-tipped brushes, as these tend to get tangled less. Try the Scalpmaster 12 Row Wire Bristle Brush #125 ($19.99, Amazon.com).
You may think that nylon bristles are stronger and move more slowly, so they would be more suitable for straightening, but think again. Prior to undergoing straightening, curly hair gets the most impact from the redistribution of natural hair oils and higher velocity that comes from a boar-bristle brush. Due to the fact curly hair already provides a good deal of resistance, ball-tipping is not necessary. Try the Sephora Collection Boar Detanging Brush ($24.00, Amazon.com).
Short or layered hair: Round, spiral brush
Round, spiral brushes are great for those with short and/or layered hairstyles: Use one with a 1″ barrel to recreate a fresh-looking hairstyle, every time you blow dry your hair. An excellent one is the Conair 88014 Tourmaline Round Brush ($5.99, Amazon.com), which holds the heat better than many older varieties.
And one styling tool everyone needs: A pin-tail comb
Pin-tail combs are the bomb because they are so versatile. Use it after a shower to restyle and detangle; use it before a big night out to set your part or tease your hair. It’s amazing how often I use mine! Try the Champion Pin Tail Comb ($13.99, Amazon.com).
- 100Dear Nicki, Which hair brush is the best kind to buy? I'm confused on which ones to buy and when. -Natalie Dear Natalie, I can see why you are confused! Believe it or not, there is an actual science to hair brushing, with 100,000-200,000 hairs on each person's head being brushed at an approximate speed…
- 88Submitted via the FutureDerm.com Facebook page via private message: Why do you advise readers to stick with a conventional plastic brush for hair health, instead of a boar bristle brush? I have read many places that boar bristle helps grow long healthy hair by spreading oil from the scalp along the strand. Boar bristle brushes…
- 81Photo source: Maite Perroni Hair Style, a photo by Jean Nieves on Flickr. About the author: FutureDerm.com is proud to introduce Dr. Hanan Taha, M.D., on our staff as a Contributing Writer. Dr. Taha received her MD from Kuwait University in 2002, and a master’s degree in Dermatology from the University of Alexandria in 2010. …