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What are Some Different Types of Hair Brushes?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 21, 2024
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Hair brushes are used not only to keep hair neat and styled, but to distribute the oils from the scalp to the ends of hair strands. Different kinds of hair brushes work on different hair types, hair lengths and hair styles. Common types include the paddle, sculpting, and round and flat thermal brushes, as well as wire brushes, oval brushes and cushioned brushes.

Paddle hair brushes are good for smoothing and straightening hair. They can tame down curly and wavy hair, but are not suitable for creating volume. They are usually large, flat and rectangular and offer wide coverage.

Sculpting brushes are suitable for use on chopped or razored hair edges. They tend to work best on shorter haircuts as well as on textured shapes and rounded layers. A sculpting brush can also be used for creating volume by backcombing the hair.

Round thermal hair brushes can add shape to short hair, especially when blow drying the hair. They are available in different widths to add different shapes to the hair. When used with a blow dryer, they often smooth and volumize the hair. Flat thermal brushes tend to stretch out the hair and can help create a flat, smooth look.

Wire brushes usually work best on thick hair as they may be too harsh on the scalp of those with finer hair types. They can also work well on curly hair. Those with the little plastic balls on the ends of the metal spokes are often gentle enough for those with finer hair.

Oval hair brushes do not usually add much volume to the hair and are good for long, straight hair. Cushioned versions are ideal for medium-long to long hair as the longer the hair is, the more susceptible it is to breaking. Cushioned brushes tend to cushion the hair and help to prevent breakage and damage.

Some brushes are made with synthetic bristles instead of wire ones. Synthetic-bristled brushes are more widely available and usually much less expensive than natural-bristled ones, but they may create static in the hair. Fine hair is especially prone to static. Natural-bristled hair brushes are often made from boar's hair and tend to reduce static in the hair.

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Discussion Comments

By anon352052 — On Oct 18, 2013

I have very fine, straight hair and find that a round brush with natural boar bristles with thin nylon spikes that come out a bit longer is a good brush to use. It is gentle for the hair, yet holds the grip of your hair without slipping out of the brush, and it does not tangle up in the brush.

By anon197806 — On Jul 18, 2011

FYI, metal bristle (wire) hair brushes have been discontinued by all major US manufacturers. They are now impossible to find. None of the manufacturers will say why; those of us with thick, curly hair are out-of-luck.

By anon163091 — On Mar 26, 2011

Badger hair is often used in paint brushes, both in the art world and building trades, as well as shaving brushes. I've never heard of it being used in a hairbrush, and since the hair is not stiff, like boar bristles, it probably wouldn't be a good choice for a hairbrush.

By LittleMan — On Aug 17, 2010

What is a badger hair brush? Is it a kind of hair brush, or is it for makeup or something?

By rallenwriter — On Aug 17, 2010

@Charlie89 -- Ceramic hair brushes are used for straightening and they also help hair to dry faster.

If your daughter straightens her hair, or likes to blow it out, then she probably wants one for her styling.

Ceramic brushes are good because it holds and distributes the heat more evenly, which means that the hair dry and style better.

Many ceramic brushes are vented, to help speed the drying process as well.

Many ceramic brushes come in combination with boar hair bristles, so you get the benefits of a boar hair brush and a ceramic barrel.

That makes for a brush that both smooths and styles hair.

So, long story short, your daughter probably loves the ceramic because it can shorten her hair-drying time, and make the styling easier.

By Charlie89 — On Aug 17, 2010

What is a ceramic hair brush? My daughter swears she can't live without one, but what exactly is it, and what's so special about it?

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