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What Should I Consider When Buying a Hairbrush?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 21, 2024
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Buying a hairbrush that best meets your needs should not be a major time-consuming decision, but some thought should go into it. After all, a hairbrush is not meant to merely detangle and smooth the hair, but distribute the oils in the hair to keep hair healthy and shiny. Your hair type and hair length are the two most important considerations when buying one.

Those with short hairstyles should consider buying a hairbrush that is round and small or medium-sized. This type of hairbrush can add a bit of curl or shape to short hair, especially when used with a blow-dryer. When buying one to use on short hair, consider that short bristles tend to work best on shorter hair lengths. Buying a second hairbrush in a half round style can maximize the styling options for short hair.

When buying a hairbrush for long hair, consider a cushioned hair brush. Long hair is especially prone to damage and breaking when brushing. Using a cushioned hairbrush daily is likely to prevent many broken hair strands.

Those with thick and curly hair can have an especially challenging time when buying a hairbrush that will work well on their hair. Some people with thick and curly hair prefer one that is more of a pick than a brush. A hairbrush that is flat and paddle-shaped may provide a solution for styling curly or wavy hair more easily.

A round brush for blow-drying usually works well on curly hair and those with thick hair can often use a metal-spoked hairbrush as well. Buying a hairbrush that is oval-shaped is a good idea for those who want a long, straight hairstyle. An oval hairbrush will often help create less volume than a round hairbrush.

Consider investing in a good quality natural bristle brush when buying a hairbrush. Plastic bristles may add static to hair and natural bristles such as boar bristle hairbrushes often eliminate this problem. Natural bristles also tend to be less stressful on the hair shaft.

Avoid using any kind of hairbrush on any length or type of hair when the hair is wet. Wet hair is especially prone to stretching, weakening and breaking. Breaking and splitting hair creates frizziness — an unattractive look for all hair types. Wide-toothed combs are best for wet hair that has been towel or air-dried as much as possible first.

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Discussion Comments

By Sara007 — On Sep 18, 2011

@Mae82 - I had a similar problem to yours, although the damage to my hair was caused by putting it up in an elastic too much and letting it get baked in the hot sun without any protection.

I believe that if you struggle with dry and damaged hair that you should invest in a good comb and boar bristle hair brushes. The oils in your hair should never be totally eliminated and they are meant to keep your hair smooth. Using a natural brush on your hair when it is dry will do wonders for it. When it is wet, just use a comb and very carefully remove tangles with your fingers.

Another thing to consider is that, despite how expensive natural brushes are, they are still cheaper than having to go to a salon for conditioning treatments.

By Mae82 — On Sep 17, 2011

Does anyone have an idea of the best hairbrush to choose if you have dry and damaged hair? Which do you think is the most gentle?

I have been coloring my hair for years and I am afraid all the abuse I've put my locks through is catching up with me. Whenever I wake up my hair is fuzzy and matted, and even after I take a shower and use the best shampoos and conditioners, I still get the worst tangles.

I have read a bit about the benefits of using a natural bristle hairbrush, instead of the inexpensive plastic one I have, but I am really unsure if I want to spend a lot of money on something like a boar bristle hairbrush.

By kylee07drg — On Sep 17, 2011

I have a perm in my hair, so using a regular hairbrush is not an option. The curls are pretty tight, and this would create a huge frizzy mess.

My stylist told me to buy a pick. It has a short handle and a wide area with fingers of various sizes reaching up toward the top. These fingers are spaced out enough that they don’t frizz my hair out. Also, I pluck at my hair with it, rather than running it straight through.

Picks don’t get out all the tangles, but they keep my hair from looking like a wild bird’s nest. I comb all the way through my hair when it’s wet, so at least I can get the tangles out that way.

By seag47 — On Sep 16, 2011

I bought a round hairbrush when my hair was above shoulder length. I used it in combination with my hair dryer to turn the ends under or flip them out. It worked really well for both of these styles.

However, as my hair grew, it became more difficult to use. I was still trying to twirl the sections of hair around while pulling the brush down, and it ended up looking kind of funny and poofy at the ends.

When my hair got long, the brush kept getting stuck in it. One time, it got twisted up in there so badly that I had to spray conditioner on it and have my mom help me remove it.

I bought an oval brush to use instead. It works much better, because there’s no way to get it all twisted up.

By Oceana — On Sep 16, 2011

I have long hair, so I bought a cushioned brush with protective plastic beads on the ends of each bristle. I’m not quite sure how the cushion does its job, but I don’t lose as much hair while brushing with this one as I did with my old brush.

The beads press lightly against my scalp and help massage it to get the oils moving. Then, I can distribute them down along the strands and out to the ends. I generally brush my hair for several minutes with this hairbrush, because it feels so nice to lightly scratch my scalp with something that won’t injure it.

By orangey03 — On Sep 15, 2011

I have long hair that can be either wavy or straight, depending on how I style it. I often prefer to go straight, since it takes less work. I have a vented hairbrush that I use while blow drying to straighten my hair.

Though I don’t run the brush through it first, I do use it after combing to get out the initial tangles. I turn the blow dryer on high and hot, and I use the hairbrush to guide my hair in a straight line as I move the hot air across it vertically. When I do this, the result is sleek, shiny, straight locks.

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