The best hairbrush

Jennifer Blair

Not sure when you should replace your hairbrush? If the bristles are starting to separate or fall out, it’s time to start shopping.

When it comes to your hairstyling routine, a hairbrush is one tool that you just can't live without. Whether you have extremely fine hair or super textured curly hair, you'll wind up with tangles from time to time that require more than a comb to get through them. The right hairbrush can also help you style your hair when you're blow-drying it or smooth out frizz so your locks look as smooth and shiny as possible.

Take a look at our buying guide for more information on how to choose the best one for your tresses. Our top pick is from Crave Naturals, which has plastic bristles that are extremely effective for detangling your hair without damaging it.

Considerations when choosing hairbrushes

Brush type

You can choose from several types of hairbrushes, which can all serve different purposes in your styling routine:

Round brushes are ideal for adding volume and loose curls to your hair with the help of a blow-dryer. They're available in several different sizes, so you can get the exact size curl you want.
Paddle brushes are wide, flat brushes that can help smooth messy hair no matter how long or short it is. Many paddle brushes are rectangular in shape, but you can find some oval-shaped options, too.
Styling brushes have a slightly rounded shape, but they're not completely round like a round brush. They can add volume and lift to your roots and even create gentle waves in your hair.
Teasing brushes usually have a long, narrow design that's used to tease hair for added volume.
Detangling brushes are designed to gently work through tangles in wet hair without causing breakage, though they can also be used on dry hair. They're a particularly good option for brushing kids' hair.
Vented brushes feature openings between the bristles that allow air from your blow-dryer to pass through. This allows you to dry your hair more quickly and style your hair more easily with your dryer.

Bristle material

The materials that a hairbrush's bristles are made of can determine how gentle it is on your hair. Here are the most common bristle types:

Natural bristles typically come from boars and have a soft, flexible feel that makes the brush extremely gentle on your hair. They're also ideal for boosting your hair's shine. Natural bristles work best for fine, straight, and children's hair.
Synthetic bristles are usually made of nylon, rubber, or plastic, though you're most likely to find nylon bristles. Synthetic bristles tend to be rougher on your hair than natural bristles, but they can smooth and detangle hair well. They're especially effective for thick, curly, and coarse hair.
Combination bristles feature a mixture of natural and synthetic bristles, so you can get the benefits of both types. They can be used on nearly any hair type, but they work exceptionally well for normal and thick hair.


Cushioned head

If you're worried about a hairbrush being too hard on your hair and scalp, opt for a model with a cushioned head. The slight padding allows the bristles to have more flexibility, so they don't dig into your scalp or tug at your hair and cause breakage.

Ceramic barrel

Some round hairbrushes feature a ceramic barrel, which gets hotter than wood when you dry your hair with a blow dryer. It doesn't get as hot as metal, though, so the ceramic barrel won't damage your hair. Instead, it makes it much easier to achieve soft curls and waves.

Ionic coating

Some hairbrushes, including round styles, feature an ionic coating on the barrel. The ions are transferred to your hair when you blow-dry it, which help smooth your locks and boost its shine.

Ergonomic handle

Most hairbrushes have a wooden or plastic handle. Some options feature a molded rubberized grip, though, which is extremely comfortable to hold. An ergonomically designed handle can also help prevent wrist strain when you're blow-drying your hair.

Hairbrush prices

Hairbrushes can range in price from inexpensive drugstore models that are only a dollar to handmade models that cost hundreds of dollars. In general, though, you can find a high-quality brush for between $10 and $30.


Q. What type of hairbrush is best for curly hair?

A. Curly hair tends to be fairly thick and coarse, so it responds best to a hairbrush with synthetic bristles. Brushes with a mixture of natural and synthetic bristles can also work well.

Q. What type of hairbrush is best for adding volume?

A. If you're interested in adding volume to your hair or lift at your roots, a round hairbrush is your best bet. A model with a combination of natural and synthetic bristles works particularly well because it's gentle enough for fine hair that usually needs added volume.

Hairbrushes we recommend

Best of the best: Crave Natural Glide-Thru Detangling Brush

Our take: One of the best brushes on the market thanks to its tangle-free bristles, high-quality design, and multiple styling uses.

What we like: Able to effectively detangle hair without damaging it. Ideal for brushing children's hair. Flexible bristles work to massage the scalp and encourage hair growth.

What we dislike: Doesn't feel the same as traditional brushes in hand, so it can take some time to get used to.

Best bang for your buck: Wet Brush Pro Paddle

Our take: A quality brush from a trusted company that can work for a variety of hair types, including short, long, and fine. Isn't as effective for thick hair, though.

What we like: Can easily detangle hair without tugging due to the paddle design and bristles with some give. An ideal option for brushing wigs and hair extensions.

What we dislike: Bristles can bend and come loose when brushing thick, coarse hair.

Choice 3: Beauty by Earth Boar Bristle Hairbrush

Our take: An excellent brush for nearly all hair types -- even suitable for brushing children's hair and scalps with sensitivity issues.

What we like: Made of natural materials, including boar bristles and bamboo handle. Works well to cut down on frizz. Helps spread oils from the scalp to the hair for added shine and conditioning.

What we dislike: More expensive than much of the competition. Doesn't work well on wet hair.

Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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