Not all brushes work on all hair types. In fact, using a regular brush on wavy, curly, or Afro-textured hair can increase frizz. Wave brushes are specifically designed to enhance your natural curl and minimize frizz. Unlike regular brushes, they can be contoured to fit your scalp and primarily feature natural bristles that are widely spaced. When used in the direction of your wave, they can train your wave patterns to become more defined.
Read this short buying guide for more information on wave brushes. We've also included our top recommendations, like this gentleman's hair brush by Kent, which will give your hair a natural sheen.
Considerations when choosing wave brushes
Hard-bristle wave brushes feature hard natural bristles (which are still softer than a regular hair brush) that can get through thicker or coarser hair. Hard bristles will bring your wave out quicker than softer bristles but can be too harsh on the scalp if you've got short or thin hair. This type is also effective at removing tangles and can be used in the shower to help your waves lay down.
Soft-bristle wave brushes have softer, more flexible natural bristles and are gentler on the scalp. This type is more appropriate for fine or short hair and will help keep your waves sleek and flat. These also can be used on straight hair.
Shape: Round brushes are ideal for long hair and also boost volume. Paddle brushes have large, rectangular heads that cover and define wider sections of hair more quickly and are ideal for coarse or thick hair types.
Wave brush features
Double-sided brushes feature hard bristles on one side and soft bristles on the other for ultimate versatility for different effects.
Vented brushes allow air to pass through, which is desirable if you're using a hair dryer with your brush. This feature is also great for shorter hair, especially to create more dramatic, concentrated waves.
Handle: Some wave brushes have handles and others do not. Brushes that are contoured to fit into the palm of your hand may offer more control, especially for beginners. They are also more compact for travel. If you have arthritis or other hand pain, a brush with a handle may be easier to use.
Material: Most quality wave brushes have natural bristles of boar, goat, or horse hair that are widely spaced to avoid snagging or frizzing hair. We do not recommend wave brushes with frizz-causing nylon bristles. Most wave brushes have a body and handle constructed of wood, which is more durable than plastic.
Wave brush prices
Expect to pay between $5 and $58 for a wave brush. Brushes with natural bristles are costlier than brushes with synthetic bristles but are generally considered worth the investment.
Use your wave brush over each section of your hair for two minutes, going over the same area 15 to 20 times. Do this daily to achieve a defined wave pattern.
Always brush in the direction your wave naturally falls.
To clean your wave brush, first remove any hairs stuck in the bristles. Next, clean the bristles with good shampoo and warm water. Rinse thoroughly, then air dry your brush.
Use a wave brush when your hair is still wet and conditioned from the shower to help lay your hair down.
Q. Who are wave brushes for?
A. Wave brushes are typically used on Afro-textured hair and are popular with men for a variety of short hair styles, including "360 waves" characterized by tightly rippled circles emanating out from the crown of the head. Some users also use wave brushes to groom beards.
Q. How does a wave brush increase shine?
A. Wave brushes with natural bristles, like boar's hair, will distribute your hair's natural oil from your scalp along each strand. This will not only increase your hair's sheen but will also condition and smooth your hair.
Wave brushes we recommend
Best of the best: Kent Gentleman's Hairbrush
Our take: A highly rated, round wave brush constructed from top-quality materials.
What we like: Simple beechwood design is hand finished for quality. Half-inch natural white bristles work on thick hair types. Curved, oval shape fits comfortably in your hand.
What we dislike: May not be suitable for thin hair. Pricey.
Best bang for your buck: The Mane Brush Curved 360 Wave Brush
Our take: A well-designed brush at a very affordable price.
What we like: Well-suited for military haircuts. Works on beards as well. Natural boar bristles. Round shape has a great hold, including indented grips.
What we dislike: Nothing.
Our take: A double-sided wave brush at a great low price.
What we like: Soft and firm side. Made with 100% natural boar bristles. Defines waves when used consistently. Durable wooden handle.
What we dislike: Bristles may fall out after repeated use.
Ana Sanchez 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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