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How to Select the Right Hairbrush

Select the Right HairbrushDear Audrey,

I need to replace my hairbrush. How do I know which hairbrush is best for my hair?

There are so many choices of hairbrushes available—sometimes it’s tough to know which one to select for your hair type. There are several factors to consider: bristle type and placement, shape and cushioning.


First let’s talk about the bristles. There are several types of bristles widely available both natural and synthetic.


Natural bristles are easy on the scalp, reduce static and cause minimal breakage.

  • Boar - Boar bristles can help clean the hair and scalp. Boar bristles are considered ideal because they close the cuticle layer — the outside armor of your hair to create shiny hair. Because boar bristles tend to be weak, manufacturers usually mix them with nylon bristles, so they don't collapse while you're brushing through the hair.

  • Porcupine - Porcupine is a term used for a tufted bristle — multiple bristles grouped together — that usually includes a combination of boar and nylon bristles. It's gentle, but it exerts a good hold on the hair.


Synthetic hairbrush bristles are usually made from nylon and are typically inexpensive. Synthetic bristles work well for sliding through fine hair, but are often harder to get through thicker hair. They can also melt under excessive heat.

  • Nylon: This includes all types of bristles made of plastic, rubber, or similar materials. Nylon bristles can be soft and flexible or stiff and firm.

  • Metal: Not a good choice unless you are working on wigs. Metal bristles — even with soft plastic tips — are too inflexible to safely use on your hair.

Bristle Placement

How the bristles are placed on a hairbrush makes a difference in control. The closer the bristles are, the finer the hair it’s for. When bristles are set farther from each other, the hairbrush would be for a thicker hair texture. Nylon bristles offer little to maximum control, depending on how closely the bristles are placed and how flexible the material. As a rule, the stiffer and more closely spaced the bristle, the more control you have over the hair.

Hairbrush Types

  • Paddle Brush: Paddle brushes come in different sizes and shapes. There are small paddle brushes you can carry for when you’re on the go, and there are large paddle brushes that become handy when you’re styling at home. They typically come in a square or round shape. Paddle brushes are good to use as your basic smoothing and detangling brush. If you have longer, thicker hair, use a paddle brush for a rough blow dry and then continue styling with a round brush.

  • Vent Brush: Vented brushes are mostly used for drying hair since they offer great airflow. Vented brushes maintain natural movement because their bristles never force the hair into a specific shape. They can add volume to hair while blow-drying thanks to vents placed behind the bristles. They are also great for detangling and maintaining frizz.

  • Round Metal Brush: Round brushes are just that—round.  They are great to use when you need some curl in your hair, but not as much as a curling iron might give. Round Metal brushes have metal barrel that fills with hot air from the blow dryer, while the vented holes create plenty of air circulation. They add volume while blow drying.

  • Teasing Brush: Often referred to as a back-brushing brush, these can add volume to specific areas of your hair. Teasing brushes are typically rectangular shaped with tightly packed bristles.

  • Cushioned Brush: These brushes include the oval-shaped and the flat paddle brush. The cushioned flat paddle brush is a very useful tool for those with long hair because the cushion and bristles are designed to collapse anytime they meet resistance preventing long hair from being stretched, split, or broken.

Caring for your Hairbrushes

Hairbrushes can get accumulated product build-up and dirt over time. A dirty hairbrush can deposit dirt, dust and oils into your clean hair every time you brush!  You can extend the life of your hair by cleaning it weekly or even monthly. When you purchase a hairbrush be sure to check the labels for cleaning instructions. Here’s a great video on how to clean your hairbrush from Real Simple.

If you are unsure about which brush is right for you, drop by one of our four locations and ask one of our customer service professionals for guidance in selecting the appropriate brush for your hair type. We’re always happy to help.

Here’s to a Hair Happy New Year!


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