When you think about maintaining healthy-looking strands, things like weekly hair masks and keeping up with your trim appointments immediately come to mind. While your product line-up and salon maintenance are important, there’s one daily practice that can make or (literally) break your mane: hair brushing. We get it, you’ve been detangling your strands since you we’re old enough to hold a brush, but you may not realize that there’s a right and wrong way to do so—and it all starts with your hair type.
Searching for a wet styling brush to add to your routine? From August 3 to August 9, you can get a free L'Oréal Professionnel Mini Styling Brush with any $50 purchase on Hair.com using code STYLE.
Wondering how to brush your hair the right way? We’re breaking down the tips, tricks, products, and common mistakes every hair type needs to know about to make this daily hair care ritual a total breeze.
Is it bad to brush your hair?
Much like applying the right amount of hairspray, brushing your hair is beneficial in moderation. While you shouldn’t brush your hair all day every day, brushing once in the morning and once at night is great for removing knots and keeping hair smooth and silky. If you have curly hair, stick to brushing your hair only once before shampooing to avoid ruining your curl pattern.
What happens if I don’t brush my hair?
For us lazy-girls out there, it’s easy to throw your hair in a bun without giving brushing a second thought. What you don’t know, however, is that you may be doing more harm to your hair than you think. While over brushing (or brushing incorrectly) can cause friction, tugging on the scalp, and breakage, not brushing at all can create knots and tangles—which can eventually lead to even more breakage or damage. Brushing your hair also helps to distribute your hair’s natural oils throughout your mane, so not brushing may cause a buildup of oil on the scalp.
Is it better to brush your hair wet or dry?
For certain hair types like thick, coarse hair, brushing your hair wet is beneficial for detangling knots and preventing friction—but traditional boar bristle and paddle brushes are typically too harsh to use on wet strands. That’s why if you’re going to brush wet hair, you’ll need a wet brush. These brushes are made with soft bristles that are specifically designed to detangle and smooth wet hair without damage or breakage.
To properly brush wet hair, begin by removing as much excess moisture from your hair as you can with a microfiber hair towel. Then, apply a few spritzes of a detangling product like Redken One United Multi-Benefit Hair Treatment Spray throughout your hair. Brush your hair starting at the ends and work your way up to the roots to avoid tugging and breakage.
Photo Credit: @yazovskay_nastya.
How To Brush Fine Hair
Whether you’re styling, washing, or brushing, fine hair needs to be treated with care. If you have fine hair, we recommend waiting until your hair is dry before brushing since wet hair is more fragile and prone to breakage. If you have baby fine hair, be sure to add a soft boar bristle brush to your hair routine. This type of brush will help to detangle your strands without damage while creating softness and shine.
Before you begin brushing, apply a detangling product like Biolage All-In-One Coconut Infusion Multi-Benefit Spray throughout your hair. Start brushing at the ends of your hair and slowly work your way up to avoid creating more knots.
Photo Credit: @pflaum_sarah.
How To Brush Thick Hair
Thick hair can be tough to manage—and even tougher to brush through without the right tools. For thick hair that’s straight or wavy, consider purchasing a paddle brush with strong nylon bristles that can brush through your mane with ease. Thick hair can be prone to dryness, which can make detangling it more difficult. Apply a hydrating detangler like Biolage Hydrasource Detangling Solution throughout your mane before brushing. You should always begin brushing at the ends and gently work your way up toward your roots.
Photo Credit: @msnataliejean .
How To Brush Damaged Hair
Dealing with damaged hair? Brushing correctly is key to reviving your mane and preventing any further damage. To make brushing damaged hair easier, begin your routine with a strengthening shampoo and conditioner system like Redken Extreme Length Shampoo and Conditioner With Biotin. These products strengthen damaged hair and help it to grow longer and stronger while reducing breakage by 81 percent when used as a full system.
When choosing a brush, you’ll want to avoid anything with harsh bristles that can make breakage, split ends, or fragile hair worse. If you’re brushing wet hair, apply a leave-in treatment like Redken Extreme Length Leave-In Treatment With Biotin and use a wide-toothed comb or wet brush to gently remove knots beginning at the ends of your hair and working your way up. Brushing hair when it’s dry? Reach for a boar bristle brush with soft bristles and use the same brushing technique.
Photo Credit: @beeblondor.
How To Brush Curly Hair
Ok, so hair brushing is a little bit different when it comes to curly hair because it can cause natural ringlets to lose their shape and volume. Brushing curly hair when it’s dry can also result in breakage or split ends, which is why we recommend only brushing through curls when they’re wet. While your strands are still wet, apply a leave-in conditioner like Mizani 25 Miracle Leave-In Cream. When choosing a brush, avoid products with dense bristles. Instead, opt for a wide-toothed comb or detangling brush that allows more hair to fit in between each bristle.
Not sure which hair brush is right for you? We’ve rounded up 12 of our favorite brushes and are letting you know which ones you need to buy.
The best hair brushes if you want sleek hair:
If you’re sick of waking up an hour earlier every morning just to straighten your hair, we have the thing for you. A straightening brush makes straightening your locks easier than ever before. All you have to do it turn it on, let it heat up, and brush it through your strands as you would with any regular brush and *ta-da* a straight mane in minutes.
InStyler Straight Up Ceramic Straightening Brush, $59.99 MSRP
If you want your hair to look shiny without piling on a ton of shine serum, you need this brush in your arsenal. Ion technology helps to make the hair appear smooth and shiny.
Olivia Garden Ceramic + Ion Supreme Combo Oval Cushioned Paddle Brush, $24.95 MSRP
This brush is perfect for adding finishing touches to your ponytail. The densely packed natural bristles will gently glide over your strands without separating them for a smooth finish.
Fromm Styling Brush, $5.98 MSRP
Natural Bristle Brush
You may have heard brushing your hair 100 times a day is the key to smooth and shiny locks. While the jury is still out on how many times you need to brush your hair in order to achieve flawless strands, all of your brushing will be futile if you don’t use the proper tools.
Natural bristle brushes are typically made of boar bristles. They can help redistribute the natural oils your scalp produces throughout your hair.
Wigo Cushion 100% Boar Bristle Brush, $24.99 MSRP
The best hair brushes if you want voluminous hair:
A vented brush is perfect for the woman on the go. The vents allow the air from your blow dryer to hit your strands from all angles, potentially speeding up drying time. Because you’ll spend less time blasting your locks with heat, a vented brush may also help cut back on heat damage.
Olivia Garden Ceramic + Ion Turbo Vent Pro Shaper Brush, $17.05 MSRP
Round brushes come in all sizes and materials, but they’re all created with the same goal: to give you a flawless blowout with major volume. When used correctly, a round brush can create volume from your roots all the way down to your ends. The resulting look is a bouncy blowout you won’t be able to stop snapping photos of.
Shu Uemura Small Round Hair Brush, $63.00 MSRP
If “the bigger, the better,” is your personal styling motto, you need a teasing brush in your arsenal. This brush makes backcombing your hair easier than ever, helping you achieve sky-high volume.
Olivia Garden Style-Up Folding Teasing Brush, $7.95 MSRP
Vented Round Brush
Vented brushes are great for drying hair, but not all vented brushes are created equal. If you’re looking to create a voluminous style, opt for a vented round brush. The shape of the brush will help impart major volume into your strands, while the vents allow the air from your blow dryer to set your style.
Hot Tools ProStyler Vented Porcupine Round Brush, $14.99 MSRP
The best hair brushes if you want to detangle your hair:
Your hair can feel weak and vulnerable when it’s wet. If you often brush your hair after showering, invest in a brush designed to make detangling easy and help keep breakage to a minimum.
Wet Brush Original, $11.99 MSRP
Wide Tooth Comb
A wide tooth comb is a must-have for every curly girl! The comb’s teeth glide through curls without snagging. Pro tip: When detangling your curls, begin at your ends and gently make your way up instead of starting at your roots.
Kristen Ess Wide Tooth Detangling Comb, $8.00 MSRP
Sometimes it can feel like detangling your strands is an all day event, but it doesn’t have to be. If detangling your hair is stressing you out, chances are good that you’re just using the wrong brush! Swap out your regular brush for one engineered to gently detangle your strands in minutes. The staggered bristles allow the brush to easily glide through tangles without ripping or tearing your strands.
Tangle Teezer The Original, $12.00 MSRP
Synthetic Bristle Brush
Brushes made of synthetic bristles can be ideal for detangling hair. The smooth bristles easily glide through strands, leaving you with polished locks in a matter of minutes. This brush is a favorite of Daniel Roldan, Matrix artistic director and brand ambassador, because it works for all hair types.
“Master this brush and you can dry any type of hair,” Roldan says. “This brush will teach you discipline, heat control, and the natural fall and shine of the head.”
Drybar The Super Lemon Drop Daily Detangler, $16.00 MSRP
The best multi-purpose brushes:
Mixed Bristle Brush
A mixed bristle brush gives you the best of both worlds—the detangling abilities of a synthetic bristle brush with the smoothing powers of a natural bristle brush. Mixed bristle brushes are great at laying your edges flat for a perfect ballerina bun.
Shu Uemura Large Paddle Brush, $78.00 MSRP
A basic paddle brush is a must-have in everyone’s hair care routine. The multi-purpose brush detangles hair with ease and helps to create a killer blowout.
Conair Tangle Blaster Paddle Detangling Brush, $9.99 MSRP
A rattail comb makes parting your hair a breeze—even for your most complicated hairstyles. The comb’s fine teeth ensures the precise parts. It’s also great for smoothing down any cowlicks that may arise.
Fromm Diane Ionic Anti-Static Rat Tail Comb, $2.76 MSRP