How to choose the right hairbrush for you, according to your hair type

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Believe it or not, choosing the right hairbrush can work wonders on your lengths. Here’s your guide to picking the ultimate tool for your hair type…

When it comes to taking care of our hair, for the most part, we’re incredibly diligent about it. But what if we were to tell you that the key to amazing lengths doesn’t just lie in mandatory monthly trims or hair supplements, and has a lot more to do with your hairbrush as well?

According to the experts, most of us are actually using the wrong hairbrush for our hair type which can eventually lead to frizz, split ends and breakage. And while research from Mintel shows that damage concern is driving changes in haircare behaviours amongst women, it seems hairbrushes are taking a bit of a back seat.

They shouldn’t be, though. According to hairstylist Paul Edmonds, the not-so-humble hairbrush is imperative for achieving great hair. “Personally, I think a hairbrush is the most important tool to complement any hair tools, like hairdryers, or even when applying products to the hair,” he says. 

Trichologist and founder and CEO of My Hair Doctor, Guy Parsons, says that a good quality hairbrush can last a lifetime, especially if you take great care of it. “As with most things, the cheaper the product, the poorer quality the technology or bristles will be, and this is a greater risk to your hair’s condition. Clean your brush, remove the hair build-up regularly and check the bristles for signs of wear and tear,” he says.

And how often you brush matters, too. If you’re doing it more than twice a day, it might be time to curb the habit. “While brushing your hair can be satisfying, it’s best kept to a minimum,” says Anabel Kingsley, trichologist at Philip Kingsley. Once a day is ample.

“Imagine what would happen if you brushed a wool sweater repeatedly – it would become frayed, split and damaged,” says Kingsley. “The same applies to your strands.”

Zoe Irwin, ghd’s UK ambassador, even says that over-brushing can damage your scalp as well as the hair follicle – and no-one wants fluffy ends or dandruff, right?

Here’s how to make sure you’re using the right tool for your hair type.

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The best hairbrush for afro-hair

Charlotte Mensah, owner and artistic director of Hair Lounge Salon, says that brushes with wider teeth are best. “Wide paddle brushes are excellent for afro and curly hair types as they have large cone pins that emulate fingers to slide through without abrasive tugging,” she says. 

Try: Charlotte Mensah Medium Size Paddle Brush, £22

This paddle brush sculpts as it detangles, cuts out static and polishes the cuticles. It’s also heat resistant, so you can forget about any melted, jagged bristles. 

The best hairbrush for thick hair/wavy hair

Mensah says that boar bristle brushes are great for adding grip and distributing oils down the hair shaft. If you want to detangle fast, choose a brush that harnesses nylon pins, too. “Nylon bristles are rigid and therefore better able to get through longer, thicker hair,” adds Parsons.

Try: Beauty Works Medium Oval Brush, £24.99

The combination of nylon and boar bristles has the muscle to glide through thick strands without the painful pull. No wonder it’s a staple in many a hairstylist’s kit. 

The best hairbrush for fine hair

Parsons says that those with fine hair should ditch any nylon brushes in their kit. Instead, bristle brushes are the best option. Why? Because they’re super-gentle on delicate strands.

“Nylon bristles are too strong and aggressive for fine hair and may create static,” he says. To keep frizz and flyaways on lock-down, he also suggests spritzing your brush with the My Hair Doctor Everyday Sea Mist, £15. “It will hold them in place with more flexibility than a hairspray.” Clever, no? 

Try: ghd Oval Dressing Brush, £21.95

ghd’s natural bristles help distribute the scalp’s oils along the hair shaft, so that your lengths are less greasy and more glossy. 

The best hairbrush for coarse or curly hair

A seamless wide-tooth comb, like Hercules Sagemann’s Magic Star, £21.49, is a good option because it glides through coarse and curly hair without much friction and no sharp plastic seams on the teeth, which will otherwise result in pulling and snapping, but there are also an army of brushes compatible with curly hair.

Try: The Japanese Y.S. Park G-Series Curl Shine Styler Round Brush, £50.51

“This is lightweight and made from boar bristles,” says Edmonds. “It’s my first choice because it grips and shapes unruly curls, makes them more defined and lends a high shine finish.” 

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The best hairbrush for damaged hair

According to Edmonds, hair is more susceptible to damage when wet because the hair bonds are weakened, something Parsons explains further.

“Hair is incredibly elastic and has the ability to stretch up to 1/3 of its length when wet, so it is easy to brush a tangle and keep stretching it without feeling it until it eventually snaps,” he says. With that in mind, it pays to invest in tools with the ability to keep snagging and pulling to a minimum. His go-to? Something with wider teeth, like a paddle brush. 

Try: Denman Paddle Brush, £8.80

This salon-professional brush has one of the best grips out there but it’s super-gentle on fragile strands. The rubber pad keeps flyaways under control and the nylon pins make even the fluffiest of lengths smooth. 

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