Hair brushes are perhaps the most basic tool in any beauty lover’s arsenal, but these simple tools should not be underestimated. While you can invest in excellent, expert-recommended hair dryers, straighteners and curlers, a good brush is the key to delivering expert blow-outs, sleek, straight styles, and perfectly formed curls with varying techniques. Despite its potential, the humble hair brush is often overlooked. Well, we’re here to change that.
The Recommended spoke to expert hair stylists who reminded the importance of using a good brush that suits our hair type and desired style. They told us what to look out for and what to avoid when shopping for a hair brush which we used to find our top picks of the best hair brushes for every hair type. From the perfect paddle brush to brilliant barrel brushes and tips on caring for them, we’ve got all our bases covered.
Jump to the best hairbrushes:
- Best brush for curls: Denman D3 Styling Brush
- Best detangling brush: Crave Naturals Glide Thru Detangling Brush
- Best wet brush: Tangle Teezer The Wet Detangler
- Best hair brush for kids: Wet Brush Original Detangler
- Best edge tool: Cantu Edges Baby Hair Styler
- Best paddle brush: Charlotte Mensah Paddle Brush
- Best bristle brush: Kent Brushes Pure Bristle Brush
- Best round brush: Olivia Garden Nanothermic Ceramic + Ion Round Thermal Brush
- Best brush for travel: GHD Mini Paddle Brush
Our hair experts
Charlotte Mensah has been at the forefront of the haircare industry for decades and was thrice crowned Best Afro Hairdresser of the Year at The British Hairdressing Awards and now sits in their Hall of Fame. Charlotte has her own coveted hair salon in London’s Notting Hill, where she welcomes many adoring clients and several famous faces. Charlotte has literally bottled her expertise and talent in her own haircare range of products that have enjoyed rave reviews.
Henry Whittle is a Bristol-based freelance hairstylist and haircare expert who splits his time between creating stunning bespoke looks for clients and taking to social media to create informative, honest review content. Henry has worked with several household names, including Hask and Garnier. He has shared his wisdom on other haircare matters with us, including his take on the best conditioners and the best hair straighteners.
Entrepreneur and expert hairstylist Mimi Koné is the owner and founder of Mimi et Mina Hair Couture. Mimi has taken her talent worldwide from Burkina Faso to France and London and specialises in the care and management of natural hair types. Mimi et Mina has a salon in London’s Vibrant Notting Hill, where adoring clients can enjoy bespoke services, and an online store where customers near and far can purchase quality products and hair pieces.
What should you look for when buying a hair brush?
When asked what to look for when shopping for a hair rush, Mimi told us, “people should look for a wide-tooth paddle brush to avoid any breakage while brushing your hair”. Charlotte agreed with Mimi telling us, “Wide paddle brushes are excellent for Afro & curly hair types as it has large cone pins that emulate fingers to slide through Afro and Curly hair without abrasive tugging”.
Charlotte also said, “For damaged and fine hair, use a Denman brush. For thick/coarse and frizzy hair, you should use a boar bristles brush as the boar bristle adds increased tension when brushing and distributes natural oils through the hair shaft from the scalp”.
Henry also advised us to consider our hair type and desired results encouraging us to “think about the length of your hair and the fish you want from your blowout. If your hair is below the shoulder, the rule is: the smaller the barrel, the tighter the curl, the bigger the barrel, the more body and lift you achieve. If you have a bob or shorter, use a medium-size brush to help lift the root without curling too much”.
What should you avoid when looking for a hair brush?
In terms of what to avoid, Henry told us to “invest in a quality brush” and “avoid anything flimsy or with thin cheap bristles as they will melt and only need replacing over and over again”. Mimi agreed, telling us to “avoid cheap brands” as “hair brushes are important to the health of your hair, so invest in them and buy from brands such as GHD or Kent brushes”.
Charlotte told us to consider the material the brush is made from, saying, “It’s best to opt for brushes made of materials that are heat resistant and easy to wash and air-dry” she also advised us to “use a brush without knots on the bristles if you can”.
Which is the best hair brush?
Henry recommends the Nanothermic Ceramic + Ion Round Thermal Brush from his go-to brand for round brushes, Olivia Garden, telling us “they have a perfect price point mixed with super high quality and are not too heavy, which makes for a smooth, easy blowout”. Mimi recommends investing in quality brushes from trusted brands, specifically GHD and Kent Brushes.
How to clean a hairbrush
We’re all guilty of forgetting to clean our hair brushes, but it isn’t something we should skip. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people can shed between 50 and 200 hairs a day, many of which can gather at the base of your hair brush along with skin cells, product build-up, and bacteria which, if left unwashed, can affect the health of your hair.
So, how do you clean a hair brush?
- First, fill a bowl or the bathroom sink with warm water and a few drops of gentle shampoo. For stronger cleaning power, add one to two teaspoons of baking soda.
- Remove as much hair from the brush as possible.
- For a plastic brush, submerge the entire brush in the water. For a wooden brush or a brush with a soft bristle base, dip the bristles into the water, taking care to keep the rest of the brush dry.
- Dip and shake the brush several times to remove oils and product build-up.
- If you have a seriously dirty brush on your hands, scrubbing the bristles with an old toothbrush will help remove stubborn grime.
- Finally, rinse the brush and leave it to air dry on a clean towel with the bristles facing down.
How often should you clean a hair brush?
If you don’t use a lot of hair products in your routine, cleaning your brush every 2-3 weeks should be sufficient. If you use many products, it’s best to clean your brush once a week. Removing any accumulated hair every couple of days will help to keep your brushes cleaner for longer.
What hair brush should I use?
Well, as our experts told us, what hair brush you should use all comes down to hair type, texture, and desired result. Check out our list below of the best hair brushes to suit every need.
The best hair brushes
Best brush for curls: Denman D3 Styling Brush
For a defined style
This multifunctional styling brush is made by industry favourite Denman and can be used to style, detangle, and smooth.
This lightweight brush has a comfortable, teardrop-shaped handle and seven rows of bristles for easy styling and detangling. The unique staggered pin pattern delivers maximum grip and tension for creating defined curls.
Best detangling brush: Crave Naturals Glide Thru Detangling Brush
For pain-free styling
This detangling brush promises to glide through hair and painlessly detangle strands for improved manageability
This hair brush is made with quality plastic bristles that won’t lose their shape, and the unique, cone-shaped design works to part strands sideways instead of downwards, allowing it to unravel the toughest of tangles with ease.
Best wet brush: Tangle Teezer The Wet Detangler
Gentle yet effective
Wet strands are delicate and more prone to breakage. Using a specially designed wet brush like this detangler from Tangle Teezer helps take care of fragile wet hair.
This lightweight wet brush has a comfortable slim handle and works to gently detangle wet or dry hair while minimising breakage. This brush has 325 flexible strands that move with the hair to reduce damage and is gentle on the scalp for a comfortable styling experience.
Best hair brush for kids: Wet Brush Original Detangler
Gentle on little ones
This gentle, detangling brush works to unravel the most stubborn tangles painlessly and is available in designs your kids will love.
This hair brush is suitable for use on both wet and dry hair and uses ultra-soft intelliflex bristles to minimise pain and breakage. The brush is lightweight and has a slim handle for optimum comfort and grip.
Best edge tool: Cantu Edges Baby Hair Styler
For the details
This dual-ended boar bristle tool works to smooth and style edges with ease.
This 2-in-1 tool allows you to style edge and baby hairs with ease. The lightweight design makes for a comfortable experience, and the super-soft boar bristles are gentle on delicate fine hairs.
Best paddle brush: Charlotte Mensah Paddle Brush
Made by the pros
Our hair expert Charlotte Mensah’s signature hair styling tools have seen rave reviews, and this paddle brush is no exception.
This hair brush is equipped with a cushioned bristle base that protects the scalp from stress and strands from breakage, while the quality plastic bristles detangle easily. This brush is made with heat-resistant materials and can be used to aid heat styling.
Best bristle brush: Kent Brushes Pure Bristle Brush
Our hair expert Mimi called out Kent Brushes as a trusted quality brand. This hair brush works to gently smooth hair and enhance shine.
Perfect for styling medium to long hair, this hair brush has a comfortable rubber grip on the handle and is made with quality bristles that promote sine by distributing natural oils without damaging the hair.
Best round brush: Olivia Garden Nanothermic Ceramic + Ion Round Thermal Brush
For volume and bounce
Our hair expert Henry loves this brush for its affordable price point, quality materials, and lightweight design.
This round brush uses Olivia Garden’s signature Nanothermic technology which has an anti-bacterial quality, promoting hair health and shine, and a tourmaline ion coating that reduces the static on the hair for super-smooth results.
Best brush for travel: GHD Mini Paddle Brush
Pocket size quality
This mini paddle brush has all the quality of the expert-recommended GHD Paddle Brush in a convenient, compact design.
This travel-size hair brush helps you look your best on the go with a compact, lightweight design and quality plastic bristles that detangle and smooth with ease. The durable design promises to stand the test of time and keep you looking your best wherever you are.
Want to read more expert-recommended hair care essential round-ups? Check out our hair care page for a full list of recommendations, including our guide to the best shampoos, the best conditioners, the best hair masks, the best hair curlers and the best hair dryers, as recommended by our hair care experts.