Mason Pearson Extra Large Boar Bristle Hair Brush ($280)
How does a brand become the so-called holy grail of brushes? Mason Pearson, an engineer-meets-inventor, won a medal for his brush-making machine in 1885. He didn't consider his brushes perfected until 1905 when he added the rubber cushion; the same design is still produced in England today. It's the combination of that cushion, which caves to resistance (meaning your hair doesn't break or stretch while brushing), and the natural bristles that make Mason Pearson the go-to for legendary hairstylist Oribe.
Sephora Boar Round Brush ($22)
Boar-bristle brushes really are made from hog hair (sometimes there's a bit of nylon mixed into the bristles to make them last longer). The bristles close your hair cuticle, guaranteeing the shiniest locks possible, and are super gentle on even the finest strands--which is why they're considered the best.
Sephora Collection's Boar Round Brush is made of 100% pure boar bristles and comes with a silicone grip, making it easy to manipulate. Bonus? The bristles release negative ions, which help counter static and frizz.
Sonia Kashuk Hair Brush ($16)
Hairstylist Jen Atkin, who works her magic on everyone from Emma Stone to Sofia Vergara, uses Sonia Kashuk's paddle brush. "It works just as well," she says. "And fits in your purse!"
Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Hair Brush ($9)
You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars to give yourself a good blowout. Conair's round brush has a ceramic core to absorb the heat from the blow-dryer and evenly redistribute it across your hair for faster drying time. The nylon bristles mixed into the boar are coated in tourmaline, a gemstone (pulverized into powder form) that tightens the cuticle and preserves your hair's natural oils for the ultimate shine.
Denman D4 Large 9 Row Styling Brush ($13)
One of Denman's best-selling brushes, the D4 has nylon bristles; they're best for tackling particularly long or thick hair. It's not as wide as a paddle brush, but still has an anti-static rubber cushion to help prevent frizz.
Sheila Stotts Removal Brush ($28)
Everything about this brush from Sheila Stotts suggests damage--from the metal teeth to the synthetic cushion--but it's actually quite popular among hairstylists. "I love this brush and use it on everyone," says Tracey Cunningham, whose "everyone" ranges from Emma Stone to Jessica Biel to Gwyneth Paltrow. "It's the best brush for detangling!"
Designed to unknot extensions without pulling them out or damaging the hair (real and fake), it's surprisingly gentle and effective when used with a light hand.
Most hairstylists say that the key to a successful style is a great cut—but there's one other thing that will make or break your look: your brush. Should you be using round or flat? Boar bristle, ceramic, or both? Do you really need to spend $100? Read on for our brush breakdown.