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Sick of wrestling with your blow-dryer as you try to reach the back of your head? Tired of having to do that and then reach for the flat iron to get your strands perfectly smooth? Meet your new go-to multi-tasker, a straightening brush.
These brilliant hot tools are exactly what they sound like—electric brushes that pull double-duty, distributing heat quickly and evenly so you can score a smooth, sleek style faster than ever. You will have to dry your hair, but a rough dry is totally fine; the hair shouldn’t be wet, but don’t worry about it blowing it out perfectly. Then, simply brush through as you would with a regular brush. The bristles not only make it easier and faster to disperse the smoothing heat but also greatly minimize heat-induced damage, always a good thing.
Check out the best straightening brushes below, and get ready to ditch the flat iron once and for all.
Best Overall: Drybar The Brush Crush Heated Straightening Brush
No matter whether your hair is fine and straight or thick and coily, a few passes with this brush will have you looking like you just left the salon. It heats up to 450 degrees, though it has a digital temperature control so you can adjust the heat based on your hair texture. Meanwhile, ionic technology works to both tamp down frizz and increase shine.
Best Budget: Infiniti Pro by Conair Hot Paddle Brush
Despite the fact that this rings in for less than twenty dollars, it still offers many of the same features as its pricier counterparts. We’re talking an instant heat-up and automatic safety shut-off, three different heat settings, and a combo of nylon, silicone, and ceramic bristles that glide smoothly through the hair. It does only go up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, though if your hair is fine, naturally straight, or damaged, that’s totally hot enough.
Best Drugstore: Remington Pro 2-in-1 Heated Straightening Brush
Believe it, you can find quality hot tools at the drugstore; this multi-tasker is proof positive. Ceramic bristles glide seamlessly through your hair, while the anti-static coating and ionic technology work in tandem to smooth frizz. There are three heat settings to choose from, and in true drugstore fashion, it won’t break the bank.
Best for Thick Hair: Revlon XL Hair Straightening Heated Styling Brush
Byrdie Senior Editor Hallie Gould is a fan of this option, which boasts an especially large surface area that makes it great for reaching more hair with every pass, a major win for those with thicker textures. It’s lightweight and ergonomically designed to be comfortable to hold, has 10 different heat settings, and the detangling bristles glide through even ultra-coarse strands. And let’s not forget to mention the affordable price tag.
Best for Frizzy Hair: Moroccanoil Smooth Style Ceramic Heated Brush
These multi-tasking tools are perfect to reach for on those days when frizz is seemingly unavoidable, and this one is especially choice. Along with frizz-fighting ionic technology, the brush has unique heated and beveled edges that let you reach even the hairs closest to the root—i.e. the spot where errant flyaways often crop up.
Best for Damaged Hair: L’ange Le Vite Straightening Brush
If your strands are a little beat-up, minimizing any and all hot tool styling is always going to be your best bet. That’s where these two-in-one brushes come up huge, and particularly this one. The ceramic bristles deliver a far-infrared heat to dry hair quickly (this brush works in half the time of a straightener), as well as preserve natural moisture, a major boon for damaged tresses. Plus, they also have a cool-tip to ensure your scalp never gets burned.
Best for Curly Hair: amika Polished Perfection Thermal Straightening Brush 2.0
At the risk of pulling a Captain Obvious, straightening curly hair requires way more elbow grease, making a brush like this a huge asset. This particular one, another of Gould’s favorites, is especially choice. Double negative ion technology (the maximum type of ionic technology) amps up shine and fights frizz in a major way, while far-infrared heat travels from the inside of the hair cuticle, out. Translation? Hair heat ups—and gets smoothed out—in half the time.
Best for Second Day Hair: GHD Glide Professional Performance Hot Brush
Nothing against dry shampoo, but this just may be the secret to stretching out a great hairstyle for days on end. Because it only heats up to 365 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s perfect to use as a smoothing touch-up on already styled hair, without any extra heat damage. The combination of ceramic and ionic technology also helps combat frizz, and with both short and long bristles, it’s ideal for reaching every layer of your hair.
Best Detangling: CNXUS Ceramic Hair Straightener Electric Brush
As a general rule of thumb, you want to make sure hair is pretty much snarl-free before using one of these brushes, but if you’re prone to lots of tangles, this pick is great. The slightly curved design of the brush head helps keep hair smooth, and it also heats up in just one minute. Other noteworthy features include a 360-degree swivel cord and a 30-minute automatic shut-off.
Best Splurge: Dyson Airwrap Styler
Yes, this tool is extremely pricey, but for someone who likes to mix up their style—with minimal effort—this is well worth the investment. You’re essentially getting six tools in one, with different attachments that can create different styles. As far as straightening goes, there are two options, both firm and soft smoothing brushes, you can play around with depending on just how sleek you want to go. Also noteworthy is the inclusion of a pre-styling dryer that helps ensure your hair isn’t soaking wet, though this tool can be used on damp strands (unlike the others on this list, which will only work on dry hair).
Best for Travel: InStyler Straight Up Ceramic Straightening Brush
No matter whether you’re looking for something to travel with, or just need a small brush to touch-up your bangs or face-framing layers, this mini fits the bill. Tiny but mighty, it still packs a powerful punch. It heats up to 400 degrees and has a built-in heat recovery feature to ensure you’re getting that same level of heat with every pass ensuring consistent results every time.
Best on Amazon: Prizm Enhanced Hair Straightener Brush
Happy reviewers (with various hair textures) repeatedly comment on how well this guy works. A whopping six million ion generators work to smooth frizz and minimize damage, while the widely-spaced bristles distribute heat more evenly to decrease styling time. It also has 15 different temperature settings, along with a helpful feature that automatically recalls your preferred temp so you don’t have to mess with it every time.
What to Look For in a Straightening Brush
When shopping for a straightening brush, celebrity hairstylist Ryan Trygstad suggests looking for a device with ceramic plating technology. “Ceramic glides through the hair more easily without pulling or catching,” he says. As you know, heat styling can already be damaging to the hair, so by reducing the potential for pulling and catching, you’re helping to further prevent breakage and other damage to the hair.
Heat Settings At or Below 375 Degrees
Trygstad doesn’t recommend using a product that exceeds 375 degrees. “Too hot of tools can damage your hair’s keratin protein,” he says. “Finer hair types can suffer keratin degradation at 390 degrees while coarser hair will start to become damaged at 410 degrees.” With that in mind, it’s best to stay on the safer side when it comes to the temperature of your tool. He also recommends looking for a tool that can maintain even, consistent heat. This will prevent you from having to pass the device through your hair multiple times, thus reducing the chance of damage.
The Right Size Brush for Your Hair Type
Trygstad says the size of the brush is another factor to take into consideration. “I suggest a larger brush for refreshing the style of thicker, denser hair, or a smaller brush to spot treat sections such as the hairline or nape,” he says. Those with finer or less dense hair can get away with using smaller tools.
Meet the Expert
Ryan Trygstad is a hairstylist and the co-founder of Mark Ryan Salon in NYC. A former assistant to the legendary Sally Hershberger, he’s best known for his mastery of haircutting and his ability to translate trends and harness texture to create customized looks. He’s become a favorite amongst celebs such as Laura Dern, Emma Roberts, and Kelly Ripa, and his editorial work can be seen in a number of famed fashion publications.