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After a conversation with Giselle, our curly-haired copy editor, about the trials and tribulations she’s been through with her strands, I felt inspired. She talked about how she consistently wears a slicked-back bun because she doesn’t know the proper way to brush, blow-dry, and style her textured hair. That’s exactly what I’m here for, I thought as I quickly pitched the idea. Come to think of it, I didn’t know if I was using the correct brushes for my curls either.
And I’m guessing you’re a bit unsure too (you clicked this article for a reason, right?). In an effort to make us all curl experts and improve the health of our hair in the process, I spoke with a slew of hairstylists on that very subject.
Keep reading to discover the best hair brushes for curly hair.
Best Overall: Denman Gentle Styling Brush
It's best to use a wet brush or a wide-tooth comb on your hair when it’s wet and you’re planning on letting it dry naturally,” says Mizani artist Daryce Brown-Willis. “For blow-drying, use a Denman Gentle Styling Brush. These brushes are great because the bristles are wide-set and will help detangle without snagging your hair. Plus, they help with smoothing before you begin the styling process.”
Best Budget: Diane Oil Detangler Comb
“The Diane Oil Detangler Comb is awesome for keeping tighter curls intact—especially when wet," says celebrity stylist Bridget Brager. "If you are lucky enough to have beautiful ringlets, you’ll want to minimize breakage and snagging. The wide teeth mimic finger combing to gently detangle and keep curls in shape. The comb is also coated in vitamin E and omega-3 oils to give curls the extra hydration they need.”
Best for Fine Hair: Phillips Monster MV2 Brush
“Thin, brittle curls respond well to the Phillips Monster MV2 Brush,” suggests Tim Rogers, Living Proof’s creative director. “The bristles are soft and less dense than traditional bristle brushes. Because the bristles are extra deep, you can blow out the hair in larger sections. This provides more volume for finer hair. Prep your hair with Living Proof's No Frizz Weightless Styling Spray to block humidity and smooth finer hair without the buildup.”
Best for Thick Hair: Spornette Italian Round Double Density Boar Bristle Brush
“Thicker, coarse hair needs a traditional boar-bristle brush,” explains Rogers. “I love Spornette Italian Bristle in extra large. This brush provides maximum tension, is cuticle-safe, and is ergonomically comfortable. Pair it with Living Proof’s No Frizz Nourishing Oil for maximum results on coarse hair to leave strands manageable and soft.”
Best for Thick Hair, Runner-Up: Diane Dual Bristle Aqua Brush
Brager recommends another great option: “Thick hair is sometimes challenging, and a lot of women don’t know how to let their natural texture shine through without damaging it from styling tools. If you have thick, curly hair, be sure to choose a brush that holds up to your strong locks.
“Diane Dual Bristle Aqua Brush is really great for thick curls and works well on both wet and dry hair, as it is made with synthetic bristles with nylon pins, which nix static and gently bend through your hair. It’s also made with an extra row of bristles that allow for deeper penetration.”
Best for Wavy Hair: Fromm The Intuition Glosser Boar Bristle Brush
Brager breaks it down even further: “If you have wavy hair and want to get a smooth blowout without losing your volume, grab a brush with mixed bristles. Although round brushes give an amazing finish, they can sometimes be tricky to use on yourself. Fromm’s The Intuition Glosser Brush is a must-have for wavy locks, as it has a mixture of boar bristles and synthetic bristles, which help to detangle while also giving a great, glossy finish with body.”
Best Detangling: Tangle Teezer Thick & Curly Detangling Hairbrush
According to Willis, “You should use a Tangle Teezer right out of the shower to air-dry. For blow-drying, use a paddle brush that has a lot more teeth—it’ll help smooth the hair cuticle while also detangling in the right curl patterns for your specific hair. They’re great because they won’t cause a huge amount of mechanical damage by taking out more hair than necessary.”