The 13 Best Brushes for Curly Hair of 2023

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Brushes for Curly Hair

Byrdie / Kevin Liang

Like a snowflake or fingerprint, every set of curls is unique. Different textures, patterns, and shapes come into play, meaning that there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to a routine. Washing and styling might be an obvious one, but the type of brush you use for curly hair is also an important aspect to consider.

“Those with curly hair should always look for solution-type tools,” says celebrity stylist and curl expert Nai’vasha. “This includes things like paddle brushes, gloves, and Denman-style brushes. These all tend to detangle and define in one punch.”

We conducted hours of research on the best brushes for curly hair. To find the picks on our list, we tapped an expert for recommendations and even tried a few top-rated options for ourselves. We considered each tool's material, bristle density, and whether or not it can work in the shower on wet hair (since that's a huge part of a curly hair care routine). After considering dozens of models and cross-referencing them with our expert picks, we landed on these top-rated brushes.

Best Overall

Denman D3 Original Styler 7 Row

4.8
 Denman D3 Original Styler 7 Row

Amazon

What We Like
  • Works on most curl patterns

  • Promotes definition

  • Great for styling

What We Don't Like
  • Can take a while to detangle

The original and arguably one of the best, this vented paddle brush from Denman was designed with curly hair specifically in mind. “This brush is typically at an optimal performance on wet hair,” says Nai’vasha. It works wonders on looser curls and defines beautifully.” Use it to work through conditioning products and to detangle damp hair. It can also be used to shape or break up looser curls.

Price at time of publish: $22

Bristle Material: Nylon bristles | Colors: Black and red

Best Budget

Rizos Curls Pink Detangling Flexi Brush for Curly Hair

4.3
Rizos Curls Pink Detangling Flexi Brush for Curly Hair

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Flexible

  • Soft bristles

  • Doubles as a scalp massager

What We Don’t Like
  • Not for adding definition

Made from eight flexible rows of comb-style teeth, this unique brush — created by entrepreneur Julissa Prado — bends and moves with your hair for a painless detangling process that doesn’t interrupt bouncy curls. Use it as-is for full flexibility or add the control bar to secure each row. The soft bristles can even be massaged into the scalp for an invigorating massage, too. 

Price at time of publish: $16

Bristle Material: Plastic | Colors: Pink

Best Detangling

Tangle Teezer Original Detangling Brush

4.8
Tangle Teezer Original Detangling Brush

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Doesn’t pull or tug

  • Soft bristles

What We Don't Like
  • Can be complicated to use

If you’re looking for a brush that will ease out knots when the hair is damp and filled with conditioner, the Tangle Teezer is it. The hand-held design means you can pull it through lengths easily, while the soft plastic bristles prevent breakage—making it an excellent choice for damage-prone or fine hair. After testing this brush, we were completely shocked at how much softer and easier to manage curls looked.

Price at time of publish: $13

Bristle Material: Plastic | Colors: Pink, black, lilac/pink, glitter, lilac/glitter, green, coral

Best for Shower

Wet Brush Shower Flex Hair Brush

Wet Brush Shower Flex Hair Brush

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Designed to hang in shower

  • Doesn’t pull or tug

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for looser curls

With its wide vents and flexible bristles, the Flex Hair Brush from Wet Brush is great for detangling the hair on wash day. It moves with the hair to prevent snags and tears, while the easy hook means you can store it in the shower (so you’re never caught out without it). 

Price at time of publish: $8

Bristle Material: Plastic | Colors: Black, pink

Runner-Up, Best Shower Brush

Pattern Shower Brush

Pattern Shower Brush

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Creates definition

  • Works for all curl types

  • Can hold comfortably

What We Don't Like
  • Can break easily

Another great shower option is this brush from Tracee Ellis Ross's own Pattern Beauty. It detangles well without causing any breakage, and is able to add definition and shape to the hair. Reviewers noted that it was great for styling without creating frizz. The only thing to keep in mind is that if you handle it too aggressively, it can break. Try your best to be delicate with it—after all, you're managing your gorgeous hair!

Price at time of publish: $17

Bristle Material: Nylon | Colors: Black

Best for Blow-Drying

Denman Gentle Styler

Denman Gentle Styler

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Smooths without snagging

  • Soft bristles

What We Don't Like
  • Very small travel size

If you’re looking to smooth the hair while blow-drying, it’s important to go for a brush with a tighter bristle to direct airflow. Denman’s Gentle Styler is just that, but because it’s still designed with curls in mind, it prevents tugging that will lead to frizz. The pins themself are soft nylon too, so will flex with the hair as needed. 

Price at time of publish: $20

Bristle Material: Nylon | Colors: Pink, black

Best for Fine Hair

Wet Brush Original Detangler

Wet Brush Original Detangler

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Flexible

  • Soft bristles

What We Don't Like
  • Could contribute to frizz in dry hair

Nai’vasha tells us that she “loves a paddle brush because its design is perfect for dry or wet detangling.” While this pick from Wet Brush won’t define as great as something like the Denman,  it’s a great choice for looser, finer waves and curls. Just keep in mind that it works best on wet hair (rather than dry), otherwise, it might contribute to frizz.

Price at time of publish: $7

Bristle Material: Nylon | Colors: Purple, black, aqua, pink

Best for Loose Curls

Ouidad Vented Paddle Brush

Ouidad Vented Paddle Bruhs

Ouidad

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Doesn’t pull or tug

What We Don’t Like
  • Not ideal for thick curls

Another paddle brush that comes backed by Nai’vasha is this one from Ouidad. With multiple vents and a series of soft, rounded bristles, it gently combs through the hair, making it a nice option for breaking up loose curls, waves, and bends.

Price at time of publish: $8

Bristle Material: Nylon | Colors: Black

Best Multi-Tasker

Curl Queen The Glove

4.2
Curl Queen The Glove

Curl Queen

What We Like
  • Multi-purpose

  • Water-resistant

What We Don’t Like
  • Not for adding definition

Part brush, part massager, this glove set is super versatile (not to mention game-changing) for those with tight, difficult-to-control curls. With various spikes and bristles, it can be used to cleanse the hair, ease out tangles, stimulate blood flow in the scalp, or work in styling products. Bonus: it feels like a mini massage.  

“Naturally The Glove is my go-to because it’s all-encompassing. It can be used to detangle to the most tightly tangled hair, shampoo, and condition, or to work in styling products,” adds Nai’vasha. 

Price at time of publish: $48

Bristle Material: Waterproof material | Colors: Black

Best for Tight Curls

Tangle Teezer The Ultimate Detangler

Tangle Teezer The Ultimate Detangler

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Great for tight curls, kinks and coils

  • Firm bristles

  • Flexible

What We Don’t Like
  • May be too tough for finer curly hair

This brush style takes after the original Tangle Teezer but comes with a handle and firmer bristles to detangle 3c-4c curls. The bristles come in differing lengths while the semi-flexible material moves through tighter textures thoroughly but gently. 

Price at time of publish: $15

Bristle Material: Plastic | Colors: Purple, purple/glitter, pink, mint, mint/lilac, blue/peach

Best Boar Bristle

Briogeo Vegan Boar Bristle Hair Brush

Briogeo Vegan Boar Bristle Hair Brush

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Vegan

  • Smoothing

What We Don’t Like
  • Can break easily

If you like the smoothing effect of a boar bristle brush, this pick from Briogeo is one of the best out there for curls. Fitted with vegan multi-length bristles with a rounded tip, it moves through hair, smoothing strands, removing knots, and reducing the look of frizz. It’s great for soft curls or paired with a straightening iron. 

Price at time of publish: $28

Bristle Material: Nylon (vegan boar bristles) | Colors: Purple

Best for Scalp Health

Curl Keeper The Original Flexy Brush

Curl Keeper The Original Flexy Brush

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Doesn’t pull or tug

  • Sturdy bristles

  • Doubles as a scalp massager

What We Don’t Like
  • May be too big for some

Do your curls matt, tangle, or clump together? This unique open cushion brush from Curl Keeper is the answer to your prayers. The silicone bristles glide through hair, undoing knots without painful tearing or tugging. The open base also reduces the risk of product build-up, should you wish to use it in the shower.

Price at time of publish: $21

Bristle Material: Silicone | Colors: Black/turquoise, black/purple

Best for Multiple Curl Patterns

Curls Ultimate Detangler Brush

Curls Ultimate Detangler Brush

 Amazon

What We Like
  • Comes with 18 bristle rows

  • Effective for all curl types

  • Customizable

What We Don't Like
  • Online instructions to use somewhat unclear

If you deal with multiple curl patterns on your head (for example, looser curls in the front and tighter coils in the back), this is the brush that you've been looking for. It has 18 rows of bristles, with nine thinner rows for finer hair and nine thick bristle rows for coarser hair—making it easier for you to customize your brush based on your various hair types. We also love that it's easy to use, making your detangling process quicker and easier.

Price at time of publish: $17

Bristle Material: Nylon | Colors: Black/blue

Final Verdict

The best brush will be the one that works with your curl pattern, but as far as versatility is concerned, we can’t go past the Denman D3 Original Styler 7 Row. Designed specifically for curls, it detangles and shapes without pulling, and while we love it on damp hair, it still works a treat when strands are dry. We also love the Rizos Curls Pink Detangling Flexi Brush. It has a unique shape that enables airflow and works to ease out knots without disturbing curl patterns.

Meet the Expert

  • Nai’vasha is a celebrity hairstylist and curl expert. She is also the founder of Curl Queen, a collection of products specifically suited to curly, coiled, and textured hair.

What to Look for in a Brush for Curly Hair

Bristle Density

The density of a brush's bristles or teeth is important and should be tailored to your hair type. For styling or blow-drying curly hair, you typically want quite a bit of density, so your brush is strong enough to get through your hair without bending or breaking. This also ensures that you get good tension for smoothing out your hair, especially when blow-drying. We like the Curls Ultimate Detangler Brush for this. When it comes to detangling, try a wider-toothed comb like the Wet Brush Shower Flex Hair Brush.

Weight

The heavier the brush, the more energy it requires to use. Lightweight brushes (like the Ouidad Vented Paddle Brush, for example) make it easier to detangle and style quickly—no need for a workout here. However, be careful not to choose a brush that feels flimsy or cheap. These tend to break faster and sometimes break while you’re using them.

Size

A smaller-sized brush, like the Tangle Teezer The Ultimate Detangler, works best for those with thick, tight curls. It also helps to brush through the hair in sections, which may take some time, but it’s worth the work. A larger brush or longer comb is ideal for fine to medium hair with looser curls. But, as always, test out a few brushes and see which one suits your hair best.

FAQ
  • How do I use a brush to detangle curly hair?

    Nai’vasha recommends detangling curly hair by starting from the ends and moving towards the roots, working in smaller sections. “I only like to brush curls during the detangling, shampooing, and conditioning process as well to not disrupt the curl pattern. Otherwise, I simply shake or fluff the hair.”

  • How do you clean brushes for curly hair?

    “I like to shampoo brushes using the teeth of a comb to remove residue before allowing them to air dry,” says Nai’vasha.

  • What kind of brushes are best for curly hair?

    It ultimately depends on the density of your hair. If you have dense hair, look for a thick brush with strong bristles. If you have less dense hair, try a brush that offers a bit more flexibility so it’s gentler on your strands. 

  • Can I use any brush to style curly hair?

     Look for a wide-toothed comb that’s safe for wet hair and use in the shower. It’s smart to use your wet brush in the shower while you have a deep conditioner in your hair so your curls are properly prepped and have a bit of slip to work with. 

  • How do you brush curly hair without getting it frizzy?

    To prevent curly hair from getting frizzy when you brush it, try brushing your curls out in the shower when your hair is wet. Apply a conditioner and use a wide-toothed comb. 

  • Is a comb or brush better for curly hair?

    Generally, a comb with widely spaced bristles is the best, as they don’t pull on hair in the same way that fine-toothed brushes do. 

How We Researched

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.

Why Trust Byrdie

Emily Algar is an experienced freelance writer who covers all things beauty. Her work has also appeared in Popsugar, Vogue Australia, Grazia, Cosmopolitan, and more.

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