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 specific curls either. And, I’m guessing, you’re a bit unsure too (because you clicked this article for a reason, right?).
So in an effort to make us all (you, Giselle, and me) 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 find out which brush you should be using based on your curls.
If your hair is fine…
“Thin, brittle curls respond well to the Phillips Monster MV2 Brush ($28),” 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 ($26) to block humidity and smooth finer hair without the buildup.”
If your hair is coarse…
“Thicker, coarse hair needs a traditional boar-bristle brush,” explains Rogers. “I love Spornette Italian Bristle ($13) 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 ($20) for maximum results on coarse hair to leave strands manageable and soft.”
Celebrity stylist Bridget 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. Fromm’s Diane Dual Bristle Aqua Brush ($6) 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.”
Now to the type-of-curl portion of the program. Below, find the curl that most closely matches your hair.
If you have curl types 1–4…
“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 ($8). 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.”
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 1907 Glosser Paddle ($20) 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.”
If you have curl types 5–8…
According to Willis, “You should use a Tangle Teezer ($15) 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.”
Brager offers another good-for-you option: “Fromm’s Diane Oil Detangler Comb ($3) is awesome for keeping tighter curls intact—especially when wet. 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.”
If you’re after effortless waves, you’re going to want to read the surprising curling-iron tip I learned from Selena Gomez’s hairstylist.