Have Curly Hair? These Are the Brushes You Should Use

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Best Brushes for Curly Hair

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

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 tool to consider.

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Great for creating curl definition, the Denman D3 Original Styler 7 Row tops our list. But if you’re searching for a budget-friendly option, try the Rizos Curls Pink Detangling Flexi Brush for Curly Hair, which doubles as a scalp massager giving you more bang for your buck.

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

But finding the right brush for your curls is a task that’s easier said than done. That’s why—with Nai’vasha’s help—we’ve compiled an edit of the best for every curl type. All that’s left to do is scan the below and find your best match. 

Keep reading to discover the best hair brushes for curly hair.

Best Overall: Denman D3 Original Styler 7 Row

Denman D3 Original Styler 7 Row Hairbrush

Courtesy of Sally Beauty

What We Like
  • Works on most curl patterns

  • Promotes definition

  • Great for styling

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

Who else recommends it? InStyle, Glamour, and Naturally Curly all picked the Denman D3 Original Styler 7 Row.

What do buyers say? 89% of 67,400+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

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.

Bristle Material: Nylon bristles | Colors: Black and red

Best Budget: Rizos Curls Pink Detangling Flexi Brush for Curly Hair

Rizos Curls Pink Detangling Flexi Brush for Curly Hair

Ulta

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 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. 

Bristle Material: Plastic | Colors: Pink

Best Detangling: Tangle Teezer The Original Detangling Hair Brush

Tangle Teezer

 Courtesy of Dermstore

What We Like
  • Doesn’t pull or tug

  • Soft bristles

What We Don't Like
  • 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. It’s a great choice for balanced to finer hair. 

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

Best Detangling, Runner-Up: Felicia Leatherwood Detangler Brush

5
Felicia Leatherwood
What We Like
  • Great for tight curls, kinks and coils

  • Flexible

  • Doesn’t pull or tug

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Detangling kinks and coils doesn’t need to be painful with Felicia’s Leatherwood Detangling Brush. The widely-spaced, flexible bristles allow the hair to move through slowly, preventing breakage and fallout. Because it doesn’t tug at the hair too much, tighter curl patterns are left intact, too. 

Bristle Material: Plastic | Colors: Black, red, purple, yellow, turquoise, pink

Best for Shower: Wet Brush Shower Flex Hair Brush

Wet Brush Shower Flex Hair Brush

Courtesy of 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). 

Bristle Material: Plastic | Colors: Black, pink

Best for Blow-Drying: Denman Gentle Styler

Denman Gentle Styler Hairbrush

Courtesy of 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 whilst 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. 

Bristle Material: Nylon | Colors: Black

Best for Fine Hair: Wet Brush Original Detangler

Wet Brush Original Detangler Hair Brush

Courtesy of 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. 

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

Best for Loose Curls: Ouidad Vented Paddle Brush

Ouidad Vented Paddle Brush

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.

Bristle Material: Nylon | Colors: Black

Best Multi-Tasker: Curl Queen The Glove

Curl Queen The Glove

Curl Queen

What We Like
  • Multi-purpose

  • Water-resistant

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

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. 

Bristle Material: Waterproof material | Colors: Black

Best for Tight Curls: Tangle Teezer Naturally Curly Detangling Brush for 3c-4c Hair

Tangle Teezer Naturally Curly Detangling Brush for 3c-4c Hair

Ulta

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

  • Firm bristles

  • Flexible

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

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. 

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

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Vegan

  • Smoothing

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

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. 

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.

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

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 (view at Amazon). 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. In second place comes Rizos Curls Pink Detangling Flexi Brush for Curly Hair (view at Amazon). 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, curl expert, and founder of Curl Queen, an edit of products specifically suited towards 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. When it comes to detangling, make sure your bristles are far enough apart to prevent breakage during use.

Weight

The heavier the brush, the more energy it requires to use. Lightweight brushes 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 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.

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.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. The 10 best brushes for curly hair, according to hairstylists. InStyle. https://www.instyle.com/hair/hair-products-tools/best-brush-for-curly-hair

  2. The best brushes for curly hair to smooth, detangle, and style. Glamour. https://www.glamour.com/gallery/best-brushes-for-curly-hair

  3. The best brushes for styling curly hair. Naturally Curly. https://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/curls/the-best-brushes-for-styling-curly-hair

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