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You might be using the wrong brush for your hair type — here's how to find out

We asked the experts for their tips and recommendations.
Girl brushing her hair
Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Can the wrong brush be responsible for a bad hair day or damaged locks? Experts say that using the right hairbrush for your hair type, texture and style can be the difference between good and poor hair health.

A trip down the drugstore hair aisle will reveal a mountain of brush varieties, but finding the right one can be a difficult task.

Luckily, we've done the legwork — we're talking hours of research — to help you to identify the best types of hairbrushes, from those best for long hair to ones ideal for sectioning and everything in between. We also asked professional hairstylists to break it down to the basics. Find your perfect match with our easy guide — you might be surprised by some of the recommendations.

Keep scrolling or use the links below to jump to a specific category depending on your hair type or need.

Long hair | Curly hair | Wet hair | Frizzy hair | Bouncy blowout | Bangs | Wavy and heat-styled hair | Sectioning | Creating volume

The best hairbrush for long hair

Longtime hairstylist Mark Garrison says that nothing gets the job done for our long-haired sisters quite like a handy paddle brush. If you like to flip your hair upside down to blow-dry or brush your hair, the paddle will help distribute your natural oils — which Garrison calls “God-given conditioner” — throughout your strands.

Wet Brush Pro Paddle Hairbrush

Don't let its name fool you; this paddle brush can also be used on dry hair. It's racked up over 7,600 verified five-star reviews on Amazon and, according to the brand, is ergonomically designed for your comfort.

Bamboo Paddle Hairbrush

According to the brand, the bamboo bristles of this paddle brush help stimulate blood flow for the scalp and is suitable for fine, thick and curly hair. Several verified five-star reviewers with different hair types have shared that it feels amazing on their scalps. "Sorry I waited this long to find a brush to massage my scalp," one person wrote.

The best hairbrush for curly hair

While it's said that most curls shouldn't be brushed at all, Garrison says that the Denman brush is an exception to the rule.

Denman Cushion Brush With Nylon Bristles

The strong bristles can cut down on detangling time and help distribute the oh-so-important products that curly girls hold dear, shares Garrison. And if you find that the brush snags on your hair, simply remove one row of bristles.

The best hairbrush for wet hair

Vented brushes are ideal for blow-drying sopping wet hair quickly. "The space between the bristles allows ample air flow from the hair dryer to heat up and dry the hair quickly," says Chicago-based hairstylist Adam Bogucki.

Plus, the comfort-tip bristles that are typical for this type of brush won't snag or pull delicate, wet hair.

Vented brushes work best when you start at the ends and work your way up the head so that the brush is not forced through each section. It’s also great for fluffing up shorter cuts, according to Garrison.

Wet Brush Speed Dry Brush

This highly rated brush has a near-perfect five-star average rating from almost 13,000 shoppers. It's meant to easily manage tangles and knots without excessively pulling at your hair. According to the brand, it also has heat-resistant bristles so you can use it while you're actively blow-drying.

Vented Boar Bristle Hairbrush Set

This set comes with two boar bristle brushes that are meant to stimulate the scalp and distribute natural oils from root to tip. "This is the only brush my daughter lets me detangle her hair with," wrote one verified five-star reviewer. "We have been through so many detangle brush brands and they don't work like this one."

The best hairbrush for frizzy hair

These bristles excel at gripping strands to create a sleeker style. Remember to section small areas of your hair at a time to reap the gorgeous benefits. Don't rush the process! “It’s especially awesome for smoothing wavy to curly hair,” says Garrison.

Hairstylist Nicole Contrastano recommends looking for round brushes with an ample amount of boar hair bristles. "Not enough bristles with this type of brush can entangle hair around the barrel," explains Contrastano. "Most people get frustrated and rip or cut the hair out of the brush."

Belula 100% Boar Bristle Hair Brush Set

This highly rated brush is accompanied by a wooden comb, spa headband and travel bag. According to the brand, the main goal of boar bristle brushes is to "distribute the naturally produced [oil] by your scalp sebum on your hair strands, offering you the best organic anti-frizz treatment."

Spornette Deville Hairbrush

This brush can be used for volume, lift, shine, styling, smoothing, blowouts, adding waves, curling hair and more, according to the brand. It's available in four different sizes between 1 and 3 inches, or in a set of three.

The best hairbrush for a bouncy blowout

If you go to the salon for a professional blowout, you'll likely encounter this brush. Round brushes inherently enhance volume, curls and waves, especially at the roots. The smaller the barrel, the tighter the waves. Opting for larger barrels will leave you with bouncy, voluminous strands.

Stylists love ceramic options because they heat up and act like a curling iron — though not nearly as hot or damaging — to beautifully set your hair's shape and curve while smoothing and styling.

Suprent Nano Thermal Ceramic & Ionic Round Barrel Hairbrush

This round brush is made with boar bristles and nano ionic technology, which helps reduce frizz and add shine. Plus, the brand says the ergonomic handle is designed to prevent hand fatigue.

Moroccanoil Ceramic Round Brush

This popular round brush is said to have bristles made with ions that repel water — causing moisture to quickly evaporate. The ceramic base helps retain heat more efficiently to improve drying time and help smooth hair.

Sephora Collection Bounce Round Thermal Brush

These temperature-resistant nylon bristles are infused with ions to be soft and gentle on hair. They may reduce frizz and make for a faster blow-drying time.

The best hairbrush for bangs

Baby round brushes get right in under bangs for pro-like styling. Plus, they can help battle unruly cowlicks, Garrison says. You can also go into small sections at the crown of your head with a blow dryer to work more volume into it.

Uppercut Deluxe Small Round Hairbrush

Although this brush is technically made for men, it's perfect for getting underneath small bangs to add volume and lift. Its description says the bristles are specifically spaced for air circulation to prevent pulling, and it has a rubber non-slip grip for better control.

Diane Thermal Round Wood Brush

This tiny, thin brush has holes that allow heat from a blow-dryer to easily reach your hair. It's less than half an inch round, which works for regular bangs or — for the more daring trendsetter — micro bangs.

The best hairbrush for wavy hair and heat-styled hair

Do you ever put in a set of hot rollers or work a curling iron over your hair, only to have your brush pull out most of the style afterward? This type of brush smooths, straightens and adds shine to hair.

The boar bristles distribute natural oils from the scalp through the hair shaft, creating a polished look. "The tightly packed boar [bristles] increase tension to the hair for straighter results," says Washington-based stylist Matt Fugate.

GranNaturals Boar Bristle Hairbrush

This brush from GranNaturals is perfect for thick or long hair. If your hair is thin, this similar one from Dovahlia comes with a comb and is designed to groom thin, fine and normal hair.

Christophe Robin Boar Bristle Detangling Hairbrush

This Allure Best of Beauty Award winner will cost you a pretty penny, but it's a Sephora-favorite and known to be great for detangling straight, wavy, curly or coiled hair.

Mason Pearson Popular Mixture Hairbrush

Garrison specifically recommends this iconic brush, which was made to add a finishing touch to your waves. It’s also great for light-brushing through natural waves.

The best hairbrush for sectioning hair

When you’re sectioning your strands — whether it’s for blow-drying, prepping for rollers or nailing that perfect part — this widely recognized tool still strikes a line better than anything else, Garrison says.

Diane Ionic Anti-Static Rat Tail Comb

Use the pointed end of the heat-resistant plastic comb for sectioning hair before styling or drying. The comb side can be used for teasing or smoothing hair.

Pattern Edge Tool

This three-sided brush is all you need for sectioning hair and laying your edges to perfection. One Ulta reviewer said it gave them "endless perfect parts."

Kazmaleje KurlsPlus Comb

This multi-use tool has a pointed end for sectioning and wide teeth that mimic finger detangling for a seamless experience. According to the brand (pronounced like "cosmology"), the curved handle is designed to conform to the natural groove of your hand, and the additional grip along the spine offers a different way to hold it.

The best hairbrush for applying treatments

The wide teeth on this comb by Kazmalaje can evenly distribute products like deep-conditioner treatments, hair masks and color toners. You can also use the comb as a gentler option to detangle wet, fragile and processed hair when you get out of the shower.

Kazmaleje KurlsPlus Pick

This easy handheld pick is perfect for raking product through hair or — for the man in your life — through the beard! Like the full-sized brush above, it has a comfort grip along the spine. It's the ideal size to throw in your bag while traveling so you don't have to sacrifice any part of your carefully curated haircare routine.

The best hairbrush for creating volume

Stumped on how to create volume? The '80s launched this handy little tool into notoriety, and it still lives on in the kits of pros today.

Bogucki advises separating hair into two sections: a thin top layer and one underneath. Start by teasing the bottom layer by back-combing to the root. Then, smooth the top section over the teased hair for a polished but voluminous look.

“Teasing works best when it’s done close to the scalp,” says Garrison.

Fugate uses this to add thickness to braids by back-combing sections before braiding. "I also like to mist the brush itself with strong hairspray ... for pinpoint precision to tame unwanted flyaways," he says.

Spornette Little Wonder Boar & Tourmaline Nylon Bristle Teasing Brush

This little gadget is a brush and comb in one. The combination of boar bristles and nylon bristles improves styling control, while the handle makes it easy to part and separate hair.

Drybar Texas Tease Teasing Brush

With the pointy edge, you can easily separate your layers to tease your hair as high as you'd like. It's designed with half nylon and half boar bristles to give you just enough tension without causing damage.

Meet the stylists

  • Mark Garrison is the owner of namesake Mark Garrison Salon in New York City. He has over 40 years of experience.
  • Adam Bogucki is a master stylist and manager of LifeSpa in Chicago.
  • Nicole Contrastano is a New York City-based hairstylist at Pierre Michel Salon.
  • Matt Fugate is a hairstylist at Salon Kathleen in Enumclaw, Washington.