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Can the wrong brush be responsible for your bad hair day? Can it cause irreversible damage to your locks? Walk down any drugstore hair care aisle and come face-to-face with a mountain of varieties. It can be a hair-raising field trip for sure.
So, TODAY Style has done the legwork for you, identifying the most common hairbrushes, and explaining how to choose the best hair brush for your hair type — and why. Some of these may surprise you!
Vented brushes are ideal for blow-drying sopping wet hair fast. "The space between the bristles allows ample air flow from the hair dryer to heat up and dry the hair quickly," said Adam Bogucki, owner of Lumination Salon.
Plus, the comfort-tip bristles that are typical for this type of brush won't snag or pull delicate, wet hair either.
Wet Brush Speed Dry Hair Brush, $13, Amazon
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This 'Amazon Choice' brush is perfect for all hair types and is meant to help easily detangle hair as you dry it.
Boar Bristle Vented Hair Brush Set, $18, Amazon
This is also available at Sears for $30.
This best-selling brush is made of boar bristles which promote hair health by stimulating the scalp and distributing natural oils from root to tip (see more boar bristle brushes below). At the same time, the vented design makes for a quick, easy blow dry with minimal tangles.
Boar-Bristle Paddle Brushes
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) increases tension to the hair for straighter results," said Matt Fugate, Kerastase celebrity stylist.
GranNaturals Boar Bristle Hair Brush, $13, Amazon
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.
Cristophe Robin Boar Bristle Detangling Hair Brush, $108, Sephora
This is also available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
This Allure Best of Beauty Award winner will cost you a pretty penny, but it's a Sephora-favorite and great for detangling straight, wavy, curly, or coiled hair.
Head in for a blow-dry session and this is the brush you typically encounter. Round brushes enhance volume, curls and waves, especially at the roots. The smaller the barrel, the tighter the waves. Opt for larger barrels for bouncy, voluminous strands.
A word of caution: Always look for round brushes with boar hair bristles, never just plastic or metal. "Not enough bristles with this type of brush can entangle hair around the barrel," explained Nicole Contrastano, hairstylist at Pierre Michel Salon, "and most people get frustrated and rip or cut the hair out of the brush."
Years ago a client was smart enough to get in a cab with a plastic round brush stuck in her hair, but it took two assistants a couple of hours to unravel her out of the brush, she cautiously warned.
Suprent Nano Thermal Ceramic & Ionic Round Barrel Hair Brush, $15, Amazon
This round brush is made with boar bristles and nano ionic technology that helps reduce frizz and add shine.
Morrocanoil 55mm Ceramic Thermal Round Brush, $30, Nordstrom
This top-rated round brush is said to have bristles made with ions that repel water, causing moisture to evaporate quickly. Its ceramic base helps it retain heat more efficiently to improve drying time and help smooth hair.
Sephora Collection Bounce: Large Round Thermal Brush, $22, Sephora
This brush has 3,347 loves on Sephora and its wavy, temperature-resistant nylon bristles are infused with ions to be soft and gentle on hair, which reduces frizz and makes for a faster blow-drying time.
The pointed handle sections hair while the thin brush gently backcombs at the roots for added volume. This tool comes in handy when styling bangs and aiding hot tools, too.
Stumped on how to create volume? Bogucki advises sectioning hair into two sections: a thin top layer and one underneath. Tease the bottom layer by backcombing to the root. Then, smooth the top section over the teased hair for a polished but voluminous look.
Another handy use? Fugate adds thickness to braids by backcombing sections before braiding. "I also like to mist the brush itself with strong hairspray like Kerastase Lacque Couture for pinpoint precision to tame unwanted flyaways," he said.
Spornette Little Wonder Boar-Nylon Bristle Teasing Brush, $10, Amazon
This little gadget is a brush and comb in one. Its combination of boar bristles and nylon bristles improve styling control, while the handle makes it easy to part and separate hair. If you're just looking for a teasing comb, Amazon reviewers are obsessed with this one for $4.
Other Points to Consider
Brushes that cut drying time
Look for copper-plated or copper-barreled brushes. They help dry hair much faster as the barrel warms up and helps distribute heat throughout the hair shaft. Less time blow-drying means less damage to your strands!
Curly and wavy hair benefits most from a brush with wide bristles because it helps tame frizz without breaking up natural texture, said Bogucki. Mixed-bristle brushes work well for medium to thick dry hair because the nylon bristles work to detangle strands, while the boar bristles distribute oil and create a soft texture. Meanwhile, someone with fine hair may need a brush with wide-spaced pins and a natural rubber cushion to easily gild through hair without ripping it out.
Now brush up on these tips for your bounciest blow-dry yet!