When it comes to grooming the hair not many people think about what kind of hairbrush they need. As a matter of fact, most people will grab any brush and use it. This can seem convenient, but using the wrong type of brush on your hair can be preventing you from getting the look you want. Not to mention that it can also damage your strands by leading to breakage and split ends.
Getting to Know Your Bristles
Choosing the right brush for your hair begins with knowing the different types of bristles. Basically this can be divided into two categories- natural and synthetic bristles.
Natural bristles are those which come from animal hair
- Boar – Taken from actual hog hair, these are soft, natural and flexible. It is ideal for soft and thin hair like that of children. More than just smoothening out tangles, boar bristles can effectively bring out the hair’s natural shine. Since these tend to be soft they can break easily so manufacturers often combine these with synthetic bristles. Generally, boar bristles will work on all hair types and styles.
Synthetic bristles are those manufactured from materials like nylon and plastic. There are three standard types:
- Nylon – A general classification for all types of bristles made from plastic, rubber, nylon and the like. This type of bristles can range from being stiff to flexible or soft. Depending on the material used, nylon bristles can offer a wide range of control on the hair. In general, the closer together and stiffer nylon bristles are, the more control it provides.
- Porcupine – Although the name may make it sound like natural bristles, this term actually refers to tufted bristles. These are a group of bristles combining both boar and nylon. It is gentle, yet provides good control for normal hair and can be used all the way down to the scalp for thick hair.
- Metal – Made mainly from metal, these bristles often come with rubber caps to make them a bit gentler. Despite this, it is not suitable for human hair and should be used only on wigs and hair pieces.
Different Brush Types
Aside from different bristle types, there are also different brush types. These are designed not just to make the brushes look fancy. Each design has a specific purpose and is used according to hair type and the hair style that needs to be achieved.
- Cushioned Brushes – These are characterized by large cushioned heads that may be oval of square in shape. Oval cushioned brushes are ideal for all hair types and can help remove tangles. These also add shine and can be used for teasing or adding volume. These should not be used on wet hair though. Hair that has waves or a slight bit of curl to it can handle being groomed with an oval cushioned brush.
Square cushioned brushes, better known as paddle brushes have larger heads and are ideal for detangling wet hair. It is also good for long hair and straight hair particularly because it can prevent pulling and breakage.
- Vented Brush – Known for its widely spaced plastic bristles and rectangular head, this brush also has slats in between the bristles to allow air to flow in. Primarily used when drying hair, this can help create volume and is perfect for layered hair.
- Round Brush – As the name implies these brushes are characterized by their round barrel like shape. This is used mainly for blowouts and for adding a bit or curl to the tips of hair so that it falls inwards. The round shape makes it easier to turn the handle and hair while drying. A modified version of this brush is the ceramic round brush as well as the one with a metal barrel and vents. Both types allow for quicker drying as well as more defined shape because heat is stored in the barrel.
- Half Round – also called a classic styling brush these have concave heads and have seven to nine rows of stiff nylon bristles. These are ideal for medium to short hair lengths. It can be used for blow drying bobs since it contours similarly to a round brush. Classic style brushes are also great for bangs.
- Rat Tail Comb – Technically, this is not a brush but it is an essential hair styling tool. A fine tooth comb with a long handle that tapers and is pointed, this is often used for teasing hair and adding volume. It can be more effective than cushioned brushes because of its fine teeth.
- Wide Tooth Comb – Another styling tool that is not a brush this basic comb is handy for long hair as well as curly hair. The wide space in between its teeth helps it to effectively get rid of tangles without breaking strands. It also prevents curls from being combed out and losing bounce.