I was walking down the hair care tool aisle the other day at Target, just seeing what’s new in the world of hairbrush offerings. Not that I needed one, we actually have a decent collection of brushes at home already. But you never know if some new, revolutionary type of brush has cropped up, so I like to scan the options every once in a while.
Hair Brushing 101
Before we get into brush types, let’s talk about hair brushing in general. There are varying schools of thought on how often hair should be brushed. Some take the hard line and say it should seldom be brushed. Other recommendations go overboard and say you should brush your hair a hundred times per session.
The only rule of thumb to follow is to just brush your hair when it looks clumpy and in need of a refresh. You’ll be able to tell. Your hair starts to clump back together a lot more due to the hydrogen bonds that were temporarily broken by washing and conditioning getting back together.
Freshly washed and conditioned hair needs less brushing, and looks fresher with more movement than hair in need of a wash. So the just brush every time you feel like your hair needs it by how it looks. Carry around a little compact foldable brush on your person, it will really make a huge difference in how your hair looks throughout the day.
Tourmaline or Ionic Brushes
What seems to be the latest craze are tourmaline or ion charged brushes as the best way to achieve smoother, less damaged hair. These types of bristles claim to help clam frizz and create better, kink free definition in the hair. It uses the same technology as tourmaline charged hair dryers and other styling tools like flat and curling irons. They claim to help add shine to the hair, and also to help reduce static electricity, which may be a valid claim.
While I do think it has some use when combined with heat in styling tools, I will admit I do not yet have one of these types of brushes. I’m a bit skeptical of the claims that these types of bristles are any better than regular old rubber or plastic bristles when dry brushing the hair.
To clarify, that’s when you’re just brushing your hair with no heat involved. Now, they may have some functionality when you are using them to blow out your hair since there is heat or forced air involved. If anyone has had a great experience with one of these types of brushes, please share in comments!
Boar Bristle Brush
Boar bristle brushes have been recommended by hair care experts for many years now. Their claim to fame is their totally natural origins. They are also close enough together that you get really good hair separation when dry brushing.
Another claimed benefit is that these types of natural bristle brushes help bring the natural oils from the scalp down the hair shaft. This supposedly helps impart a nice shine to the hair, and helps to naturally protect and moisturize the hair in between washes.
I have one of these types of brushes. I rarely use it. I’ve found that boar bristle brushes just don’t work as intended on my hair type, which is fine but full. Boar bristle brushes only seem to make my hair look puffier and duller. I much prefer a soft bristled paddle brush with a nice flexible cushion base. I get better strand separation and fullness without the puffiness.
Paddle brushes are one of my favorites for dry brushing. As previously mentioned, I really like a big paddle brush with a soft, flexible cushion base and flexible bristles. It’s important to have both of these when choosing a paddle brush since a stiff base and stiff bristles make for harder brushing. This can result in more breakage and a harsher more damaging detangling.
I find that the right paddle brush makes an excellent detangler when my hair is freshly washed and conditioned. That’s right, I use a paddle brush rather than a comb on my wet hair. I find it works much more efficiently than a comb since it covers more surface area. And I actually have less problems with tangles and snarls with a paddle brush versus a comb.
A good paddle brush is really my preferred brush type for both wet and dry brushing. I still like to use a traditional round brush for actually blowing out my hair, but a large paddle brush (again, the right kind though), is really an excellent tool for detangling and refreshing the hair.
Looking for the best type of hair brush for a blowout? My opinion is round shaped brushes most effectively shape and soften hair when blowing it out. Some have mastered the art of using a paddle brush to blow out the hair. However, if you aren’t adept at this, or like me lack the needed dexterity, it’s probably best to go with a round brush.
Round brushes make it easier to shape the hair when blowing it out. They also help grab the hair and pull it without pulling too hard when blowing out the sections. Finally, it’s easier to get that rounded shape to the ends of the hair that gives a blowout a more polished look.
Personally, I prefer a round brush that combines rubber ball tipped bristles with boar type (synthetic though) bristles. This seems to separate the hair the best and result in the best overall outcome. This is where investing in a tourmaline or ionic type of brush can make a difference since you are using heat with it.