A Hair Brush Primer

Having the right tool for the task can make your experience with styling your hair a nightmare or dream. Not all hairbrushes are ideal for all hair types, much like not all brushes are right for each task.


Sound confusing? Well it doesn’t need to be. I’m going to break down the elements of hairbrushes, what they do, and who they are best for. Consider me your Sherpa to what I’m sure seems like the Everest of hairbrush knowledge.


Bristle type


Bristles can easily be broken down into two main groups: boar and nylon bristles.


Boar bristles are widely favoured for their sturdiness strength and control. When used, boar bristles are usually densely packed, which makes them ideal for removing dirt and/or product from hair. The overall toughness of this bristle helps stimulate the scalp and distribute natural oils throughout the hair for moisture and shine. It also makes this type of bristle extremely effective for detangling thick coarse curly hair and straightening.


Nylon bristles are ideal for fragile fine or thin hair as they are able to slide easily throughout the hair without tugging or pulling at tangles. The majority of nylon bristles are flexible, thus making them gentler on the hair.




The next important element to understand is the technology of some brushes which will definitely make a difference in your styling experience.


Ceramic brushes
Some brush bodies are ceramic coated which increases the effects of negative ions produced by your hairdryer. Everyone’s hair carries a positive electrical charge that is caused by dryness which causes the cuticle to open and make the hair look ragged and become difficult to style. Negative ions created by the dryer can cancel out theses positive hair charges making the hair smooth again. These types of brushes help to evenly distribute heat and hold it longer which in turn can add up to a faster drying time. This means less time having to heat-style and allows for less frizz and more shine!


This technology is like the next level of ceramic. It further enhances the benefits of ceramic technology by creating even more negative ions which means hair is usually smooth and static-free. A noticeable improvement can be seen in the overall condition of hair.


Body Type


The final major element of the hairbrush to consider is the body type.


This type of brush allows air to flow through its body through many openings. This means drastically faster drying time and cuts down on static in the hair!


Thermal brushes capture and hold heat from the dryer, cutting down on the time needed for drying. All thermal brushes are vented, which allows airflow through the body of the brush. If you choose this type of brush with ceramic or tourmaline technology in the body or bristles you will achieve the smoothest, shiniest result.


Round barrel
The go-to brush for getting volume and body and creating curl. Hair type is the deciding factor with regards to whether you choose a nylon bristle round brush or boar bristle round brush.


These types of brushes have a river or synthetic pad to which the bristles are secured. The amount of flexibility from the bristle is determined by the size shape and thickness of the cushion. More cushion equals more flexibility. More flexibility means the brush will be gentler on your hair, making this type of brush a great option for fine thin or fragile hair.


These types of brushes are usually wide and flat. They typically have a larger surface area which makes them very effective for smoothing and straightening hair. Great for detangling and rough drying as well, paddle brushes are also great for stimulating the scalp.


Teasing brush
This type of brush is versatile and can be used on all hair lengths and types. The bristles are densely packed making it ideal to create major volume and also for smoothing, styling, and touch-up work. They are your best friend for any up style. Most teasing brushes have a pointy handle for backcombing at the root which can also be used to part or section the hair.