Tame your tresses with our selection of top hairbrushes
A stylist is only as good as their tools – and choosing the best hairbrush can make all the difference when crafting those curls, volumising limp roots and shaping a smooth do. Top-quality hairbrushes aren’t just for professionals though. Adding the right brush to your daily grooming routine can make such a huge difference, especially if you’re willing to take the time to learn the right techniques.
With the right weapons in your styling arsenal, you can get salon-quality hair at home every day. But, with hundreds of cult classics and innovative new designs to choose from, it can be tricky to find the right hairbrush for your needs and hair type.
If you’re moving away from the basics and aren’t sure which hairbrush does what, we’re here to help. Below, you’ll find our handy buying guide on what to look out for, followed by bite-sized reviews of the best hairbrushes on the market.
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How to choose the best hairbrush for you
Why is brushing so important?
Brushing is important for the look and health of your hair. When done gently, and regularly, brushing can make hair shinier because it flattens the cuticles. This makes the hair more reflective.
The act of brushing also stimulates the capillaries and blood vessels on the scalp. This helps increase circulation to the area, which in turn increases how much oxygen reaches the hair follicles. It also boosts the flow of nutrients to the area. All of this is said to help with hair growth, strengthening the roots and reducing hair loss.
It’s not just about detangling and promoting shine, though. Regularly brushing clears out impurities that naturally build up in your hair and scalp. It removes old hair, dead skin cells and products which can cause bacteria to clog up scalp’s pores which can prevent growth.
Plus, brushing spreads sebum to make your hair stronger (sounds disgusting, we know), and this can help with greasiness.
What type of hairbrush should I use?
When you’ve spent time choosing the perfect colour and style for your hair, you’ll want the right brush, too. Different brush designs suit different hair types and can create different looks.
For example, round hairbrushes are perfect for creating that bouncy blow-dry, while paddle brushes can smooth your hair into a poker-straight style.
You can also buy shampoo brushes which have thicker, rubber bristles designed to help you distribute shampoo or conditioner through your hair, and massage your scalp at the same time.
Here’s our selection of the best hairbrushes, of various types and for all hair textures; read on to find the perfect brush for your style.
How we test hairbrushes
We test all of the hairbrushes we review on our own hair. We use the brushes as recommended on clean, dry hair (or damp hair, where this is recommended) – and, where possible, we test them on more than one hair type.
We start by taking note of the brush’s recommended usage – for dry or damp brushing, with or without a hairdryer. We confirm the materials from which the bristles are made, the dimensions of the tool and any colour options. In use, we assess how easily the brush passes through our hair and the time it takes to brush a full head of hair. We consider how well the tool removes knots and tangles, how the brush feels on the hair and scalp, the effect of the brush on any static or flyaways and how smooth the hair looks and feels after brushing.
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The best hairbrushes you can buy in 2023
1. The Wet Brush Classic: Best all-round hairbrush
Price: £12 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
If you don’t want to splash out on a whole collection of styling tools, pick the best hairbrush that can do it all. As its name suggests, the Wet Brush is designed to detangle wet hair with its non-slip handle and clever Intelliflex bristles.
The distribution, thickness and length of the bristles means the Wet Brush glides through knots without tugging on the root. It’s impressively pain-free, which also means it’s perfect for dealing with little ones’ hair.
The Wet Brush is much more than a detangler, though. Like a paddle brush, it’s great for smoothing your locks with a hair dryer; it can tame flyaways; and it’s gentle enough to care for wigs, extensions and weaves too.
Its lightweight design makes it perfect for keeping in your handbag when you’re on the go, too – so if you’re treating yourself to just one hairbrush, the Wet Brush deserves to be top of your list.
This particular version is available in black or purple.
2. Tangle Teezer The Original: Best hairbrush for detangling
Price: £10 | Buy now from Amazon
A staple in every hairdresser’s kit, Tangle Teezer has revolutionised the way we detangle our hair. With its short teeth and innovative two-tiered system, this award-winning brush effortlessly glides through wet and dry hair, of any type or texture.
There’s no need to worry about hair breakage: just start brushing from the ends and work your way up the length. And the non-slip design fits in the palm of your hand, so even if you’re dealing with the toughest of knots, you’ll easily keep a handle on this brush.
That said, we have been prone to accidentally launching this brush across a room and we find we have greater control with the Wet Brush.
Available in a range of sizes and colours, as well as a compact variant, the Tangle Teezer may not be your go-to, everyday hairbrush but it’s perfect for chucking in your bag; indeed, it’s the best detangling brush you’ll get your hands on.
3. Mason Pearson: Best luxury hairbrush
Price: £104 | Buy now from Amazon
English brand Mason Pearson hasn’t changed its cult-classic Boar and Nylon Bristle brush since 1895 – a testament to its superb design. Mixing the finest premium-grade boar-bristle with nylon, the brush is exceptionally gentle on the hair and scalp, so it’s perfect for fine, delicate textures that are easily damaged.
The boar-bristles also spread natural oils through the hair to restore moisture in dry, lacklustre locks and massage your scalp to promote circulation in hair follicles (the pneumatic cushion is specially designed to hug the contours of your head). Yes, £130 for a hairbrush is a lot, but you’re paying for a high-quality styling tool that’s guaranteed to give you healthier, shinier hair. It even comes with its own nylon cleaning brush to keep it in tip-top condition.
What’s more, these brushes are so well made they have been known to last for decades so, while this is still a hefty investment, if you never have to buy another brush again – and your hair requires less products because it’s in such good condition – then at least that helps go someway towards justifying the price.
4. Aveda Wooden Paddle Brush: Best paddle brush for smoothing hair
Price: £25 | Buy now from Feel Unique
Need to get ready quickly? A high-quality paddle brush gets the job done fast, and Aveda’s Wooden number is the best of the bunch.
It’s lightweight and made from sustainable and cruelty-free materials, so you can smooth your locks knowing you’re doing your bit for the environment.
It’s a clever design, too. The ultra-wide width helps pass plenty of heat through the bristles – and your hair – to reduce the time it takes to dry and style, so it’s ideal for long, thick manes. The added benefit of this is that the quicker your hair dries, the less heat damage it goes through so this can leave your locks looking shiny and strong.
To prevent tugging, this hairbrush has extended bristles that detangle knots with ease, which makes perfect for weaves, extensions, and afro-textures. For a spot of relaxation, Aveda suggests massaging your scalp with the brush and the company’s own Beautifying Composition Oil (RRP £24), to promote circulation and stimulate the follicles.
In reality, though, massaging your scalp on its own using just this brush can help stimulate circulation, just as most hair oils will take the place of Aveda’s somewhat expensive version.
5. GHD Ceramic Vented Radial Brush: Best round hairbrush for a blow-dry
Price: £17 | Buy now from Feel Unique
When it comes to shaping a bouncy blow-dry, a round, so-called barrel brush just can’t be beaten. It might take some time to master the skill of balancing a hair dryer and brush, but the bouncy, voluminous curls you’ll get are worth it. And for the authentic catwalk look, GHD Ceramic Vented Radial brush collection is the weapon of choice for stylists worldwide.
It’s a versatile tool, capable of creating defined curls or a smooth do, depending on how you wield it. The aluminum barrel heats up like a curling iron, allowing you to shape your locks and reduce drying time, and with the ceramic bristles you can enjoy a static-free finish.
You can read more about ionic and ceramic technology in our best hair dryer guide but in summary, this technology allows dryers to create negative ions that break up the water molecules in your hair. This is not only said to help dry your hair more quickly, and spread moisture more evenly throughout your hair for a better finish, it helps reduce frizz in the process.
The low weight of this GHD Radial brush makes it easy to handle, and it comes in a range of sizes. The size pictured is Size 1 but you can opt for a size 3 or 4 if you’re looking for a smoother blowout with larger curls, bounce and more volume.
6. Tangle Teezer Thick & Curly: Best lightweight brush for thicker hair
Price: £11 | Buy now from Amazon
The Tangle Teezer: so good we ranked it twice. This Thick & Curly model from the game-changer brand is excellent at coaxing the knots out of thick, wavy and afro hair. The smooth palm-sized brush sits comfortably in the hand, with an asymmetrical design that makes it easier to get a firm grip when you’re navigating knots.
The Thick & Curly differs from its Tangle Teezer Original sibling insofar as it boasts two types of bristles or “teeth,” as the brand calls them: medium-length and longer-length teeth are interspersed to offer a more thorough sweep of thick hair, while the brand’s firmflex technology prevents snags and breakage. While it’s not the most heavy-duty hairbrush out there, this can actually work in its favour: if you’re a thicker-haired person who wants a lightweight, portable hairbrush that won’t weigh you down on short-haul flights or your commute, for example, this Tangle Teezer is a dream.
7. Kent Small Radial Hairbrush: Best round hairbrush for blow-drying short or thin hair
Price: £10 | Buy now from Argos
Getting a voluminous do is a tricky job if you’re using a large, round brush on fine or short hair. It’s a smaller, thinner barrel that’ll give you the look that you want – enter the Kent Small Radial hairbrush. Using natural bristles to plump thin hair, the nimble hairbrush has an extra small 45mm diameter that’s great for blow drying short to medium lengths. In fact, thanks to its natural bristles, you can even count on the Radial round brush to remove hair products that have built up, as well as pollution and dust. If we’ve got time to spare, we like to massage the scalp too, which releases natural oils through the hair follicles and stimulates hair growth.
Overall, the Kent Small Radial hairbrush shapes a beautiful, bouncy blow dry. It’s only £11 but with a stylish beechwood handle and ergonomic rubber inserts (which help to keep a firm grip during styling), it looks like it should cost more.