There are so many brushes out there with many different components that sometimes choosing the best one for you can be overwhelming. Because I get this question all the time from clients and readers, I’ve decided to break down all of the different aspects of the hairbrush. And I hope that after learning all about bristle types, handles, shapes, ventilation and different features, you will be able to find the perfect brush for all you need!
Today, we are talking about bristles and how to choose the best for what you need. The three most popular bristle types are plastic, nylon (or synthetic) or boar.
Plastic- This bristle type is way more common with ceramic or tourmaline round brushes (we’ll get to the difference with that another day). And plastic bristles certainly have a place in making your hair look amazing! This bristle type is ideal for fine, thin and medium hair types. Because the bristles are harder and spread out, they don’t have a lot of grip and would not make a great fit for someone with lots of curl wanting to go straight, which requires lots of tension. But for someone with minimal to medium curl who has a finer hair type, it’s perfect. Basically, the main job of this kind of bristle would be to give volume to naturally flat hair and to add curl or restructure already existing curl.
Nylon- This type is mostly found in paddle brushes and vent brushes, which are typically the shape shown in the photo. Nylon (or any kind of synthetic bristle) is usually inexpensive and can be found at your basic Sally Beauty or grocery store. Because the bristles are so stiff and strong with a bit of flexibility, they are amazing for detangling and general brushing. For medium and coarse hair types, this bristle type is safe to use on wet hair, which is what makes it so versatile. You can use it to pre-dry your hair with control before your blowout or you can just use it out of the shower to brush through gently and detangle. In finer hair, you typically don’t need a brush for pre-drying because you’ll want the most amount of texture possible to get volume, but after the shower you can use the nylon bristles for detangling as long as you are totally gentle and already have a conditioning product on the hair before brushing.
Boar- This bristle is my fave to work with, but it is for very specific purposes. The brush pictured is a Kevin Murphy, which is the one I work with when I style hair and it is very high quality! Most boar brushes are, however. The hairs are literally taken from a boar in a humane and safe way and they are so great to use because the bristles are soft, flexible and give a lot of grip. They are ideal for medium and coarse hair in terms of completely round brushing the whole head.. these bristles will give enough grip and tension to smooth out curl completely straight and because the boar bristles work to close down the cuticle, they also give a huge amount of shine. But in fine hair, it is pretty difficult to get a lot of volume from a boar bristle, so I typically round brush the whole head with a plastic brush and then go through the very top section with a boar to give it some extra shine and smoothness. The other great thing about the boar bristle is that because there is a lot of flexibility and grip, the bristles will distribute the oil from the scalp down to the ends as you brush the hair. This helps give you shine, but also it keeps your scalp clear of oil build up and gives moisture to your ends that dry out over time. So if you can find a boar bristle brush that’s in a paddle shape, that would be amazing to use to brush your hair at night.