Stylists Name Their Favorite Hair Brushes for Every Scenario

Smooth it out, tease it up, and keep it healthy.

By Caitlin Clark
how to moisturizer dry hair

I imagine there are people who immediately regret sharing their profession at parties. A psychiatrist or a doctor could quickly get cornered and barraged with questions. For me though, it’s hairstylists. Once the word is out there’s a professional stylist in the building, I can’t help myself. What’s hairdryer should I be using? Has anyone ever cried after a cut? Do *you* think I can pull off bangs? It’s this aggressive line of vain questioning that led me to pump one poor stylist—at a children’s soccer game of all places—for the best hairbrushes to buy right now.

“It all comes down to the bristles,” he shared, slowly inching away from me.

Then, a 5-year-old kicked the ball into the opposing team’s goal, people cheered because it was still pretty cute, and the conversational thread was lost. But my query remained: what are the absolute best brushes for every hair scenario?

Fortunately, being a beauty editor allows me to follow up with other professional hair stylists, like Wendy Iles. I’ve also been able to comb through our own mane-centric stories to discover a go-to brush and bristle for every hair type and scenario. 

Ahead, discover all the pro-approved best hairbrushes for your thickest, glossiest strands and most delicate situations.

Featured image by Zachary Gray.

long-haired brunette woman crossing arms
Image by Belathée Photography

The Best Brush for Blow Drying: Olivier Garden

Regardless of hair type, celebrity stylist Wendy Iles (founder of Iles Formula) swears by Olivier Garden’s ionic round brushes, which feature ergonomic handles and vented ceramic barrels for quicker and more consistent styling.

Olivia Garden Ceramic + Ion Thermal Hairbrush

u003cpu003eWhether you’re looking to straighten, curl, or create major volume, this lightweight beauty can handle it all, and even hydrates hair with tourmaline ion technology. u003c/pu003e
woman pushing hair behind ear

The Best Brush for Curly Hair: Denman Boar Bristle Brush

Kathleen Riley, founder of Shae Hair, swears by Denman’s boar bristle brush for reducing frizz and adding a super sleek shine. “I love using it to brush out curls and form them into waves,” Riley adds.

Denman D81L Large Hair Brush with Soft Nylon Quill Boar Bristles

u003cpu003eWith a porcupine-style pad and flexible bristles, the lightweight multitasker can glide through every kind of hair texture for gorgeous results. u003c/pu003e
blonde woman in turtleneck smiling
Image by Michelle Nash

The Best Brush for Tangles: Sheila Stotts

After ocean-filled summer days and lots of temporary hair dye, my partner’s daughter’s fine, long hair had morphed into a bit of a bird’s nest. So I turned to bicoastal stylist Ricky Mota‘s expert advice: the Sheila Stotts brush (AKA the “removal brush”). “This tool detangles and styles hair without pulling or breaking it,” Mota shared with me previously.

With its gentle metal bristles, it tackled her tangles as nothing else had. It wasn’t quite like a hot knife through butter, but it wasn’t too far off.

Sheila Stotts Untangle Brush

u003cpu003eThis hardworking beauty with metal bristles detangles beautifully while it gently massages the scalp. And a drainage hole makes it ideal for detangling wet hair or distributing conditioner in the shower. u003c/pu003e
Camille Styles wearing pajamas in bed
Image by Dagny Piasecki

The Best Brush for Wet Hair and Tender Heads: The Wet Brush

Ah, the Wet Brush. By now, most know about this magical, shower-friendly wonder. But it doesn’t get nearly the recognition it deserves for being a great all-around brush, especially for those with fine hair. Its ultrasoft IntelliFlex bristles help prevent breakage and keep hair healthy.

Wet Brush Thick Hair Detangler Brush

u003cpu003eu0022It’s a perfect brush for people with extra fine hair, prevents breakage, and can be kept (and used) in the shower,u0022 stylist u003ca href=u0022 Rae shared with usu003c/au003e. u003c/pu003e
Riley Reed styling hair in bathroom mirror
Image by Dagny Piasecki

The Best Wide-Toothed Comb: Crown Affair’s The Comb No. 001

Cindy Crawford’s longtime hairdresser Richard Martin swears by this plant-based beauty.

“Consider your hair as your favorite t-shirt—the one you carefully hand wash and air dry because you don’t want it to shrink or stretch,” advised Marin. “Your hair is very malleable when wet and can be easily ripped or torn if not handled properly. I like to use a very wide tooth comb and I start from the ends of the hair and work my way up to the scalp ending with an overall smooth stroke to the entire head, from scalp to ends. This drastically minimizes tearing or stretching of the hair.”

Crown Affair The Comb No. 001

u003cpu003eA perfect detangler for wet or dry hair and a nice way to add volume when brushed up from the ends. u003c/pu003e
woman styling hair in mirror
Image by Riley Reed

The Best Hairbrush for a Wavy, Effortless Look: IBIZA Brushes

Marin was also a big fan of IBIZA brushes for achieving thick, voluminous hair while blow drying. “I especially love the concave line because it really gives you the bend in the hair when you are blow drying for an easy, wavy look,” he adds.

Ibiza Hair Z Series

u003cpu003eBristles are made with a blend of swirled boar and carbon fiber heat-resistant nylon, while a concave barrel is designed to cut drying time in half. u003c/pu003e
Megan Roup applying product to hair_best hairbrushes
Image by Michelle Nash

The Best Brush for Touch-Ups and Updos: Tsuge Japanese Boxwood Brush

When she’s not using her conditioner distribution comb (it’s her go-to tool, no matter the hair texture), Iles swaps in a brush made with tsuge, a super-dense, fine-grain wood that helps distribute the hair’s natural oils evenly for a peak glossiness. It’s also excellent for scalp massages.

Chidoriya Handmade Neko Cat Tsuge Boxwood Brush

u003cpu003eHandmade by skilled Japanese artisans, this special brush is designed to bring out your hair’s healthiest, most natural shine. u003c/pu003e
woman with ponytail doing yoga_best hairbrushes

The Best Brush for a Slick, Smooth Ponytail: Moroccanoil Boar Bristle Brush

Rae recommended this brush to add shine, particularly for fine hair. “It’s especially good for smoothing out ponytails and updos,” the stylist added.

Moroccanoil Boar Bristle Brush

u003cpu003eArmed with premium natural boar bristles, this shine-boosting tool is excellent for creating small waves. u003c/pu003e
Kimberly Snyder sitting in bed_best hairbrushes
Image by Teal Thomsen

The Best Everyday Brush: Mason Pearson

The be-all and end-all of hairbrushes remains king for a reason, especially with its lofty price tag. Handmade in England since 1885, the renowned, ergonomically designed brushes are built to last.

“I love the Mason Pearson brush,” Marin says. “It has the perfect combination of bore and bristles—the bore gives you sheen while the tenacity drag of the bristles gives you a great brush out.”

Mason Pearson Mason Pearson Popular Brush

u003cpu003eA must-have for long-hair devotees looking for a luxurious finish. u003c/pu003e