It’s no secret that great products can make or break a hairstyle. But did you know that using the perfect hairbrush can do more than half the work? The right brush can give you mega volume, eliminate frizz, or turn your locks into one silky, straight creation. We spoke to Nexxus Creative Director Kevin Mancuso, who gave us the 411 on hairbrushes, to make sure we never use the wrong brush again.
1. To Neaten Curly Or Kinky Hair
When it comes to tight curls, the trick to smoothing out your locks is to loosen things up. “If you have tight curls or curls with a lot of kink, the wider you’ll want the spaces between bristles,” Kevin said.
He recommends Denman Classic Styling Brushes ($10.75, Soap.com) with six to nine rows of bristles. “These brushes feature white, nylon pin-like bristles,” Kevin said. “It is great for most hair textures, except fine or thin textures or hair that has low density.”
2. To Get Sleek, Straight Hair
My heart goes out to the big-haired girl who wants a sleek, straight look. It can be near impossible to get a frizz-free blowout. “The best way to control a curl when manipulating it with a brush or your fingers is to first care for your hair with the right shampoo and conditioner, followed by styling products that form hair into brush-able curls,” Kevin said.
“For almost any hair type or length, the Denman Paddle Brush ($11.95, Folica.com) is great to help detangle hair and very easy to use” for a fast blow out—it creates a “smooth, sleek look,” Kevin said. “This brush is great for most hair types and textures, fine or thin hair textures, or hair that has low density.”
3. To Detangle (Wet) Hair
It’s not uncommon to step out of the shower with knotty, messy hair, and unless you’re Heidi Klum, brushing it out with your fingers is not an option. “Brushes that have wider spaced bristles are best to help detangle hair, however in some instances, a comb works best for detangling. Brushes that have natural bristles, flexible nylon bristles, padded/cushioned brushes and bristles are gentler on wet hair.”
One of his favorites? Mason Pearson Nylon & Boar Bristle Brushes ($115, Sleekhair.com), which are “medium cushion brushes with natural bristles and single nylon quills that provide good grip and control for smoothing hair.”
4. To Get More Voluminous Hair
Tired of the Jennifer Aniston look, and longing for body? There’s a brush for that. While big, round brushes are great for smoothing fly-aways, little, round brushes are the trick to adding more texture.
“In general, round brushes are best for adding shape and volume; the smaller the diameter of the brush, the more bend and wave you’ll add to the curl,” Kevin said. He really likes YS Park Brush ($44, Precisionshears.com) from Japan, because it has natural boar and nylon bristles that give a glossy look, without losing volume in your hair.
Knowing what brush to use is great, but there’s one question that still remains: How much do you need to spend on a brush?
Hairbrushes well over $100 (outrageous even for a beauty writer!) have crossed our desks, and while we were shocked at the price, we soon learned that you get what you pay for.
“I find that a quality brush is worth the investment—there is a noticeable difference in the way quality brushes are balanced,” Kevin said. “It’s easy to find a less expensive brush that ‘does the job,’ but most of those brushes use bristles that are either too flexible, bristles that are not flexible enough or lose their bristles.”
Is there a brush you’d swear by?