What to apply, which supplements to take, DIY hair masks—the list goes on and new commandments to follow for healthy, beautiful hair seem to pop up weekly. But one topic that hasn’t been in the limelight as much? What you should be brushing your locks with. And with brushes spanning from $3 to $300, we got curious: Do expensive brushes really make a difference in your hair’s health?
According to Jenn Bradford, senior stylist at DreamDry, the better the brush, the healthier your hair will feel and look. “Turns out, the saying is true—you get what you pay for!” says Bradford, adding that the quality of the materials in the brush directly correlate to the styling result. “Quality brushes are the key ingredient to maintaining and preserving the integrity of the hair and to help a stylist more easily achieve a specific look.” In terms of damaging hair, Bradford says that the amount of heat applied to the hair in conjunction with the brush(es) used plays a big role in the preservation and deterioration of your hair. “Using low-grade products made from non-premium materials can result in spending double the time trying to style your hair at home, leading you to run into problems such as frizz, static and breakage. When your products aren’t performing like they should, you put double or triple the amount of heat on your hair with your blowdryer. In the long run, this leads to overprocessed, brittle, weak and damaged strands.”
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Does this mean we all have to start shelling out hundreds of dollars on brushes? Not necessarily. Good brushes don’t need to have a high price tag, just quality materials. According Bradford, there are a few key words to keep in mind when brush shopping: “Brushes with descriptive key words like thermal, ceramic, tourmaline-charged, titanium, anti-static, and boar-bristle suggest the best materials on the market,” she explains.
Just like there are keywords to look for, there are key brushes to look for too, as no brush is one-size-fits-all or does everything you need it to. Here are the basics:
The Tool: Wide-Tooth Comb
The Pick: Evo Roy Wide-Tooth Comb ($18)
“When you’re right out of the shower and your hair is saturated with water, it is proven to be more elastic and susceptible to breakage. As a professional, I tell my clients to use a wide-tooth comb in the shower while applying conditioner to help detangle their hair. Plus, it makes for an easier rinse.” We love this comb from Evo (along with the rest of their line) for a luxe experience and quality materials with every brush.
The Tool: Boar-Bristle Brush
The Pick: Mason Pearson ‘Handy Bristle’ Brush ($230)
Made famous by the coveted Mason Pearson luxe brush, the natural boar bristles found in this brush work to stimulate the scalp and distribute oil throughout the hair for a soft, smooth finish sans unwanted breakage.
The Tool: Metal Round Brush
Unlike its boar-bristle counterpart, this brush moves easily through your locks, and when used with a blowdryer, the metal base heats up like an iron for easier styling. This brush from Olivia Garden is easy to use and features a vented barrel for even faster drying and styling.
The Tool: Boar Round Brush
The Pick: Ibiza Extended Cork Round Brush ($48)
While this brush can prove difficult to use at home (it sports super dense bristles that create tension and pull on your hair, which is hard to master if you’re not a pro), when used properly, it will deliver voluminous, smooth locks. Translation: This is the brush to purchase and master for the ultimate at-home blowout. Try this brush from Ibiza for a flawless look every time.
The Tool: Teasing Comb
The Pick: Marilyn’s Teaser Brush ($16)
“Backcombing (formerly known as ‘teasing’) is a showstopper when the correct method and proper brush are used to execute this sought-after look,” says Bradford, adding that the closer together the teeth are in a comb, the more of a backcomb (or tease) you will get. “Always remember when backcombing to start at the base of the section you’re trying to get volume in, and in slow, scooping motions, start pushing the hair down towards the scalp at the root of the hair, working your way up the section of hair.” We love this teaser from Marilyn for a flawless boost of volume every time.