All About Brushes

Tuesday, September 28, 2010
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It’s really important to have the proper tools for styling your hair and there are lots of options when it comes to brushes. Here’s a rundown of a few of my favorite types and how they are designed to work. Hopefully this post can help guide you to the right brush for your hair and style.

Paddle brushes are usually wide and flat (like a paddle, duh…) and the bristles are usually set in a soft, flexible cushion. They work best on long hair as they are good at detangling and styling hair straight and smooth.  This is also the kind of brush I’d suggest if you are the type that actually brushes your hair nightly for the health of your hair and scalp. The famous Mason Pearson brush is a paddle brush.

Styler brushes are best for medium length hair, especially bobs. I also love to use mine to dry my bangs. They have a solid cushion backing and plastic bristles. They can be used to add a little bend and volume if that’s desired. The classic Denman brush is a styler brush.

Round brushes are used primarily to create volume and bend in the hair. They come in different diameters for different lengths and desired lift. Your hair should be able to wrap around the brush at least once. I used to shy away from round brushes because I always felt like I looked to bouncy and “coiffed” after anyone dried my hair with one. But they are actually really versatile tools and can create a variety of looks. You can use them solely to smooth the hair or to add volume or bend in a couple strategic areas.

Some other considerations when choosing a brush:

1.       Bristles. You typically have a choice of synthetic, boar, and a combination of the two. Boar bristles are very gentle and help smooth the cuticle, making it shiny and smooth but they create a lot of tension which makes them difficult to pull through hair that is dense or prone to tangling. My personal favorite is the combination brush but if your hair is typically hard to get a brush through, go with all synthetic.

2.       Thermal brushes. These brushes contain a heat conductive material so that it will heat up while you are blow drying. This helps speed drying time but be careful not to overheat (read: fry) the hair. Ceramic and Tourmaline brushes are both thermal and have the added benefit of creating negative ions, which smooth the hair.

3.       Vents. There are vented versions of all types of brushes. Vents allow the air from the hair dryer in one constant direction. This again works to lay down the cuticle (outside layer) of your hair and keep the frizzies away.

4.       Quality. A good brush is an investment. They don’t need to be expensive; you can tell from the construction and materials if you are getting a quality brush. Some reputable brands I have experience with are Marilyn, Spornette, and Denman. I particularly love the Denman version of the Mason Pearson-style paddle brush. It’s a great brush at a fraction of the price. Now if I could only commit to 100 strokes a night...

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2 Responses

  1. I’m totally buying a new brush now, thanks!

  2. that was helpful! Off to buy a new paddle brush for Pager :)

    Kristy Bockelman
  3. […] the brushes at Brushlove are 40% off today. Refer to my blog on how to choose a brush to help you pick and then enter the code CYBER40 at […]

  4. […] Because your hair is shorter, you’ll probably want a smaller round brush. A 2 or 2 1/2 inch brush should do the trick and because your hair is thick, I think a ceramic barrel brush with plastic bristles would be best. To learn all about brush types and materials, check out this post. […]

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