DETANGLING +
BRUSHING CURLY HAIR 101

IT IS OKAY TO BRUSH CURLY HAIR.

But on that same note;

BRUSHES ARE NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL.

There is a time and a place, and this guide will help you pick the right tools for you! 

While brushing textured hair is often frowned upon, and there are mixed feelings on whether to brush hair wet or dry, plus the whole styling with a brush bit seems to be counter-intuitive. (why would you brush out the curls to define them??). I’ll explain each of these theories as we go along and when/why you would want to use any type of brush on your hair. From comb, to brushes, to picks, this is your complete guide and all of my tried and true go-to tools. We are going to dive into how to detangle different hair types for the quickest and easiest damage-free method, including the best brushes to use and the difference they make for each hair type.

DRY DETANGLING

WHAT IS IT?

This includes brushing the hair while it is dry, before a shower and in between wash days.

WHO SHOULD DO IT?

  • Straight-Wavy hair textures, bonus if the hair and scalp is oily because it will help distribute your natural oils through your strands to protect them and add shine.
  • Curly & Coily hairs can also brush their hair dry, but with an extra step to prevent breakage called a PRE POO (aka pre-shampoo treatment using oils).

BEWARE!  Don’t do this on hair with LOW elasticity. If your hair is dry and brittle, brushing when dry will cause breakage. And if your hair is curly, prepare for pain because your scalp may scream.

TIPS:

1. Always brush starting at the tips of your ends and work the brush up the hair shaft to detangle scalp to ends.

2. Tight textures, hair that is extremely tangled, matted, can start with a pre-poo. Hair should be saturated with an emollient product to help smooth and lubricate strands to prepare for the process.

Tools:

Cortex Professional 100% Boar Bristle Round Hair Brush - For Women and Men, For All Hair Types, Round Boar Hair Brush, Natural and Soft Hair Brush - Red Wood 2.75'', Add Texture & Shine for hair
  • UNLEASH GENTLE ELEGANCE: Embrace the delicate touch of our 100% boar bristle brush. Its soft bristles caress your locks, leaving them smooth, shiny, and free from damage. Experience a truly luxurious hair care ritual.
  • TRANSFORM FINE HAIR INTO VOLUMINOUS GLORY: Our brush works wonders on fine hair, elevating its fullness and vitality. The 100% boar bristles delicately distribute natural oils, giving your hair a lustrous bounce that turns heads.
  • INDULGE IN SCALP NIRVANA: Every stroke is a blissful journey as our brush glides through your hair and gently massages your scalp. Feel the tension melt away as you savor the divine comfort and relaxation it provides.
  1. Good for straight-wavy hair. Oily hair 
  2. Benefits: this will distribute natural oils, stimulate scalp & help with exfoliation for flaky scalp

WET DETANGLING

WHAT IS IT?

This includes brushing hair while it is wet, both in the shower or out, with or without product.

WHO SHOULD DO IT?

Great for most hair types BUT BEWARE!

It’s not advised for extremely damaged hair (grade 5 porosity) with no elasticity.

Benefits: It helps to thoroughly distribute product throughout the hair. Hair has better elasticity when it is wet and hydrated, it can be much easier to detangle the hair while it is wet and wild.

TIP:

Always good to use a brush when there is some product in the hair that adds moisture to support the elasticity like: conditioners, leave in conditioners, detangling aids, and/or serums.

Tools:

Great for all:

Great for Kids:

Sale
Wet Brush Original Detangling Hair Brush, Purple - Ultra-Soft IntelliFlex Bristles - Detangler Brush Glide Through Tangles With Ease For All Hair Types - For Women, Men, Wet & Dry Hair
  • Original Detangler: This Wet Brush Amazon Exclusive Original Detangler helps hair stay strong and healthy! Gently loosens knots, on wet or dry hair, without pulling or snagging. The moment you use it, you'll feel the difference.
  • Untangle Your World: IntelliFlex bristles glide through tangles with ease, with 45% less breakage and 55% less effort for 100% happier hair.
  • Painless: Flexible bristles minimize pain and protect against split ends and breakage.

Great for coarse, thick hair:

Sale
Epic Professional Quick Dry Hair Brush (Black)…2 Pack
  • HeatFlex heat resistant bristles gently detangle, vented design allows for faster airflow, speeding drying time

Great for tight textures:

Sale
2 Pieces Detangling Brush for Afro America/African Hair Textured 3a to 4c Kinky Wavy/Curly/Coily/Wet/Dry/Oil/Thick/Long Hair, Knots Detangler Easy to Clean (Pink, Green)
  • Package include: come with 2 pieces detangling brushes, and each piece with a detachable bracket at the back, colors as picture shown; Suitable for hair textured 3a to 4c kinky wavy, curly, wet, dry, thick or matted hair
  • Powerful function: hair tangle comb is auitable for African-Americans, also is helpful for people who has hair knots; The needles are round and the bristle is separate, which can remove knots and comb the curls without pulling the hair or damaging the scalp, waterproof and easy to clean
  • Improved workmanship: ABS resin makes the comb lighter than rubber material, nylon needles enhanced the durability and firmness, curved grip and matte surface makes it non-slip, easier to hold without falling off, more suitable for people of all ages in the family

Great for travel:

Tangle Teezer The Mini Ultimate Detangling Brush, Dry and Wet Hair Brush Detangler for Traveling and Small Hands, Baby Pink Sparkle
  • KIND TO WET OR DRY HAIR: The most loved hairbrush to treat wet hair with plenty of TLC. It’s an expert in treating wet and vulnerable strands.
  • INNOVATE DESIGN: Flexible teeth detangles any type of hair, helping to reduce hair breakage.
  • FRIZZ FREE SHINE: The long, flexible teeth detangle, removing knots and reducing breakage, while the short teeth smooth, for glossy, frizz-free hair.

SHAMPOO BRUSHES

WHAT ARE THEY?

A small handheld brush to massage your scalp with, while shampooing, conditioning, or dry in between washes.

WHO SHOULD USE THEM?

All hair and scalp types. Beware if you have scalp conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, proceed gently.

Benefits: Feels amazing, distributes product for an all over clean, stimulates scalp, exfoliates dead, flaky skin.

BRUSH STYLING FOR CURLY HAIR

WHAT IS IT?

Using a brush to style curls. These are brushes best used not for detangling hair, but defining curls. They can help distribute product along your hair shaft and wet set your curls in place for gorgeous frizz-free styles that last.

WHO SHOULD DO IT?

All curl types (wavy 2b-coily 4c and in between) can get gorgeous curls using the right brush and products. Benefits: Great for defining textured hair to achieve clumped curls + smooth frizz.

BEWARE! Don’t do it if your hair is damaged and breaks easily. Always test your elasticity & Porosity and use the right products to nourish & protect your hair. 

Tip: Make sure you check out tutorials for how-to do it correctly here. 

Tools: 

GREAT FOR ALL:

Denman Curly Hair Brush D3 (Black & Red) 7 Row Styling Brush for Detangling, Separating, Shaping and Defining Curls - For Women and Men
  • Best Hair Brush for Styling Naturally Curly Hair and Creating Ringlets. The hair brush has 7 Rows of sculpted round-ended nylon pins gives softer, denser, increased movement and defines curls in wet hair.
  • Style, Shape & Define: The ultimate multi-functional Denman D3 hairbrush is used for detangling, blow-drying, styling, defining curls and smoothing the hair.
  • No Catch or Drag on the Hair: The 7 row curly hair brush of perfectly smooth, round-ended pins to reduce catch or drag in the hair.

Option to remove bristle rows for less tension, which is beneficial for finer hair types and looser curl textures.

GREAT FOR THICK/COARSE:

Denman Curly Hair Brush D4 (All Black) 9 Row Styling Brush for Styling, Smoothing Longer Hair and Defining Curls - For Women and Men
  • Style, Shape & Define: The ultimate multi-functional Denman D4 hairbrush is used for detangling, blow-drying, styling, defining curls and smoothing the hair.
  • Use On Thick, Course, Wavy/curly Hair: this brush glides through hair easily without pulling, tugging, or breaking hair while blow drying.
  • No Catch or Drag on the Hair: The 9 row curly hair brush of perfectly smooth, round-ended pins to reduce catch or drag in the hair.

Creates more tension on the hair for more control. Option to remove bristle rows for less tension and customization.

GREAT FOR SHORT HAIR/TRAVEL:

Denman Curly Hair Brush D14 (Black) 5 Row Styling Brush for Detangling, Separating, Shaping and Defining Curls, Fringes & Bangs - For Women and Men
  • Best Hair Brush for Styling Naturally Curly Hair and Creating Ringlets. The hair brush has 5 Rows of sculpted round-ended nylon pins gives softer, denser, increased movement and defines curls in wet hair.
  • Style, Shape & Define: The ultimate multi-functional Denman D14 hairbrush is used for detangling, blow-drying, styling, defining curls and smoothing the hair.
  • No Catch or Drag on the Hair: The 7 row curly hair brush of perfectly smooth, round-ended pins to reduce catch or drag in the hair.

SMOOTHING BRUSHES

WHAT IS IT?

A tool designed to stretch and set the hair, smoothing out curl and frizz. These are to be used with or without heat, and work by creating tension to stretch the hair straight and by removing kinks. 

WHO SHOULD USE THEM?

Any hair type looking to set their hair in a style. Benefits: works well in combination with heat from blow dryer, can prevent the need for using excessive heat with hot tools like flat iron and result in a more full, fluffy looking style.

BEWARE: that some of these brushes, including a round brush, can easily get tangled and stuck in the hair if used incorrectly. Heat protection should always be used when applying heat. Only use tools with heat if they are marketed to be used with heat  or you run the risk of it melting in your hair.

Tips:

  1. Always make sure the hair is prepped with a leave-in product and detangled prior to using smoothing brushes on wet hair.
  2. These brushes are not made to detangle hair!
  3. For blow-out hairstyles, first use a paddle brush to dry the hair to 85% dry before reaching for a round brush.

TOOLS:

Olivia Garden NanoThermic Ceramic + Ion Round Thermal Hair Brush NT-54 (2 1/8")
  • Ceramic & ionic technologies,
  • Extra large vents,
  • Softtips bristle design,
Olivia Garden NanoThermic Ceramic + Ion Flex Scalp-Hugging & Vented Hair Brush NT-FLEXCO (Combo)
  • Comfortable ball point tips
  • For styling & smoothing
  • Also great for extensions

PICKS/COMBS

WHAT ARE THEY?

These little tools are great for finishing your style with extra volume. They can be thrown in your bag to keep with you on the go!

WHO SHOULD USE IT?

Anyone looking to fluff up and add volume to their look.

Benefits: Helps achieve volume in textured hair.

BEWARE: PICK/TEASE ON DRY HAIR

Tips for Curly-Coily Hair:

Pick out from the root. Don’t pick from the ends if you want to maintain the clumps, instead focus on the roots for volume

Tips For Straight/Wavy Hair:

Backcomb/tease to add volume

 

TOOLS: 

Tangle Teezer | The Hair Pick for Curly Hair | Adds Lift, Volume, Preserves Curl, Reduces Frizz | Lilac
  • ADDS SERIOUS VOLUME: Use this Tangle Teezer Hair pick on dry hair to add volume without adding frizz. Get ready for serious lift and easy styling
  • KIND ON CURLS: Created with curls and coils in mind, this hair pick is perfect for anyone with 3C to 4C hair types
  • FASTER STYLING: Reaching deep into the root of the hair, the teeth provide more coverage to help speed up the styling process with less pulling and snagging
Spriggle Hair Pick Pink
  • Hair pick for curly hair
  • Widely spaced teeth
  • Fun handle design
Tangle Teezer The Wide Tooth Comb for Curly Hair, Double-Sided Detangling Comb for All Hair Types, Wet and Dry Detangling, Lilac
  • Detangle & Define: The perfect wide tooth comb for wet hair, this curly hair comb features innovative teeth tech designed to cut detangling time in half; Wash day just got easier - large teeth comb through hair while fine teeth detangle your ends
  • Kind To Curls: Created with curls and coils in mind, this gentle wide tooth comb for curls is perfect for anyone with all hair types, wet or dry detangling; Use this curl defining comb to evenly distribute conditioner for extra-nourished, healthy and defined curls.
  • Tough on Tangles: This curl comb comes equipped with long, firm teeth that glide through hair with less pulling, plus flexible two-tiered teeth that provide deep detangling action and help remove shed hair and stubborn knots

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR BRUSHES

Use a comb/pick to remove hair from the brush. hairdressers/ people sharing their brushes should clean and sanitize with a spritz of alcohol after each use, and for at home Fill a bowl or your sink with warm water + a drop of shampoo, let them soak and swish around in the water, rinse and dry. Good to go!

If you’ve gotten this far, I’m sure by now you have an idea of what tools you may want to use for your hair. Bottom line is: brushing curly hair isn’t bad, it’s all about how you do it. For more tips and demonstrations, watch my youtube video for tutorials using these tools below!

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