The Great Brush Off


Finding the perfect hairbrush can be a tall order—the different shapes and sizes can throw you off. Here’s some info that will hopefully help you get to the bottom of the brush dilemma. And if you still have questions, ask your SmartStyle stylist. They love to help.


What are the different kinds of hair brushes?

A round brush is great for blow-drying hair straight, curling the ends or adding overall curl/volume.


A paddle brush has a flatter base and bristles that often sit on a cushion, rather than vents. It’s also great for blow-drying hair straight or brushing the hair out in the morning or before bed.


And then there’s the Denman, which is the industry standard. It’s known by stylists as a blow-drying classic but not exactly the easiest brush to use. It was originally invented as a brush for back-combing ‘50s style bouffants.


Why do materials matter?

Two things comprise a brush—the base material and the bristles. A metal base allows the brush to heat up quickly, dry your hair faster and help form a curled style. A wooden base is gentler on hair because it doesn’t get nearly as hot.

brunette hair model

The right brush can make it easier to achieve a smooth, sleek style like this.

As far as bristles, there are four types: metal, soft, boar and plastic. Metal base brushes often come with metal bristles, allowing for a lot of tension that helps created a straight style. However, metal bristles will be too harsh for some types of hair.


Boar bristle and other natural hair brushes run on the more expensive side but they’re worth it. They feel great on both your scalp and hair. Plastic is another option that’s gentle on hair but the bristles aren’t as pliable as natural bristle brushes.


Whether or not a brush has a vented or cushion base makes a difference too. With vents, the air passes through and takes longer to blow dry. A paddle brush with a cushioned base keeps the heat around the hair as you blow dry, creating a sleeker style and faster blow dry.


How many brushes do you really need?

In general, you probably don’t need more than one or two brushes but it depends on what you do with your hair. For examples, a smaller round brush is great for creating a tighter curl, while a larger round brush is perfect for blow-drying your hair straight. You may change up your style on a daily basis, in which case it would be convenient to have a selection of brushes.


For most hair types, we recommend a medium round brush with a combination of plastic and boar bristle. It’s ideal for adding a little wave or smoothing hair out.

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