Dotdash Meredith and Yahoo Inc. may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below.
These brushes are designed to detangle and enhance your tresses, whether you’ve got waves, curls, coils, or anything in between
It can take years to nail down the perfect curl routine — but for all the buzz around the best curly hair products and drying methods, it’s our hair brushes that often make or break our curl pattern.
Brushes feature different types of bristles which are tailored to different hair types and patterns, explains Tiffani Beste, a Seattle-based curl expert and educator. She adds that when looking for a brush to enhance your curls, it’s crucial to consider the type of bristles, as those that are flexible are ideal for detangling, while those that offer a bit more tension are preferable for styling and defining your locks.
To help you find the best hair brush to achieve the curls of your dreams, we tested 25 products from highly trusted brands on the market. We evaluated their ease of use, how well they detangled or shaped our curls, and how they felt moving against our scalp, all while keeping in mind their overall value.
These are the best brushes for curly hair to help you uncover your most bouncy, brilliant locks, from paddle brushes designed for detangling to round brushes that help build volume during a blow out.
Best Overall: Curls Ultimate Detangler Brush
It comes with bristles for both fine and thick hair.
The brush is lightweight but with a pleasant heft.
It enhances the curl pattern by detangling and gliding through tresses without pulling.
Some people may prefer a slimmer body and handle in their hair brush.
For those who need quick and easy detangling, look no further: This brush blew us away with how smoothly it glided through our curls, going beyond maintaining our curl pattern to actually enhancing it with noticeable bounce and definition. Our tester said it does "an incredible job at creating those curls that you just dream about, honestly."
We love that it comes with 18 bristle rows that are customizable, so you can rearrange them in order to best suit your locks, whether you’ve got wavy hair, coils, or a bit of both: There are nine rows of thinner bristles for fine hair, and another nine rows for thicker hair, making this a one-and-done brush even for those with multiple curl patterns.
We found that the brush has a perfect amount of heft without feeling heavy, allowing us to smoothly detangle our hair in just one pass — a rare feat that saved us time and minimized frizz. There was minimal resistance while brushing and the bristles were firm yet flexible, which provided a comforting scalp massage-sensation. While the handle and body of the brush are wider than some of the other options on this list, we found this helped us to still achieve a good grip.
Price at time of publish: $17
Bristle Material: Nylon | Curl Type: Wavy, curly, very curly, coily
Best Detangler: Tangle Teezer The Ultimate Detangler
It detangles hair smoothly and extremely quickly.
The larger paddle brush design works wonders on thick and very curly hair.
The two-tiered bristles help to reduce breakage.
It’s fairly difficult to clean compared to some other brushes since the bristles are so close together.
The grip could be a bit sturdier when wet.
It can’t be used to blow dry hair since it should avoid heat.
It’s hard to beat the Tangle Teezer when it comes to detangling in just one swipe. From the first use, it’s obvious why the brush has long been a best-seller: It works through hair lightning quick, effortlessly unknotting tangles with its unique two-tiered bristle system. It’s designed to be used while showering, as the flexible bristles are meant to move gently through wet strands in order to cause minimal breakage and shedding. They also help to evenly draw shampoo through strands, and to distribute conditioner for softer, frizz-free locks.
During testing, we found that the generous width of this paddle was perfect for those with thicker tresses and very curly hair; for anyone with fine hair, the brand also makes the same brush but a size smaller. Note that the brand suggests keeping the brush away from heat, so this isn’t a good option if you’re looking for a blow dry brush.
Price at time of publish: $15.99
Bristle Material: Nylon | Curl Type: Wavy, curly, very curly
Best for Loose Curls: Drybar Super Lemon Drop Detangling Brush
The plastic-topped nylon bristles provide a stimulating scalp massage.
It’s excellent for brushing out extensions.
The handle features a matte texture that ensures a no-slip grip.
The plastic bristle tips can fall off over time, making this one of the less durable options on this list.
Given that there are so many bristles, it’s slightly harder to remove stray strands from the brush.
To achieve loose and luscious curls, look no further than this detangling brush from Drybar. It features a staggering amount of bristles, each of which is tipped with a small plastic ball that easily reaches the scalp to gently stimulate the hair follicles, which is both relaxing and can potentially increase hair thickness.
Our only complaint is that the bristle tips can fall off over time, revealing sharper bristles below what aren’t comfortable enough to use on their own — making this a less durable and sustainable choice than some of the other options we’ve included here.
We love the no-slip, powdered matte handle of this brush, though, which is exceptionally comfortable to hold and makes it easy to gently work the brush through wet or dry hair without snagging on any tangles.
Price at time of publish: $20
Bristle Material: Nylon | Curl Type: Wavy, curly, coily, very coily
Best Shower Brush: Verb Detangling Brush
The flexible bristles easily detangle wet hair without much shedding.
It left our hair smooth and sleek after using it in the shower.
The plastic tips tend to break off over time.
It does tug slightly when used on dry hair.
As the name suggests, Verb’s Detangling Brush is ideal for working through even the toughest snarls. When used on wet hair, the small ball-tipped bristles move as smooth as silk through strands, easily tackling tangles in just one or two passes. On dry hair, it does tug a bit more, so we prefer to use this brush in the shower whenever we’re washing our hair. It never rips, catches, or snags on our locks, and we found that there was minimal breakage after a few rounds of brushing thanks to the flexible bristles.
We appreciate how easy it is to clean this brush with our fingers — we didn’t even need to run a comb through it to remove smaller strands. The tipped bristles were also a treat, creating a soothing scalp massager sensation when we brushed lightly against wet hair. Much like with Drybar’s brush, we worry that the bristle tips will fall off over time, but this is a gorgeous and affordable option to last you a few seasons.
Price at time of publish: $20
Bristle Material: Nylon | Curl Type: Wavy, curly, very curly, coily
Best for Natural Hair: Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross Shower Detangling Brush
It easily detangles thick hair without causing breakage.
This brush is ideal for use in the shower, as it evenly distributes product on wet hair.
It produced curls that were sleek and nearly frizz-free.
The brush can break if handled with too much force.
When used on wet hair, we found Trace Ellis Ross’ Pattern Beauty brush to be a dream. It slid through tangles with ease, leaving us with smooth and silky curls and minimal breakage. It’s one of the best options we tested for thick and natural hair, as it’s sturdy enough to get a good grip on, yet flexible enough to bend towards your hair without any tugging.
We noticed that the brush evenly distributes conditioner and product throughout wet hair, making it a great option for those who prefer to wash and brush at the same time in the shower. In the end, we wound up with sleek and soft curls that were essentially frizz-free. Just note not to pull too hard on the brush, as it can break if used with too much force.
Price at time of publish: $17
Bristle Material: Nylon | Curl Type: Wavy, curly, coily
Runner-Up, Best for Natural Hair: Felicia Leatherwood Detangler Brush
Designed for textured hair, the widely spaced bristles make detangling a breeze.
It greatly minimizes breakage on all hair types.
It’s extremely easy to clean and doesn’t trap hair.
The brush itself is very small and compact, making it easy to take on the go.
There’s no padding on the brush handle, which can be uncomfortable to grip for an extended period of time.
This flexible yet durable brush from natural hair expert Felicia Leatherwood is one of the most famous detangling brushes on the market, and it’s earned its cult-favorite status for good reason. The compact design makes it easy to toss into your toiletry bag for sleepovers or weekend trips, so it’s an excellent travel companion — plus, there’s a small hole in the handle, which offers more storage options if you prefer to hang your brush on a hook.
While it was designed for textured hair, it acts as a top-notch detangler for all hair types and is excellent at brushing out braids, thanks to the widely spaced and flexible bristles which grab hair easily. Our only gripe is the handle, which is rather narrow and hard, and isn’t the easiest to grip when wet or for those with smaller hands.
Price at time of publish: $22
Bristle Material: Nylon | Curl Type: Curly, textured, natural
Best for Fine Hair: Grace Eleyae 8-Row Detangling Brush
The ergonomic handle makes it super easy to hold.
We found it was easy to remove hair from the brush.
The flexible bristles contour to your hair to minimize pulling.
Those with tighter curl patterns or thicker hair may find it takes a bit more effort to detangle using this brush.
The end of the brush widens out, making it slightly difficult to brush hair in smaller sections.
Cutomizable and flexible, this detangling brush features an ergonomic handle that’s easy to move through your hair. Eight rows of bristles separate out from each other, making it easy to evenly distribute strands as you comb through them and helping to preserve the curl pattern with minimal shedding.
We found that the bristles easily contoured to our hair, ensuring very little resistance and pulling. Whenever we did end up with a bit of shedding (as anyone with curly hair knows, it’s inevitable), we loved how straightforward and easy it was to remove our hair from the brush. While this brush is designed for a range of curl styles, we found that it’s best suited to fine hair, which it detangles with minimal effort. Those with thicker and tighter curls will want to look elsewhere on this list.
Price at time of publish: $16
Bristle Material: Nylon | Curl Type: Wavy, curly, coily, kinky
Best for Sensitive Scalps: Briogeo Vegan Boar Bristle Hair Brush
It features both boar and nylon bristles that provide a gentle massage for the scalp.
The silicone handle is comfortable and easy to grip even when wet.
Our tester experienced significantly less shedding than normal while using this brush.
The brush is slightly heavier than some of the other options on this list.
The ballpoint tips on the bristles can fall off over time.
The combination of soft boar and stimulating nylon bristles on this brush from Briogeo is ideal for anyone who has a more sensitive scalp, as they gently massage the scalp without irritating it. The bristles are generally quite soft, but just firm enough to gently rake through hair and comb out any tangles in a matter of minutes — perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to invest much time into their hair routine.
During testing, we found that it resulted in significantly less shedding than normal, and helped to maintain our curl pattern. While this brush is slightly heavier than the other options on this list, it’s still easy enough to hold thanks to the matte silicone coating, which provides a no-slip surface even when wet. We also found that some of the ballpoint tips on the bristles can fall off over time, but it's a brush we'd be willing to replace when this happens.
Price at time of publish: $28
Bristle Material: Boar, nylon | Curl Type: All hair types
Best for Blow Drying: Sisley Paris Hair Rituel The Blow-Dry Brush for Thin Hair
This brush both detangles and shapes curls.
It’s super lightweight and easy to hold.
The dual bristles help separate and smooth hair.
It’s pricier than most of the options on this list.
The dual bristles make this a better option to use on wet hair, as it may pull slightly on dry locks.
It isn’t as easy to clean as a paddle brush.
This brush is a versatile pick for both detangling and defining curls, making it a must-have in our book. If you frequently blow dry your hair, then you know how important it is to have a brush that detangles smoothly, enhances curl shape, and minimizes frizz.
This wooden-handled option from Sisley Paris checks all the boxes, offering a lightweight and compact option that’s perfect for adding volume and shine while smoothing fine hair and bangs — yet is still incredibly efficient on thick hair. It features a powerful combination of two different bristle types, with wild boar hair helping to gently detangle locks, and supple nylon bristles stimulating the scalp as you brush. While the round shape makes this slightly more difficult to clean than a paddle brush, we still found it was easy enough to remove any stray hairs from around the bristles.
Price at time of publish: $63.95
Bristle Material: Nylon, boar | Curl Type: Wavy, curly, very curly, coily
Things to Consider Before Buying Brush for Curly Hair
When shopping for a brush that will maintain and enhance your curls, it’s crucial to consider the bristle type and density. The more bristles a brush has, the stronger it will be — which is ideal for those with thicker curls or who are looking to blow dry their hair, as it will maintain enough tension to move through strands without breaking.
Brushes that feature boar bristles tend to be softer, creating gentle waves — but when combined with flexible nylon bristles, these are ideal for detangling. If you’re primarily looking for a detangling brush, we love the Tangle Teezer The Ultimate Detangler, which features two-tiered bristles for easy brushing.
While most of the brushes on this list feature comfortable handles that are easy to hold and maneuver for extended periods of time, some are better suited to shower use than others. Brushes with powdered matte coatings are exceptionally easy to grip even when wet — try the Verb Detangling Brush for a secure, no-slip grip in the shower.
Are you a frequent flyer? If so, you’ll want to prioritize a brush that’s more compact and can easily fit into a toiletry bag, like the Felicia Leatherwood Detangling Brush, which takes up next to no room. Brushes with more narrow designs like this one are also optimal for thicker and tighter curls. Be sure to consider your hair type and length when deciding on a brush, as heavy or wide brushes will be exhausting to comb through long hair with, whereas they can easily glide through fine and medium curls.
How We Tested
We tested 25 brushes for curly hair from trusted brands in order to curate a list of those we ranked most effective, easy to use, and which caused the least shedding and breakage.
Ahead of testing each brush, we washed our hair and let it dry naturally. We then divided our hair into four parts, and used a spray bottle of water to thoroughly spritz the strands. We then applied curl detangling cream or spray based on curl type, brushing through any tangles, and repeating this process in each section. After we had thoroughly brushed our hair and applied product, we used a diffuser and our favorite hair dryer to help set the curls. We then carefully cleaned our brushes, noting how straightforward or nuanced the process was.
We tested each brush for its ease of use, performance, and comfort, noting if it caused any breakage or tension, and if it contoured to our hair or changed our curl pattern at all.
After our testing period, we rated each brush on a scale of one to five, with five performing the highest. The nine brushes with the top average scores made this list and earned the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to brush curly hair wet or dry?
For bouncy, sleek and smooth curls, it’s best to brush your hair while wet. Wet brushing tends to minimize tension on your tresses, thus preventing breakage and helping to minimize frizz. Buste agrees, explaining that when it comes to curls, brushing “should typically be done wet, with a wet brush and some type of conditioner in your hair to add slip.” Lathering up with a good conditioner in the shower is ideal, as it will allow plenty of moisture into your hair as you detangle and brush out any knots.
What is the best hairbrush for frizzy curly hair?
Ultimately, the best brush for your curls depends more on the density and thickness of your hair than on your frizz levels. But brushes with silicone bristles are excellent for minimizing frizz, says Buste, who says the material helps product to spread evenly. Boar bristles act similarly, helping to distribute product while gently smoothing hair and distributing the scalp’s natural oils.
How do you brush curls without frizz?
Wet brushing is key to minimizing frizz, as it helps to smooth the cuticle of the hair. Buste suggests adding your go-to products throughout your hair, then dividing your locks into sections and brushing them each out individually. “Don’t touch your hair until it’s one hundred percent dry,” she says, explaining that allowing the curls to air dry and set naturally is ideal for a frizz-free look.
Why Trust PEOPLE?
Sophie Dodd is a PEOPLE contributor who has been writing for People.com since 2018. She covers travel and lifestyle, with a focus on homegoods and beauty products. For this story, she poured over our test results to narrow down the best brushes for curly hair, combining the results with her own extensive research. She also talked with curl expert Tiffani Beste in order to get expert insight on what to look for in an excellent brush for bouncy, frizz-free curls.
Meet Our Expert
Tiffany Beste is a Seattle-based curl expert and Seven Haircare educator.
What is PEOPLE Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.