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Hair Brush 101

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

Class is in session! Grab your pencil and paper because, we are here to learn today. Welcome to your first course, " Hair Brush 101". You may be saying " Felicia, I have a hair brush why does this matter?". Well, you may be using the wrong hair brush for your hair type or desired style. Maybe your hair is always too frizzy, lacking volume, too flat, not smooth or sleek enough. Yes, the style always needs to be paired with the right products, but the style tools make a huge difference as well. We are going to be going over 6 different types of hair brushes. You will learn how to use them, what hair types to use them on and what styles they are best used for. Now everybody pay attention and please hold your question until the end.

P.S. If you are looking for amazing hot tools, such as a hair dryer, to pair with your hair brush. You can read this blog post next for recommendations on some of my favorite salon quality heat tools.

1. The Denman

The Denman brush has always been a popular, well known hair tool. This hair brush rose to popularity in the 1960's thanks to Vidal Sassoon. Vidal Sassoon is a famous hair dresser, known for his bobs and shorter asymmetrical hair cuts. When I was in cosmetology school, I learned how to use these brushes to dry those types of shorter hair cuts. I would first rough dry the hair with a blowdryer and my fingers, then use the Denman to smooth the hair. This technique works best on smoother ( straight/ slightly wavy) hair textures. For the longest time I thought that was their only purpose, until I discovered the curly hair community. The curly hair girls completely changed my views on how this brush is used. You can use the Denman to detangle your hair after the shower and to also style your curls while wet. Apply your wet styling products to your hair and start by sectioning your hair at the nape of your neck. From there, you are going to grab about a 1 inch size section and brush the hair from the root to end in an upward/ outward motion. When the hair falls through the brush your natural curl pattern will take over and you should notice the roots are lifted, creating more volume. You will want to keep taking sections of hair until you work your entire way through, then proceed with the rest of your styling routine. Not all curly girls use this technique, but those who do absolutely love the results and its a must in their routine.

You can purchase the Denman styling brush at and on There are also multiple different hair companies who sell their own version of this brush.

2. Round paddle brush with boar and nylon bristles

This hair brush was my favorite for a really long time ( I go through phases and switch things up here and there). If you are familiar with the Mason Pearson hair brush, this is extremely similar to it. This paddle brush has a mix of boar and nylon bristles. Boar bristles are soft and flexible and excellent for smoothing the hair and making it appear more shiny. You can use this brush to detangle the hair, but I love it for a nice sleek blow out. You can use this brush on any hair type from fine, straight hair to coarse, curly hair. All you need is a good hair dryer and the right amount of tension (depending on your hair type) and this brush will leave you with a straight and smooth finish. No flat iron needed!

I also love to use this brush for slicked back styles as well. If you are trying to achieve the trendy slicked back pony tail or half up- half down style, you need this... and bungee hair ties, buts thats for another blog post. The boar bristles in the brush really grab on to all the hairs and pull it back without causing gaps/ bumps in the hair. Don't be afraid to spray a little medium hold hair spray on it. When you brush back your hair that will help all the hairs stay in line.

Some of my favorite boar/nylon bristle brushes can be purchased here: Olivia Garden, Arrojo (this is the one I use)

If you are feeling really fancy and would like to spend an arm and a leg on a hair brush the Mason Pearson is the one for you. This specific brush comes in a few different sizes, price varies depending on size.

3. 100% boar bristle brush

No this is not the same thing as the previous brush. This brush is made up of boar bristles and boar bristles only! I do not recommend using this brush for any blow drying. The bristles are very close together and dense, not leaving a ton of room for the hair to run through it. This brush is best used for styling. You can use this brush on all hair types and textures to smooth the hair back into any sleek style. The density of the boar bristles grab onto all the hairs securely pulling it back leaving a smooth, bump free, shiny finish. Apply your styling products to your hair first whether that is a gel, pomade or whatever you typically use. Then proceed with brushing the hair, you can even spray a little medium hold hair spray directly on the brush if necessary.

This boar bristle brush can be purchased at Amazon, Walgreens and probably most drug stores.

4. Square paddle brush

The Large paddle brush is perfect for you gals and guys with long flowing hair. Use this brush to detangle your flowing locks or to blow dry your hair. You can use this brush to wrap dry your hair. Wrap drying the hair is when you brush your hair all to one side with the hair dryer pointing in the direction your brushing ( If you start on the left side of your head brush it over your head to the right and vice versa). You will want to keep brushing your hair and aiming the blow dryer in the same direction, this will smooth your roots. Then you will want to move to the other side of your head and repeat the same step. Once your roots are dry you can begin sectioning hair from the nape and using the brush to dry the mid length and ends. Given amount of bristles and spacing between them, this brush will not provide a ton of tension. With that being said, I recommend this technique for fine, medium and coarse hair with a straight to wavy texture. If you have a more curly hair type you may not get the smoothest result.

These are some of my favorite paddle brushes: Aveda, Arrojo, Denman and Olivia Garden

This is a smaller version of the paddle brush shown above. I would recommend this size brush if you have shoulder length hair or any shorter hair cut. It will be a little bit easier to work with.

This is the brush I use; Arrojo small paddle brush. You can also find this brush on Amazon ( It is the same thing with out the salon branding on it).

5. Ceramic round brush

The ceramic round brush is a classic for the bouncy, voluminous blow out. Ceramic brushes are made up of carbon bristles with a ceramic plate around the brush. The ceramic plating is ventilated with holes for the bristles to come through, but to also filter the hot air through the brush. Any type of ceramic brush maintains the heat evenly throughout the duration of styling. In addition, the ceramic emits negative ion, which counteracts with the positive ions in your hair. This helps with the elimination of frizz and those pesky flyaways. The negative ions also aid in sealing the cuticle layer of the hair for a smooth, shiny finish. This makes this brush fantastic for quicker drying time and being able to lock in volume and your desired style ( Use the cool shot button on your hair dryer to cool down the hair and brush to set it).

To achieve that bouncy salon blow out with lots of volume make sure to apply a blowout creme or mousse before styling. I always rough dry the hair about 50-75% of the way before going in with a brush ( Depending on your curl type, it may be best to skip the rough dry and go right in with the brush). When drying the hair you want to make sure you dry the roots first, then the mid length and ends ( your ends will always dry faster so focus the heat there last). When drying the roots you will want to put the brush as close as you can to the scalp ( twist the brush about 1 1/2 times to get good tension) and pull it in an upward or outward motion with the nozzle for the dryer parallel to the brush ( pulling the hair upward for max volume, outward for moderate volume, downward for minimum volume). You do not want to face the nozzle directly on top of the hair it will cause more heat damage to the hair. For the mid length and ends you will want to pass over them few time to dry them. Once they appear to be mostly dry you will want to rotate the brush to start to wrap the ends into the brush ( if you feel the hair getting caught make sure it is no longer damp and there is no tangles). You will want to rotate the brush until you wrap the mid length and ends into it, hit it with the heat for a few seconds, then it it with the cool shot button to set it. Once its is cool, unwind the brush and you will have the set style. If you really want to set this style in place, you can throw a velcro roller in after each section.

My favorite round brushes are Ergo and Olivia Garden

6. Boar bristle round brush

You can never have too many boar bristle brushes in my opinion. The round boar bristle brush is perfect for my people who have that "can't be tamed" hair. You can use these brushes on all hair types and textures, but my curly girls will really benefit the most. The density of the boar bristles will add the right amount of tension to smooth out your curl pattern. If you have trouble getting the hair line smooth, especially any baby hairs, this brush will take care of it. You will still be able to achieve a voluminous blow out with these brushes too! Follow the same steps exact steps as the ceramic hair brush.

My favorite boar bristle brush are; Ibiza, and Arrojo

Disclaimer: The products linked in this post are affiliate links. All product recommendations and opinions are 100% my own. If you click on the link or purchase through the link, I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure and disclaimer agreement for more information.

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