Is Your Brush Causing Your Bad Hair Day?

hair brush and comb
Raise your hand if you can't remember the last time you cleaned or tossed your hairbrush -- we thought so. But don't just grab the cheapest thing on the hair aisle the next time you're at the drugstore and call it a day.

Conair Dry Shampoo Brush

There's a rhyme and a reason to why certain brushes create certain results, says celebrity hairstylist Nathaniel Hawkins. He tried out the newest innovations on the market -- and then gave us the lowdown on his trusty standbys -- to make every morning selfie-worthy.

This brush has a specially designed mix of boar bristles and nylon pins to help distribute your favorite dry shampoo formula throughout your hair. "The nylon guide detangles the hair, while the boar bristles grab at your cuticle layer to evenly deposit the powder and remove any excess -- so you won't notice it on your hair," Hawkins says. And if you're wondering why you really need a separate brush for dry shampoo, you don't -- but it's not a bad idea, either. "Otherwise, if you use the same brush you normally do for a blowout, there will be residual dry shampoo powder on the bristles, which could give hair a matte texture when you're actually trying to create a shiny, smooth finish," he says.

$7.99, drugstores

The Wet Brush

Brushing through wet hair is often seen as a big no-no -- but this brush has long, flexible plastic bristles with ball tops to gently detangle hair without breaking it. "Hairdressers have always known what kind of brush would be OK for wet-brushing, but this is great for women at home because they know it can detangle without making that tearing sound in your hair," Hawkins says, but he also warns that it's not a free pass to skip a prebrushing detangler or leave-in conditioner. Never force your way through a tangle -- if you're prone to knots, start at the ends of your hair and slowly work your way up towards your roots.

Spornette Ventura The Blow-Out Brush

If a vent brush and a round brush had a baby, this would be it: This fusion shape has a mix of nylon and boar bristles around a vented core to let air pass through the brush. “It’s the perfect brush for a girl who doesn’t have super frizzy or kinky hair that she needs to fight, but knows that she can get a smooth blowout quickly -- it can easily create that bounce girls want,” he says.

The Twirler

No, it's not a medieval torture device. This circular bristled brush at the end of a handle makes a blowout a snap for everyone. "This design means anyone can hold it in any direction that's most comfortable to them and still get a smooth blowout -- you no longer need to feel like you're holding your brush at a funny angle to get the right look," he says.

Goody Smooth Blends Round Brush

Everyone should stash this brush in their bathroom, STAT. “For straight hair, this brush will create movement and curves; fine hair will get volume; and curly or frizzy hair it will stretch, smooth and polish,” Hawkins says. The trick is to use it once hair is 80% dry and blow dry sections the same size as the size of the brush. 

$11.87, drugstores

The Shine Brush by Wet Brush

This brush is similar to the celeb hairstylist favorite Mason Pearson paddle brush, but it’s a fraction of the cost. “Use it on hair once it’s dry if your desired end look is straight with a little volume, or a smooth and polished style,” Hawkins says. It’s his go-to brush to style everything from a ponytail to a straight blowout -- anything that needs a little help getting the kinks and bends out of hair.

Goody Gelous Grip Vented Brush

Before you pick up your specialty brush for smoothing or body or volume, this should be the one in your hand when it's sopping wet. Why? "Main goal of this brush is that it allows the airflow to pass through the brush drying the hair faster," Hawkins says. "The trick is to make sure the blow-dryer is pointed directly at the base of the brush." Once your hair is about 80 percent dry -- and with the help of your vent brush, you'll get there way faster than with any other type of brush -- you can move on to your specialty tool.

$6.29, drugstores

Treat Them Right

Now that you've got a great hairbrush, take care of it so it lasts longer: "Some brushes can last for years even with daily use," Hawkins says. Start by removing any hair in it -- do this by running a comb through the bristles of the brush. "Then, the type of bristle will determine how you clean it," Hawkins says.

Boar Bristle Brushes
For boar bristle brushes, use your shampoo and another similar brush to rub together and remove any product build up. "Rinse well and let it dry on a towel, but if it has a cushion base make sure it's upside down so all the water runs out of the cushion," he adds.

Plastic Brushes
If your brush is 100 percent plastic, you can just throw it in the dishwasher (skip the heat dry cycle). But even a brush that's been looked after eventually will need to be replace. It's time to start shopping for a new brush when you start to notice the bristles look broken, melted, or bent. Don't ignore this: "Brushes can start to damage hair when the nylon bristles break off and become sharp," Hawkins says.

Share the gallery

Better Homes & Gardens may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.