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If you’re a man that wants to improve your personal grooming, whether it’s the hair on your head or facial hair, it’s important to invest in good quality brushes. A good brush not only helps you style your hair without damaging it, but it can also help promote better health for the hairs and follicles.
A good quality brush does not have to be that expensive, either. The quality of the bristles and the durability of the rest of the brush are what matters the most, anything other than that can add up the cost but aren’t required.
There are different kinds of brushes that work better for specific types of hair, so it’s important to pick the right type for your facial and head hair. If you’re not sure what kind of hair you have, you can always ask your regular barber to get a professional opinion. Once you know, you can use this quick guide to help you pick the right brushes for your own grooming kit.
The classic type of brush you’ll commonly see in salons and barber shops. They typically have either nylon or boar-hair bristles that are spaced in order to evenly distribute your natural oils throughout hair, which helps protect your hair’s health. The size and slightly rounded shapes help hold full hair and naturally lift your hair while you are blowing it dry.
This kind of brush is good for helping make your hair look and feel more thick, which makes it particularly good for people who have fine hair (each strand of hair is thinner) or thin hair (fewer hairs on your scalp or face). People with medium hair can also use it.
What makes a military brush unique is that they do not have a handle, so you hold the head of the brush in your palm when you run it through your hair. It tends to be flat, rather than rounded like a styling brush, and usually uses some kind of natural hair for the bristles — boar hair works the best. These are placed more densely than most other types of brushes. The bristles themselves are placed on an air cushion to help stimulate your scalp, remove dandruff, and promote better health for your hair follicles.
Military brushes are best used for curly hair, as the short and coarse bristles are better designed to untangle knotted or curly hair. If you have thin or thinning hair, military brushes are better avoided. They got the name for being used to achieve the typical military haircut at the time, which was slicked back. It would be a good brush for people who want the kinds of slicked hairstyles that are popular now too.
Natural Bristle Brush
If you have hair that is thick and/or coarse — such as most facial hair, which tends to be both thicker and more coarse than the hair on your head — the best kind of brush to use has natural or synthetic hair as bristles. Boar hair is the best kind of natural hair bristles to use for thicker hair because of how stiff the bristles are, so they can run through your thick hair without much give so you can smooth out your hair.
Oval Cushioned Brush
For tangled and dry hair, many stylists will use this kind of brush — so named because the brush head is oval-shaped, and the bristles are set on a cushion. This is one of the more versatile kinds of brushes, as the cushion helps the brush be more gentle on the hair and the scalp but can still use stronger, firmer bristles from nylon to boar hair.
If your scalp is more sensitive or if your hair is medium, this can be both an effective and a comfortable brush to use.
If you have dry hair, it is because your hair does not have enough natural oil. This can be due to genetic reasons, or because of too much sun exposure or harsh shampoo chemicals causing your oil glands to slow down. Get an oval cushioned brush with firm bristles to help stimulate your scalp, which can help promote better oil production and then evenly distribute it through your hair so it looks glossy and healthy.
The cushioning helps firmer bristles run along your scalp without damaging the skin or follicles.
A paddle brush is good for straightening hair that is tangled, as well as for long hair or beards. They usually come with bristles that are set on the air-filled rubber to be more gentle on long, wavy or curly hair. The bristles themselves are usually some kind of plastic, wood, or ceramic material for maximum stiffness.
To help give more straightening and to deal with long hair that you run the brush through, paddle brushes tend to have a wider head to make sure it pulls through the tangles or longer strands. It is also usually flat instead of rounded and helps make your hair seem more sleek and glossy without creating annoying static in your long hair.
Vented brushes have holes, gaps, or a hollow head to help generate more airflow while you brush the hairs. This helps dry your hair faster as you brush it, which can be of great help for men who have hair that is thicker and retains more water, making it difficult to dry in a timely manner. This is especially useful for men who have particularly thick beards, when facial hair is already thicker than the hair on your head. The air flow can also help make your hair look like it has more volume than normal.
If you want your hair to have a ‘blowout’ look, with emphasized waves or curls, then the best kind of brush to use is a round brush. Instead of having a mostly flat head, round brushes are shaped like a cylinder with bristles wrapped all around the head. As you dry your hair, you can use the round brush with a twisting, curling motion through your hair to help it dry and settle with at least a bit of a wave, maybe a full curl. It requires some practice to get the technique down pat, but once you do you’ll have the curled, wavy or blowout look you want.