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Does Scalp Health Come Down to the Brush?

Choosing the right brush for your hair type – and why a scalp exfoliation brush should always make the cut

Written by: 100% PURE ®

Poor hair brush. If we were to create our ultimate hair tool wish list, brushes would likely rank last. We get it – that fancy new supersonic blow dryer with complete styling powers is a way more exciting addition to our hair tool family. Besides, what magical hair powers can come from the humbled hair brush? It could mean the difference between a good hair day or a hair-tastrophy.

Since there’s a hair-raising amount of brushes out there, it can be tricky to find the best one for your hair and scalp needs. We’re cutting out that legwork with the most common brushes, what hair types they’re best suited for, and how to use – and clean – these hair essentials!

The Most Common Brushes – and Combs – For Every Hair Type

Just like hair textures, not all brushes are the same – or will play nice with certain hair types. That’s why it’s super important to find the right brush for your hair type. Contrary to the Little Mermaid maintaining her red, gorgeous locks by brushing with a fork, that’s not going to work too well for the rest of us.

It can be daunting to pick out the perfect brush without a mountain of varieties. But if you brush off your hair type and pick the cutest one, it could be the underlying reason for your hair woes instead of whoas. But with a few tips, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier scalp and locks.


1. Paddle Brush
Hair Type: Fine and breakage-prone
Best for: Long hair

Paddle brushes are usually square or round with nylon bristles attached to a soft cushion. They are designed to bend with the scalp, to prevent damage when brushing. For fine hair types looking for detangling, smoothing, and anti-static abilities, paddle brushes will be your BFF.

To get more voluminous hair, flip your hair upside down when blow drying or brush from roots to ends. This will also help to distribute good scalp oils throughout your tresses for shinier strands.

2. Smoothing Brush
Hair Type: All
Best for: Smoothing and straightening

Want an all-around styling tool that’s suitable for any hair type? Look no further than a smoothing brush! As its name implies, this type of brush smooths, straightens, and adds shine to strands. Pair this brush with our Pro-Vitamin B5 Smoothing Hair Serum for a helping hand at taming flyaways and smoothing frizz.

The bristles distribute natural oils from root to tip, creating a polished look. So, if you’re looking for a tight, smooth ponytail or a sleek bun, a smoothing brush will be a total gamechanger.

Use it to blow dry your hair out quicker by sectioning and running the dryer over the brush root to end.

3. Vented Brush
Hair Type: Wet hair and thick, heavy hair
Best for: Drying hair quickly

Got wet hair and you’re strapped for time? Use a vented brush while blow drying your hair to speed up drying time. The spacing between the bristles allows the heat from your dryer to reach your strands faster. Thick, heavy hair types would benefit from a vented brush with large spacing, so hair doesn't become easily tangled in the brush.

For styling, start at your ends and work your way up the head so that the brush is not forced through each section. Dry your hair thoroughly before using this brush, since wet hair is more prone to damage.

4. The Wet or Detangling Brush
Hair Type: All (even kids!)
Best for: Detangling wet (or dry) hair and curly/wavy hair

The detangling brush is great for detangling wet hair without breaking it. The bristles are gentle for tug-free styling, while their sparse placement helps curly or wavy hair retain its shape. This brush is ideal for all hair types – even kids – and is likely the most pain-free brush option you’ll find.

5. Round Brush
Hair Type: Fine to medium
Best for: Drying wet or damp hair

To create a professional-looking blowout at home, use a round brush! They’re great for straightening curly hair, adding lots of volume, and creating a sleek, polished look. These brushes come in different sizes: The smaller the barrel, the tighter the curl; the bigger the barrel, the more volume and less curl you’ll get.

Looking for a little extra shine or bounce? Our Glossing Shampoo and Conditioner gently removes any dulling product residues that could be weighing down curls. This duo is also our go-to for achieving ultra-smooth hair.

For best results, section off small areas of your hair when blow drying. By doing this, you’ll also avoid entangling your hair around the barrel!

6. Ceramic Round Brush
Hair Type: Fine to medium
Best for: Bouncy blowouts, adding volume and lift

Are you looking for a brush that can heat up like a curling iron, sans the heat damage from actually using one? A ceramic round brush will be your go-to for wonderfully shaped tresses. It’s great for adding volume and lift to most styles and textures of hair.

Its ceramic base helps it retain heat more efficiently, which helps to smooth hair and dry your hair faster. Choose larger barrels for more voluminous hair, or smaller barrels for tighter curls and waves. Remember to section off small areas of your hair when blow drying for the best benefits, and to avoid tangling your hair around the barrel.

If you’re looking for more va-va-voom hair, our Kelp & Mint Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner will do the trick (while gently purifying your scalp with tingly peppermint)!

7. Rat-tail comb
Hair Type: Wet hair and thick, heavy hair
Best for: Smoothing flyaways, detangling

A staple in salons, this peculiar looking comb should definitely earn a spot on your vanity. Featuring a long, pointy handle and finely-toothed comb, this multi-functional styling tool is a beauty must-have!

The narrow tail of the comb is used for parting, straightening, sectioning, and teasing the hair for different styles. If you’re wanting to nail that perfect part, this comb will come in handy. They’re also great at teasing the hair towards the scalp for a fuller look.

PRO TIP: Need help getting a straight part? Hold the spear end of your rat-tail comb against your hairline, pointing it towards the back of your head. Move the point against your scalp with a slight wiggling motion, allowing hair to naturally fall to either side until you reach the back of your head. Do this 1-2 more times to cleanly divide hair on either side.

8. Wide-toothed comb
Hair Type: Wet hair, curly hair, and natural hair textures
Best for: Detangling

Can a simple comb hanging from your shower caddy be a hair gamechanger? If it’s a wide-toothed comb, it sure can! It will not only help detangle your hair while you’re scrub-a-dubbing, this multi-functional hair tool can also distribute conditioner from roots to tips aiding in tangle recovery.

A wide-toothed comb also works well for curly-haired types, since hair is fragile and needs to be handled with TLC. Since tangles are arch enemies of curly hair, it’s important to apply a conditioner like our Honey & Virgin Coconut Conditioner in the shower before detangling.

The Most Common Brushes – and Combs – For Every Hair Type

Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp! It’s important to gently exfoliate our scalps to remove the build-up of dead skin and help keep the hair follicle pathway clean and healthy. That’s where a scalp exfoliation brush comes in handy; this type of brush is great for stimulating circulation for a healthy, functioning scalp. Otherwise, this build-up can spell trouble for hair growth.

Although you don’t need to use a scalp exfoliation brush daily, it’s great to incorporate it into your hair routine once a week. In addition to this brush, our Burdock & Neem Healthy Shampoo and Conditioner is the perfect clarifying duo to purify your scalp and stimulate circulation for healthy hair growth.

Hair scalp
Why It’s Important To Clean Your Brushes For Better Hair Health

How often do you clean your hair brush? You’re probably not cleaning it – or disinfecting it – as often as you should.

Hair brush cleanliness goes strand-and-strand with hair health. That’s because what’s used on your strands can transfer back onto your brush and vice-versa. This can affect the overall health of your hair. A New York City dermatologist told Allure that “residue, dead skin cells, and oil colonize the brush and can be a nidus for bacteria and yeast, which in general is not good and can smell unpleasant."

Experts suggest cleaning your brush every one to two weeks. Here are some tips for cleaning and storing your hair brush:

Step 1: Remove the hair

You can use the nifty point of the rat-tail comb to pull hair out from your brush. Pulling a fine-tooth comb through the bristles also works well!

Step 2: Wash and rinse

Fill a clean sink or bowl with warm water, then add a drop of clarifying shampoo. Dip for a few minutes, then shake off the brush. Rinse well with warm water.

Step 3: Dry

Depending on your brush type, you can place it face down on a dry towel to air-dry overnight. You can also hang your brush from a shower head or use a hair dryer to dry it. When drying your brush place it on a clean, dry surface with bristles facing down.

Step 4: Store

Keep your hair brush in a clean space that’s not likely to encounter product sprays falling and settling onto it.

After this hair-raising journey, you hopefully have a better idea on what brush you want to zero-on in the next time you’re shopping! If you continue to use these helpful tips in your natural hair care routine, your locks will be shining at their truest potential in no time – and you’ll be amazed at the difference your brush will make.

We carefully hand-select products based on strict purity standards, and only recommend products we feel meet this criteria. 100% PURE™ may earn a small commission for products purchased through affiliate links.

The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.

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