We updated this article in June 2022 to add more information about each featured product as well as seven additional picks, including Good Housekeeping Institute-tested choices and editor favorites.
You probably already choose your favorite hair products based on the hair you have (and the hair you want), whether it's products designed to add volume to thin hair or anti-frizz products. That's because the right products help take the stress out of styling — and hair brushes are no different. By picking the best hair brush for your hair type and hair goals, you're one step closer to a great hair routine. The right hair brush "should maximize results with minimal effort on any hair," says Jeremy Taylor, L’Oréal Professionnel National Educator and stylist at TReSs Apothecary and Salon in Newport Beach, California.
The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab has a decades-long history of testing hair tools, from hair dryers and curling irons to accessories like the best hair diffusers and beyond. To find the best hair brushes, our pros try them in the Lab and send samples to our panel of consumer testers of all ages, with all hair types, textures, and lengths. After using the brushes regularly, testers provide data on what they like and what they don't like. These are the best hair brushes to shop for in 2022, including top-tested GH Beauty Lab picks, editor and expert favorites, best-sellers and more.
Our top picks:
1Best Overall Hair BrushOriginal Hair Brush Detangler Wet Brush Read More
2Best Value Hair BrushTunnel Vent Hairbrush Conair Read More
3Best Hair Brush to Prevent BreakageTangle Buster Styler KareCo Read More
4Best Hair Brush for Frizzy HairProfessional Boar & Nylon Cushion Brush ion Read More
5Best Paddle BrushPaddle Brush ghd Read More
For more information on how to shop for a hair brush based on your hair type, usage and routine, plus a deeper look into how we test to find the best hair brushes, scroll to the bottom of this article. Looking for more info on the best hair tools? Check out our guide to the best hair tools — and tips on how to use them.
The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab tests the top-performing hair products and tools that make taming your hair less of a chore. When the Beauty Lab tests hair brushes for our annual GH Beauty Awards, we try the products in our Lab and then send samples to our panel of consumer testers across the country. Our testers of all ages, with all hair types, textures and lengths use the brushes in their normal routine for a set amount of time, and follow up with honest feedback on what they like and what they don't like. After tallying up the results from consumer and Lab tests, we settle on the best of the best.
✔️ Size: Decide if you want more volume or more curl in your hair, and pick a brush size based on that. "When picking out a brush for your specific hair style, remember: The bigger the diameter of the brush, the more volume and less curl or movement in the hair," says Taylor. "The smaller the diameter of the brush, the less volume and more curl or movement."
✔️ Bristles: Boar bristles help make hair shiny and keep it healthy. Boar bristles create "a shine to your hair by closing the hair strand's cuticle helping the hair reflect light," says Taylor, whereas nylon bristles are helpful for detangling thick and coarse hair. "Nylon bristles provide enough stiffness to brush through thick hair," adds Butler.
✔️ Handle: Consider the ergonomics of the brush. You can choose a few different handle styles: Plastic, wooden or rubber. "For a smooth, perfect, gripped handle, I prefer the wooden handle out of the three," says Taylor, though a rubber handle also provides a solid grip and comfort while brushing, and plastic handles tend to be a more affordable choice.
✔️ Shape: For taking care of long or thick hair, "paddle brushes are great because they cover a wide surface area," says Butler. "They also tend to have a cushion under the bristles that flexes as you brush, providing more comfort on the head." Rectangular brushes are similar to paddle brushes and can achieve the same goals. Round brushes are the go-to for styling as they come in a variety of barrel sizes so you can create various looks.
✔️ Use/routine: If you're brushing wet hair, look for widely-spaced bristles or vented brushes. Your hair is in its most fragile state when it's wet, Butler notes, "so you don’t want the strands to snag on closely-spaced bristles." However, if you're using a brush on dry hair, you have your pick of many different brushes since the hair is no longer as fragile. When looking for a hairbrush to use with your hair dryer, round brushes are usually the best choice as they help create volume and bounce when you wrap your hair around them. "Also consider brushes with vented or ceramic-coated barrels, which are designed to distribute heat from the hair dryer and dry hair more quickly," says Butler.
✔️ Hair type: "I like boar bristle for fine hair because the soft, flexible bristles can brush fine hair well," says Butler. Meanwhile, paddle brushes are great for thick hair because the bristles are more stiff than boar bristle, she adds.
Catharine Malzahn, the Beauty Assistant at Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day and Prevention, works closely with the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab to help deliver fact-based, science-backed beauty coverage. Over the years, she has interviewed experts, written product reviews and tested hundreds of hair products, including professional hair treatments, tools, shampoos, conditioners, styling products and more. For this article, she worked with Chiara Butler, a Health and Beauty Reviews Analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute. She formerly worked as a formulation chemist at a haircare brand, where she learned about the structure and properties of hair. Nicole Saporita is a former member of the Good Housekeeping editorial team that spent years working with the GH Beauty Lab to interpret and report on product testing.