Before I began transitioning, I believed that brushing my hair 100 times a day would make it shiny and healthy. I brushed away not realizing that was the reason there was broken hair all over my bathroom floor.
After my natural hair started growing out, I caught onto the real culprit and began avoiding brushes by any means necessary. I became 100% reliant on finger detangling. Over the years, as I became familiar with my hair, I relented on that stance a little bit.
There are some brushes that are quite good for natural hair and can help detangle and remove knots without damaging hair. I have tried all these brushes at one time or the other and my hair didn’t always love every one but they are the most effective detangling brushes for natural hair if you feel like you need one.
However, my favorite tool for detangling natural hair remains my fingers. I have arranged them in order of effectiveness for my hair. I also mention the pros and cons of each one. My hair is a mix of 3C, 4A, and 4B texture.
5 Best Detangling Brushes for Natural Curly Hair
The Michel Mercier Detangling Brush has a funky design and comes in several nice colors like blue, pink and yellow. The patented brush has a unique geometric design with 428 bristles of varying lengths. The reasoning behind this design is it disperses the pressure placed on hair during brushing.
You cannot use this brush with heat styling so keep away from blow dryers and flat irons. This range comes in three designs for fine, normal and thick hair (indicated by the colors) so it’s suitable for all hair types.
It would be particularly good for further detangling of each section of hair before putting Curlformers on the hair. The brush is supposed to work on dry hair too but I would never run a brush through dry natural hair.
The Michel Mercier Detangling Brush is a bit on the pricey side but expect it to last for a very long time. Buy the correct type for your hair below:-
- Michel Mercier Detangling Brush for Fine Hair
- Michel Mercier Detangling Brush for Normal Hair
- Michel Mercier Detangling Brush for Thick Hair
Do boar bristle brushes damage hair? This is a question that comes up often because the way the brush looks is a bit alarming for natural hair. However, a boar bristle brush is made out of boar hair because the texture of boar’s hair is similar to human hair texture.
A good boar bristle brush lifts all the dirt and debris from hair and scalp and aids the scalp’s natural oils to reach the tips from the root. I prefer to use boar bristle brushes for smoothing my edges, sides, and nape area.
The kind of boar bristle brush you choose depends on your hair type. Boar bristle brushes can be used for all hair types – straight hair, fine hair, curly hair and thick hair. The best boar bristles for natural hair and fine hair are as follows:-
- Straight and fine hair types – soft boar bristle brush like Magic Reinforced Boar Bristle Soft Wave Brush or Bas Brushes Semi Oval 100% Soft Boar Brush.
- Curly and thick hair types – nylon bristle brush like GranNaturals Boar + Nylon Bristle Oval Hair Brush or wooden-bristle brush like Pure Glo Wooden Bristle Detangling Hairbrush.
- In-between fine and curly hair types – mixed-bristle brush like Mason Pearson Handy Mixed Dark Ruby Bristle Brush ($$$) or GranNaturals Boar + Nylon Bristle Oval Hair Brush.
The first time I heard about this, I was skeptical. Why would I use a brush made for a horse on my hair? Then I remembered most horses’ tails are long, shiny, beautiful and very well kept. No reason why it shouldn’t work on hair. The comb row design of the tangle wrangler is flexible, which allows it to give way to your hair and gently loosen snarls and knots without breaking your hair or causing split ends.
The best tangle wrangler for natural hair is this brand from Bradley Caldwell. Lasts a long time and doesn’t cost the earth. It also comes in funky colors like green, blue, pink, red and purple.
The Tangle Teezer was created by a British hair stylist. It was all the rage a few years ago, and like any good, self-respecting PJ, I ordered one to try out. The teeth are designed to glide smoothly through your hair without pulling or tugging, which is what every curly-haired girl loves.
While the Tangle Teezer did detangle my hair, it also caused severe split ends, which I didn’t notice for some time because it happened slowly. These split ends were concentrated primarily in the part of my hair that’s 4A – 4B. The part that’s 3C was just fine. This suggests that the Tangle Teezer is best for type 2 – 3 hair and type 4 hair types are better with another suggestion on the list.
The Tangle Teezer also doesn’t have a handle so it flew out of my hand regularly. Since the original Tangle Teezer was launched in 2009, the brand has now grown their line to include several designs and colors but the original version remains the most popular.
The Denman brush is one of those products that has a bandwagon and you feel compelled to like it. Unfortunately, your hair doesn’t always share the same compulsion.
Despite the many many reviews about how awesome the Denman Detangling Brush is and how well it detangles hair, my hair didn’t care for it. I modified the rows but it didn’t make any difference. It yanked and pulled at my hair no matter how many detangling products I added.
I included it on this list because despite my hair not liking it, there are many ladies that still swear by its effectiveness. I believe the Denman Detangling brush is better suited for type 1 – type 3B hair. 1 great thing about this brush though is I used it to create finger coils using the video tutorial HERE.
The most popular Denman Brush for natural hair is the D3 range. You can modify it by pulling out the base and extracting 1 or 2 rows from the 7 rows.
4 Top Tips for Detangling Natural Hair Without Breakage
- It’s not a good idea to dry detangle thick and curly natural hair with a brush unless you like crying or seeing hundreds of broken, little pieces of hair in your sink. The exception to this rule is if your hair has been straightened or blow dried.
- Work out the shed hair and knots with your fingers first then apply some type of moisturizer before you detangle with the brush of your choice.
- Detangle in small sections irrespective of your hair type. 4 – 8 sections is a good starting point.
- Do not force the brush through tangles. It’s not a magic brush. If you come up against tangles that won’t give way easily, stop and work your fingers through to loosen the tangles then try again.
Irrespective of how great (or not) the detangling brushes recommended above are, the best method for detangling natural hair remains finger detangling. You can also try a combination of finger detangling (80%) followed by a detangling brush.
What’s your favorite detangling brush? Share in the comments section.