The Best of the Detangling Brush: Your Guide to a Pain-Free Detangle

Tangled Knotted Hair

If your precious mane is prone to knotting and matting, you’ve probably tried several detangling brushes and found little success (on the verge of tears, even.). The “detangling brush” was created specifically to gently detangle knotty or matted hair with little damage and breakage -- but what’s stopping you from enjoying the process? Insert: your ultimate guide to buying the right detangling brush.

Detangler brushes are designed for long or thick hair that’s prone to tangling. Many brushes may claim to detangle hair, but detangling brushes made specifically for tangles and knots minimize the damage during such attempts; you won’t pull and tug as much and you won’t have the same level of breakage that you get with normal hairbrushes.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about getting the best detangling brush: how to choose it, how to use it, and how to keep your mane tangle-free. Keep reading… and don’t forget to share what you learn next time you hear your sister or friend struggling to work those bristles through their luscious locks.


The world of hairbrushes can be a little confusing, and a whole lot distressing (especially when you pick the wrong kind). But, knowing the difference between your brush options is the first step to understanding which brush will give you the most gentle experience. And while it may not seem like it, there’s a method to the hairbrush madness. At your service, the most common brushes on today’s market:

The Paddle Bush
Paddle Brush
The paddle brush was designed for those with thick, naturally straight hair. It's best used to even out frizzing from sleeping, napping, and hat-wearing and will help you straighten out the ends and tops of your hair without losing the volume underneath. Va-va voom!

The Round Brush
The Round Brush
 Round brushes come in various shapes and sizes (all round, of course), and they’re great for styling. Round brushes with larger barrels create volume and help to build bigger waves/ curls while smaller barrels are most ideal for laying bangs. Just try not to get your hair wound up in the round brush -- the tangles and breakage are what we’re trying to avoid!

The Boar Bristle Brush
The Boar Bristle Brush
Great for distributing oils throughout your hair, the boar bristle brush can help you achieve a smooth look after using a detangling brush. But be careful, overuse of a brush with boar bristles can make your hair look oily and flat.

The Detangling Brush
The Detangling Brush - Crave Naturals
The detangling brush is made specifically for tackling the tangles in your wet or dry hair. With a good detangling brush, you won’t experience the pulling and tugging that causes hair breakage. It minimizes damage, especially when paired with the right conditioners or detanglers.

But, how exactly do detangling brushes work?

If you’ve had the displeasure of having to brush out a mass of tangled hair, you probably wonder how a simple brush can make your work easier. A brush is just a brush, right? Any brush should work the same way, right?

Wrong! Not all brushes are created equal and choosing the right brush will help you detangle your hair faster, easier, and with less pain and damage. Hair tangles happen when the outer cuticle layer on your individual hair strands become damaged and roughed up, instead of lying smooth and flat. The damaged cuticles are more likely to get caught on other damaged cuticles, creating the tangled mess you see in the mirror. This is exactly why not just any ol’ brush should be used to detangle your hair.

The detangling brush is designed specifically to glide through the tangled strands and gently separate them without causing excessive tension or stress on your tresses. 

And… why are detangling brushes so good for your hair?

If you’re wondering what the hoopla is on detangling brushes, there’s a host of benefits to investing in a good quality detangling brush and we’ve outlined just a few of them for you:

No Pain
If you or your child cries every time you have to handle your/their hair, then you haven’t found the right detangling brush. Detangler brushes are specifically designed to glide through your hair smoothly and without causing pain. Nobody likes the pain that comes with yanking and tugging to ease knots.

Easy to Use
Most detangling brushes are easy to use. Some have straight handles like ordinary brushes, while some are designed with ergonomic handles which make it more  comfortable to handle and easy to glide through tangled hair. Therefore, the process of detangling becomes fast, easy and painless.

Getting the right type of brush can speed up the process of detangling, especially when you need to be able to use it on wet or dry hair. You can also use detangling brushes on your wigs and extensions with minimal breakage and damage.

Bristles on detangling brushes are designed to reduce the pressure and tension on your scalp and hair. In this way, you can reduce damage, hair breakage and splitting of the hair. The detangler brush works efficiently, so you’ll need fewer strokes to remove all the tangles, especially if you follow the right detangling approach.

So which is the best detangling brush for YOU?

There are several qualities that make a detangling brush ideal for its purpose and differentiate this brush from other types of brushes. Below are some of the things to look for in any detangler brush. Of course, there will be other characteristics to check for depending on your hair type. Here are the main ones:

High Quality Bristles
Given that the detangler brush works through knots and tangles, you want firm bristles that won’t lose shape.

Cone-shaped, Plastic Bristles
Avoid ordinary bristles which work against the hair grain; you want cone-shaped, smooth, plastic bristles which gently make their way between hair strands coaxing them to come apart.

Varying Bristle Length
When a detangler brush has varying bristle lengths, it works to separate hair instead of pulling it down, which makes detangling hair much more easier.

Bead vs Beadless Bristles
You don’t want a brush that digs into your scalp or gets caught in your strands because of rough edges that happen when beads fall off the bristles. When this happens, the metal or plastic bristles beneath the bead can scrape your scalp.

Good for Wet or Dry Hair
The brush should glide through your wet or dry hair with ease, leaving a great feeling on your scalp. This increase in circulation can actually stimulate further hair growth.

With a good detangling brush by your side, you won’t cringe or panic when it comes for wash day. Instead, you’ll slide into your normal routine and wind up with a long brushing session that leaves your hair detangled, light and beautiful.

What are the desirable qualities of detangling brushes?

When you go shopping for your detangling brush, you’ll find that certain brushes have specific features, and this is what determines whether or not they’re good for your hair:

Wet vs. Dry Detangler Brush
You care about whether your hair is wet or dry when detangling because wet hair is fragile hair. You need a gentle brush with bristles spread apart, as it can be used on both wet and dry hair. Damp hair is still fragile, but it is softer, hence easier to detangle. Be sure to get an all-round brush.

Natural vs. Synthetic Bristles
Natural detangling brush bristles are commonly made from boar bristles, and they’re good for helping to redistribute oils within your hair strands. However, most boar bristle brushes come in clumps of individual bristles instead of singular bristles. This makes the process more time consuming, and you must be more patient with your hair to avoid breakage.

Synthetic bristles will either be metallic or plastic. Metallic bristles are naturally stiff, which makes them ideal for detangling, but they can be uncomfortable to use, especially when you’re in a hurry.

Plastic bristles make the best detangling brush for fast detangling. Provided they’re stiff and spaced apart, you’ll get the same detangling results without the discomfort of metal. You’ll also enjoy the scalp massage with plastic bristles.

Paddle Design Detangler Brush
The paddle style is the most common style on a detangler brush – featuring a large rectangular or oval head with a handle of varying length. The handle is usually padded to give better grip and comfort when using. When getting your paddle brush, be sure to check the bristle density – you’ll find dense and sparse bristle placements made from both metal and plastic.

Always choose wide-spaced bristles for detangling, and denser bristles for styling. Extension or wig brushes are often great for detangling too.

Rounded Tips
Manufacturers have invested in different features to make their brushes stand out from others on the shelves – great news for the customer! For instance, most detangler brushes will have rounded tips. You want rounded tips because sharp bristles can rip out loose hairs in the process of detangling. Rounded tips aren’t the same as beaded tips, which aren’t desirable in a detangling brush.

How Do You Detangle Matted Hair?

Matted hair is a combination of hairs shed from normal hair fall (it is normal to lose about 100 strands of hair from the root every day) entwined with attached hair in webs or clumps. If you don’t comb or brush your hair regularly, the shed hairs don’t fall out; they instead get caught and become clumped with attached hair.

There are people whose hair strands have weak cuticles, while others have longer, curly, coily or kinky hair. Because of the length or curling, such people become more prone to matting than people with naturally straight hair.

If you have matted hair, you don’t have to cut it out; you can patiently detangle it if you have the right brush and the right products. You’ll also need a lot of time and patience because you’ll have to be extra gentle taking out the tangles without damaging the hair that is attached. To detangle it successfully, follow these steps:

1. Dampen Your Hair
Use a spray bottle to make your hair damp, or briefly hold under a tap or shower at low water pressure. You don’t want the hair to be dripping wet, because it is more fragile when wet.

2. Add Product
Never use shampoo only on matted hair; use a good detangler, oil or conditioner to saturate your hair. Deep conditioning is helpful for restoring moisture and repairing weak cuticles, to make tangles easier to come apart. Detangling conditioners add slip to the strands so that they separate easier.

You can also use oils like Moroccan Argan, coconut, or olive oil, or a detangling spray. You’ll need to leave the product on for some time – oils need 30 minutes, while conditioners need a few minutes – according to the instructions on the package.

3. Finger-Comb
Gently pull apart the tangled sections of your hair using your fingers. You’ll notice larger tangles separating into smaller tangles closer to your hair root.

4. Brush with Detangling Brush
Once you have the large tangles cleared, it’s time to bring out your detangling brush. Handle your hair gently in sections. Start near the ends and comb out all the way to the ends, once the ends are clear, move further up towards the hair root, each time working the tangles all the way to the ends. Never start detangling from the root. Repeat until the whole length is combed, and then move to the next section.

If your scalp is painful, hold on to the section and pull towards the root as you brush towards the ends. This will prevent from pulling at the scalp and causing pain. Do this for a child also.

5. Rinse
Once the brush moves easily throughout your hair, rinse out the product. Be careful not to tangle the hair as you rinse, and then add a leave-in conditioner to preserve softness and some light oil to seal before styling.

Do detangling brushes work on Curly or Coily Hair?

Handling kinky, coily or curly hair gives an extra challenge when you’re detangling because the curliness increases the likelihood of knotting and tangling. To keep your mane detangled and healthy, be sure to patiently and extensively detangle your hair after every wash.

It becomes even more critical to have a high-quality brush with firm bristles that are widely spaced, otherwise you may trigger more than the necessary hair fall while handling your hair. Once you have the right tool by your side, all you need is patience and gentleness to bring out your hair’s natural glory. 


Having a good quality detangler brush is critical in your journey of hair care. Luckily, a good quality brush will last years and years before needing replacement, and you’ll go back to enjoying your hair maintenance days instead of dreading them. Follow our guidelines to get yourself a detangling brush that works for you and your hair.