Best brushes for curly hair: the best picks for curly and coily hair

The best brushes for curly hair, so you can detangle and define without snagging or creating frizz

Woman with curly hair
(Image credit: Getty)

If you're looking for the best brushes for curly hair, we've found the perfect ones that deal with everything curly hair can throw at it. 

If you use the wrong one and mix that with the wrong products, it can be a recipe for frizz and a real lack of definition, or worse – tangles. But whatever your curly styling method, there is a brush out there for you to use at different steps of your hair routine. The Denman D3 is hands down the best versatile brush for curly and coily hair, with its firm teeth and comfortable grip, but there are loads of other brushes on the market that offer different designs for different curl patterns and styling needs.

Whether you’re looking to use it in the shower to work in your hair cleanser, to detangle or to brush up your edges, there are many tools that can be used to give you the curly or coily style of your dreams

How to choose the best curly hair brush for you

Given that the hair tools market is endless and everything sort of looks the same, it can be hard to know where to begin. Choosing the best brush for curly hair really begins with the question: what is it for? If you’re looking for something to use exclusively in the shower because you don’t use tools on your hair once it’s dry, then you need to get your hands on a shower scalp brush, which helps to stimulate blood flow to your scalp as you wash. If you need to mainly detangle, then an exclusively plastic brush will be best as it’ll stand the test of time (no matter how hard your water is) and will be easier to clean. 

If you like to wear your curly or coily hair in a variety of styles, then bristle brushes and paddle brushes will have a place on your beauty shelf, depending on the look you’re going for. Paddle brushes work well to stretch coils or use in conjunction with a hairdryer if you ever want to blow-dry your hair. Boar bristle, or synthetic bristle brushes work to smooth an updo or edges to finish off your look. 

The best brushes for curly hair you can buy right now

Best curly hair brush for most curl types

Denman D3 7 row styler

(Image credit: Denman)

Denman D3 Classic 7 Row Styling Hairbrush

A great all-rounder for styling curls and coils

Specifications
Showerproof: Yes
Detangling: Not really
Dry styling: Yes
Reasons to buy
+For forming curls+Versatile for definition and heat-styling
Reasons to avoid
-The handle can get slippery-Can only lightly for detangling

The Denman D3 Styler 7 Row is the perfect buy if you are looking for something that can pretty much do it all. Firstly, there’s a reason this is a cult buy for the natural hair community – while many brushes are used to work product into strands to create definition, not many can actually be used to create definition like this one. If you are used to finger coiling your hair post-wash, you’ll know just how long that process can take, but using this can cut the styling time in half. This versatile brush is also great for gently stretching curls if you ever want to brush out your curls for volume. Just make sure you detangle beforehand, even if it’s just with your fingers, as the teeth aren’t the best for cutting through knots.

Best premium brush for curly hair 

WetBrush Pro Detangler

(Image credit: WetBrush)

WetBrush Pro Detangler

Makes light work of detangling

Specifications
Showerproof: Yes
Detangling: Yes
Dry styling: No
Reasons to buy
+Glides through curls easily+Comfortable to hold+Non-slip handle
Reasons to avoid
-Base can fill with water-Not for dry hair

The much-loved Wet Brush now comes in this Pro edition which is a souped up, more hard-wearing version of the original. This is best for when you have finished rinsing out your condition in the shower and you need to detangle before you start to dry your hair. The flexible bristles yield with your hair so it doesn’t snag or pull at knots. 

To get the best results from this brush, rinse your hair and then squeeze out the excess water and spray in your favourite water-based leave-in conditioner. Then, brush through your hair in sections to detangle and ensure you have an even coating of your product for hydrated curls once styled.

Best budget brush for curly hair

So Eco Detangling Leaf Hair Brush

(Image credit: So Eco)

So Eco Biodegradable Detangling Leaf Brush

A budget-friendly, environment friendly curly girl brush

Specifications
Showerproof: Yes
Detangling: Yes
Dry styling: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Biodegradable and compostable+For wet and dry hair
Reasons to avoid
-The teeth can become misshapen-Won’t dry-style super-tight coils well

Firstly, So Eco have raised the game with this brush and how environmentally-friendly it is, but it’s also a really great brush for easing out kinks and knots in curly and coily hair. Whether you prefer brushing your hair exclusively when it’s wet or don’t mind brushing through it for volume when it’s dry, this brush can work for both. And the flat base means that there’s nowhere for water to get trapped if you use it in the shower.

This brush will need to be changed sooner that other brushes though. Because of the super-bendy material of the teeth, they’ll become misshapen a bit quicker than others. Also, if you use this to blow-dry, try not to keep the heat on the bristles for too long as it’ll soften then they’ll go out of shape quicker.

Best curly hair brush for smoothing curly hair

Kent perfect for smoothing narrow oval bristle brush

(Image credit: Kent)

Kent NARROW OVAL BRISTLE BRUSH

A must-have for creating updos with curly hair

Specifications
Showerproof: No
Detangling: No
Dry styling: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Encourages shine+Affordable and long-lasting+Not scratchy
Reasons to avoid
-Only good for smoothing-Can create frizz if used incorrectly

Your ponytails and updos will not be the same once you have this in your hair tool stash. A medium-firm bristle brush is key for creating a kink-free pulled together hairstyle on curly hair. This offering from Kent is affordable and the perfect size for brushing up curls with no lumps before you secure it into a ponytail holder. If you have coily hair, you can smooth your edges with a bit of gel or pomade before you brush and if your curls are looser then you can spray the brush itself with a bit of hairspray to secure. 

If you aren’t looking to smooth your curls into a style, then this isn’t the brush you need as using it to brush out curls that you’re wearing down will create a lot fluff rather than definition. 

Best curly hair brush for brushing your scalp

Hairstory scalp brush

(Image credit: Hairstory)

Hairstory scalp brush

If you thought you didn’t need a scalp brush you are wrong

Specifications
Showerproof: Yes
Detangling: No
Dry styling: No
Reasons to buy
+Stimulates blood flow+Removes build-up from the scalp+Self-head massage
Reasons to avoid
-Only beneficial for scalp care

Not used a scalp brush before? Ok, prepare to have your life changed. It might sound a bit dramatic, but once you have a scalp brush in your life you won’t do a washday without it. It’s especially beneficial for curly hair as the gels, mousse and conditioners used can build up on the scalp so it loosens that for an even cleaner wash day routine. This one from Hairstory is great for running over your scalp and encouraging blood flow which helps promote hair growth too – something that coily hair types can struggle with. 

If you enjoy a hair massage at the backwash in the salon, this helps to recreate this experience at home. Your hair doesn’t get tangled either – in fact, you can use it to rinse out product under the shower if you have type three curls or looser.