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

Try one of the best brushes for curly hair, so you can detangle and define without snagging or creating frizz

A young woman is smiling directly at the camera, she has curly hair and is leaning on her hand
(Image credit: Getty Images / Westend61)

We've found the best brushes for curly hair, that can handle everything you could throw at it. 

We know that it can be a complete recipe for frizz and a lack of definition, or worse—tangles—when you mix the wrong brush with the wrong products. So it's a no-brainer that we're after the best. But whatever curly hair tips or curly styling method you use, there is a brush out there for you to use at different steps of your hair routine. 

To find the best, we put several brushes to the test. In our search, we found that the Denman D3 is hands down the best versatile brush for curly and coily hair. With its firm teeth and comfortable grip, it's no surprise, really. 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

A woman is seen in the bathroom brushing her curly wet hair after just getting out of the shower

(Image credit: Getty Images / Anthony Redpath)

How to choose the best curly hair brush for you

Look, we know that it can be hard to know exactly where to begin—the hair tools market goes on forever, and to be honest, everything kind of looks the same. But, if you're going to start somewhere when it comes to choosing the best brush, it really comes down to 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: tried and tested

The Denman D3 7 Row Styler is one of the best brushes for curly hair on the market

(Image credit: Denman)

1. Denman D3 Classic 7 Row Styling Hairbrush

This great all-rounder for styling curls and coils is suitable for all types of curls

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 detangle

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 the 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.

Denman D3 brush: is the 7-row styler the secret to the best curls ever?

The WetBrush Pro Detangler is one of the best brushes for curly hair on the market

(Image credit: WetBrush)

2. WetBrush Pro Detangler

This premium brush 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

We all love the original, but this Pro edition has been souped-up and is way more hard-wearing than the original Wet Brush. We found that the best time to use this was when you have finished rinsing out your condition in the shower and you need to detangle before you start to dry your hair. What we loved about this was that it doesn't snag or pull at knots because the flexible bristles move with your hair. 

To get the best results from this brush, rinse your hair and then squeeze out the excess water and spray in your favorite 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.

The So Eco Detangling Leaf Hair brush is one of the best hair brushes for curly hair on the market

(Image credit: So Eco)

3. 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

Not only has So Eco has 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.

Because of the super-bendy material of the teeth, they can become misshapen quicker than others. This means that the brush will need to be changed sooner than other hairbrushes. 

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.

The Kent perfect for smoothing narrow oval bristle brush is one of the best brushes for curly hair available on the market

(Image credit: Kent)

4. Kent NARROW OVAL BRISTLE BRUSH

Best for smoothing curly hair this brush is a must-have for creating updos

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 kit. A medium-firm bristle brush is key for creating a kink-free pulled-together hairstyle on curly hair. This hairbrush 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. 

Word to the wise: 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 fluff rather than definition. 

The Hairstory scalp brush is one of the best brushes for curly hair on the market

(Image credit: Hairstory)

5. Hairstory scalp brush

Best for brushing your scalp. 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

If you've never used a scalp brush before then prepare to have your life changed. Yes, we realize it may sound a touch dramatic, but once you have a scalp brush in your life you won’t do a wash day 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. 

Keeks Reid

Keeks is an award-winning digital & social content specialist a hair & beauty writer and a brand consultant. You can find her work in Cosmopolitan (in print and online), Refinery29, Harper’s Bazaar, Woman and Home, Women’s Health, My Imperfect Life, OK! Online and Hairdressers Journal