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Updated November 2022
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Buying guide for Best wave brushes

If you want to make sure you have as many good hair days as possible, finding the right hair brush is key – and when you want to play up your hair’s natural wave or texture, a wave brush is the ideal option. A wave brush not only helps your waves look as defined as possible but also minimizes frizz and keeps your hair healthy and smooth.

Not all wave brushes are created equal, though, so it’s important to know what to look for when you start shopping. You have to decide on the type, design, bristles, and other features to ensure the brush will bring out the best in your hair. However, considering how many wave brushes are out there, sorting through all those choices can definitely get frustrating.

At BestReviews, we are committed to making shopping as straightforward as possible. We handle all the in-depth product research, so you can shop with confidence and ease, knowing you’ll always wind up with the best items for your home. Looking for a good wave brush? Our shopping guide has all the tips and tricks you need to find the perfect styling tool for your hair.

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Double-sided wave brushes usually offer the most bang for your buck because you get two brushes in one with the two sets of bristles.

What is a wave brush?

Not sure what a wave brush is? It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. A wave brush is a brush that’s designed to bring out your hair’s natural wavy texture.

A wave brush is shaped so that it fits the contours of your scalp, which encourages your hair to fall in the right direction to emphasize waves. Its softer bristles also help distribute the natural oils from your scalp along the entire length of your hair to prevent frizz and keep waves smooth and conditioned.

Wave brushes are available in a variety of shapes and designs, including brushes with handles and those without handles. No matter what style of wave brush you choose, though, you can use the same brushing technique. Stroke the wave brush over your hair in the direction of the hair growth to help train your waves to fall the right way.

Types of wave brushes

While wave brushes have softer bristles than standard hair brushes, there are two types of wave brushes: hard-bristle and soft-bristle.

Hard-bristle wave brushes

Hard-bristle wave brushes usually work best for long, thick hair because they can irritate your scalp if you have shorter locks. There are several benefits to using a hard-bristle model. These wave brushes help bring out your waves more quickly than softer models. They usually create smoother curls, too. Hard-bristle wave brushes can be used in the shower to help your waves lay down properly while your hair is wet. They are also more effective at removing tangles and knots in your hair without pulling or breaking it.

Soft-bristle wave brushes

Because they’re gentler, soft-bristle wave brushes are the best option for short or fine hair. They  tend to be more durable than hard-bristle models because they are more flexible. These wave brushes keep your waves flat for a sleeker look. Soft-bristle wave brushes can also work well on straighter hair.

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Did you know?
Many men enjoy using a wave brush to achieve a smooth, sleek look for their hair.

Features to consider for wave brushes

Brush design

Wave brushes are available in a variety of different shapes and designs. Depending on your hair type and concerns, though, some designs may be better options than others.

Round wave brushes are ideal for boosting volume and smoothing your waves for a more defined look. They work especially well if you have longer hair.

Double-sided wave brushes offer versatility because they feature soft bristles on one side and hard bristles on the other.

Paddle wave brushes have a large, wide, flat design, which allows them to cover a wider section of hair with each pass to allow you to define your waves more quickly. They work well if you’re trying to reduce frizz and prefer more natural-looking waves.

Vented wave brushes allow air to pass through via vents, which makes them an ideal option when you’re blow drying your hair. They also work well if you have short hair and want to create a more dramatic look for your waves.


Some wave brushes feature a handle to provide a convenient grip, while other models offer a contoured design that fits directly in the palm of your hand.

Both types of wave brushes can work well for defining your natural waves, but contoured wave brushes are usually more compact, so they are ideal for travel. However, some users find it more comfortable to hold a wave brush with a handle, and that style may be a better option if you have arthritis or other hand injuries.


Because the bristles on a wave brush are softer than those on a standard brush, it’s best to choose a model with natural bristles, such as boar hair, goat hair, or horse hair. You should also look for a brush with widely spaced bristles because they’re better able to remove tangles, reduce frizz, and maintain the natural pattern of your waves.

Avoid wave brushes that feature nylon bristles, which aren’t as durable as natural bristles and can leave your hair looking frizzy.

Body material

Most wave brushes feature a body and handle made of wood. Wood is an ideal material for a brush because it’s durable and has a good weight without being too heavy. Wood wave brushes aren’t prone to snapping or cracking like plastic either, and they don’t heat up if you use the brush to blow dry your hair like metal brushes do.

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Expert Tip
If your hair is extremely thick or coarse, opt for a wave brush that features harder bristles. They’ll have an easier time getting through your hair.

Prices for wave brushes

Wave brushes usually vary in price based on the brush style and materials. In general, though, you’ll usually pay between $5 and $58. No matter what style the brush is, wave brushes with natural bristles cost more than those with synthetic bristles.

  • Contoured wave brushes usually range from $5 to $25.
  • Round wave brushes typically run from $5 to $58.
  • Vented wave brushes generally cost between $7 and $20.
  • Double-sided wave brushes usually range from $7 to $34.
  • Paddle wave brushes typically run from $18 to $40.


  • If you find that your wave brush feels too stiff or hard, soak it in a mixture of hot water and a few tablespoons of white vinegar for about 10 minutes. Rinse the brush thoroughly afterward, and allow it to air dry.

  • When you use a wave brush, always brush in the direction that your waves naturally fall. You’ll have an easier time defining your waves and achieve a more natural look.

  • Use your wave brush daily, going over each section of hair about 15 to 20 times or for up to two minutes. That will allow you to achieve the most defined waves possible.

  • To clean a wave brush, use your fingers to gently pull any hair from the bristles. Next, use warm water and a high-quality shampoo to carefully clean the brush surface. Be sure to rinse the brush completely to remove any shampoo residue, and then let it air dry completely.
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It can take up to six weeks using your wave brush to successfully train your waves to fall naturally, so patience is key.


Q. How is a wave brush different from a standard hair brush?

A. The primary difference between a wave brush and a regular brush is that a wave brush is shaped to fit the contours of your scalp, which allows it to move easily in the direction of your waves to train them for greater definition. Nearly all wave brushes feature natural bristles, while standard hair brushes can feature natural bristles, synthetic bristles, or a combination of both. The natural bristles help minimize frizz, so your waves look as smooth as possible. The bristles on a wave brush are also spaced in a specific way to avoid snagging or tugging at your hair to maintain the natural shape of your waves.

Q. How long does a wave brush usually last?

A. The lifespan of a wave brush depends on its quality and how well you care for it. Inexpensive brushes that are made with synthetic bristles and plastic handles tend to wear out pretty quickly, so you’ll usually have to replace one every six months to a year. If you purchase a wave brush with natural bristles and a wood body and handle, you can get several years of use out of it, with many lasting as long as 10 years.

Keep in mind, though, that you must care for your brush properly to help it last as long as possible. Clean your wave brush with shampoo weekly to remove any hair product residue, as well as other dirt, oil, and bacteria that can accumulate.

Q. Which type of wave brush offers the most versatility?

A. If you’re not sure what type of wave brush to buy or you change your hair length frequently, a double-sided wave brush is the best option. It offers both hard and soft bristles, so you can easily adjust the side you use based on whether you have a short haircut or a longer style.

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