Best Detangling Brushes

Updated June 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

17 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
249 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best detangling brushes

Last Updated June 2019

Approaching a messy mop of hair is an anxiety-inducing experience. While a regular brush can do the job, it’ll be a painful few minutes as you brush through knots, and you’ll likely end up with plenty of pulled-out strands.

However, with a detangling brush, you can gently tease out matted, knot-filled hair. Whether you’re battling a thick, messy curly mane or you want to brush out your child’s knotted strands without inflicting pain, a detangling brush separates hair without tugging at your scalp and ripping out strands.

But not all detangling brushes are the same. From choosing the right bristles to picking the perfect ergonomic handle for long brushing sessions, there’s a lot to consider. Some even come in small sizes to fit a child’s hand.

Ready to have consistently smooth, shiny hair? Read on to learn more about the best detangling brushes available and tips on how to use them to score superior results. If you’re ready to buy, take a look at our top picks.

Don’t rush through detangling your hair. This will lead to pain and breakage.

Key considerations

Why does hair get knotted?

Wondering why you’re always dealing with messy, hard-to-comb hair? Here are a few reasons you may be prone to knotting.

  • Hair type: Certain types of hair are more likely to tangle. Longer hair, for example, gets knotted a lot faster than a pixie cut.
  • Hair condition: Dry, damaged hair will quickly knot up. Strands are also likely to get tangled if they’re lacking moisture.
  • Environment: A windy day can easily make a bird’s nest out of your hair. Rigorous washing and drying may also lead to matted strands.

Technique

Before grabbing your brand-new detangling brush, it’s essential to use the right technique to work through your matted locks. Comb through your ends before tackling the top of your head. While it’s tempting to rip through stubborn knots, work through them gently to prevent pulling out your hair. 

Types of detanglers

There are three main types of detangling brushes on the market:

  • Wide-tooth combs: These are typically made of plastic and feature widely spaced teeth that are tough on knots. 
  • Paddle brush: These offer comfortable handling and are incredibly versatile since they’re not just useful for detangling. Wide-bristle paddle brushes are best for detangling purposes.
  • Specialized handheld: These types of brushes are designed expressly for detangling and aren’t useful for general hairstyling. They usually feature soft bristles and an ergonomic shape so you can easily grip it.

Your expectations

A detangler is a must-have tool for handling knotty, matted hair, but it’s not a miracle worker. You may need detangling spray and patience to help tease out stubborn knots. You’ll still need to carefully work through hair to remove tangles. Just because you’re using a detangling brush doesn’t mean you can quickly and roughly brush out your hair without consequence.

EXPERT TIP

Use a leave-in conditioner or detangling spray before attacking knots with a brush or comb. Wait for the product to get absorbed before working through the hair with a detangler tool.


Staff  | BestReviews

Detangling brush features

Ergonomic shape

Pick a brush that’s comfortable to hold. This is especially important if you have long, thick hair that may take a while to detangle. Some come with a curved handle for maximum comfort, while others have a rubberized grip to prevent the brush from slipping out of your hand every time you hit a stubborn knot.

Bristle types

  • Natural bristles are made of boar’s hair, and they’re usually shorter than synthetic ones. Detangling may take longer than with plastic bristles, but natural bristles are gentler on the scalp and help condition hair and smooth out strands.
  • Synthetic bristle options include metal and plastic. Metal is durable and cuts through tangles easily, but it can feel harsh on the head. Plastic bristles are softer and gentler on the scalp and hair.


For best results, choose wide-toothed combs or brushes with bristles spaced far apart. Opt for brushes with round tips, as they are gentler on the scalp and hair. Rounded tips are also less likely to pull out and damage hair.

Choose a quality conditioner to help smooth out your mane and prevent a tangled mess.

Detangling brush prices

The majority of detangling brushes cost under $20, with the exception of a handful of luxury name-brand brushes that cost more than $100.

Hair-detangling tips

If you’re seriously prone to tangles, here are some tips to help you cope:

  • Comb or brush your hair prior to jumping in the shower. Brush regularly to avoid hair from knotting or getting matted in the first place.
  • Swimmers should take proper care of their hair to prevent excess drying and tangling. Use swim-specific shampoo to eliminate chemical buildup.
  • Bring your brush into the shower. Run it through your hair to spread conditioner or other detangling products evenly.
  • Pre-condition hair. Use conditioner before you shampoo to help get rid of tangles, and then gently shampoo your scalp without matting up your mane again.
  • Choose shampoo, conditioner, and styling products without harsh ingredients like alcohols. These ingredients dry out hair, making it more susceptible to knotting.
  • Don’t roughly dry your hair with a towel. Gently blot dry. Vigorously rubbing your hair with a towel is a great way to create tangles and frizz.
  • Use a hair mask treatment. If you’re experiencing frequent knotting that’s testing your patience, apply a hair mask once in a while to rehydrate your locks.
  • You can detangle your hair whether it's wet or dry. You may prefer one to the other depending on your hair type and consistency. If you need to use extra conditioner to help coax knots apart, though, combing through them while you’re in the shower allows you to quickly rinse out the product once you’re done detangling.
  • Use two tools. In addition to your fingers, you may want to purchase two types of detangling tools to attack stubborn knots. Use a wide-toothed comb or specialized detangler for serious knots and a detangling brush with gentle bristles to smooth out the rest of your messy hair.
  • Invest in a silk pillowcase to prevent hair from rubbing and frizzing up overnight. Pull your hair back while you sleep, but not too tight. Keep it in a loose bun or ponytail to prevent it from tangling in the middle of the night.
  • Brush frequently. If you wear your hair loose, brush your hair throughout the day to prevent tangles from becoming knots.
EXPERT TIP

Mini detangling brushes are useful for brushing children’s hair or for those who have small hands and find large paddle brushes cumbersome.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

The Evolve Flow-Thru Detangler is a true budget option with wide rows perfect for sliding effortlessly through tangled hair. The bendy bristles are designed to prevent pulling, and we love the brush for curly hair. The Detangling Flexi Brush features a combo of nylon and boar’s-hair bristles to both detangle and smooth out hair. It’s an excellent detangler for all hair types and well-loved by parents of children with tangled tresses. The ArtNaturals Detangling Hair Brush features an ergonomic shape and includes two brushes for the price of one, so you can stock two bathrooms with a handy detangler. Finally, the Knot Genie Teeny Genie is a kid-friendly knot-battling brush that gently coaxes tangles apart. We love that the brush can be pulled apart for easy cleaning.

Can’t seem to remove knots with a detangling brush? Stay away from the scissors. It may be easier to work through stubborn knots with your fingers first.

FAQ

Q. I have thin hair that’s prone to tangling. Which type of detangling brush should I use?
A.
A wide-toothed comb or soft-bristled handheld brush is your best option. Avoid paddle brushes if you have fine, very dry hair; the bristles and design are likely to tug on your hair more than they actually remove knots. Natural boar’s hair bristles are a great option for thin hair. Regardless of the brush you select, always gently work through knots to prevent pulling out strands.

Q. My hair tangles easily because it’s so dry. How can I hydrate my hair?
A.
Hair mask treatments and quality leave-in conditioners will help add moisture to your thirsty locks. Avoid shampoos with harsh ingredients that can sap moisture from your hair (e.g., alcohols). If you color your hair, always wait at least a month before dyeing it again. Space out touch-ups if you find your hair is dryer than normal. You’ll have to live with your roots showing for longer than you would like, but you’ll avoid further damage to your hair.

Q. My hair seems to tangle when I work out or run. What can I do to prevent this?
A.
Pull back hair in a soft snag-free elastic. But instead of leaving your ponytail loose, use another elastic to secure it in the middle. Other tangle-proof hairstyles for exercising include braids and top knots.

Q. Do I need to brush my hair with a detangler every day?
A
. While straight-haired individuals may find it necessary to work through knots on a daily basis, it’s not essential to use a detangler every day if you have thick, curly hair.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Writer

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