Which brush is best for your style?

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iol lif jan 2 hair brush

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A vent brush will smooth it through but still leave curls well defined.

London - With drawers full of serums, mousse and hairspray, few of us could be accused of neglecting our hair.

But no lotion or potion is going to do much good unless you also invest in the right basic tools. The most important of these? The humble hairbrush.

“There’s no point spending a fortune on styling products and hairdryers if you don’t have a good brush,” says Giles Robinson, senior stylist at the John Frieda salon in London’s Mayfair.

But the number on offer — from cut-price to eye-wateringly expensive — is staggering. From paddle brushes to round brushes, cushioned brushes and vented brushes, where on earth do you start? We asked Giles to explain exactly what each brush actually does, and for his best of the bunch.

Best for … Detangling

Tangle teaser

“These brushes have soft, synthetic bristles of different lengths that get rid of tangles without tugging the hair. There are variations on the basic brush, with bigger heads or longer handles, but none of them is an improvement on the original. If you have a brush that sits in the palm of your hand, you’re on top of the area you’re combing and there’s less chance that you’re going to pull the hair and break it.”

Drying longer, thicker hair

Paddle brush

“These wide, flat brushes won’t tame frizz, or create a shape in the way that a round brush will, partly because the bristles are usually plastic and don’t offer the same grip. But, if you have thick, long hair and want to dry it straight, a paddle brush is a good way to rough dry it and take out most of the moisture before you style with a round brush.”

Getting a frizz-free finish

Large barrel brush

“This is essential for any straight style. The best brushes are made of boar bristle. It’s a natural fibre so hair reacts better to it than to something synthetic. Boar bristle also grips hair better, helps distribute the hair’s natural oils and gives a smooth, frizz-free finish. The larger the barrel, the better. Look for a minimum diameter of 60mm.”

Creating volume

Small barrel brush

“If you have short, fine hair like many older women, you want to create volume very close to the roots and it’s easiest to do that with a smaller-barrelled brush. Look for natural bristles, and a diameter of around 40mm.”

Styling a sleek bob

Styling brush

“If you’ve got a hairstyle that doesn’t require much volume — such as a pixie crop or a bob — try these. The plastic bristles tend to be slightly closer together than those on a paddle brush, meaning they offer slightly more grip, but the smaller head is better for controlling shorter styles.”

Brushing out curly hair

Vent brush

“If you have curly hair that has been dried naturally, or with a diffuser, or if you’ve styled it curly, a bristle brush will leave it fluffy. A vent brush will smooth it through but still leave curls well defined. It’s also useful for tidying up curly hair the day after a blow-dry.”

Day-to-day brushing

Cushioned brush

“The best are made from 100 percent boar bristle. The cushioned base allows bristles to gently massage the scalp, improving the blood flow to the area, resulting in healthier hair.

“To give definition to waves or curls, try rubbing some wax into the bristles before brushing.”

Up-dos

Dressing brush

“If you regularly create up-dos that require a lot of backcombing — like beehives — this is invaluable. The pointy handle is designed so you can easily section hair off. And thenarrow bristled head allows you to get right into the roots.

“And, when you’ve finished styling, you can spritz the bristles with hairspray and smooth everything down.” - Daily Mail

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