First: thin hair vs. fine hair
When people think of fine hair, the first thing that comes to mind is thin strands, but those are actually two different things. According to celebrity hairstylist, salon owner, and founder of Shear Genius Collection, Annagjid “Kee” Taylor tells us, “Fine hair is usually classified as thin, but it typically refers to the size of the hair shaft versus the amount of hair you have.” She goes on to explain that fine hair is usually softer and appears thinner compared to other hair textures because the natural oils in the hair will weigh it down. Andrew Fitzsimons, a celebrity hairstylist whose clients include Megan Fox and Khloé Kardashian, adds that fine hair strands are “typically smaller in diameter because they are missing the medulla, the innermost layer of the hair shaft.” The more you know!
Why do you need a special brush for fine hair?
Fine hair is also a lot more fragile and delicate, which means that taking care of it may require specific tools, including the brush you use. “Those with fine hair should be reaching for boar bristle brushes,” says Fitzsimons. “This type of brush has soft bristles that are gentle on the hair and scalp. The bristles' stiff texture detangles hair without pulling too hard, which can lead to hair breakage during styling.” He also says that boar bristle brushes are great at removing dead hairs and distributing the scalp’s natural oils. (And don’t worry if you’re against animal-derived products; there are great vegan boar bristle brushes as well.)
Read on for 10 of the best brushes for fine hair that will detangle without damage and bring it from flat to fierce in no time—and keep scrolling for more tips and tricks.
Best brushes for fine hair
Considered by many to be the Rolls Royce of hair brushes, a Mason Pearson is a true investment as it’s well-made and can last for many years. Fitzsimons calls this one an “essential brush because it detangles the hair with ease and stimulates the scalp with every stroke.”
Denman is a great lower-priced alternative to Mason Pearson, and this nine-row option fits in with Taylor’s recommendation to use a brush that has more bristles. According to Taylor, the additional rows of bristles are great for detangling thin hair without tugging on the strands. “This will really distribute the oils from your scalp evenly while also detangling the hair,” she says.
Fitzsommons also likes this brush from Denman since it combines both boar bristles and nylon pins to detangle, smooth, and helps add shine to the hair.
When it comes to adding life into limp, fine hair, Taylor says to reach for a round brush, which helps bring volume and height into the mix. “This is perfect for adding more volume and the tourmaline and ionic properties reduce frizz and static,” she says.
If you’re in the market for a brush that you can take for travel or just pop in your bag, this one by Tangle Teezer is a great choice. Its two-tiered design allows you to detangle knots fast without causing damage to your strands. (You can also shop here on Amazon.)
Another great option for boar bristles that’s super affordable, this Conair brush is especially good for fine hair folks with shorter cuts. Plus, the classic wooden design is incredibly chic.
This vegan boar bristle brush not only protects from breakage while you detangle and smooth your hair, but it’s also infused with tea tree oil, so every time you brush you get additional nourishment with each strand. (You can also shop here on Amazon.)
There are two things Taylor says to avoid when styling fine hair: overbrushing and excess product. “Thin hair is more susceptible to breakage so decreasing the amount of friction you add while brushing is best to avoid that,” she says. “Also, make sure not to add too much product depending on the style, you don't want to weigh it down more than it naturally is.” Fitzsimons also has post-shampooing tips: “When drying your hair, use towels with a softer material, like a microfiber towel, and brushing it when it's about 50 percent dry. I would also recommend keeping it moisturized—use products such as detanglers and leave-in conditioners.”
He also says that when you brush your hair, do it in small sections, working from the ends up to the roots, and minimize how much you brush your hair. “Aim to keep it between once or twice a day to help distribute your scalp’s natural oils and avoid breakage,” he says.
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