I used to be quite wary of combs, but when I first started brushing my natural afro-textured hair, the knots that I thought were permanent residents in my strands vanished almost immediately. For the first time in a few years, I felt completely untangled. Goody brushes have been a staple for afro-textured curls for decades. They're cheap and effective, but I'm not really one to stick to something just because it's what I've always done. So, I decided it was time to put some other tools to the test, just to make sure my classic Goody was really the best brush for detangling.
My number one fear was always crowds — until my natural hair started to grow out. Once my curls started coming in, that fear of too-many-humans-in-one-space quickly became replaced by a phobia of detangling. I feared I didn't have the patience and skill to detangle my strands, which would inevitably lead to them falling out. As my fear grew to heightened levels, I was constantly detangling, ripping a wide-tooth comb through soaking wet curls only to find that the section I was working through would become tangled as I worked through the next section.
Eventually, I mastered a good brushing technique. My only mission now was to find the best tool for the job. I tested these five brushes and considered price, how it detangles on wet and dry hair, how much hair I lost, and of course, soft, supple bristles in choosing my number one pick.
Although I did try this on wet hair as well, it's ultimately my favorite brush for dry hair by fair. It's really gentle and the bristles are super soft because they are made with a mixture of coconut oil and keratin protein-infused plastic. Plus, I don't have to finger detangle when I use this tool. It's perfect for brushing slightly tangled hair into an incredible ‘fro!
I'll admit, I begrudgingly bought this brush at a Walmart in Hudson, NH when I realized I had arrived at my parents house with dirty, tangled hair and no tools to solve my hair woes. Imagine my surprised when it actually worked amazingly well! This brush worked through a big, dense mess of tangles and knots on wet hair with limited hair loss. Five days later, I used it on dry hair with the same results. I will say that this brush worked best wet hair when it was freshly conditioned rather than damp, conditioned hair.
This is, by far, my fave brush on wet hair. I usually use this brush on soaking wet hair that's still dripping with my favorite leave-in conditioner. The only downer to this brush it’s a total nightmare on my hair when it's dry. I made only a couple of attempts on one section and immediately put it down, However, it definitely can detangle wet hair that isn’t freshly conditioned, as long as you put in a strong sealant and work in small sections.
4. Conair Style & Volumize Brush With Epoxy Ball Tips
This was one of my first brushes that I ever used on my natural hair, so I decided to revisit it. I was scared and nervous that the epoxy balls would pull out afro-textured hair as coarse as mine. However, I have found that when my hair is super tangled, using it in addition to finger detangling works really well. This brush can find knots you didn't even know you had, which is why you have to go very slow and accompany it with your fingers to help find out where those tangles are hiding.
I made an attempt on dry and wet hair and realized that I was losing more hair than any other detangling brush I had tried. For me, it was the width of the brush paddle that made detangling difficult rather than the bristles themselves. Although it didn't work on my dense, coarse curls, this brush happened to work wonderfully on my roommate's looser, fine-textured curls. This just furthers the importance of testing a brush before you commit: What works great for everyone else might not be for you.
So, final verdicts? The Cricket Brush is my new go-to for dry brushing, Conair's Hi-Style works best for wet hair, and the Michael Mercier will do well in a pinch. Happy detangling, y'all.
Image: Kristin Collins Jackson (6)