Hair brushes have come a long way since the 1800s when they were made with elastic wire teeth or animal hair. Even though these styling tools continue to constantly evolve, brushes remain an important part of keeping clients' hair looking good and are crucial in achieving a desired look. "Choose a brush according to what finish you are trying to achieve," says Lucie Doughty, editorial director for Paul Mitchell. "A brush with soft bristles that are closer together is great for smoothing and polishing the hair. Ceramic brushes are perfect for styling and giving the hair shine, and brushes with wider-spaced bristles are ideal for blow-drying and loose styling." Gerard Scarpaci, artistic director, Aveda Advanced Academy New York, uses different types of brushes in combination. "I always begin a blow-out with a paddle brush for long hair or a styling brush for short hair—both are perfect for removing excess moisture and for creating root movement and direction for whatever style you want to achieve," he says. "I then switch to a round brush for volume styling or making waves." Here is a look at some of the brush options available today. —NICOLE PALMIERI
Generally used on fine to normal hair, boar-bristle brushes tend to be softer on the hair and are designed to clean, polish and condition strands. Boar bristles also give hair a healthy shine and help eliminate split ends.
DENMAN Natural Boar Bristle Grooming Brush contains pure natural boar bristles set in a cushion pad to help smooth and polish hair. denmanbrush.com
ITECH Magnetic & Tourmaline Boar Bristle Brush features tourmaline, which emits ionic activity for static-free, shiny hair. itechproducts.com
Paddle brushes are generally large, flat and wide and are designed to smooth and straighten hair. Paddle brushes are used most often while combing, blow-drying or styling long hair.
SAM VILLA Paddle Brush features a mahogany wood finish and longer handles that eliminate hair snagging and provide more support at the palm and wrist. samvilla.com
DIANE Soft Touch Square Paddle Brush is vented for faster blow-drying and combines a soft-touch handle with gentle nylon pins. frommonline.com
Thermal brushes create curl, movement and body for all hair lengths. The metal or heat-conductive material at the center of the brush heats up when used with a hair dryer to provide a result similar to rollers.
PAUL MITCHELL Express Ion Round is available in four sizes and helps reduce static. It also speeds up drying time and creates healthy, smooth results. paulmitchell.com
TURBO POWER Z60 Magnesium Thermic Booster Brush features extrawide vents to dry and straighten hair evenly and quickly. turbopowerinc.com
Ceramic brushes hold heat from the hair dryer longer and distribute it evenly throughout the brush. They also dry hair faster, eliminate frizz and leave hair silky and smooth.
AVEDA Ceramic Round Brush reduces drying time while creating lift and volume. Heat-resistant bristles prevent tangles and a removable pick helps manage hair. aveda.com
CHI Turbo Ceramic Boar Bristle Round Brush is available in three sizes, penetrates deep into the hair, dries hair faster and eliminates flyaways. farouk.com
EASY COMB, EASY GO
Like hair brushes, choosing the right comb is key to achieving the perfect style and leaving clients satisfied.
SAM VILLA Signature Series Combs in black and ivory are available in four different sizes. The combs were designed to create maximum visual contrast between the comb and the hair—ivory for dark hair and black for light hair. samvilla.com
PRODUCT CLUB Pin Tail and Rat Tail Combs are carbon-based, lightweight, static-free and heat-resistant. The Pin Tail Comb (pictured here) features a metal tail that is ideal for combing, weaving and sectioning hair. productclub.com