Byrdie November 14, 2023



The 13 Best Detangling Brushes of 2023


Tangled hair is the absolute bane of our existence. Feel the same? Whether you have fine, thick, straight, wavy, curly, coily, or something in between when it comes to your hair texture, finding a stellar detangling brush should be at the top of your to-do list. Not only should they be able to tackle tangles like a warrior going into battle, but they should be strategically shaped to fit comfortably in our hands. Oh, and if they're aesthetically designed to look great on top of our vanities, well, that's just the cherry on top.

And we just know some of you are giving us the side eye. Detangling brushes? Do they actually work? Yes! We ditched “regular” hairbrushes long ago and haven’t looked back.“My favorite thing to do is to detangle the hair with the brush, then show my client how little hair is on the brush,” says curly hair expert and stylist April Kayganich. “Sometimes there isn't any hair at all!” We love to hear it. 

We conducted hours of research on the best detangling brushes, evaluating them on bristles, how they feel against the scalp, hair breakage, and how well they detangle. After consulting with three experts including Kayganich, celebrity hairstylist Michael Dueñas, and Maxine Salon veteran hairstylist Jenna Spino, and considering dozens of options, we landed on these 13 top-rated choices.

Best Overall

FHI HEAT UNbrush Wet & Dry Vented Detangling Hair Brush

What We Like

  • Flexible bristles
  • Vented silhouette & heat resistant 
  • Less hair breakage

What We Don't Like

  • Some reviewers wish the head was larger

After testing out tons of detangling brushes on the market, our favorite is the FHI HEAT UNbrush Wet & Dry Vented Detangling Hair Brush. And we took everything into consideration. Price? Fair! Bristles? Flexible! This detangling brush is truly unmatched, and that’s all thanks to its unique vented design. “I love the venting as I can use this brush to dry as well, and get lift and volume but enough tension to start and smooth the hair in my drying process,” Dueñas tells Byrdie. It comes as absolutely no surprise that it’s an Amazon best-seller, and we can attest with the rave reviews that claim hair breakage is minimal and brushing through even the most tangled of knots is a breeze. Just search #unbrush on TIkTok to see the brush in action.

Who It’s For

This is our absolute favorite brush on this list. It’s great for all hair types—including 4C—and thanks to the vented silhouette, it makes brushing and styling wet hair a breeze.

Price at time of publish: $18

Hair Type: All | Shape: Paddle | Bristle Material: Patented Soft-Flex Bristles | Wet or Dry: Both

Best Budget

Tangle Teezer Original Detangling Brush

What We Like

  • Easily passes through the hair
  • Fits comfortably in the hand
  • Easy to clean

What We Don't Like

  • Not for styling use

No need to overthink it—this brush does just as its name promises: teasing the tangles right out of your wet (or dry) hair. It's the ultimate no-frills detangling brush—convenient thanks to its small size and fun due to a punchy color range. In other words, it's easy to stash in the gym bag and use post-shower for smooth and shiny benefits.“The bristles are smaller than a wet brush and there aren't any tips on the end of the bristles, so I really like this brush for detangling curls,” says Kayganich. “It helps your process go smoothly and is a brush that is easy to travel with.” However, we should mention this brush is made specifically for detangling and won’t do a great job at styling. 

Who It’s For

If you’re looking for a brush at a lower price point, this is the one for you. Whether you have straight, wavy, curly, or coily hair, this detangling brush will get the job done and will easily pass through any hair type.

Price at time of publish: $14

Hair Type: All | Shape: Palm-Shaped | Bristle Material: Polypropylene | Wet or Dry: Both

Best Splurge

Mason Pearson Detangler Hair Brush

What We Like

  • Flexible bristles
  • Works well on long hair
  • Boosts shine

What We Don't Like

  • Can make hair a little staticky

The O.G. Mason Pearson Boar Bristle Brush is and always will be one of our all-time favorites. But when our tangles need an extra dose of T.L.C., we reach for the iconic brand's Detangler Hair Brush, instead. Featuring a patented, more-than-100-year-old design (yes, really), this detangling brush features soft nylon bristles, which claim to be safe for both wet and dry hair. It's comfortable, too. According to the company, its patented cushion is designed to "conform to the contours of the scalp." Think of it as a mini scalp massage doing double-duty as an effective grooming tool. One thing we would like to note is that users claim it makes their hair staticky—not the end of the world but definitely something worth mentioning.

Who It’s For

With a cushioned design, you can feel the luxury this brush provides when pulling it through your hair. It’s great for all hair types and will leave you with a comfortable brushing experience. 

Price at time of publish: $130

Hair Type: All | Shape: Oval | Bristle Material: Nylon | Wet or Dry: Both

Best Wood Handle

Aveda Wooden Paddle Brush

What We Like

  • Lightweight
  • Achieves versatile results
  • Classic design has ventilation

What We Don't Like

  • Takes some finesse to use

Light in weight and featuring flexible, extended bristles, this pretty wood-handled paddle brush from Aveda may tackle even the most distressing snarls and knots. "This brush has extended bristles which help to detangle hair without pulling,” Spino shares. “It’s also designed with one bristle missing on the bottom to help vent the brush after being used or washed which is more hygienic." However, there's some strategy involved: Aveda hair pros recommend keeping the tool vertical as you brush to detangle. To add shine, keep it horizontal. It might take a bit of finesse to get used to it, but we think it’s well worth the learning curve. 

Who It’s For

Out of all of the wooden handle detangling brushes on the market, this is the best one. Regardless of your hair type, you’ll love the way this flexible brush glides through your strands. 

Price at time of publish: $20

Hair Type: All | Shape: Square Paddle | Bristle Material: Plastic | Wet or Dry: Dry

Best for Wet Hair

Wet Brush Original Detangler

What We Like

  • Inexpensive
  • Won't pull or snarl wet hair
  • Comes in multiple colors

What We Don't Like

  • The handle can be a bit slippery when wet

If you're worried about breakage and painful snagging, fear not. This cult-classic brush does anything your current brush does but a million times better. Not only is it adorable (there are plenty of colors and designs to choose from), this detangling brush features exclusive IntelliFlex bristles, which move and bend with your strands (without the cringe-worthy snap) to seamlessly remove rough patches sans damage or tears. It's great for detangling wet hair, but it works on dry strands, as well. “I rarely see a large amount of hair in the brush after using it—really only a few hairs—so what the company claims is true,” says Kayganich. “It really does cut down the amount of breakage that you would get from a regular brush, which is what you want when you're detangling wet hair." Some find the handle a bit slippery when wet, but you can wrap some rubber bands around it to add texture for a better grip.

Who It’s For

The Wet Brush is the OG of the detangling brushes on the market. Coming in at a great price, it can be used not only on all hair types but also wet or dry hair. 

Price at time of publish: $8

Hair Type: All | Shape: Oval | Bristle Material: Nylon | Wet or Dry: Both

Best for Curly Hair

Bestool Detangling Brush

What We Like

  • Unique design
  • Comfortable to hold and use
  • Gentle on curls

What We Don't Like

  • Not everyone is a fan of the size adjusting bar

A comfortable rubber grip and flexible head ensure ease of use for this wildly popular (and highly reviewed) brush, best used on curly, kinky, and natural hair. It works on wet or dry hair and even those with tight coils have found that it glides through hair easily. “I like that the entire head flexes and not just the bristles,” adds Dueñas. “This gives you the most control when detangling your hair without too much tension.” In fact, there’s a little bar that allows you control how wide the brush is, though some find this more annoying than helpful. 

Who It’s For

Curly and coily-haired people are going to fall in love with this detangling brush. It glides through knots and makes typically painful brushing experiences so much more manageable. 

Price at time of publish: $7

Hair Type: Curly, Coily | Shape: Oblong | Bristle Material: Nylon | Wet or Dry: Both

Best for Thick Hair

Michel Mercier Wooden Handle Ultimate Detangling Brush

What We Like

  • Unique design prevents breakage
  • Easily detangles thick hair
  • Boosts shine and helps to style

What We Don't Like

  • Shouldn't be used on wet hair

Boasting 428 different contact points, this innovative detangling brush promises an all-around better brushing experience. Not only will it rid dry hair of knots with little to no effort, but it also claims to cut your brushing time in half since the technology promises fewer brush strokes to get the job done. The product comes in Fine, Normal, and Thick Hair varieties, which can be used to detangle or blow-dry, without adding static. “What's great about it is that it’s VERY different from its competitors,” says Kayganich. “There are varying lengths of bristles on the brush which helps to distribute the pressure we can put on our follicles/hair when brushing so this actually better prevents breakage and hair loss than the other brushes mentioned due to its design.” The brand notes it shouldn’t be used on wet hair, so keep that in mind when making your brush decision. 

Who It’s For

If you have thick hair, we urge you to try this stellar brush. The unique bristle design cuts brushing time in half and prevents breakage.

Price at time of publish: $30

Hair Type: Thick | Shape: Round | Bristle Material: Plastic | Wet or Dry: Dry

Best for Fine Hair

Wet Brush Thin Detangler Brush

What We Like

  • Gentle on the scalp
  • Flexible bristles
  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like

  • Isn’t the best for styling purposes

Thin and fine hair are just as difficult to manage as those with thicker strands, and if you’re looking for a brush that targets your specific hair type, we can’t recommend the Wet Brush Thin Detangler Brush enough. With IntelliFlex bristles placed in a spaced-out manner, it will feel like a total dream against your scalp. "The Wet Brush Thin Detangler Brush for fine hair has fewer bristles that are more spaced apart,” says Spino. “The bristles are also very flexible, making the brush gentle and pain-free to use." It’s not the best option for styling but can definitely help you out if you’re in a time-crunch. 

Who It’s For

If you have fine hair and are worried about hair loss from brushing, you need to try this out. With less bristles that are spaced out and flexible, this brush will gently detangle both wet and dry fine hair.

Price at Time of Publish: $8

Hair Type: Fine | Shape: Oval | Bristle Material: Nylon | Wet or Dry: Both

Best for In-Shower

Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross Shower Detangling Brush

What We Like

  • Detangles coils easily
  • Creates definition
  • Comfortable to hold

What We Don't Like

  • Reviewers note it could be more durable

This brush from Tracee Ellis Ross detangles curls and coils effortlessly and quickly. With nylon bristles and an ergonomic design, it's able to clump curls for more definition and shape—making it a great option for those who are looking for more volume. Reviewers with frequently tangled hair noted it made their wash days much easier and cut their detangling time in half. “If you are looking for an even distribution of your products to ensure the best definition, this is a great brush,” says Kayganich. “I also like that it isn't too big and is easy to hold onto in the shower.” Some reviewers have mentioned they wish the brush was a bit more durable, but we haven’t noticed that factor in our first-hand experiences. 

Who It’s For

Curly hair doesn’t have to be hard to manage, and this brush makes defining curls and coils easy while in the shower.

Price at time of publish: $17

Hair Type: Curly, Coily | Shape: Rectangle | Bristle Material: Nylon | Wet or Dry: Wet

Best for 4C Hair

Felicia Leatherwood Detangler Brush

What We Like

  • No snagging
  • Sturdy and flexible
  • Moves with hair

What We Don't Like

  • Some reviewers claim handle is uncomfortable to hold

4C hair requires lots of care, and if you find yourself on the lookout for a brush that won’t snag your strands, but rather move with them, you need to get your hands on Felicia Leatherwood’s Detangler Brush. Crafted with flexi-bristles that work with tight curls, you can expect knots and tangles to be managed in an easy and pain-free manner, just make sure you’re brushing your hair the right way! “When using it, always remember to start at the ends of the hair and to grip the section of hair with one hand and brush in the other,” Kayganich adds. Some reviewers claim that the handle isn’t the most comfortable thing to hold, but since the brush itself works so well, we think it’s a non-issue.

Who It’s For

Pick this brush if you have 4C hair—it will change your life. Without snagging and pulling, you’ll love the effortless way this detangles your hair. 

Price at time of publish: $22

Hair Type: Curly, Textured | Shape: Rectangular | Bristle Material: Flexi-Bristles | Wet or Dry: Wet

Best for Styling

Dae Vegan Detangle + Style Brush

What We Like

  • Multitasking
  • Made with vegan materials
  • Works on all hair types

What We Don't Like

  • The white bristles easily show hair and dust

If you're looking for a brush that you can use for detangling and styling, try this pick from Dae. "This brush looks perfect for styling as it combines longer bristles with a smooth tip, and a shorter, more dense, bunched-up nylon bristle,” says Dueñas. “This will latch on to all the hair and cause plenty of tension to smooth and pull out waves into the look that you were going for." It has vegan boar bristles with ballpoint tips that work through tangles and massage the scalp to create a sleek, styled finish. We also love that it works on all hair types and textures. Our only complaint is that because the bristles are white, they show hair and dust easily, so you’ll need to clean this brush regularly. 

Who It’s For

On the hunt for a brush that can both detangle and style? This brush can do it all on both wet and dry hair.

Price at time of publish: $24

Hair Type: All | Shape: Oval | Bristle Material: Vegan boar | Wet or Dry: Both

Best for Travel

Drybar Lil' Lemon Drop Daily Detangler to Go Brush

What We Like

  • Perfect size for traveling
  • Works with all hair types
  • Supple bristles

What We Don't Like

  • We wish it folded into an even smaller size

Drybar’s Lil’ Lemon Drop Daily Detangler just might be the cutest little brush we’ve ever seen. But does it actually work? Yes! If you, like us, are over-packers when it comes to traveling, this baby is going to make your travel experience seamless. It’s compact and lightweight (although we wish it could be folded into an even smaller size), so you don’t need to worry about weight requirements. However, since it is a smaller design, it’s probably not going to be something you reach for daily. With that being said, we think it’s a great investment if you’re a frequent traveler or even if your hair gets tangled throughout the day—just throw it in your purse or work bag. “It will definitely save you space in your bag and will work for ALL hair types,” says Kayganich. "I like the spacing of the bristles and their thinness, so this is another one that will make sure you can effortlessly detangle while on the go." Kayganich also notes it’s great for brushing extensions. 

Who It’s For

Whether you’re jet-setting or need a brush to carry in your work bag, this mini travel brush is just what you need. The compact design works for all hair types, too. 

Price at time of publish: $12

Hair Type: All | Shape: Oval | Bristle Material: Plastic | Wet or Dry: Both

Best Boar Bristle

RPZL Boar Bristle Polisher Brush

What We Like

  • Dense bristles
  • Perfect for styling and smoothing
  • Great for those with extensions

What We Don't Like

  • The handle may be too short for large hands

If you’re wondering whether or not to make the plunge and get a boar bristle brush, allow us to let you in on a little secret—the bristles better distribute your natural oils and increase shine. If that sounds up your alley, we think the RPZL Polisher Brush is a top-notch option. Thanks to the long and dense bristles in this brush, you can style and smooth your hair with ease. “The padded base adds some flexibility to add more tension or less tension,” says Dueñas . And while some wished the handle was longer, it in no way takes away from the efficacy of the product. Whether you have extensions, curly, coily, straight, or wavy hair, this is an amazing brush we think pretty much everyone will fall in love with.

Who It’s For

This is a great detangling brush for people wanting to style and smooth their hair. Thanks to the dense boar bristles, you’ll fall in love with this brush after just one use. 

Price at time of publish: $35

Hair Type: All | Shape: Oval | Bristle Material: Boar, Nylon | Wet or Dry: Both

Where We Stand

Overall, our favorite detangling brush is the FHI HEAT UNbrush Wet & Dry Vented Detangling Hair Brush because of its low price and vented shape that won’t stretch or break hair. Instead, it will massage the scalp, detangle knots, and soften the hair. Plus, it can be used on all hair types as well as wet or dry hair. It can’t be beat! We also love Tangle Teezer Original Detangling Brush because it’s even more of a budget-friendly pick that’s easy to use on both wet and dry hair.

How We Researched

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We tested several options for days at a time and then collaborated with three expert hairstylists to ensure we made the best picks for all hair types and needs.

Attributes we evaluated each detangling brush on:

  • The size and make of each brush
  • The flexibility of each brush’s bristles
  • What purpose each brush serves
  • Whether or not each brush was gentle on hair
  • If a brush worked on wet or dry hair, or both
  • Product value and price
  • Customer reviews
  • Brand promises
  • Overall results

What To Look For In a Detangling Brush

  • Bristles: When it comes to the bristles in a detangling brush, you want to make sure you’re choosing an option that has lots of flexibility, otherwise, you risk damaging and pulling on your hair. Something Dueñas specifically looks for is the absence of “balls” on the end of bristles, “I do not like detangling brushes that have balls on the end of the bristles as these tend to grasp onto the hair after a bit and tangle the hair and cause breakage,” says Dueñas. “I like a smooth bristle that glides through the hair, but it needs to be very flexible.” With the absence of balls and flexible bristles, FHI HEAT UNbrush Wet & Dry Vented Detangling Hair Brush earned the spot of best overall. If you have straight, fine, or even wavy hair, instead, we suggest looking for a thinner silhouette in regards to the bristle shape. “Thinner bristles go through the hair gently and, in turn, you'll have less tugging which means less broken hair,” Kayganich adds.
  • Shape: Shape isn’t the most important factor, however, it can make the process a whole lot better. If you have long and/or thick hair that you want to get through quickly, go for a bigger brush, like a paddle brush. “The size of the brush allows you to cover more area hence speeding up your detangling process," says Kayganich. For those with medium lengths and shorter hair in the straight or wavy realm, Kayganich recommends using an oval brush like Wet Brush Original Detangler. And finally, if you have curly or coily hair, a rectangular-shaped detangling brush will be your best bet. “Opt for the rectangular-shaped brushes that have rows on the brush that are separated, as they have the ability to fan out while you're detangling, which is more gentle on the hair,” Kayganich shares. Our pick for curly hair, the Bestool Detangling Brush, has an adjuster bar that lets you fan out the brush just for that reason.
  • Material: If you plan to use your brush when your hair is wet, go for nylon or plastic bristles. It'll still help detangle all of your stubborn knots, but you don’t have to worry about ruining the brush in the process. If you want something that looks more luxe, Dueñas suggests turning to a wooden brush, like Aveda Wooden Paddle Brush. Wooden brushes is that they require more upkeep and shouldn’t be left in wet places like the shower. And if that doesn’t sound like something you want to worry about Kayganich says, “You can leave plastic brushes in the shower and they will enable a little more flexibility than a wooden brush will."


What is the difference between a detangling vs regular brush?

Regular brushes have their time and place, especially if they’re made specifically for styling. So, what’s the difference? “The bristles on a detangling brush (like Wet Brush’s Original Detangler) are more flexible than on a regular brush,” says Spino. “The bristles bend so when they come across a knot it doesn’t pull hair out or cause breakage.” The bristles also tend to be thinner and more spaced out in a detangling brush, which further prevents breakage and making tangles worse.

Can you brush wet hair?

This question is a doozy. Should you brush wet hair? In general, brushing straight hair that's wet can potentially cause more breakage while it's actually preferred to brush curly and coily hair when it's wet. Kayganich gets into the nitty-gritty of the science behind it all and tells us, “Hair is more fragile when it's wet due to hydrogen bonds in the hair, so you will most definitely want to use a detangling brush because they cause less breakage than a normal brush would."

If you plan on brushing wet hair (which, let’s be honest, almost all of us do), just make sure you give you use a brush designed for detangling wet hair, like Tracee Ellis Ross’s Shower Detangling Brush. Spraying your wet hair with a detangling spray can further help coax out knots.

How often should you replace your brush?

If you’ve had the same detangling brush for five years, it’s time to ditch it. Even if it looks clean, chances are, the bristles are breaking or even missing. “If you notice there is almost no tension left, it’s time for a new brush,”says Dueñas. There’s no absolute rule when it comes to the timing of replacing your brush, as it all depends on how often you use it and how well you care for it. “If the bristles have become damaged or warped or some of the bristles are missing, it is time to get a new brush,” shares Kayganich. “I also recommend washing your detangling brushes once a week at home. You should thoroughly rinse them after every use, but I would say every week or so, use a mild antibacterial soap to clean your brushes and allow them to dry before using it again.”

Why Trust Byrdie

Taylor Augustin is a freelance beauty and fashion writer based in Newport Beach, California. She interviewed experts and tested detangling brushes herself for this story. She’s currently in the process of getting her hair bride-worthy for her wedding in 2024, and her hair’s health is of the utmost importance to her. 

For this story, Taylor interviewed three experts to gather more insights about what to keep in mind when buying a detangling brush. Those experts include:

April Kayganich, a curly hair expert and Hairstory network stylist 

Michael Dueñas, a celebrity hairstylist and grooming expert who’s worked on people like Jenna Elfman, Dermot Mulroney, and more

Jenna Spino, a veteran hairstylist at Maxine Salon