Cosmopolitan April 19, 2024



14 Best Boar-Bristle Brushes for Smooth, Slicked-Back Hair


Prepare to be s-n-a-t-c-h-e-d.

Up until a few years ago, I used only my trusty drugstore hair brush for everything with the belief that one size fits all. But then, I discovered there are legit so many different types of hair brushes on the market (see: round brushes, hair-straightening brushes, detangling brushes, etc.), and they all do something different. While you don't need a dozen different hair brushes, you should add a few to your routine or invest in one that can do the job of many, like my personal favorite: the boar-bristle brush that's great for all hair types.

Hairstylist Leigh Hardges calls the boar-bristle brush the "ultimate tool in hair care" because it helps polish the hair with the natural oils from the scalp while gently detangling it sans massive pulling. And it's just one of those beauty tools worth having on hand to play around with at least once in your life. Hairstylist Tippi Shorter believes the boar-bristle brush has a ton of great benefits, too, emphasizing that it won't pull on your hair and can be used for so many different hairstyles—i.e., my favorite, the slicked-backed bun à la Hailey Bieber. But the best part? Hairstylist Joseph Maine says the brush will last a very long time (see: years), so it's definitely something worth investing in. Below, I went ahead and rounded up the best tested and reviewed boar-bristle brushes on the market:

Best Overall Boar-Bristle Brush

Black Egg Boar Bristle Hair Brush


  • Bristles vary in length, making it very effective at combing through your hair


  • If you have thicker hair, you'll have to work in sections to thoroughly detangle it

This is a personal favorite of mine (and 11,000 Amazon reviewers agree) due to the fact that it's extremely affordable yet still super high quality. Look closely, and you'll notice how the boar bristles in this brush vary in length, which is ideal for gently detangling and leaving a shiny finish to the hair. Both hairstylists Leigh Hardges and Joseph Maine love this kind of brush for smoothing and softening your hair. After I have used a curling iron or wand, I run this brush through my hair to loosen the curls, which results in the prettiest soft wave pattern.

Bristles: Boar
Type of brush: Paddle

Glowing Customer Review: "I know it’s just a hair brush but I’m obsessed with it," reads one review. "It’s not as harsh on my hair as other brushes are. When I have knots in my hair, I don’t feel like I’m ripping them out and my hair even looks better with this one."

Best Cult-Favorite Boar-Bristle Brush

Mason Pearson Handy Bristle Hair Brush



  • This brush will last years and years to come


  • The most expensive option on this list

Ah, yes. The hair brush of all hair brushes. The crème de la crème. The Great Bambino. This classic brush will last you for-ev-er, which is the only way you can justify spending almost three hundred bucks on a hair tool that doesn't even plug in. "These brushes carry that price tag for the quality in craftsmanship and their longevity," explains Hardges, who is a big fan of Mason Pearson. With this brush, you get all the hair shine and oil-dispersing advantages of boar hair, and as much as it pains me (and my wallet) to say, the incredible craftmanship really does make a difference—it's shocking.

Bristles: Boar
Type of brush: Paddle

Glowing Customer Review: "300 dollars for a brush?! Whoa! But it is worth every penny," one reviewer notes. "My split ends are gone, and a lot less daily hair is left in my brush. I cannot explain it, but you do not want to stop brushing your hair, it feels like a massage."

Best Boar-Bristle Brush for Slick Backs

Goody Boar Hair Brush


  • Grips and secures flyaways and baby hair easily when combing your hair back into a sleek style


  • Testers note that it can be a lengthy process cleaning the hair brush, especially if you use it with waxy products

For the past two years, my hair has almost constantly been pulled into a slicked-back bun, and this affordable drugstore boar-bristle brush is the one that gets the job done. After parting my hair down the middle and using my favorite hair pomade stick inspired by ~Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber~ (try: Tancho or Samnyte), I brush my hair back using this boar-bristle brush as tightly and neatly as possible before securing it with an elastic into a tight bun. It's made with 100 percent boar bristles, can fit easily in your bag for on-the-go use, and it's fantastic for smoother, shinier hair.

Bristles: Boar
Type of brush: Small paddle

Glowing Customer Review: "I was amazed at the difference in my hair after using this hairbrush," one tester notes. "Boar bristles really do make a difference and I have very thin fine hair."

Best Boar-Bristle Brush for Thick and Coarse Hair

PATTERN by Tracee Ellis Ross Double-Sided Bristle Brush


  • Works on wet and dry hair


  • Some reviewers noted that it uncomfortably pulled at their curls

This two-in-one brush has my stamp of approval. With soft nylon bristles on one side to tame flyaways and stiff boar bristles on the other side that smoothly grips thick and coarse hair, this double-sided styling tool does it all. Plus, it can be used on wet or dry hair to achieve smooth tresses. Thanks, Tracee!

Bristles: Nylon and Boar
Type of brush: Paddle

Glowing Customer Review: "The 'double-sided' bristle brush was everything I needed to add to my slick back hair styles. It ensures every hair is in place without breaking off my edges and removing too much hair."

Best Boar-Bristle Brush for Short Hair

Perfehair Boar Bristle Round Brush


  • Is also a great option to style bangs


  • Some testers noted that after a few months it began to shed bristles

Boar-bristle isn't just exclusive to paddle brushes. In fact, they are an excellent choice when it comes to round brushes due to the fact that they're a gentler option and can mitigate damage when it comes to blowing out your hair. Smaller round brushes like this one are ideal if you want to heat-style your short hair and blow out your curls or add volume to flat roots. This round brush is 1.3 inches in diameter and 100 percent boar-bristle.

Bristles: Boar
Type of brush: Round

Glowing Customer Review: "I have semi-curly hair, and I loved how easy it was to blow out my hair with this brush," reads one tester's review.

Best Ethically-Sourced Boar-Bristle Brush

Crown Affair Brush No. 003


  • Bristles gently detangle and stimulates scalp to support hair growth


  • Not the best option for thick or coarse hair

Made with real, ethically-sourced boar bristles that brush through all hair textures, this paddle brush is great for those looking for extra volume or experiencing hair thinning. Plus, it evenly distributes your natural oils and hair products for the final, slick touch to any hairstyle.

Bristles: Boar
Type of brush: Paddle

Glowing Customer Review: "This is a great smoothing brush for slicked back styles. The bristles are dense and stiff enough but not too stiff. The thicker paddle makes it faster to use because it covers more area. Worth the $."

Best Boar-Bristle Brush for Wet Hair

Wet Brush Shine Enhancer Hair Brush


  • Can brush through wet hair without the breakage other brushes may cause


  • Doesn't last as long as some reviewers would like

The last thing I want to do when I get out of my "everything" shower is to have to detangle my hair. But when I discovered Wet Brush, it was like the tangled hair angels heard my cries. This Shine Enhancer Brush gives the same gentle detangling as the brand's other brushes, but uses the boar bristles to smooth strands and enhance overall shine.

Bristles: Boar
Type of brush: Paddle

Glowing Customer Review: "Best brush to detangle wet hair that tangles easily. I tried so many different brushes on my daughter’s hair that is thick but fine and tangles easily. This brush worked so much better than all other brushes. It’s our go to for everyone in the family! Recommend for sure."

Best Boar-Bristle Brush for Fine Hair

Conair Performers All Purpose Styling Brush


  • Specially made for sensitive scalps and fine hair in mind to prevent breakage


  • Not dense enough for thicker, coarser hair types

Although the Cadillacs of boar-bristle brushes have price tags that soar pretty hiiiigh, there are still a ton of great options for those not looking to spend major dough on their first go-around. This 100 percent boar-bristle brush by Conair is specially made for fine and sensitive scalps. The really fine bristles work to gently distribute the scalp's natural oils throughout the hair. The brush is also incredibly versatile and can be used as a detangling wet brush, a blow-drying brush, or just an everyday staple.

Bristles: Boar
Type of brush: Paddle

Glowing Customer Review: "This is a great brush for someone like myself, who has thin, fine hair. The bristles are soft, but still sturdy enough to brush through thin hair. When dealing with tangles and knots in the hair, this is much kinder than other, stiffer brushes."

Best Lightweight Round Boar-Bristle Brush

Ibiza Hair Brush EX4 Boar-Bristle Brush


  • Lightweight brush so it won't tire your arm out during the blow-dry process


  • Cork handle may fall apart over time, some testers note

Bristles are an important factor when picking out a brush, but Hardges says you also want to take note of the handle because if it's not comfortable, guess what? Yeah, you're not using it. We know how heavy a hair dryer can be, so a lightweight brush with an ergonomic handle is key when creating tension with your hair without getting tired. This round brush is not only super light, but it also holds a blend of natural boar and heat-resistant carbon fiber.

Bristles: Boar and carbon fiber
Type of brush: Round

Glowing Customer Review: "The brush is so lightweight which is so nice on those sleepy mornings when getting ready for work. It has really cut down on the dry frizz and static in my hair this winter; it's smoother and looks so much healthier."

Best Boar-Bristle Brush for Edges

Baby Tress Edge Styler 3-in-1 Edge Brush


  • Ideal firmness to mitigate damage to fragile baby hairs


  • Testers say that it's relatively high in price compared to similar, alternative edge brushes

Facts: Some of the best edge brushes are made with boar bristles. The density of this edge brush is really the perfect balance—it's just firm enough to lay the hair exactly where you need it to go but is also gentle enough not to cause damage to your fragile baby hairs. This brush is a three-in-one type of deal featuring a boar bristle side for using your favorite edge control products, one side with a plastic comb to really separate your hair, and finally, a pointed tip for all of your parting needs.

Bristles: Boar
Type of brush: Edge styler

Glowing Customer Review: "The brush feels solid in the hand. The bristles are easy to clean, and the protective cap keeps product residue out of my toiletry bag as well."

Best Boar-Bristle Styling Brush

Y.S.Park G-Series Curl Shine Styler Round Brush


  • Boar bristles smooth your hair, while the polyamide bristles really detangle it


  • Because it's wood, it doesn't heat up during styling as a ceramic brush would

This round brush from one of Maine's favorite brands features alternating rows of two different types of bristles: natural boar and heat-resistant polyamide pins. The longer, non-boar bristles help with detangling, while the boar bristles gently pull the hair. Together, they work to give your blow-out the smoothest results.

Bristles: Boar and polyamide
Type of brush: Round

Glowing Customer Review: "It grips well and smooths my fine hair. My hair salon uses this brush and I’m happy to now have one at home. I’ll be throwing my previous round brush away, I wish I would have gotten this sooner!"

Best Vegan Boar-Bristle Brush

Briogeo Vegan Boar Bristle Hair Brush


  • Synthetic brush, but feels extremely similar to the real thing


  • Difficult to clean, according to some reviewers

This brush is fully vegan, but it looks and performs just like the real thing. In lieu of boar bristles, this tool is packed with varying lengths of synthetic bristles (some with ballpoint ends) to thoroughly detangle strands and massage the scalp. A pretty, cruelty-free brush at an affordable price? Can't beat it.

Bristles: Synthetic
Type of brush: Paddle

Glowing Customer Review: "I have long, curly, 3b hair. I struggle brushing my hair after washing it on wash day, but this brush has made my hair life so much easier. I also feel like less of my hair comes out with it."

Best Detangling Boar-Bristle Brush

Wet Brush Pro Shine Enhancer Brush



  • Great for using pre- and post-styling


  • Some testers with sensitive scalps or fine hair note that it is too rough

This type of detangling brush is great to use before wash day to help condition your hair and stimulate the scalp. With a combo of flexible massaging bristles and natural boar, this brush will leave your hair all soft and smooth, and tangle-free.

Bristles: Boar & nylon
Type of brush: Paddle

Glowing Customer Review: "Surprised a simple brush could make such a difference in the texture of my hair," reads one review. "I think it's the combination of the different bristles! It's great for brushing after curling/waving, and it distributes oils or dry shampoo throughout my hair."

Best Boar-Bristle Teasing Brush

Olivia Garden Style-Up Mixed Folding Teasing Brush



  • Folds so you can easily take it with you traveling or on the go


  • Nylon bristles are mixed in so it's not going to be as gentle as a 100 percent boar-bristle brush

Now that we've drilled it into your head that boar-bristle brushes are great for smoothing and detangling your hair, we're going to throw in a fun fact just to confuse you: they're also great for teasing your hair. Yep, turns out the bristles that are great for creating tension in the hair work both ways, which means you can use a narrow brush like this to backcomb the hair for more volume as well.

Bristles: Boar & nylon
Type of brush: Teasing

Glowing Customer Review: "Just as good as any high-end brush and seems to be well-constructed, as such, I highly doubt it will break anytime soon," writes one reviewer. "I appreciate that it folds which makes it very easy to store and help protect the bristles."

Why use a a boar bristle brush?

There are a ton of benefits when it comes to using a boar bristle brush to style your hair, including:

Gentle on hair

Like hairstylist Leigh Hardges mentioned, boar-bristle brushes are super gentle on fine and course hair by gently detangling strands without excessive pulling. Plus, it takes advantage of the natural oils in the scalp to take the slicked-backed look to a whole other frizz-free level.

Promotes healthy hair growth

The bristles of the brush gently massage the scalp while using which is a win-win for us not only because it feels good, but because it promotes blood flow to the hair follicles to aid with overall hair growth.

Cleans hair strands

Boar-bristle brushes will help you go longer between wash days. The bristles grab onto build-up, hair product, dust, oil, lint, and skin flakes so it's not just sitting on your scalp. If your hair gets greasy, the use of a boar-bristle brush will also help distribute and take away excessive natural oils from your roots.

What is a boar-bristle brush made out of?

A boar-bristle brush is made with just that: a boar's bristles. "The bristles are both durable and pliable, so they last for a long time without showing much sign of wear," says Maine. This type of natural bristle is great for creating tension when brushing your hair, yet it's also soft and gentle, which means it won't tear or splinter the hair strands, Hardges adds. Not a fan of using actual boar bristles? No worries; not all boar-bristle brushes are made with 100 percent natural bristles, in fact, some feature a mix of natural and synthetic bristles, while others are entirely vegan.

How to choose the best boar-bristle brush:

Determine what kind of look you're going for

Determining the specific boar-bristle brush you should invest in depends on what kind of hairstyle look or everyday use you are going for. Like most hair brushes and basically everything in life, there is no one-size-fits-all option. Shorter explains that a compact bristle brush, like the Goody Boar Hair brush, is a great choice for smoothing ponytails, buns, and other sleek hairstyles of the sort.

However, if you're looking for more of an everyday brush or a brush to use with a hair dryer, "there are boar-bristle brushes that are much wider, on a flat head, that grip the hair and smooth it," she says. Shorter also notes that flat brushes like the Flex Brush or Wet Brush provide more room for the hair to filter out so that it dries quicker and easier. However, if you're looking for a boar-bristle brush for a bouncy blowout, Shorter recommends a round brush version like the Y.S.Park or Ibiza Hair round brushes.

Meet the experts:

Tippi Shorter is the Mizani global artistic director, L'Oreal color artist, and celebrity hairstylist whose clientele includes Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Kelly Rowland, Jennifer Hudson, and more.
Joseph Maine is a celebrity hairstylist, the artistic director at ColorWow Hair, and the co-founder of Trademark Beauty, a line of fun, affordable, and easy-to-use beauty tools and products.
Leigh Hardges is a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, IL, and a curly hair expert.


Why trust Cosmo?

Siena Gagliano is the associate editor at Cosmopolitan who writes beauty, and has two years of experience writing about beauty, fashion, and lifestyle news. She’s an expert at researching and writing hair stories, like the best travel hair dryers and thickening shampoos, and feels especially knowledgeable in boar-bristle brushes thanks to trying out a million on her hair. She regularly tests and analyzes boar-bristle brushes on her own hair for efficacy, while working with the industry’s top hairstylists to assess new products and brands.

Brooke Shunatona was the senior beauty editor at Cosmopolitan for nearly five years and has eight years of experience writing about beauty and lifestyle across print and digital, including hair diffusers for curly hair and how to get rid of oily skin.

Chaise Sanders is an associate editor at Cosmopolitan with experience writing about beauty, lifestyle, and style content. She's an expert at researching and writing beauty-related stories, like the best silk hair scrunchies and best DIY hair mask recipes. As someone who uses boar-bristle brushes regularly on her 4C hair, she's regularly tests and analyzes similar products for efficacy.