Marie Claire April 11, 2024

Marie Claire


The Best Boar Bristle Brushes for Incredibly Soft and Smooth Hair


These 14 keratin-rich tools will level-up your hair brushing experience.

Remember in The Princess Diaries when a hairbrush gets stuck—and subsequently breaks—in Mia Thermopolis's curly hair? For most of my life, that's been my barometer of hair brush's quality. As long as the tool wasn't breaking, I thought it was doing a fine job. Little did I know that the best boar bristle brushes could not only detangle my knots but also make my hair as smooth and shiny as Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi, Princess of Genovia's.

A boar bristle brush is a brush made using the hair of a boar, aka a wild pig. "Just like human hair, boar bristles are entirely composed of keratin, making them particularly resistant, non-allergic, and anti-static," explain Flore des Robert and Pauline Laurent, co-founders of luxury brush brand La Bonne Brosse. Shelly Aguirre, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, adds that using a boar bristle brush can help improve the elasticity of your hair. "I have found that using a brush with natural boar bristles can help me make the hair strand look smoother," she says.

The benefits don't stop there. Boar bristles also massage and exfoliate your scalp, increasing blood flow and stimulating hair growth. "They distribute your scalp’s natural oils evenly throughout your hair. This creates condition and shine naturally," shares celebrity hairstylist Julius Michael. "Boar bristle brushes offer a lot of tension on your hair when blow-drying without stressing the follicle or hair strand, thus preventing possible damage or breakage you’d get from a synthetic hair brush."

Are you sold yet? Ahead, experts share the best boar bristle brushes for healthy, shiny, and smooth hair.


Mason Pearson Popular Mixture Brush

Mason Pearson has won the boar bristle brush race for over a hundred years (the original model was created in 1885). Ellsworth calls it "tried and true," and Michael says it's the "holy grail" of boar bristle brushes. "The boar bristles gently massage and exfoliate your scalp and the craftsmanship is unmatched," shares the stylist. "Most people own a Mason Pearson for decades and even generations." It has a mix of natural and nylon bristles, which help the cuticle lay down and break up any scalp tightness.

Pros: A true classic; Available in a range of sizes for all hair types; No animals harmed

Cons: Expensive


La Bonne Brosse N.01 The Shine & Care Hair Brush

Having launched in the United States earlier this year, the La Bonne Brosse employs traditional artisans to make its cellulose acetate creations. Crafted with the belief that brushing your hair is an important personal ritual, you can feel the care in every stroke. Not only is this the prettiest hair brush on the market—a must if you believe in vanity curation—it's a workhorse. Emma Stone's hairstylist, Mara Roszak, even used it to perfect the actress's Oscar night blowout.

Pros: Beautiful; Handcrafted; Feels great

Cons: None found


ghd Natural Bristle Round Brushes

Ghd doesn't just make our favorite hair straightener, its Natural Bristle Round Brushes also top our list. They are available in four sizes to find the exact shape for your perfect blowout. I'm partial to size 2, which features a 1.3-inch barrel. With a non-slip handle and ceramic core, these brushes are also sure to hold up well.

Pros: Well-constructed; Multiple sizes

Cons: None found


RPZL Boar Bristle Hair Brush

Aguirre recommends the RPZL Polisher Brush, which features both nylon and boar bristles, for wet hair—or anyone who needs a do-it-all go-to. "It has flexible bristles that add tension when you need it and bend when you don’t," she shares. "This is also great for smoothing and styling dry hair so you don’t need multiple brushes."

Pros: Affordable; Doesn't pull

Cons: None found


Sisley Paris Hair Rituel The Radiance Brush

Sisley Paris's Hair Rituel brush has the largest paddle of the bunch, making it perfect for those with a lot of hair. With both coated nylon and boar bristles, it's a star whether you're looking to detangle or nourish your hair. If you use this long term, I promise your hair will look shinier and healthier in a few weeks. Reading through reviews, you'll find encouragement from people with all different hair types; it's a winner all around.

Pros: Large paddle; Detangling

Cons: None found


Crown Affair The Brush No. 001

I'm all about Crown Affair, from their perfect leave-in conditioner to their thoughtfully designed hair towel. The ritualistic haircare brand's smartly curated tool selection features a pure boar bristle brush, No. 003, and one with a mix of boar and nylon bristles, No. 001. The latter is handmade in Italy for medium to thick hair and will make your locks feel incredibly healthy.

Pros: Feels nice on the scalp; Handmade

Cons: None found


PATTERN by Tracee Ellis Ross Double-Sided Bristle Brush

While boar bristles typically do their job best on fine, thin hair, Tracee Ellis Ross invented a tool everyone can benefit from. One side of this dual-sided brush features soft nylon bristles to tame flyaways, while the other has stiff boar bristles to slick back your favorite tight hairstyles or baby hairs. Bonus: it's extremely affordable.

Pros: Perfect for slicked-back styles; Affordable

Cons: Some reviewers report bristle shedding


Drybar Flat Mate Boar Bristle Brush

I've been using Drybar's Flat Mate Boar Bristle Brush for a couple of years on my fine hair and couldn't recommend it more. Handcrafted for all hair types with a blend of boar and nylon bristles, it works to distribute oils gently. I've noticed no tugging—just silky, happy hair and less frequent wash days. The brand is also very explicit about it's sourcing, and confirms no animals were harmed while collecting the materials.

Pros: Gentle; Feels nice on your scalp

Cons: The lettering may rub off


Oribe Italian Resin Flat Brush

One of the best haircare brands of all time, Oribe knows exactly what they're doing when it comes to your hair. Launched in December 2022, their Brushes & Combs Collection features four boar bristle products: a teasing brush, two round brushes, and my favorite, the nylon and boar bristle hybrid Italian Resin Flat Brush. Its handle is finished by hand with custom-designed Italian cellulose acetate resin and is beautiful to look at. It's functional, too, doing a stellar job brushing and polishing your strands.

Pros: Beautiful; Excellent results

Cons: None found


YS Park G - Series Curl Shine Styler Round Brush

Y.S. Park is Aguirre's favorite brush for styling. It features both natural boar and heat-resistant nylon bristles for all your blowout needs and comes in different widths so you can find exactly what shape is best for your length. "It really depends on how dense your hair is when choosing one of these," shares the hairstylist. I have them all and use them for different hairstyles." A smaller diameter is typically better suited for short hair and a larger diameter for long hair.

Pros: Fun colors; Available in different shapes and styles; Hairstylist approved


Briogeo Vegan Boar Bristle Hair Brush

If you're looking for a vegan take on boar bristles, look no further than Briogeo's Vegan Boar Bristle Hair Brush. The synthetic bristles were designed to mimic the texture and benefits of a boar's hair, without using any animal byproducts. Created to support all hair types and textures, it also has ballpoint-tipped nylon bristles to help smooth and detangle your hair.

Pros: Less expensive than other options; Detangles; Comfortable to hold

Cons: Reviewers say it's hard to clean


Emi Jay Mini Boar Bristle Brush

The small business creators of the Big Effing Clip (you've seen it on TikTok) crafted a hairbrush that's tiny but mighty. It has 100 percent natural boar bristles to glide smoothly through your hair. A big (little) softie, it's gentle and malleable, while still providing great control thanks to the paddle design. Plus, the charming design and organic bamboo makeup look great on a vanity.

Pros: Travel-size; Good for all hair types

Cons: Might be too gentle for some


Ibiza Hair Professional (B Series) Round Boar Hair Brush

Blow dry expert Hope Hogan, a stylist at Hainsworth & Co. salon in Scottsdale, is partial to Ibiza Hair's boar bristle brushes. "This is such a quality brush and gives you the best blowouts," she says. "It's super easy for anyone to use and provides professional results." With a mixture of blonde boar hair and carbon fiber nylon bristles (they look alike, so it's hard to spot the difference), you'll add shine and texture to your hair while getting the bounciness just right.

Pros: Less expensive than other options; Great for blowouts

Cons: None found

What to Look For in a Boar Bristle Brush

Bristle Type

Of course we're talking boar bristles here, but plenty of brushes feature hybrid selections of boar and nylon bristles—a great thing for certain hair types. Nylon bristles are a bit stiffer, which makes them ideal for working through extra knotty or thick hair.

Brush Shape

Like any other hair brush, boar bristle brushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. "A boar bristle round brush is used to smooth, add volume, and add shine. It is best used with tension on the hair and with a blow dryer," shares hairstylist Katelyn Ellsworth.

An iconic Mason Pearson brush, in all its unboxed glory.

A flat brush, meanwhile, can help add scalp stimulation and shine without damage. "Moving the brush from the scalp distributes the oils down the hair shaft, creating the perfect end result of soft shiny strands," she adds.


Boar bristle brushes are often expensive, but there are good reasons for that. Besides the fact that they're often handcrafted and generally take more effort to build than their synthetic counterparts, boar bristles aren't an unlimited resource—especially when they're being ethically sourced. "When choosing a brush, always consider the quality of the product," says Aguirre.

Is a Boar Bristle Brush Right for My Hair Type?

While boar bristle brushes are incredibly gentle and suitable for all hair types, certain people can reap the benefits more than others. "Using a boar bristle brush is great with finer hair. It allows you to get good tension without ripping the hair," shares Aguirre. If your hair is coarser, you'll want to make sure the brush is outfitted with reinforced bristles so you can receive the tension you need while still smoothing the cuticle. "The reinforcing bristles are typically nylon which will [also] help distribute your hair's natural oil," she adds.

Boar bristle brushes can be used both to slick back hair styles or create bouncy blowouts.

How Often Should You Use a Boar Bristle Brush

The general consensus is that you should brush your hair twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. "Brushing regularly helps stimulate growth while increasing blood flow to your hair follicles," says Michael. "It also adds natural shine throughout your hair and removes impurities from the environment like dust and dirt."

How to Use a Boar Bristle Brush

"Brush your hair from the scalp all the way to the ends to distribute the oils and stimulate the scalp in order to get the full benefit of the natural bristles and add longevity of your blow dry," adds Ellsworth. Hogan also notes that your hair should be dry .



Julius Michael
Celebrity Hairstylist

Julius Michael is a trailblazer in the beauty industry, setting the bar high for new trends. Celebrities rely on Julius to help them create their glamorous style. Julius is known for his mastery of color, highlights, and Balayage. He is also sought after for his original, virtually undetectable, permanent or clip-on hair extensions. Julius’s signature looks can be seen on television and at red carpet events from coast to coast and internationally.

Julius has more than 18 years experience, including working with Rita Hazan and Oribe Hair Salon.

Shelly Aguirre
Stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago

Shelly Aguirre’s hard-working, positive and upbeat personality make her one of Chicago’s most sought-after stylists and salon educators. Prior to joining Maxine, she spent 12 years teaching classes at salons and working major trade shows throughout the United States. She is skilled at precision haircutting, hair extensions and is certified and specializes in Great Lengths and Klix techniques as well as Keratin smoothing treatments.   

Flore des Robert and Pauline Laurent
Founders, La Bonne Brosse

After fifteen years in the corporate world, Flore des Robert and Pauline Laurent wanted to experience another way of doing business that would be based on trust, taking their time and having fun at every stage of the creative process. At the beginning, they didn’t think they could do it but every day they get closer to believing that it might be possible!

They are convinced that brushing your hair is one of the best ways to prove to your head and body that you are attentive to their needs. Take some time each evening for a ritual that not only relieves the tensions of the day but also has the unique power to make your hair more youthful and more beautiful.

Katelyn Ellsworth

Prepare to be blown away by the incredible talent and expertise of Katelyn Ellsworth, one of San Diego's top stylists and founder of The Roslyn salon in the heart of Little Italy. With over 18 years of experience in the industry, a Bachelor's Degree in Business from Cal State San Marcos, and certification as a UNITE trainer, Katelyn is a true master of her craft. Her dynamic and creative approach to hair has earned her a cult following both in the local community and around the world. As a senior educator for global brands, Katelyn is at the forefront of the latest trends and techniques, making her the go-to stylist for anyone looking to elevate their look.

Hope Hogan
Stylist and Blow Dry Expert

Hope Hogan is a hairstylist and blow dry expert. An appointment with Hope Hogan begins with an escape to the bowl starting with a cleansing shampoo, transcendent scalp massage, and ending with a serene conditioning experience. Enhancements are designed to customize your hair needs further and are a beautiful addition to your signature experience.