Ask A Beauty Expert

Hairbrush Bristles: Natural vs Synthetic

Our Customers Asked:

What is better for my hair: natural or synthetic bristles?

 Our Experts Answered:

Whether you’re simply keeping your tresses detangled or aiming for a full-on runway model blowout, the type of hairbrush bristles you use will depend largely on your hair type and goals. But unlike many other beauty choices you regularly make (like choosing from over a thousand anti-aging serums), deciding on bristles is relatively simple.

“Unlike other beauty choices you regularly make, deciding on hairbrush bristles is relatively simple.”

That’s because there are generally three types of hairbrush bristles: natural, synthetic and a combination of both. Let’s learn about the key differences among the three and which you should add to your haircare arsenal.

Natural Bristles

Typically made from boar bristles.

Loved because: The ultra-soft brushes are most known for producing glossy, shiny and smooth strands thanks to its ability to evenly disperse and distribute your hair’s natural oils from root to tip. By doing so, they can aid in keeping the scalp and hair clean. Plus, natural bristles don’t cause strands to snap as much!

Best for: Most people with straight or fine hair and those with sensitive scalps. Boar bristles are ultra-gentle and minimize breakage. They are also great for wavy, curly and/or thick hair to smooth and minimize frizz.

 Note: Natural brushes are usually more expensive, but they’re known to last a lot longer than their synthetic counterparts.

Our recommendation: Oribe Round Brush

Synthetic Bristles

Synthetic brushes are typically made from nylon bristles. Other times, they’re made from plastic.

Loved because: They don’t create as much static as natural brushes and help detangle a lot easier.

Best for: Quick drying, easy detangling and achieving a bouncier blowout. Those with extremely thick or coarse hair may opt for nylon bristles thanks to their ability to get knots out.

Our recommendation: Mason Pearson Pocket Nylon

Natural-Synthetic Combination Bristles

Made from both synthetic and natural bristles.

Loved because: The combination of both bristle types means you get the sheen and luster from the natural but also the detangling benefits of the synthetic.

Best for: Combination brushes are generally great for everyone, but particularly even more so for those with long and/or fine to normal hair.

Our recommendation: Mason Pearson Mixture Hairbrush

 Bonus Tip: In addition to considering the bristle type, look at how close they are to each other on the brush. Generally speaking, the closer they are to each other the better it will work for fine hair. On the flip side, farther-apart bristles are beneficial for thicker hair.

 The Takeaway

With the exception of incredibly coarse hair with detangling as the number-one priority (in which case you might want to consider trying a synthetic-only brush), you can try the boar or combination bristles with gorgeous results. If you can’t decide, try the synthetic-natural brush since the vast majority of hairdressers use it because it works with most people. Now go take care of your crowning glory!

PRODUCTS MENTIONED IN THIS POST