Detangling Brushes and Combs that Won't Damage Your Hair

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Sometimes, your hair can get so tangled that all you want to do is cry. Just the thought of working through those impossible snarls is enough to make anyone consider a major haircut. It's annoying to end up with knots clogging the shower drain, and depending on your hair type, the detangling process can feel like an extended time in hell. But it doesn't have to be this way.

Before beginning your detangling journey, take a deep breath and follow these simple tips from hairstylist Jen Atkin. Regardless of texture, Atkin says the key is to start at the ends of the hair and work your way up to the roots. For curly and kinky hair, she recommends "detangling in the shower with conditioner or mask" because it helps to "soften the strands and makes it easier to remove any knots." If your hair is on the thicker side or extremely knotty, working section by section will make it a lot easier.

You shouldn't only reach for a brush or comb when your hair is tangled, and it's a good practice for preventing the problem in the first place. In fact, hairstylist Justine Marjan suggested previously that brushing through hair regularly helps stimulate hair follicles and prevents future knots.

Investing in the proper tools and taking the time to carefully tackle knots is necessary to avoid tugging and damaging your hair. Here are some handy stylist- and editor-approved detangling tools to help you get through the process with minimal pain or tears.

Sheila Stotts Removal Brush

The metal bristles on the Sheila Stotts Removal Brush were designed to make detangling and removing extensions easier, but they also work well at loosening up knots without causing additional breakage on all types of hair. The brush is a "game-changer for natural hair," according to hairstylist Jen Atkin. "The bristles are spaced out so there is less pulling and damage to the strands," she says.

Wet Brush Shower Flex

The 2017 Best of Beauty-winning Wet Brush Shower Flex works its way through the toughest of tangles. ishonest contributor Sable Yong is a fan of the brush and found that it's the best option to use on her thick, bleached hair. "This brush just glides through my wet mop of hair like a hot knife through butter," she says. "Barely any resistance at all! Almost no hair is left clinging to the bristles — which is the true evidence of breakage." It also comes in eight different colors and makes a cute shower accessory.

Tangle Teezer The Original

There's a reason why we've given the Tangle Teezer The Original four ishonest awards. This brush truly transforms knotty hair. Shaun Pulfrey, hairstylist and creator of the Tangle Teezer, previously told ishonest that the idea for the tool came together after helping another stylist detangle a client's hair. Instead of brushing, he shook and tapped on the knots to create vibrations in the hair, which loosened up the tangles. "I figured I could create a product that would mimic this method: a brush with teeth that were flexible so they'd vibrate through your hair," he says. Thus, this iconic brush was born.

Denman 5 Row Classic Styling Brush

The Denman D3 7 Row Classic Styling Brush has long been a go-to detangling tool for many curlistas. But, those with coilier textures often modify the brush by removing every other row of teeth to suit their more tightly-packed curl pattern. Save yourself the work and grab the Denman 5 Row Classic Styling Brush instead.

Drybar Lemon Drop Daily Detangler Brush

Your favorite place to get a blowout also has pretty much everything you need to keep it looking on point, including a detangling brush. With its flexible bristles, the Drybar Lemon Drop Daily Detangler Brush can be used on wet or dry hair, as well as your extensions. If you're the jet-setting type, you can also get the travel-size version of the brush, which will leave just a little bit more extra room in your carry-on.

Tangle Teezer The Ultimate Detangler

By now, we can count on Tangle Teezer to provide us with the tools to get our curls in order, but The Ultimate Detangler, which won a 2018 Best of Beauty award, is something extra special. You can use it to detangle, and it can be used in the shower to help evenly distribute shampoos, conditioners, and treatments through your strands.

Christophe Robin Boar Bristle Detangling Hairbrush

The Christophe Robin Boar Bristle Detangling Hairbrush might cost a pretty penny, but trust it's worth every cent. The bristles aren't made of plastic or nylon — instead, they're 100 percent natural boar. Its natural hairs are extremely gentle and help control frizz while adding a touch of shine. Plus, it doesn't yank or rip, but rather gently slides through nasty snarls. No wonder it was named an ishonest 2017 Best of Beauty winner.

Felicia Leatherwood Detangler Brush

Created by the hair pro responsible for keeping Issa Rae and Skai Jackson so fly, the Felicia Leatherwood Detangler Brush's wide-spaced flexi-bristles slide through naturally coarse hair without breaking or pulling its delicate strands. But get it while you can — this popular hair savior is often sold out.

Hercules Sagemann Magic Star Hair Comb

The extra-wide spacing between the teeth of the Hercules Sagemann Magic Star Hair Comb is a boon to textured hair. Not to mention, its seamless edge design and rounded teeth won't fray, snag, or tear your hair, allowing it to grow long and healthy with fewer split ends.

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