Every hair type and texture has its own set of idiosyncrasies, but helping curly hair reach its maximum potential can, at times, feel like a dizzying game of chutes and ladders. Especially once you throw a brush into the mix. Not only are curly hair types fragile and more susceptible to breakage due to the natural formation of the hair cuticle, but when you do (or don’t) brush can have a huge bearing on the end result of your look. So, in order to get the most out of your curls you A) need to know when and how to brush them to protect your natural curl pattern and B) need to have the right brush handy to protect your strands and scalp while applying minimal sacrilege to your god-given texture.
As for that first part, most experts recommend only brushing curly hair when it’s wet. According to celebrity stylist Christian Wood, brushing dry curls—unless you’re simply getting ready to wash or going for a stunning Diana Ross-disco vibe—will make your curls fluffy, ultimately pulling out the natural curl formation. If you’re looking to maintain the definition, pattern, and shape of your curls, exclusively brush your strands when they’re wet, and then do your best to remain hands-free. (The more you touch, the more frizz and fuzz will abound). Now, for that second part, the brush. Since certain styles, shapes, and bristle types are far more strategic for curly hair than others, I asked three top celebrity hair experts (Wood, included!) to share their top picks, and the exact brushes they use on their curl-blessed clients. Keep scrolling! 13 of the best brushes for curly hair are just below.