The humble boar bristle brush is making a huge comeback. These brushes distribute natural oils from root to tip, make hair soft and shiny, and stimulate the scalp for hair growth. Read on to learn more about boar bristle hair brushes and which one is best for your hair type.
Ah, the Trusty Boar Bristle Brush
Good hair days start with the right hairbrush. And the boar bristle brush is the gold standard if you want supple, shiny, fast-growing hair. Bit these brushes are not new — they’ve been around for centuries.
The gorgeously intricate hairstyles depicted throughout history are all thanks to this brush. In fact, choosing to use a boar bristle hairbrush is a decision to go back to basics.
Sometimes, especially in beauty, simpler is better. Unfortunately, while brushes with nylon or stainless steel bristles can certainly get the job done, they don’t benefit the hair like boar bristles.
We’re exploring boar bristle brushes to explain everything you want to know about them, including:
- What are boar bristle brushes?
- The benefits of boar bristle brushes on hair
- Which hair types need this type of hairbrush
- Best boar bristle brushes for each hair type
It might be time to brush off your old nylon brush in favor of one with boar bristles. Keep reading to learn why.
What Is a Boar Bristle Brush?
Boar bristle brushes are hairbrushes made with tightly-spaced boar bristles (short, stiff boar hairs). The close placement of the bristles holds a firm yet gentle tension on the hair to grab every strand.
But it’s the actual boar bristle material that does the heavy lifting.
Boar bristles are extremely similar to human hair when you look at them under a microscope. Just like our strands, boar bristles have tiny plates or scales down the entire length of the hair shaft.
When you brush through human hair with boar bristles, those little plates collect and move the scalp’s natural oils (sebum) from the roots down the hair shaft.
When you brush through with a synthetic material like nylon, which is very smooth, the sebum at the roots doesn’t budge. Nylon brushes do a fine job detangling hair, but that’s where their benefits end.
Not so with boar bristle brushes.
Since every strand of hair is touched by boar bristles with this type of brush, it’s perfect for detangling, smoothing, and conditioning hair. Almost every hair type will get better results when using a boar bristle hairbrush than with a nylon bristle brush.
However, some hair types will need to get a special type of boar bristle hairbrush to see the greatest benefits. We’ll break it all down for you below.
Benefits of Using a Boar Bristle Brush
Before we dig into the types of boar bristle hair brushes, who should use one, and the best options currently on the market, let’s take a look at the benefits of using one.
Once you see how these brushes can improve not just the look but also the feel and health of your hair, you’ll see why so many women and men are making the switch to boar bristles.
One of the most obvious benefits of using a boar bristle hairbrush is how easily it detangles hair. Boar bristles are strong and stiff, so they easily yet gently glide through tangled hair.
There are different levels of coarseness/stiffness in boar bristles, so you can choose one that best matches your hair type for detangling that is customized to your hair type.
Coarse hair needs a stronger, more stiff bristle to detangle (typically labeled as “First Cut” – more on that in a minute). Fine, thin hair needs a more flexible bristle that might come from the second or third bristle cut from a boar.
Boar bristles make hair shinier. In fact, these brushes are where the old beauty adage to brush your hair 100 times per day for shiny, healthy hair originated. Historically, women didn’t wash their hair as often as they do now.
Brushing the hair served not only to detangle the hair, but also to keep it looking clean and shiny. How?
Natural bristles collect the scalp’s natural oils and pull them down the hair shaft. That keeps oil from building up at the roots, which creates that unattractive greasy look.
When oil is evenly distributed down the hair shaft, the hair looks naturally shiny instead of oily. You can thank the boar bristle brush for that.
Tip: For the best shine possible, pair your brush with the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
Since boar bristles are more flexible than synthetic nylon, they can detangle without breaking the hair off in the process.
Nylon bristles are much stronger than human hair. So, when you pull your nylon hairbrush down the length of your hair, it’s going to detangle some strands and break others off when it can’t work through the tangle. Nylon bristles are slightly flexible, but usually not enough to prevent breakage.
With boar bristles, the individual hairs won’t get hung up in your tangles and knots. Instead, the close-spaced bristles in the brush work tangles out gently by gliding through the strands and putting slight tension on gnarly tangles without breaking the hair.
Evenly Distributes Oil
Boar bristles don’t just condition the hair. They actually clean it. When the bristles touch the natural oils at your roots, they collect it and smooth it down your hair shaft.
As you use a boar bristle brush, you’re actually cleansing the oil from the roots and redistributing it to the thirstier parts of your hair shaft (the ends).
This is perfect for anyone with oily hair and dry ends where the oil tends to collect at the roots and make hair look matted and greasy.
Eliminates Static and Frizz
Synthetic materials like plastic (nylon) increase static electricity and frizz in the hair because of the friction they create. More rough friction equals more frizz, more static, and more flyaways.
Using a hairbrush made of a natural material that is very similar to human hair – like boar bristles – eliminates static and frizz because it doesn’t cause friction.
Instead, the bristles hold a firm but gentle tension on the hair during brushing. The result is a smoother, static and frizz-free finish.
Remember how we noted boar bristles’ ability to pull oil from the scalp down the hair shaft? The overall effect is a natural conditioning of the hair using the scalp’s natural oil.
Since oil is produced at the hair follicle, it tends to collect and build up right at the hair root. That creates the flat, greasy look we all try to avoid.
When you’re using a brush made with boar bristles, the oils at the roots are evenly distributed down the length of the hair shaft. The result is hair that is naturally conditioned by your scalp’s own oils – which are the perfect pH for your hair.
Tip: Learn why your hair needs a Low pH Shampoo
Types of Boar Bristle Brushes
There are a few types of boar bristle hair brushes you can choose from based on your hair type and preferences. Every boar hair is about 6 inches long in its natural state. When these hairs are shorn for use in brushes, a series of cuts are taken.
Each cut results in a slightly different coarseness, stiffness, and texture of the resulting bristles. Here’s what you should know about the different types.
First Cut Boar Bristles
- Best for coarse, medium, or thick hair
- Most effective bristle cut
- More expensive
The first cut is the deepest, and in the case of boar bristles, it’s the best. “First Cut” boar bristles refer to the very first cut taken from a bristle and consist of the bulb end of the hair closest to the root.
Here, the bristles are at their coarsest and stiffest. First-cut bristles are the strongest and most effective bristle cut. They’re best for coarse or thick/dense hair.
These bristles are strong enough to make their way through the hair and to the scalp, where they can cleanse, massage, and stimulate blood flow for growth. They’re also more expensive.
When a manufacturer uses first cut bristles, they’ll make sure you know it because it’s a premium material. You’ll see some first-cut boar bristle brushes in our product guide below.
Second and Third Cut Boar Bristles
- Best for fine, thin, or very short hair
- Less effective on medium or coarse hair
- Less expensive
Once the first cut has been taken, some manufacturers will take a second, third, or even fourth cut (depending on the bristle length for the brushes being made). Second and third cut bristles are taken farther away from the bulb end (the root) of the boar hair shaft.
As a result, second and third-cut bristles are softer and less coarse than first-cut bristles. They’re easier on the wallet, costing less than first-cut bristles. But manufacturers don’t always advertise second and third-cut bristles.
After all, they’re not as premium a material as first-cut bristles. If you don’t see “first cut” advertised on a 100% natural boar bristle hairbrush, you can assume the bristles are second or third cut.
But if you have fine, thin, or super-short hair, using a boar bristle hairbrush with second or third-cut bristles is ideal. These bristles aren’t quite as stiff and strong as the first cut.
So they’re gentler on fine or thin hair. With very short hair, second or third-cut bristles have no trouble making their way through the hair to contact the scalp.
Best Boar Bristle Brush for Your Hair Type
Convinced you need a boar bristle hairbrush now? Find your general hair type below to see which brush is top-rated for your hair.
Best Boar Bristle Brush for Fine & Thin Hair
Fine or thin hair can benefit from using a second or third-cut boar bristle hairbrush that is gentle and flexible to avoid breaking the hair. Greasiness can be a problem for this hair type because the texture of the hair is easily overwhelmed with oil.
That’s why we believe the Belula 100% Boar Bristle Hair Brush Set is the top pick for anyone with fine or thin hair.
Here’s the skinny: It’s made with softer boar bristles that won’t snag or pull on fine or thinning hair. But the bristles are strong and stiff enough to massage the scalp and pull oil at the roots all the way down the hair shaft.
The wooden handle is comfortable to hold, and the paddle brush style is familiar and easy to use. You also get a wooden comb, spa headband, and a handy travel bag when you order this brush.
In terms of reviews, it’s definitely one of the best, with a 4.5-star rating out of nearly 4,000 reviews. The price is more affordable than other boar bristle hair brushes of this high quality.
Best Boar Bristle Brush for Medium & Wavy Hair
Medium or wavy hair should look for a boar bristle brush that gently detangles while promoting shine and softness for the best texture. We’ve found that the best brush for wavy hair or hair with a medium texture (not fine or coarse) is the Fixbody Boar Bristle Curved Hair Brush.
It hits all our criteria for this hair type: Strong with enough give to avoid breakage and oil-distributing bristles that are long enough to reach through to the scalp.
Plus, this brush has a large, curved head that keeps it from pulling on hair. There are wide vents that allow for extra airflow, making it a great tool for styling and blow-drying. It has a rubberized grip for non-slip, easy handling.
There’s a handy magnet on the handle that makes it easy to pick up barrettes and bobby pins, too! Out of reviews from more than 3,700 users, this brush gets a solid 4.5 stars.
Best Boar Bristle Brush for Coarse & Curly Hair
Coarse and curly hair can really benefit from a first-cut boar bristle hairbrush that conditions the hair with the scalp’s natural oils to define and set curls.
You get all of these properties with the German-made First Cut 100% Pure Wild Boar Bristle Hair Brush with Pear Wood Handle. The first cut bristles are strong, stiff, and flexible to stand up to curly or coarse hair textures.
The bristles are ⅝” long, so they’re long enough to penetrate through the hair to reach the scalp. Once the bristles touch the scalp, they pick up oil and redistribute it down the strand, conditioning the hair to make it feel softer.
Users give this gem of a product a 4.6-star rating with more than 1,500 reviews online. The price is on the higher end, but still affordable for such a high-quality product.
Best Boar Bristle Brush for Thick Hair
Super thick, dense hair has more hairs per inch than thin or medium hair. It requires some strength in brush bristles to make their way through the hair and contact the scalp rather than just brushing the outer layer of the hair.
That’s why we recommend the Bestool Boar Bristle and Nylon Hair Brush for anyone with thick hair. It has a combination of boar bristles (70%) and nylon bristles (30%) to create a perfect pairing of flexibility and strength.
You get all the benefits of boar bristles – redistributing oils, detangling, smoothness, shine, and scalp stimulation – plus the strength and hair-penetrating power of nylon bristles.
This brush has a bamboo brush body and handle. Plus, it comes with a handy brush cleaner and storage bag to keep the brush clean.
Best Boar Bristle Brush for Damaged Hair
Damaged hair should be treated as gently as possible to avoid breakage and further damage. A second or third cut boar bristle hairbrush is sufficient to detangle, smooth, condition, and encourage damaged hair to grow.
We recommend the Bestool 100% Boar Bristle Hair Brush + Mini Bamboo Hairbrush set for anyone with damaged hair. The bristles aren’t first cut, so you won’t have to worry about them being so stiff or coarse that they’ll snag or rough up your damaged hair.
In fact, this natural boar bristle and bamboo brush can be used as part of the damage repair process. By making sure the scalp’s oils are evenly distributed down the entire hair shaft, each hair is perfectly conditioned and protected from additional damage.
With flexible bristles that gently massage the scalp, new growth is encouraged, and scalp blood flow increases. Plus, it comes with a mini hairbrush with wooden pins instead of bristles for more scalp benefits.
Reviewers love it, giving it 4.7 out of 5 stars with more than 1,200 reviews online. It’s really affordable! If your hair has been damaged or weakened by color, bleach, sunlight, or rough brushing, this is the brush you need.
Best Boar Bristle Brush for Oily Hair
Oily hair isn’t unhealthy hair – it just looks unattractive. Opt for a brush with stiff-yet-flexible boar bristles that effortlessly pull oil at the roots down the entire hair shaft.
This results in an overall shiny and conditioned look rather than the maddening combination of greasy roots and dry ends. Evenly conditioned strands sans oily roots is exactly what you’ll get with the cushioned Dovahlia 100% Boar Bristle Hair Brush Set.
This brush uses 100% natural boar bristles to glide through the hair, pulling excess oil from the scalp and roots down the hair shaft for even conditioning that looks shiny, not oily.
The wooden handle lends to the natural look and feel of the brush, along with the free hemp storage bag that comes with the set. You’ll also get a wooden comb included.
There are no synthetic nylon fillers, just 100% boar bristles to keep your roots from looking oily. Reviewers love this brush for oily hair, giving it 4.4 stars with more than 3,500 reviews online.
Best Boar Bristle Brush for Facial Hair
Last but not least on our list, beards and facial hair need love, too! A boar bristle brush is the gold standard for facial hair care because of the smoothing, conditioning, and growth-stimulating properties.
Your beard deserves nothing less than the Cremo 100% Boar Bristle Beard Brush With Wood Handle. It’s ergonomically designed to easily and comfortably fit in your hand.
The flexible yet firm boar bristles are strong enough to part through coarse facial hair while smoothing, conditioning, and stimulating more growth. It can even help eliminate dandruff in the beard by gently massaging and exfoliating the skin underneath.
The handle is made of wood, so there’s a nice heft in your hand while you use it, but it’s not at all heavy.
For the best results, apply your usual beard oil or product. Then use this brush to distribute it properly all throughout your facial hair. You can use it throughout the day to keep your facial hair smooth, frizz-free, and styled the way you like it.
Reviewers say it deserves 4.7 out of 5 stars overall, so if you’re on the fence about which boar bristle brush to use for your facial hair (and head hair!), this is the one.
Should You Use a Boar Bristle Brush?
Whether you have hair that is baby-fine and thin or coarse and thick, there’s a boar bristle hairbrush out there for you. We hope our guide helped condense and make sense of all the info out there about these natural hair brushes.
If you’re sick of tangled hair, snail-paced hair growth, oily roots, product buildup, and thirsty hair, you need a brush with boar bristles.
Just make sure you choose a brush that is a good fit for your hair type! Who knew that your best hair day could start with a boar’s bristles? That’s anything but boring.