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Which Is Best for Your Hair: A Round or Paddle Brush?

A round brush on a counter; two women using paddle brushes on their hair

Paddle and round are the two most popular types of hairbrushes, but they’re not interchangeable. If you’re unsure which one would be best for your hair, we’ve got the deets!

Both paddle and round brushes can work wonders on your hair. However, the results will depend on several factors, including the length and texture of your hair, as well as how you style it. Both brushes have their strengths and weaknesses, so let’s explore and figure out which hairbrush you need to style those luscious locks.

The Differences Between Round and Paddle Hairbrushes

Of course, round and paddle brushes are visibly different—it’s right there in their names. A round brush typically has a handle and a solid barrel on the end with bristles all the way around. A paddle brush also has a handle, but it’s wide and flat on the other end with bristles on one side.

These two very different shapes are ideal for different purposes. Round brushes are mostly used when blow-drying hair to get a smooth finish with volume in straight, wavy, or curly hair. However, you’ll get different results depending on the size of the brush.

The paddle brush, on the other hand, is more of a multipurpose styling tool. It can be used on dry or wet hair and is also excellent for smoothing. Where it really shines, though, is as a detangler—its shape and design make it sturdy enough to smooth any snags without ripping your hair out.

The Pros and Cons of Round Brushes

A woman blow-drying another woman's hair and using a round brush.

To get a smooth blowout with volume, you really can’t beat a round brush. They come in a variety of barrel sizes and materials, making them relatively versatile. Small-barrelled brushes work best on shorter hair and/or for creating smaller curls. Larger barrels are ideal for longer hair or to create loose, large waves.

When it comes to anything other than getting the perfect blowout, though, round brushes are pretty useless. If you rarely blow-dry your hair, a round brush will just gather dust in your bathroom or dressing table drawer.

The Best Round Brushes

A round brush on a counter; a stylist using a round brush on a blonde woman's hair

If this will be your first time trying a round brush, look for a reliable, yet affordable option, like this one from AIMIKE. It’s available in three sizes for use on different lengths and textures. This brush also features nano thermal ceramic ionic technology to tame frizz and leave you with smooth, voluminous hair.

The boar bristles also help to evenly smooth and style your hair. Small vents throughout the barrel reduce the risk of heat damage, while also helping hair to dry more quickly. This brush even comes with some clips so you can section your hair for easier drying and styling.

AIMIKE Round Brush

Versatile, with heat protection and top-notch styling capabilities.

For fine or damaged hair, you’ll want a round brush with softer bristles for a gentler approach. We like this option from BESTOOL because it combines boar bristles with nylon.

The boar bristles are gentler and help to smooth and defrizz, while the stronger nylon bristles work on detangling if you have fine, thick hair. It’s all held together by a sturdy, natural beechwood base and ergonomic handle.

BESTOOL Round Brush

Smooths without too much tugging.

The Pros and Cons of Paddle Brushes

A woman brushing her hair with a paddle brush.

A well-made paddle brush is one of the best purchases you’ll ever make for your hair. Not only are they versatile, but they also tend to be much gentler on your hair than round brushes.

The wide, flat paddle shape gives you more control when brushing or detangling. They’re also great for brushing curly hair without breaking the curls. In some cases, you can even use a paddle brush to detangle while blow-drying and get a relatively smooth finish.

Although they can assist when drying straight hair, paddle hairbrushes aren’t very good at adding volume, waves, or movement, due to their large, flat shape. It’s best to use a paddle brush on either completely wet or dry hair that needs to be smoothed or detangled. For styling, you’ll probably get better results with a round brush or other tools.

The Best Paddle Brushes

Two women brushing their hair with paddle brushes

If you’ve never used a paddle brush before, start with something like the Sosoon Boar-Bristle Brush to get used to it. The wooden base and combination of nylon pins and boar bristles make it perfect for detangling without any damage.

It also helps smooth your hair and evenly distributes its natural oils to keep your locks looking shiny and healthy.

Sosoon Boar Bristle Paddle Hairbrush

Detangles and smoothes without damaging your hair.

If you’re looking to upgrade, you might want to consider this option from Aveda. Designed to style, as well as detangle, the extended bristles are gentle on your scalp and provide more smoothing action.

With its strong wooden base, this brush can work through any tangles without putting too much stress on your scalp. It’s a bit more expensive than other options, but the quality materials and upgrades make it worth it.

The right hairbrush is a necessity for both styling and keeping your locks strong and healthy. Whether you need a round brush for styling, a paddle brush for detangling, or both, our picks will point you in the right direction. Whichever brush you choose, though, don’t forget to wash it regularly.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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