Banishing Bad Hair Days since 1997!™

Round Brushes

Can anyone with any type (thin, medium, thick) or texture (straight, wavy, curly, kinky, mixed) of hair use a round brush?   Yes.  Would they want to?  Maybe not.  For more info read Hair Brushes 101.

A round brush can be both a friend to your hair and the ultimate enemy.  The type of round brush you select and how you use it will determine if it can ultimately help you achieve a fabulous hairstyle or leave your tresses damaged.

What is a round brush?  It is a hair brush with bristles wrapped around a round head attached to some type of handle. It may or may not have a hollow core and can be made of a wide range of materials.  Round brushes may be thermal or not.

A thermal brush generally contains a head with a hollow or full metal core.  As the metal core heats up from the direct air flow of a hot blow dryer, the core shapes the hair from the inside out.  If the metal core of the brush get too hot during blow drying, use your cool/cold shot on your blow dryer to cool down the brush and prevent it from scorching delicate strands.

The length of your hair and the desired finished hairstyle directly determine which size brush to use.

The latest round brush technologies include extra large, ionic and tourmaline infused, to name a few.  While the key components of a round hair brush remain static, the technology of the round brush is constantly changing to incorporate the latest advances.

All brushes, round or not, basically consist of the following key components:

1. Brush head - which can range in shape (round, flat, curved, etc), size (small, medium, large, extra large) and made up of a wide range of bristles from 100% boar to plastic.

2.  Brush core - some brush heads are created from a solid core which can be wood, metal, plastic or a combination of materials.  Other brush heads are created around an open core which can also be made from different materials.

3.  Brush bristles - ranging from short to long, sparsely arranged throughout the head to thick and full, with or without ball tips, made from boar, plastic, metal or a combination of materials.

4.  Brush handle - which determines the comfort for using the brush.  Depending on the hairstyles action desired for the brush, the handle may range in size, shape, length and diameter.  The handle may be constructed from a wide range of materials.  Some types of brushes may not have a handle.  This is true for some men's brushes.

5.  Brush weight - some brushes are designed to be heavy and others are designed to be light.  Round brushes come in an array of sizes from purse or pocket size to full blown professional size.

6.  Brush function - depending on the styling goals of a round brush the design will vary.

The Conair company is one of the top innovators and pioneers in the hair world and specifically in the round hair brush arena.  They are always introducing the latest technologies for round brushes ranging from the size and shapes of the brush head and handle to the function of the cores and type of bristles.

Round brushes are basically designed to be used in conjunction with a blow dryer to create some type of texture in the hair.  They are rarely used for other hair care or styling techniques.

There are a couple of basic rules to remember when it comes to using round brushes:

1.  The smaller the head of the brush, the tighter the resulting curls or texture that will be created.

2.  The larger the head, the looser the hairstyle design and texture.  Think waves and curves rather than tight curls.

3.  Round brushes can be thermal or non-thermal, which means designed specifically to conduct heat to the hair, or not.  The danger with thermal brushes is that too much heat can be a bad thing and cause heat damage.  When used correctly, a thermal round brush can speed up drying time and lock in tighter texture.

4.  Round brushes should not be used for every type of hair.  Ideally, a round brush works best with straight or slightly wavy hair and less effectively with kinky or tightly curly hair.  Of course there is an exception to every rule but as a general rule, round brushes are not for every hair texture.

5.  Round brushes work well for building volume in thin/fine hair but may be too much for super thick tresses. Again there is no absolute rule but these are indicators.

6.  It takes time and practice to achieve desired hairstyles with round brushes.

When I was in cosmo school it took me some time to get the hang of round brush drying.  It truly is an art.  If you're new to using a round brush consider asking your hairdresser for a lesson and some shortcuts to save you some time.

7.  It's possible that depending on your desired hairstyle option that one round brush may not satisfy all of your needs.  You may need a large or extra large round brush for the crown or top section of your hair with medium or smaller round brushes for the perimeter of your hairstyle.

8.  Whenever possible buy the best brush you can afford with the highest quality materials.  100% boar bristle is kindest to the hair but when this is not possible, invest in one of the Conair or similar faux boar.

9.  Avoid brushes with sharp bristles that can slice through delicate strands or bristles with hard round ball tips.  The ball tips can get caught in tresses and cause breakage.

10.  If you get your hair caught in a round brush remember not to panic.  Immediately call for help and have a friend or relative use the long tail of a comb to carefully unwind any captured strands.  Do not try to untangle it yourself if possible.

Other round brush musings:

1.  It's important that the round brush handle fits your hand size and grip.  Regardless of the size of the brush head, if you can not achieve a smooth gliding of the round brush action which originates from the handle, you will not get the desired results.

2.  Never invest in an expensive round brush if you have never used a round brush before.  Round brushing, when done correctly, is a fabulous hairstyle tool.  However, it does take some getting used to.  Start with a less expensive brush and once you get the hang of it, move up the round brush chain to the highest quality which is usually also the most expensive.

3.  Keep your round brush clean at all times.  Since round brushes are often used in conjunction with styling products, the bristles can become quickly saturated with product.

4.  Do not share your round brush with anyone else.

Whichever type of round brush you use, hold your hair taut with the brush to create necessary styling tension. This "stretches" the hair so it can form into the new shape. It also adds shine and polish to your finished look.  Remember to use appropriate care and caution when round drying your hair to avoid heat damage or other hairstyling challenges.

For more tips for using round brushes or blow drying check out:

Celebrity's Hairdresser Tips:  Blow Drying Your Hair

Blow Dry Your Hair:  What Brush To Use

Related articles, tips and blog include:

Blow Dry Your Hair Section

Blow Dryers:  The Facts

Blow Dryers: Best Features

Blow Dry Your Hair: What Brush To Use

To talk more about your use of round brushes or blow dryers visit the HairTalk Forum and share your own round brush tips, techniques, questions or challenges.

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