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Do Paddle Brushes Work Better than Wide Tooth Combs for Detangling?

• Dec 14, 2012

By Akilah of ItsAkilahObviously.com

In the natural hair community, one important procedure is necessary for every single hair type: detangling. We tend to overlook the issue, or settle on the idea that using a wide-toothed comb on wet hair should do the trick. I, too, believed that there was no more to be said on the issue, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Enter: My paddle brush (I use a standard Goody brand one found at any Target or Drug Store). The thought of using this intimidating brush on dry natural hair is nightmarish, but I recently tried it out on my hair while I was deep conditioning and it was even better than the wide-toothed comb. Let me repeat: IT WAS EVEN BETTER THAN THE WIDE-TOOTHED COMB!

The paddle brush adds a smoothing element that a comb simply cannot. While detangling from tip to root, it holds the conditioner within the brush which (A) retains the conditioner of choice onto hair follicles—which better coats them, and (B) reduces the amount of hair lost during the detangling process. Not only did the conditioner feel more effective, but detangling took a lot less time.

Detangling is one of the key processes to growing your hair long without having to do quite as much maintenance. Have you tried a paddle brush for detangling? How did it work?

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51 Comments on "Do Paddle Brushes Work Better than Wide Tooth Combs for Detangling?"

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Tiffany
Guest

I’d always hear that paddle brushes stretches/snags(because of the root of the spokes on the brush) the wet hair then eventually cause breakage, this has kept me from using one. I’m happy to hear that this works for you!!! I’ve been so loyal to my tangle teezer but I think I may try this!!

Sybil Smith
Guest

Yess! It gets to ALL the tangly bits more effectively than the comb, and takes less effort!

Lele
Guest

I used a detangling paddle brush a few times in the past, but I did not like the amount of hair that came out. There was so much hair. I have extremely coily hair, so maybe that is why. Or maybe my hair was breaking at the time…

Jordan
Guest

not sure if this counts as a “paddle” brush but my best detangling experiences come from my denman. 2nd to my finger detangling, though

Tia
Guest

At the beginning of my journey, I would have said that wide tooth combs are the ONLY way to go. But I have learned from experience that such a comb does not do a really good job at finding all the tangles and shed hairs in my head. Now I use either my fingers or my knockoff denman; these methods make me feel like I did a more thorough job.

Natalee
Guest

I’m a little torn on this. I bought a really nice Denman 83 paddle brush because I thought it’d help me get through my super thick hair. It was great for detangling and I lost the same amount of hair as I did with my wide toothed comb, but I didn’t like the way the rounded tips would snag my hair on some occasions-that could just be a flaw in my technique. Great for thick hair, but beware of the snags.

fluffy-in-flight
Guest

Nothing is better than my good old fingers,I feel the knots and tangles very quickly and I have no problems at all, because i do not lose a lot of hair.

Sophie
Guest

I’ve stayed away from paddle brushes because my hair is fine and I always felt like I was just causing breakage. I’m not a big fan of wide-tooth combs either, though, because as people have said they don’t always get all the shed hairs out. I’ve been stretching my hair out more and keeping my ends tidier (less tangly!), so maybe a brush could work. My fingers work well, though, and I make a little spa time out of working slowly through my head on friday nights!

Heart Curly
Guest

No paddle brushes for me. I had a really bad experience with one thinning the hair in the crown area of my hair.

Alyssa
Guest

I haven’t tried a paddle brush before. I’ve only ever used the tangle teezer and a wide tooth comb. I don’t know if paddle brushes would work with my hair so I’m just sticking with my wide tooth comb for detangling in the shower.Though if I had my wish, I would never have to detangle my hair. XD

LBell
Guest

This brush worked surprisingly well on my (shorter) hair mainly because it didn’t have the balled tips that always snagged on my coils:

http://www.amazon.com/Goody-Styling-Therapy-Jojoba-Paddle/dp/B0019CTZHM

luminous
Guest

i use a paddle brush… works great for me.

Dmitch
Guest

Before I even knew how to properly care for my hair I used a paddle brush to detangle. I tried to switch over to a wide tooth comb but it just wasn’t as effective as the paddle brush, it snagged my hair more and it took a lot more time. I’m to the point now where I only use combs to part my hair.

Lele
Guest

Are paddle brushes only good on thicker hair, or maybe curls that are pencil-sized and larger?

niksmit
Guest

My hair is not thick and most of my curls are tighter than pencil-sized. A paddle brush WITHOUT the balls on the ends is the business for getting my shed hairs AFTER I finger-detangle.

Naya
Guest

I love using a paddle brush to detangle. I typically finger detangle but will sometimes whip out the brush. Wide tooth combs always seemed to rip my hair out.

PixieLover
Guest

I’ve used a paddle brush since 2004. I tried the denman in 2009 and it destroyed my hair! I had mid-shaft splits on virtually EVERY strand, and it always snagged during detangling, something the paddle brush didn’t do unless I was impatient or overambitious with my sectioning. I eventually ended up chopping it all off (it was mid-back length — I’m 5′7″) and started again. Why try fixing what was never broken. I’m an advocate of the paddle brush, saves time and hair.

TheAL
Guest

This is definitely a revelation. I’ll have to try it. My wide tooth comb has been working thus far, but you are correct about stray shed hairs tend to spring up once I start styling my hair. This could be the answer for me. Thank you so much for the tip!

rachel
Guest
WOW! I’m surprised at the responses. I’ve always wanted something that will not break my hair(im transitioning 4 months now, my hair is pretty full the texture is kinda natural although its relaxed,im an island girl- i know totally irrelevant to the topic lol) which the comb did a lot. A paddle brush by the brand Scrunci saved my hair! seriously. I can comb through my hair,even if its tangled with soooo much ease! mind you i use the wide tooth comb first then the brush but the wide tooth comb isn’t even necessary cause it just rips my hair… Read more »
Bambi
Guest

I use a paddle brush on my wet 3b hair when it’s coated with conditioner. It’s sooooo much easier on my hair than attempting to use a wide tooth comb, which just seemed to rip my hair out and was NEVER a pleasant experience. It’s also less time consuming and I get a lot more curl definition from it. Thinking about trying out a Denman…

Sailor Moon
Guest

They were okay when I was relaxed. Now as a natural no way, lol. It’s so hard to find them without those round tips. I would be scared to used them in my thick hair, so far I am still looking at the Aveda one it has no ball tips I think. But I heard the old Aveda brush was better.

Natalie
Guest

I’ve never used one myself but when watching YouTube I’v noticed that 160days2lose2 uses a paddle brush and she has long, thick and healthy hair so they must work. I prefer to DC and use my fingers and a wide tooth comb myself. I spent far too much money when I was a product junkie so I won’t be trying this out.

Knatural
Guest

I have broken a paddle brush in my hair lol, the rubber peice came out so I bought one with a cover over the rubber base so I cant pull it from the base of the brush (if that makes sense) I have extremely thick hair and I love my Paddle brush! I have 4a-4b hair and as long as my hair is wet it loves the paddle brush…btw Ive broken way more combs…in half lol 🙂

Zenith
Guest

Paddle brush would tear my hair out!
It is fingers or a comb for me, but finger detangling is the best in regards to taking the least amount of hair out.

Stace
Guest
I just realized those denman brushes everyone is raving about are those same old school brushes my mom used to use on our hair decades ago. I was thinking it was something new…no wonder it works. I love paddle brushes for detangling. I think the extra hair or hair being pulled out that some people are referring is just testament to the fact that paddle brushed catch all the shed hair and removes it easily. You might see less hair with a WT comb or with finger detangling because those methods just aren’t getting all the she hair out, which… Read more »
Dorothy
Guest

I’m going to start using one soon and you make a good point.

Denise
Guest

I used to use a paddle brush on my hair all the time when I used to relax it. My hair grew down a little past my shoulders. I tried finger combing and using a wide tooth comb without seams on it and nothing seems to be working. I guess I’ll try a paddle brush again.

HB
Guest

Love my paddle brush!! Everything in the article is true. I did this today. I detangle with fingers and shea butter or other product as a pre-poo, then I wash with conditioner and detangle with wide tooth+fingers. Shampoo with Giovanni tea tree. Then final conditioner, section into 4 in the shower and further detangle with paddle brush. Then rinse. The brush helps a little conditioner go a long way and it leaves my hair super smooth and completely detangled.

Gayle Allen
Guest

I used a paddle brush when my hair was shorter and seemed to be doing ok , but I noticed that in the top where my hair is the driest and less elasticity the hair looked broken off. It felt easier as I was using it than a though. I think it would be great for the mid-way down my hair shaft and the other parts of my hair besides my crown area. Maybe I could detangle and use a WT-Comb in the area and the paddle on the rest?? Any ideas??

Rennie
Guest

You sure are brave!! I personally have had great success with using a denman brush FOLLOWING detangling with a wide tooth comb. You can check it out here –> “Found a Way to Use My Denman!” http://wp.me/p2jENr-7V

Kitty
Guest

Great info thanks! I will purchase my denman brush ASAP!!!

Ashes
Guest
Since I started my hair journey six months ago I have retained 6″ from a fade. All I have ever used was a paddle brush. It has the little cushions on the bristles so it’s not irritating my scalp like a wide tooth comb always did. I always keep more conditioner in my hair and more evenly this way too. Can you imagine doing an avocado hair mask and using a wide toothed comb to evenly distribute?! You might as well use a spoon LOL they scoop everything just as well. I’m not sure what my hair type I am… Read more »
Deva
Guest
I was about to wash my hair (I put a leave-in conditioner in my hair and slept with a plastic cap last night) but then I thought “what would be the best way to detangle it?” (I’m new to the Natural Hair Journey, I’m still learning as I’m going/growing lol) Went to Google and BAM, I found my answer! I know everyone is different, and person A is going to be more fond of certain methods than person B, but I will definitely give this a try today and see how it comes out! (Pun not intended lol) THANKS so… Read more »
imani
Guest

I gave away my paddle brushes bc they were torture! They r fine AFTER I detangle but it basically ripped at my hair if I tried 2 use it for detangling…no matter how slippery my hair was. My hair mattes too much for any brush! The wide tooth comb is my best friend& then I use a rattail comb after its detangled or the denman bc it catches all the lose hairs that can’t be caught with a wide tooth comb or my fingers.

Rennie
Guest

The denman does the same for me!

Harfaman
Guest
At first we just swaddled him and he would fall aelsep pretty easily. Now it’s a routine that the wife came up with: bath, dinner, swaddle, sing, rock then crib. He does pretty good with that most of the time. When he was first born, we were changing his diapers in the middle of the night but the wife read something about how it’s not necessary (he only has wet diapers at night). Now she does a drive-by style feeding in the middle of the night and he usually goes back down pretty easily. Diaper changes were just riling him… Read more »
Jacki
Guest
I’ve been natural my whole life, and had always used a wide tooth comb. About 4 years ago I started using a paddle brush instead, and let me tell you…sooo much easier to detangle! And this is coming from someone with extremely tangly and dense 4a/4b hair. For whatever reason I stopped using the brush for a couple years but I recently went back to it. I don’t know why I ever stopped! Paddle brushes do seem to distribute conditioner and product more efficiently than just your fingers and definitely more than just a comb. Plus they clump your curls… Read more »
RedGem
Guest

ancient post of course but yes this week i went back to my paddle brush after removing my sew in and calling myself “finger detangling” yeah…okay..i’m so glad I kept my paddle brush in my closet, I have no clue why I stopped using it either! Never again!!

Krystal
Guest

I started with a wide tooth comb and that went nicely. Then I was introduced to the denman and it was heaven on earth for my detangling procedure. When at the shop I saw someone using a paddle brush on 4a/c hair and bought one for kicks. Heaven in heaven!! Detangling takes no time! Even my mother, who relaxed my hair as a child because of the detangling war, wished she had tried this!

Even if you are using something else I would recommend trying it, they are cheap enough.

Blessed detangling!

HairBear
Guest

Yeah, I agree. I’ve used many different types of combs and my hair hates the tugging. I get more tugging with a comb than a paddle brush. I use a detangling paddle brush. Yes, “Detangling” paddle brush that’s made for detangling. It works very well. I also use a nylon bristle brush to stimulate blood flow to my scalp. So, do what works for you. If a wide tooth comb is your worst nightmare try a paddle brush. 🙂

ngqvxk
Guest

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NaturalV
Guest

i love my paddle brush, i just recently got one and my 4b/c hair loves it. even when my hair drys after washing, i can easily part my hair and style with a rattle comb. my hair is so smooth and it traps more shed hair than wide tooth combs or fingers.

cacey
Guest

i’m getting into using them for my wng’s. in my crown where my hair has a mind of its own and it’s total frizz city cuz none of the strands wanna stick together and bond lol i’ve been running the paddle brush over those areas. and it’s been working great! it defines my curls and gives me ringlets as if i used a curling wand on them. it’s crazy insane how well it works. and of course, it detangles my hair but i use a comb first before going over it with the paddle.

Lulu
Guest

Im not sure what is effective ive tried finger detangling then my hairstylist says i need to use a comb also to get ALL the shed hair out.. so i do both but it takes soooo much time!!! Im wondering now if i should try the paddle brush?? I also tried the denman and it made midshaft splits in my hair..smh Im really hoping the paddle brush doesnt make midshaft splits in my hair as well..i shall see!!!

Divachyk // Relaxed Thairapy
Guest

I haven’t tried it as I’m a bit concerned it may snag my strands. However, I suppose I could try it on a section of hair to see how it works before devastating my entire head should that be the end result.

Mary
Guest

I know this is an ancient post, but I just had to share.
I was also sceptical of the paddle brush, but I was desperate for something the detangle my hair thoroughly and quickly. I finally bought one and tried it.
It was incredible! Detangling took less time, and I could feel that my hair was actually detangled. My hair hasn’t been this detangled for a long time! It was actually an enjoyable process. Needless to say, the paddle brush is my hair’s new best friend. I wish a tried it sooner!

Taylor
Guest

I am SO happy I found this post! I tried a wide tooth comb for the first year of being natural and I hated it. I just started using my denman brush for detangling daily and it’s wonderful! My hair is actually shiny, takes fifteen to twenty minutes to braid my hair every night, and there is less tugging. I’m 3B/C and brushing is perfect for me.

EllieLo
Guest
I tried a paddle brush for the heck of it and now, I swear, it will be my sole detangling tool with wet hair. SOLE. ONE AND ONLY. Before I was exclusively finger detangling, but I don’t think I was being thorough enough because I got knots easily during the week and a lot of hair broke off with dry styling. So…I wanted to change. I used to use a wide tooth comb, but I never thought it detangled ALL of my hair. So I tried the paddle brush. When I first used it, I had a minor freak out… Read more »
kia
Guest

I started using paddle brushes back in high school. They’re wonderful. My only suggestion would be to purchase the ventilated ones. The ones that have that backing on it will get water and stuff trapped in it. And make the sure bristles have that coating on the ends of it!

sanjidude
Guest

I like both but the Denman style brushes give me less frizzy ends if I detangle when wet. I can detangle much larger sections with the wide tooth comb but it’s not as thorough. Much better clumping too. No little balls on the ends of the brush though…that would be tantamount to hair murder!

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