Natural vs. Synthetic Bristle Hair Brushes: The Winner

Bristle Hair Brushes
October 26, 2021

Rachael Grant

All types of brush bristles, natural or synthetic, have some benefits over the others depending on the usage and the material they are made of — if you want to finally learn which type of hairbrush you need to buy — here is the answer about the winner in the battle between natural vs. synthetic hairbrush bristles.  

Natural Hair Brush Bristles

Most natural hair brushes are made of animal hair. This is usually boar or horsehair or other types of animal hair that are similar to touch to your natural hair. Many people consider them the more luxurious alternative. However, they are not vegan and do not suit all hair procedures. 

You can get the maximum benefit from natural bristle brushes when the animal bristles are placed on a wooden handle brush. However, there are plenty of other materials that will work well for your hair and beard. 


As a comparison, natural makeup brushes have finer bristles made from goat, squirrel, badger, or sable hair. They benefit skin that gets aggravated by synthetic bristles. However, natural bristles can absorb too much product or break wet hair. Therefore, you may prefer to get a synthetic brush if you need to detangle just-washed hair. 

Read more: How to Find the Best Foundation Brush

Synthetic Brush Bristles

Synthetic hair brush bristles are made from nylon or plastic. The durable material makes them long-lasting and if you invest a little more in a good hairbrush, it can last you a lifetime. (Many do include a lifetime guarantee!) Apart from saving you money, synthetic bristle brushes do not keep or cause hair static. That is the main reason every heat brush has synthetic bristles, even if the brush body and the handle are made from ceramic or titanium.

Natural or Synthetic Hair Brush Bristles: How They Measure Up?

Let’s see how natural and synthetic brush bristles weigh in and what to look for when you intend to get a new one!


Natural Hair Brush Bristles

Synthetic Hair Brush Bristles

DurabilityNatural hair brushes last long but only with good upkeep. It is important to position the brush with the bristles upwards to avoid squeezing that will change the shape of the bristles. Otherwise, an expensive natural brush will last a lot more than a synthetic one, depending on the material of the body and the handle, as well as how careful you are with maintenance. The perfect condition of a synthetic bristle brush lasts between 6 and 12 months. Nylon or plastic brushes can comb and detangle hair nicely because they can penetrate through the strands close to the scalp. However, they are not as heat-resistant and some nylon bristles can even melt under the hairdryer.
Frizzy HairExcellent for gently distributing natural oils through the hair but not good for eliminating frizz because they can cause static and flyaways.This is the better alternative if you want smooth, silky, frizz-free hair, especially concerning blow-drying your hair with a round brush. Nylon ion pins and protective ballpoint tips can help with frizz reduction.
Thin HairWhen it comes to thin hair daily maintenance, natural bristles are preferential. They will gently even out any knots and tangles and massage hair without breaking or pulling hair off.  If you buy a nylon hair brush with an inflexible head and hard plastic bristles, you will have trouble with fine, thin hair. However, there are modern hairbrush alternatives with curved heads which help you have both hair and hairstyle! For great blowdries, at least use a rubber brush handle.
Curly HairA hybrid brush that has longer synthetic and shorter natural boar bristles may be the best solution for curly hair. It will get to the roots while keeping the waves in place without creating frizz.   If you can not get a blended one, this is, without a doubt, a better option than solely purchasing a hairbrush with natural bristles.  An ergonomic brush you can hold with the palm provides better control of the pressure you apply along the hairline.
Thick hairIf you have very thick hair with a lot of volume, natural bristles won’t do the job for you because they won’t reach the deeper layers and use the sebum as a hair maintenance balsam. You may end up with dry, split ends and oily roots. Synthetic bristles on contour hair brushes will help detangle your hair wet or dry. Combing wet, thick hair can be particularly tricky. So, you don’t want a brush with densely positioned pins.
CostAs a general rule, boar bristle brushes are more expensive, with some of them going well over the triple-digit price without any extra features. Because synthetic bristle brushes come in all shapes, sizes and a variety of materials, it is impossible to give a single cost estimate. They cost from several dozens to several hundred for a brush set. You are spoiled for choice, so pick carefully. It doesn’t hurt to have one brush for detangling, one for scalp massaging, and one for blow-drying.  
VeganUnfortunately, the short answer is no. Natural bristles are made from animal hair.Yes. Pick a brush from a brand that is dedicated to growing an ethical business in multiple spheres.
Functionality & MaintenanceImpossible to break, especially if you get a wooden brush. But, bristles can change shape and must be washed with gentle soap to retain their perfect condition.Quick-drying and easy to wash with detergents but they can break or lose pins easily. Rubber and ceramic brush handles are more difficult to break.
BarbershopsYou will find all sorts of brushes in a barber’s salon: from wide wooden neck brushes to lathering brushes with natural bristles and scalp massage brushes you can carry in the pocket. There is no simple answer but generally, you will need to have assorted natural bristle brushes in a barbershop for daily use. The rule of thumb is that you will need more combs and detangling and fading brushes than hair brushes and tools designed for blow-dry hairstyles. However, you still need all of them, so pick wisely.


Despite the prestige label associated with natural brush bristles, more people choose synthetic brushes simply because they can meet multiple needs and come in so many variations that it is unlikely you won’t find what you need. The obvious winner in the battle between the brushes is the synthetic brush.

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