The Best Boar Bristle Brushes for Incredibly Soft and Smooth Hair

These 14 keratin-rich tools will level-up your hair brushing experience.

image of a collection of boar brushes on a pink background
(Image credit: Future)

Remember in The Princess Diaries when a hairbrush gets stuck—and subsequently breaks—in Mia Thermopolis's curly hair? For most of my life, that's been my barometer of hair brush's quality. As long as the tool wasn't breaking, I thought it was doing a fine job. Little did I know that the best boar bristle brushes could not only detangle my knots but also make my hair as smooth and shiny as Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi, Princess of Genovia's.

A boar bristle brush is a brush made using the hair of a boar, aka a wild pig. "Just like human hair, boar bristles are entirely composed of keratin, making them particularly resistant, non-allergic, and anti-static," explain Flore des Robert and Pauline Laurent, co-founders of luxury brush brand La Bonne Brosse. Shelly Aguirre, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, adds that using a boar bristle brush can help improve the elasticity of your hair. "I have found that using a brush with natural boar bristles can help me make the hair strand look smoother," she says.

The benefits don't stop there. Boar bristles also massage and exfoliate your scalp, increasing blood flow and stimulating hair growth. "They distribute your scalp’s natural oils evenly throughout your hair. This creates condition and shine naturally," shares celebrity hairstylist Julius Michael. "Boar bristle brushes offer a lot of tension on your hair when blow-drying without stressing the follicle or hair strand, thus preventing possible damage or breakage you’d get from a synthetic hair brush."

Are you sold yet? Ahead, experts share the best boar bristle brushes for healthy, shiny, and smooth hair.

The Best Boar Bristle Brushes

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What to Look For in a Boar Bristle Brush

  • Bristle Type

Of course we're talking boar bristles here, but plenty of brushes feature hybrid selections of boar and nylon bristles—a great thing for certain hair types. Nylon bristles are a bit stiffer, which makes them ideal for working through extra knotty or thick hair.

  • Brush Shape

Like any other hair brush, boar bristle brushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. "A boar bristle round brush is used to smooth, add volume, and add shine. It is best used with tension on the hair and with a blow dryer," shares hairstylist Katelyn Ellsworth.

Vintage Mason Pearson brush resting on a box on a white background

An iconic Mason Pearson brush, in all its unboxed glory.

(Image credit: Mason Pearson)

A flat brush, meanwhile, can help add scalp stimulation and shine without damage. "Moving the brush from the scalp distributes the oils down the hair shaft, creating the perfect end result of soft shiny strands," she adds.

  • Price

Boar bristle brushes are often expensive, but there are good reasons for that. Besides the fact that they're often handcrafted and generally take more effort to build than their synthetic counterparts, boar bristles aren't an unlimited resource—especially when they're being ethically sourced. "When choosing a brush, always consider the quality of the product," says Aguirre.

Is a Boar Bristle Brush Right for My Hair Type?

While boar bristle brushes are incredibly gentle and suitable for all hair types, certain people can reap the benefits more than others. "Using a boar bristle brush is great with finer hair. It allows you to get good tension without ripping the hair," shares Aguirre. If your hair is coarser, you'll want to make sure the brush is outfitted with reinforced bristles so you can receive the tension you need while still smoothing the cuticle. "The reinforcing bristles are typically nylon which will [also] help distribute your hair's natural oil," she adds.

girl using emi jay boar bristle brush in the bathroom

Boar bristle brushes can be used both to slick back hair styles or create bouncy blowouts.

(Image credit: Emi Jay)

How Often Should You Use a Boar Bristle Brush

The general consensus is that you should brush your hair twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. "Brushing regularly helps stimulate growth while increasing blood flow to your hair follicles," says Michael. "It also adds natural shine throughout your hair and removes impurities from the environment like dust and dirt."

How to Use a Boar Bristle Brush

"Brush your hair from the scalp all the way to the ends to distribute the oils and stimulate the scalp in order to get the full benefit of the natural bristles and add longevity of your blow dry," adds Ellsworth. Hogan also notes that your hair should be dry .

Meet the Experts

Julius Michael Headshot
Julius Michael

Julius Michael is a trailblazer in the beauty industry, setting the bar high for new trends. Celebrities rely on Julius to help them create their glamorous style. Julius is known for his mastery of color, highlights, and Balayage. He is also sought after for his original, virtually undetectable, permanent or clip-on hair extensions. Julius’s signature looks can be seen on television and at red carpet events from coast to coast and internationally.

Julius has more than 18 years experience, including working with Rita Hazan and Oribe Hair Salon.

Shelly Aguirre Headshot
Shelly Aguirre

Shelly Aguirre’s hard-working, positive and upbeat personality make her one of Chicago’s most sought-after stylists and salon educators. Prior to joining Maxine, she spent 12 years teaching classes at salons and working major trade shows throughout the United States. She is skilled at precision haircutting, hair extensions and is certified and specializes in Great Lengths and Klix techniques as well as Keratin smoothing treatments.   

la bonne brosse logo
Flore des Robert and Pauline Laurent

After fifteen years in the corporate world, Flore des Robert and Pauline Laurent wanted to experience another way of doing business that would be based on trust, taking their time and having fun at every stage of the creative process. At the beginning, they didn’t think they could do it but every day they get closer to believing that it might be possible!

They are convinced that brushing your hair is one of the best ways to prove to your head and body that you are attentive to their needs. Take some time each evening for a ritual that not only relieves the tensions of the day but also has the unique power to make your hair more youthful and more beautiful.

Katelyn Ellsworth Headshot
Katelyn Ellsworth

Prepare to be blown away by the incredible talent and expertise of Katelyn Ellsworth, one of San Diego's top stylists and founder of The Roslyn salon in the heart of Little Italy. With over 18 years of experience in the industry, a Bachelor's Degree in Business from Cal State San Marcos, and certification as a UNITE trainer, Katelyn is a true master of her craft. Her dynamic and creative approach to hair has earned her a cult following both in the local community and around the world. As a senior educator for global brands, Katelyn is at the forefront of the latest trends and techniques, making her the go-to stylist for anyone looking to elevate their look.

Hope Hogan Headshot
Hope Hogan

Hope Hogan is a hairstylist and blow dry expert. An appointment with Hope Hogan begins with an escape to the bowl starting with a cleansing shampoo, transcendent scalp massage, and ending with a serene conditioning experience. Enhancements are designed to customize your hair needs further and are a beautiful addition to your signature experience.

Freelance Writer

Sophia Vilensky is a freelance beauty writer at Marie Claire, where she writes about the latest and greatest skincare launches, hair colors, and Cardi B manicures. Her work can also be found at Byrdie, Bravo, and Us Weekly. You can find her on Instagram @sophiavilensky.