From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

A hairbrush is a stick brush with rigid or soft bristles used in hair care for smoothing, styling, and detangling human hair, or for grooming an animal's fur. It can also be used for styling with a curling iron or blowdryer.

United States history[edit]

Julienne Mathieu's hair being brushed, then combed and styled in the 1908 film El hotel eléctrico.

The earliest U.S. patent for a modern hairbrush was by Hugh Rock in 1854.[1] A brush with elastic wire teeth along with natural bristles, was patented by Samuel Firey in 1870 as U.S. Patent 106,680. In 1898, Lyda A. Newman invented an "Improved Hairbrush," which allowed for easily cleaning and had bristles separated wide enough to allow for easy combing. She was awarded U.S. Patent 614,335.[2][3][4]

Human use[edit]

A brush is typically used on long hair while a comb is normally used on shorter hair; however, both may be used for either. A flat brush is normally used for detangling hair, for example after sleep or showering. A round brush can be used for styling and curling hair, especially by a professional stylist, often with a blowdryer. A paddle brush is used to straighten hair, flatten long hair, and tame fly-aways. A hairbrush can be used to remove loose hairs, and increase circulation to the scalp.[citation needed] For babies, many bristle materials are not suitable due to the hardness; some synthetic materials and horsehair/goat hair bristles are appropriate.

Animal use[edit]

Special brushes are made for cats and dogs. Two different brushes can be made specifically for either short haired pets, or long haired pets. For an equine's tougher hair, a curry-comb is used.


A cushion boar-bristle hairbrush is used to detangle hair.
A round hairbrush is sometimes used to style medium length hair with a blowdryer.

Examples of brushes used for different purposes:

  • Cushion brush: used to straighten tidy and neat hair and gives it a professional look.
  • Paddle brush: used for untidy and unkempt hair which is hard to manage.
  • Round brush: used for neat hair; the brush curls hair at the ends.
  • Comb: mostly used for shorter hair. Combs can also be used for hair decoration.
  • Facial hair comb: mostly used for facial hair. Facial hair combs are typically used to style mustaches and/or goatees.
  • Detangler brush: Mostly used to detangle hair knots.


Common materials used for the handle are ebony, rosewood, New Guinea rosewood, beech, ABS plastic, polyacetal. Common materials used for bristles include boar bristle, horsehair, nylon, stainless steel and goat hair.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ US Design Patent #D645
  2. ^ David M. Foy (2 February 2012). Great Discoveries and Inventions by African-Americans: Fourth Edition. AuthorHouse. pp. 63–64. ISBN 978-1-4685-2435-2. 
  3. ^ Evia L. Davis (1999). African American Awareness for Young Children: A Curriculum. Good Year Books. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-673-58645-2. 
  4. ^ "Lyda Newman". Famous Women Inventors. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 

External links[edit]