Round brushes aren’t brand new on the market, but they are enjoying many years of popularity and are still as popular as ever. With new technology, they’ve evolved into heated brushes and manual brushes with added technology for the power blow-dry. However, if you’re unfamiliar with what all of the different types actually do, you’ll want to read our detailed round brush guide.
Some of the round brushes available blow hot air through vented channels down the body of the brush, others don’t blow hot air at all, with their bristles acting as the heat conductor and styling feature. Some are completely manual, with bristles – no mechanics involved at all!
There are also those that combine all these features including heating up bristles and blowing hot air. Which are the right types for what you need and how do you use them? We’ll give you all the hot round brush advice you need along with some of the best available to buy so you choose the right one for your hair type.
The Three Different Types of Round Brush
There are three different types of round brush and all are different to a flat brush because they are especially designed for curly hair or for achieving curls, whereas flat hair brushes do not create curls, they only glide through hair, or help to straighten it out.
- Simple Manual Round Brush – consists of bristles, a handle and no power-heat technology. You can use this one on damp or dry hair.
- Hot Brush – this looks like a manual round brush but comes with a power cord. You switch this one on and the barrel/and/or/bristles heat up to temperature. There is usually a variable temperature setting. The heat comes from the bristles and/or barrel and sets the hair into curls. You can only use this one on dry hair.
- Hot Air Brush – this looks like the aforementioned except it blows hot air through a vented channel down the middle of the body. It is also controlled using temperature and speed settings, usually positioned on the handle. You can use this on damp hair. Some of these types of hot air brushes have heated bristles too.
What Size Round Brush is Best For My Hair Type?
For short hair, choose a slim round brush, for long hair or thick hair, choose a larger barrel. However, if you want to achieve bubble curls in mid-length hair or longer, choose a slim barrel. Fine hair won’t work with very large barrels, choose slim to medium size.
You might find you need a couple of different size brushes, dependent on the size of curl you want to achieve.
What are the Most Popular Bristle Types and the Difference?
Flexible bristles are best for movement, as they grip the hair without snagging or pulling. However, you won’t find flexible bristles on all round brushes. Hot brushes tend to have rigid bristles made out of ceramic or a similar coating. These are good for heat conduction and for setting curls into already dry hair.
Boar bristles or natural bristles are good for manual round brushes as they are gentle on hair, they won’t pull or break it and help to detangle hair. They are also good for distributing natural oils over hair evenly, so it appears shiny.
Should I Choose a Heated Round Brush or a Manual Round Brush?
They both do different things. A manual round brush is good for styling with a hairdryer but you don’t need a manual round brush if you buy a heated brush (blow dry style or with heated bristles) as they should achieve the same finish. However, you might want to buy a slim manual brush to achieve small curls if you have a large barrel blow-dry brush. The latter is better for big blow dry styles rather than smaller, defined curls. Hairdressers always have a variety of both in their kits.
How to Use a Round Brush
Using a round brush is easy when you know how:
Manual Round Brush
This should be used with your hairdryer. Once you’ve washed and conditioned your hair, comb it through, apply a heat protecting spray and rough dry your hair so it is damp, then:
- Section out your hair and start at the back, unwinding the lowest section.
- Then using the round brush, wind the hair from the tip up to the root while applying heat with the dryer. Never hold the nozzle directly onto the brush.
- You will need to repeat this action until the section is dry, then pin the curl to your head before moving onto the next section.
- Repeat all over the head until every section is complete.
- Finally, release all the curls and smooth on some serum to keep the curls shiny and frizz-free.
- You can also use a round brush on dry hair to revive your style in between washes. Follow the same principles above.
Hot Blow-Dry Round Brush
Use instead of a hairdryer and manual round brush, here’s how to use it:
- Wash and condition your hair.
- Comb it through to remove any tangles and apply a heat protecting spray.
- You might want to let your hair air dry until it is just damp or use a hair dryer to get most of the moisture out of it.
- Then split your hair into sections and start at the back.
- Using the air styler wind the hair around it from tip to root and apply the heat. Within one or two passes your hair should produce a beautiful curl.
- Pin the curl to your head and repeat with the rest of the sections until complete.
- Finally release the curls and smooth on some serum to add extra shine.
- The hot brush is ideal to use in between washes to revive your hair style and can definitely be used on dry hair.
Heated Round Brush
This should never be used on wet hair and is not a blow dry brush:
- Wash and condition your hair as normal.
- Comb it through and apply a heat protecting spray.
- Either let your hair air dry completely or use a hair dryer but never attempt to use a heated round brush on wet hair because you will damage your hair.
- Section out your hair and start at the nape of your neck.
- Switch on your heated brush and allow it to heat up to the desired temperature (it is better to start on a lower temperature and gradually raise it to the right temperature for your hair type, low for fine hair, medium for medium thick hair and high for coarse, very thick hair).
- Then wind your hair around the barrel of your heated round brush and move the brush from tip to root.
- Release the curl and pin it to your head.
- Repeat the same process all over your hair until you are finished.
- Next, unpin the curls and separate them with your fingers if you want to.
- Apply some serum to boost shine and you’re ready to go!
What Popular Hair Styles Can I Achieve With a Round Brush?
Whichever brush you choose, always use a heat protectant before styling It’s also best to section out curls, so you don’t miss any areas out!
- Bubble curls, use a small manual round brush and style from damp.
- For big, bouncy blow drying, use a big manual round brush with a hair dryer and move the brush up and down the hair length while applying heat. When you’ve dried a section, leave the round brush in and move to another section (it helps to have a couple of brushes). This sets the style for longer. When you’ve finished the next section, leave that brush in and unwind the brush from the previous section – pin back the curl. Repeat all over the head for big, bouncy, loopy curls
- To achieve a big blow dry, use a blow-dry manual round brush and dry as you normally would using the brush but without using a blow dryer. When you’ve dried a section, pin it back to set the curl.
- For in-between styling, the heated round brush (without blow drying feature) is good for adding curls to dry hair. Use the correct temperature; wind hair around the brush, allow it to set, unwind, pin curl back to the head and repeat all-over the rest of the head.
Our Top Regular Round Brushes
The BIO IONIC large round brush which features excellent ventilation around the body and lots of flexible bristles that are well-spaced to allow for tangle removal and good control. This brush is fine to use on damp hair as well as dry hair and is ideal for large, voluminous blow drying although it’s not recommended for short styles due to its size.
The brush has been infused with Nanolonic minerals, good for adding shine and naturally conditioning the hair. It’s also a good brush for eliminating static and frizz. Used by professional hairdressers everywhere, while it’s not cheap, it is very effective as a styling tool.
For a slightly smaller large round brush, we like the Chi Turbo. This brush has a ceramic barrel which is great for conducting heat when used in conjunction with a hair dryer. It’s also an excellent detangler and perfect for shoulder length or longer hair. The handle is non-slip, so it’s comfortable to use and you won’t drop it when you’re styling. Suitable for any hair type, it’s a good brush for frizz control and flyaway control plus the ceramic barrel speeds up blow-drying time as it retains heat.
This slim round brush is good for smaller curls and shorter styles. The brush has a ceramic/titanium oxide coating which is designed to be kinder to hair, reducing damage. It is also an excellent detangler and perfect for any hair type, whether fine or thick. The brush seals the hair’s cuticles so it feels soft, light and shiny.
The bristles are made out of nylon but the added titanium/ceramic coating gives the brush ionic technology so moisture is locked into every strand. It’s also an excellent scalp massager which is vital for encouraging circulation in the area and stimulating hair growth.
The T3 Micro Gravity Barrel Brush (2.5”) is good for mid-length to longer styles as it has a larger barrel suited to voluminous blow dries. The barrel is ceramic and tourmaline, both good heat conductors so the brush retains heat when used with a blow dryer. Excellent for adding plenty of body, the brush removes frizz and static while encouraging plenty of gloss. Added benefits include a non-slip and easy-grip handle for wrist comfort.
The mid-size Solano Thermal Round Brush (44mm diameter) is designed with excellent ventilation and evenly-spaced bristles for a tangle-free experience. The barrel is made out of ceramic with tourmaline and has the added benefit of ionic technology, great for banishing frizz and static hair. Hair is left silky-smooth with big, voluminous curls. The handle has a special gel around the grip, designed to reduce wrist ached and make it a comfortable blow-dry experience.
Round brushes are extremely useful but many people aren’t sure what the best ones are or how to use them! Actually they are very easy to use but it is important to buy the right type of round brush. Buy a cheap product and you risk damaging your hair. You could pull it unnecessarily or perhaps put too much pressure on it, causing it to snap or break. We have a list of the top three round brushes that we wouldn’t be without and we’ve also included a useful short guide to show you how to use them to get the best results.
This brush is a regular round brush that is made using boar bristles. Boar bristles are very good for encouraging sheen as they are completely natural. They are gentle, won’t snag or pull hair so when you see boar bristles, they’re a sign of good quality. These brushes are used by professional hairdressers all over the world; they give good lift to hair and are easy to control.
The Dianyi is a great brush to use for blow drying as it allows great ventilation; air circulates really well so helps the hair to dry faster and gives you good control when styling. This brush has a wooden handle, which is gentle on the wrist and it’s lightweight too. With anti-static technology and anti-bacterial elements the brush is a great curling brush for delivering plenty of volume and big, bouncy curls.
Our Top Heated Round Brushes
The CHI Amplitude heated brush features a mid-size barrel (1 ¼”) suitable for mid length hair. This brush is made out of tourmaline and ceramic with a thermal sleeve and uses infrared heat so there’s less static for a smooth, shiny salon finish. This brush is good for adding volume and body but will also smooth out your hair if you want it to. With ionic technology too, every strand is locked with hydration so it looks glossy and healthy.
At the high-end of the round brush market is the Amika Blowout Brush. The Amika promises a just-left-the-salon look. Using lots of hot air it creates large, shiny and bouncy curls full of body and volume. The brush is made out of thermal ceramic so it retains heat well and conducts it evenly. It’s also ionic, so no more frizz or static and the extra-long swivel cord makes styling a breeze. With multiple heat settings and a flashing on/off light it’s well worth the extra money as it works fast to achieve the curls you dream of!
This 1 ¼ ” large barrel heated round brush by Conair is the ideal travel-buddy because it is dual voltage. Slim enough for small curls yet large enough for mid-length hair, it’s a good all-round choice. The product creates long-lasting curls and the turbo heat feature makes styling extra-quick, the product heats up in less than one minute!
There are also 25 different heat settings to choose from so there’s something for everyone and the auto-shut off button means you don’t have to worry about overheating or burnt surfaces. This is excellent for the budget-conscious hair styling addict.
This is a hot round brush which means it blows hot air while you style it. It looks like a round brush but has a power cord. It has a series of switches on the handle to control temperature and speed. This type of brush is to use instead of a hairdryer and round brush and dries hair from damp. With ionic technology and a titanium/ceramic-coated barrel it’s a good heat conductor and you’ll find that this brush locks moisture into every strand so keeping hair looking hydrated.
It also prevents flyaway and guards against frizz. Used properly, you can achieve a salon quality blow dry and it works very fast to dry hair. There are two different heat settings and an additional cool shot setting to really hold your style in place. The swivel cord allows you to really get to hard-to-reach areas.
Here’s another heated round brush, by Calista. This one is only for use on dry hair because it doesn’t blow out hot air, the barrel and bristles heat up to style hair. There is a variable temperature setting, from 325 degrees Fahrenheit to 395 degrees Fahrenheit and it’s a good brush to use on all hair types, from fine hair to very thick hair.
You wind hair around the brush and it emits heat to set hair into curls, then you unwind your hair to reveal defined looking curls that last. With ionic technology, hair looks shiny and bouncy without frizz or flyaway. There’s also an LCD display which flickers until it reaches desired temperature. This brush is very effective for achieving salon-style curls.