What is a Curling Brush?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A curling brush can also be called a bristle curling iron, and it’s an electric device that uses heat and technique to produce curls. While the normal curling iron has a clamp that keeps hair in place as the iron is rolled up into the hair, the curling brush lacks this. In place of the clamp the iron section is surrounded by bristles and looks like a round brush. There are several companies that manufacture these, and some women prefer them to irons.

Curling brushes can create a soft-curl effect.
Curling brushes can create a soft-curl effect.

A few things can be said about the curling brush, in general. It doesn’t produce extremely tight curls and it may be frustrating for use for anyone who desires that type of precision. Instead the brush is best for softer and looser curls. It can be excellent for things like curling under to achieve a round bob look, or for producing mass, voluminous waves in the hair.

Stylists might be able to recommend different brushes that are ideal depending on a person's kind of hair.
Stylists might be able to recommend different brushes that are ideal depending on a person's kind of hair.

One issue with the curling brush that seldom occurs with an iron is that it’s possible to occasionally get the brush stuck in the hair. Sectioning off hair with some clips can be a potential remedy. A little heat resistant mousse may also make sense. Beyond that, care in rolling and unrolling the brush is needed. The brush shouldn’t be pulled out of the hair, but should be unrolled gently to minimize this risk.

Each curling brush may differ in amount of hair it’s reasonable to wrap around the iron, and amount of time it takes to achieve a good curl. Very thin brushes should use less hair, and thicker ones may only take a few seconds to work. Looking at instructions can help and it usually takes some experimenting to figure out the most desirable curling time and hair amount. Over-wrapping the brush with hair can bring up the issue of getting hair stuck, and it will also take longer to curl the hair.

Curling brushes may come with different features. Some have removable and interchangeable bristle sets that can be used for different kinds of curls. Others use popular methods of heating like ion or ceramic, which are both championed as more effective. A few brushes could be small and easy to pack when traveling.

Given their popularity, shopping for a curling brush is typically a cinch. Beauty supply stores carry them, as do many drug and department stores. Much more variety can be found online. People might ask some expert advice from hair stylists, who may have favorite brushes they’ve used professionally. Many models are inexpensive and could cost about $10-30 US Dollars (USD), but ceramic, ion or professional grade brushes can cost more.

It’s possible to view any round brush as a curling brush. Using a blow dryer and fairly constant hand action to sweep and then roll up the hair, the same types of curls may be achievable. This usually takes greater technique than a curling brush requires and may be harder on the arms.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


You aren't kidding Rundocuri! I got a hot air curing brush stuck in my hair once, and it was scary and frustrating. I had to wait until the brush cooled down to try to remove it, but it was too tangled. I ended up getting an unplanned hair cut. A good tip to follow is that if you get a hot curling brush tangled in your hair, don't panic but unplug it right away before attempting to get it out.


I'm glad that this article touches on the fact that you can get a curling brush stuck in your hair. This is more of a risk if you have long hair that wraps around this type of brush several times. It's also potentially dangerous if you get a hot curling brush stuck in your hair.

Post your comments
Forgot password?