What is a Sculpting Brush?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2019
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A sculpting brush is a type of hairbrush used to add volume to hairstyles. Particularly useful for back-combing or use on short hair, the sculpting brush can be made out of a variety of materials and is usually fairly inexpensive. It is a versatile and useful brush, and is considered by many to be a hair care essential.

Typically, a sculpting brush is medium-sized, with a rectangular bristle base. The bristles are plentiful and are great for holding hair in place while you blow-dry or apply styling products. Some sculpting brushes use criss-crossed bristles in order to add additional volume and catch more individual hairs. It is considered best for use with textured or layered hair cuts, as it helps to emphasize choppy or razor-cut ends.

The sculpting brush is excellent for creating volume, especially in short or layered hair. The method most commonly used when trying to add volume is called back-combing. To back-comb your hair, take a small section and use your sculpting brush to brush the top inch or two in the opposite of its natural direction. When you lay the section back down, it will naturally puff up slightly, giving the illusion of volume. To hold the style, you may wish to use a styling product, such as styling mousse or a volumizing hairspray.


Backcombing is best achieved with a sculpting brush, but there are several components to getting the look exactly right. Make sure you brush only the top portion of the hair strands, as back combing the entire piece of hair will result in frizz and loss of definition. Be certain you continue to use the same method of combing over your entire head, in order to achieve uniformity. Using a brush with lots of bristles will also help catch fine or flyaway pieces of hair. Backcombed hair can be sculpted into a variety of styles, from texturized up-dos to 1980s retro fauxhawks.

Many hair care companies carry at least one sculpting brush, and they are available at beauty supply stores as well as online. Bristles tend to be made from nylon or rubber, with a similar base, rather than natural fibers. Using synthetic materials helps keep the style from becoming frizzy rather than voluminous, and help maintain definition between hair sections. Prices for these brushes vary, but most cost between $5-$20 US Dollars. If you have short hair or a particularly textured cut, a sculpted brush could become your most essential styling tool.


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Post 6

My hairstylist has the most interesting hair. It is cut into choppy layers, and the strands in front are long, while the back is short and voluminous.

I have long hair that hangs down straight because of its weight, so I am fascinated by the volume that short hair can have when styled right. I always thought that people had to tease their roots to get body, but I was wrong.

My stylist said that teasing is very damaging to the hair shaft. She was appalled when I asked her if she teased her hair. She told me about backcombing and sculpting brushes.

I found it hard to believe that such a simple technique using only a hairbrush could achieve results, so she showed me on a mannequin head. It amazed me that it worked!

Post 5

I worked as a news anchor for my local television station for many years. There is a certain hairdo that most female news anchors share, and a sculpting brush is necessary for styling it.

Like several women in the business, I have a layered bob that I style to have lots of volume. The short layers help, because when I backcomb them, they really fluff up.

I find that using mousse helps to lock in my style. Mousse is light enough that it doesn't weigh my hair down, but something about it makes short hair hold onto its style.

Post 4

I have been using a natural bristle brush for years, and my hair has been so frizzy! I just assumed that my hair had changed texture, but after reading this article, I know that I need to get a synthetic bristle brush.

My hair comes down to the middle of my neck, and it is naturally wavy. I have been using anti-frizz products ever since I bought that brush. What a waste! I wish I had known about synthetic bristle sculpting brushes years ago.

I intend to go out and buy one today. I could definitely use some volume instead of flyaway fluffiness!

Post 3

@tigers88 – It depends on how short your hair is. If your hair is shorter than shoulder length, then a sculpting brush should do the trick. If it is shoulder length or longer, then you may need additional help. Either way, a sculpting brush is helpful to have on hand.

When I had shoulder length hair, I used Velcro rollers and a sculpting brush. I would brush back the roots, and then I would roll my hair in sections around the rollers and pin them in place with hair clips. After twenty minutes, I would take my hair down, and it would have a lot more volume than when I used the brush alone.

Post 2

I have always had kind of flat and thin hair for a girl. I have also always been something of a tomboy. As a result, I never really learned how to take care of my hair.

Now that I am grown up and trying to enter professional life, I've realized that I need to be more conscious of my look. I would like to add some volume to my hair but I am not sure what is the best and easiest way. Is a sculpting brush the way to go or do I need to use some kind of product?

Post 1

I like the big hair look and a sculpting brush is crucial for my daily hair routine. I actually keep one in my purse with me at all times. It has come in handy so many times when I get to one or two in the afternoon and realize that my hair has gone flat. It might seem vain, but if you want to look a certain way you have to maintain that look. I'd rather feel good about my appearance than feel like it is slowly wearing off as the day goes on.

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