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Comprehensive Guide to the Denman Brush for Curly Hair

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Guide to the Denman brush for curly hair

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With curly hair, many products on the market promise to give you the perfect locks. The iconic Denman brush for curly hair is one of them, but how do you know if it is right for you? This comprehensive guide will tell you all you need to know about the Denman brush for curly hair. 

A Denman brush for curly hair is a type of hairbrush with rows of relatively firm plastic pins spread evenly. It is perfect for detangling and reducing frizz and breakage. The brush also helps to separate and shape your hair, resulting in defined and bouncy curls. 

Whether you’re a curly veteran or just starting your journey, this guide will answer all your questions, from how the Denman brush works to how you should use it. We also provide you with multiple suggestions for the best Denman brush for your curly hair. 

Different Denman Brushes for Curly Hair  

Image of Pinterest pin titled "Denman brushes for curly hair."

I have tried multiple Denman brushes throughout my journey. With several curly hair family members and experience, I’ve learned what works best. Below is an extensive list of suggestions for thick and fine hair so you can choose your hair type, budget, needs, and preferences. 

D6 Be Bop Handy Detangler Brush   

The D6 Be Bop is perfect for massaging the scalp and detangling hair. The pins are flexible and have a round end, allowing for simple product distribution throughout the hair. I have found that it works best for thicker hair as it is a larger brush, albeit it is advertised for all hair types. 

Pros: Waterproof for bath and shower use

Cons: Weak handle

Hair Type: 2 – 3B

D81M The Finisher   

This brush is perfect for adding shine to hair and brushing out coils. It is a smaller brush and works best for thicker types. My favorite part about this brush when trying it out was that it is super lightweight, making it easy for everyday use and traveling.

Pros: Great for wet styling

Cons: Can tug on coarser hair types

Hair Type: 2 – 3

D200 Skeleton Vent   

This brush is ideal for adding volume and shaping and works best on thicker hair due to the wide bristles with its smaller design. I appreciated the airflow of the brush as it helps to eliminate static. I was also pleasantly surprised that it was super gentle on my scalp.

Pros: It can be used for dry and wet styling

Cons: Small in size

Hair Type: Any

D90 Tangle Tamer Ultra Mini   

A small, wet, and dry detangling hairbrush that is comfortable to hold and maneuver. This brush was also a game-changer to use on my kid’s hair. But I do find that even though it is meant for thicker hair, it can sometimes tug and break the hair. It works best on medium textures.

Pros: Works on wet and dry hair

Cons: Not great for mixed-race hair

Hair Type: Any

Denman Tangle Tamer Ultra (Pink) Detangling Paddle Brush
$19.40 $18.09 ($18.09 / Count)

Buy at Amazon
03/21/2024 11:54 am GMT

D93M Tangle Tamer Gentle   

This is your typical Denman design. It works for fragile locks, delicate scalps, and thin hair. This smaller-size Denman is my favorite for kids with curly hair. I love that you can use it on wet and dry hair, making the haircare process much quicker and simpler.

Pros: Gentle on the scalp and strands

Cons: Does not work on thick hair

Hair Type: 3C – 4

D3 Original Styler 7 Row  

This brush is Denman’s most popular product. It’s the ideal hairbrush for blowing dry and smoothing hair while defining curls. I love that it works with thicker locks and is the easiest brush to clean. It doesn’t rip out my hair and glides through my curls without messing them up.

Pros: Easy for traveling

Cons: Bristles can be flimsy

Hair Type: 2 – 3A

D14 Mini Styler 5 Row 

The smallest hairdressing Denman brush for on-the-go styling. This is my brush of choice when traveling. It can target specific areas, such as the crown or nape, and works great on fine hair. I found it interesting that it is easy to use in styling a fringe or bangs.

Pros: Significantly defines curls

Cons: Too small for daily use

Hair Type: 2C – 4C

D38 Power Paddle   

This Denman works best for thick hair and is a larger brush. It is your game-changer brush that will make dealing with tangles a breeze. Once I found this one, I knew I could never go back. I invested in this one for my whole family because it conveniently works on all hair types and textures.

Pros: Helps with blood circulation and hair growth

Cons: Bristles can get loose quickly

Hair Type: Any

D4 Original Styler 9-Row   

This is a large brush for styling and smoothing thick hair and defining curls. It also helps bring back bounce to heavier curls that tend to fall loose with weight. I love that it is a narrower brush, making travel easier. It provides a shape definition and works whether my hair is short or long.

Pros: High quality and long-lasting

Cons: Can be small for very thick hair

Hair Type: 2 – 4C

D31 Freeflow Styler 7 Row  

This 3-in-1 Denman brush is a fantastic option to create volume, define curls, and detangle thick hair. If there’s a wet brush you want to own, I would recommend this option. The noteworthy mention here is that I found it worked best if my hair was really et when styling.

Pros: High-quality bristles

Cons: Not for very thick hair

Hair Type: 2 – 3

D83 Paddle  

The Paddle Denman can be used for all hair types and lengths but tends to favor thicker strands. I’m certain this brush will stay with me the longest and outlast the rest. My biggest compliment of this brush is that it manages to speed up the process of drying and styling.

Pros: Multiple uses (styling, drying, detangling, etc.)

Cons: Large size

D90L Tangle Tamer Ultra  

A large wet and dry detangling brush for long and thick hair. Its ergonomic shape will help provide optimum control with a comfortable grip. I find that this brush can tangle longer and thicker strands if you don’t section your hair. Keep that in mind if you are trying to detangle.

Pros: Works on wet and dry hair

Cons: Cannot be used with a hairdryer

Hair Type: 2 and 3

D84 Small Paddle Cushion Brush  

This brush can be used in multiple ways: blow-styling, styling, straightening, detangling wet and dry hair, and creating a smooth finish for thicker hair and those with longer strands. I noticed that this brush adds volume to my hair. The downfall: the bristle bobs go missing and then hurt my scalp.

Pros: Ergonomic handle for ease of use

Cons: Low bristle quality

Hair Type: 2 and 3

D92 Edge Tamer   

The Denman Edge Tamer is ideal for taming those pesky flyaways or laying down your edges. This is an excellent option to help smooth and shape edges. I have also used this brush to curl those stubborn sections that fall or get loose. It works wonders as a refresher brush.

Pros: Compact for traveling

Cons: It cannot be used to brush through long, thick hair.

Hair Type: 3C and 4

Denman Hairbrush Cleaning Brush   

Your hairbrush always needs cleaning, and this one is a must-have tool for anyone with a Denman brush, especially if you have curly hair and use many products that cause buildup. Its multiple functions make it a convenient and versatile product, unlike other types that only have one system.

Pros: 3-way cleaner for multi-usage

Cons: Can be hard to clean

Choosing The Best Denman Brush for Your Curls 

With so many different Denman brush options on the market, how do you choose the right one for your hair? 

Factors to consider when choosing the right brush: 

Hair Type 

There are different curly hair types. If you have fine, thin hair, you’ll want to choose a smaller Denman brush. These can be used for both wet and dry hair. Those with thick, curly hair will benefit from a larger Denman brush. 


Opt for a Denman brush with widely spaced pins to create defined, bouncy curls. Choose a Denman brush with closely spaced pins for a sleeker, more polished look. 


Denman brushes range from $10 to $38 (depending on where you shop). You can find a good quality Denman brush for under $20 on a tight budget. 

How to Use A Denman Brush On Curly Hair 

If you already own a Denman brush or are contemplating purchasing one and are curious about its functionality and how to use it with different curl patterns, we’ll guide you through the process for each hair texture below.

Using a Denman brush on curly hair is relatively simple. Follow these steps: 

  • Start with clean, damp hair after evenly distributing it with a leave-in conditioner or your favorite styling product. 
  • Use your Denman detangling brush to remove any knots or tangles in your hair. Brush through small sections of hair using gentle strokes. Start from the bottom and work your way up.  
  • Once you have brushed your hair, you can style it as usual. You can also use a diffuser to help define your curls. 
  • Whether you have straight or curly hair, a Denman brush can be a great way to add volume and texture. Just be sure to use it correctly to get the best results. 

Check out this YouTube video by Jayme Jo:

Your hair type will also play a significant role in using a Denman brush. Here are some tips based on different hair types: 

Denman Brush for Wavy Fine Hair  

In this YouTube video, India demonstrates using the D3 brush for wavy hair to create a curl definition.

Denman Brush for Curly Hair 

In this YouTube video, Alicia shares how she uses the classic D3 Denman brush and how to use it for curl definition.

Denman Brush for Coily Hair

In this YouTube video, Tierra shares how she uses the Denman brush to achieve the best definition for tighter curls.

YouTube video

History of The Denman Brush 

The Denman brush (specifically the Denman D3 Original Styler) was invented by John Denman Dean in 1938. Dean was a Northern Ireland entrepreneur introduced to Nylon material and figured out how to use it to create this type of hairbrush. 

The popular Vidal Sassoon’s hairdressing revolution in the 1960s truly established the Denman and ‘hairdressers’ hairbrush. The Denman D3 Original Styler was ideal for creating Sassoon haircuts like the iconic asymmetric Mary Quant bob

The original Denman brush was a hit with hairdressers and soon became a must-have tool in salons worldwide. Today, Denman brushes are still widely used by hairdressers and are available in various sizes and styles. 

Denman Brush Benefits 

The Denman brush does not fall short in what it offers to curly hair. Here are the benefits of using a Denman brush for curly hair:

Less Breakage: The bristles on a Denman brush are spaced further apart than those on a traditional hairbrush. This allows the brush to glide through the hair without snagging or pulling, which can lead to breakage. 

Reduced Frizz: The Denman brush can help to reduce frizz by evenly distributing the natural oils from the scalp throughout the hair. 

Increased Shine: The Denman brush can also help create a sleek, polished look by smoothing down the hair cuticles

Detangling: The Denman brush is designed to detangle hair, making it an excellent option for curly or unruly locks that tangle easily. 

Design: The weight, shape, and durable yet flexible nylon pins provide enough tension to easily create curls. The Denman brush is less likely to cause breakage than traditional hairbrushes, making it a safer option for those with delicate curls. 

Uniformity and Definition: The Denman brush can help to create uniformity in your curls, which can be challenging to achieve with other brushes. It also creates more defined ringlets and improves bounce. 

How to Get the Most Benefits from a Denman Brush 

When you invest in a product or tool for your hair, you want to get the most out of it. Here are a few more suggestions: 

  • Use it on wet curls. Wet hair is more likely to break, and you don’t want to damage your locks, so be gentle when detangling your hair and don’t rush through it. 
  • Use a conditioner or leave it in the conditioner before brushing. 
  • Brush/detangle hair in small sections, especially for those with longer hair lengths.
  • Brush from the bottom to the top, with the pins pointing up. 
  • When you remove the brush from your hair, twist the curl around the brush a quarter turn to get the perfect curl. 

Note: If you’re experiencing a lot of discomfort when brushing and your hair is breaking, the Denman brush is probably not the best fit for you, or you may need to try a different one. 

How To Clean Your Denman Brush 

As any hairstylist will tell you, keeping your tools clean is essential for maintaining healthy hair.

Here’s how to clean your Denman brush: 

  1. First, remove loose hair from the brush using the Denman Hairbrush Cleaning Brush
  2. Then, soak the bristles in warm water for about 5 minutes.  
  3. Next, add a small amount of shampoo to the pins and work it into a lather. Make sure to clean the handle and the back of the brush. 
  4. Rinse the brush thoroughly with warm water and remove any excess water. Keep the brush away from direct heat and sunlight. 
  5. Finally, allow the brush to air dry before using it again.

How to Replace Denman Brush Pins 

Over time, the pins in your Denman brush can become worn down or damaged. If this happens, you can purchase an extra Denman brush to replace them yourself.  

Here’s how to replace the pins in your Denman brush: 

  1. Remove the old pins from the brush. 
  2. Then, insert the new pins into the brush. Ensure the pins are evenly spaced and pointing in the same direction. 
  3. Gently tap the pins into place. 

Why Do Curlies Modify Their Denman Brushes? 

Curlies modify their Denman brushes to get more definition in their curls, reduce frizz, increase shine, add volume, and detangle their hair. There are a few ways to modify Denman brushes. The most common way is to bend the pins. This can be done using either a pair of pliers or your fingers. 

Another way to modify a Denman brush is to cut the bristles. When a Denman brush is too big for your curls, you can cut the pins to a more manageable size for your hair. 

Finally, achieving fewer rows of pins on the brush will help with more definition.

Video credit: Tierra Hogan 

Denman Brush Myths 

Many myths surround the Denman brush. Some people believe that the Denman brush can cause damage to your hair, but this is debatable. The pins are very gentle and will not pull or tug on your hair (unless the hair is already damaged or you’re not using the brush properly). 

Another common myth is that the Denman brush is only for people with very curly hair. But the Denman brush can be used on any curl, from loose waves to tight coils. 


How Do You Avoid Hair Snagging with the Denman Brush?

Use the brush on wet hair with conditioner or leave-in conditioner before brushing to help protect your hair, or try switching to a brush with fewer rows. 

What’s the Difference Between D3 and D31 Denman Brush? 

The D3 brush has 7 rows of pins that are close together. The D31 has 7 rows of pins widely spaced into a half-round pad. 

What’s the Difference Between the D4 and D41 Denman Brush? 

The D4 brush has 9 rows of pins that are close together, which is ideal for defining curls on longer hair. The D41 brush also has 9 rows of pins with staggered bristles, suitable for detangling curls. 

What is The Best Denman Brush for Wavy Hair? 

The best Denman brushes for wavy hair will be the ones with rows of pins arranged close together to help define the hair pattern. Try the D3 or D4 brush. 

How Often Should I Replace my Denman Brush? 

If the bristles become damaged or if the pins become bent. 

What is The Best Denman Brush for Curly Hair? 

Curly hair will benefit from a Denman brush with pins spaced further apart to help avoid tangles. Try the D31 or D41 brush. For more definition, try the D3 or D4 brush. 

What is The Best Denman Brush for Coily Hair? 

The best Denman brush for coily hair will have pins spaced further apart to avoid tangles and reduce breakage. Try the D31 brush. 

Should I Use the D3 or D4 Denman Brush? 

If you have short to medium-length hair, the D3 with 7 rows of pins is a great option to add definition and shape. If you have long hair, the D4 is the best option, with 9 rows to add definition and shape while also helping to detangle your locks. 

Should I Use the D31 or D41 Denman Brush?  

If you have thick coily hair, the D31 or D41 brushes are great options. The D31 is perfect for detangling thick hair and coils. The D41 brush is ideal for defining and shaping curls and coils. 


I’m just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

My mission? To empower others with the tools to restore, and maintain healthy hair, and celebrate the hair they were born with!

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