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Curly hair is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. It could be super-defined one day and a frizzy concoction the next day – and it's never exactly the same from one head to another. Our mission is to equip you with the necessary tools for restoring and maintaining healthy locks and celebrating the hair you were born with! 

Comprehensive Guide to the Denman Brush for Curly Hair

July 29, 2022


Verna Meachum

Guide to the Denman brush for curly hair

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Curl care

I am highly experienced in the beauty industry and specialize in writing for brands and websites that focus on curly hair care. Moreover, I actually have curly hair and have curly-haired children with varying hair textures. I am also surrounded by curly-haired friends, including curly hairstylists and curly-haired family members. You get the point :) I’m well-versed in the language and nuances of curly hair care, styling tips, and product recommendations.

Furthermore, I collaborate with my friend who has a Ph.D. in organic and inorganic chemistry and works as an R&D Chemist to help us navigate through the misinformation around curly hair care. He advises us on Hair Care Science to ensure we are well-informed.

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Last Updated on April 11, 2023 by Verna Meachum

When it comes to curly hair, there are a lot of products on the market promising to give you the perfect locks. You may (or not) have heard of the iconic Denman brush for curly hair, but how do you know if it is right for you?

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about the different Denman brushes (there’s plenty of choices!), including how to use it, and as well as how to pick the right one for your curly hair type.

We’ll also dispel some of the myths surrounding the Denman brush, so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s the right tool for you.

Whether you’re a curlie veteran or just starting out, this guide has it all. We have a lot of information to cover, so let’s get started!

What is a Denman Brush?

While the Denman brush has been around for years, it has become increasingly popular in recent years as more curlies learn about its ability to help minimize frizz and give you defined, bouncy curls.

So what is a Denman brush?

A Denman brush is a type of hairbrush that has rows of plastic pins. These pins are spaced evenly apart and are relatively firm, which makes them ideal for detangling hair. While it may seem counterintuitive, the pins on a Denman brush help to separate and shape the hair, resulting in curly, defined locks.

History Of The Denman Brush

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

It was the popular Vidal Sassoon’s hairdressing revolution in the 1960s that truly established the Denman and ‘hairdressers’ hairbrush.

The Denman D3 Original Styler was an ideal instrument 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 around the world.

Today, Denman brushes are still widely used by hairdressers and are available in a variety of sizes and styles.

Denman Brush Benefits

There are many benefits to using a Denman brush, including:

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 to create a sleek, polished look by smoothing down the hair cuticle.

Detangling: The Denman brush is specifically designed to detangle hair, making it a great option for those with curly or unruly locks.

Why Should You Use A Denman Brush On Curly Hair?

Frizz is a characteristic of curly hair that most people struggle with. The Denman brush can be a great option for those with curly hair, as it can help to reduce frizz, add shine, and detangle the hair.

In addition, the Denman brush’s weight, shape, and durable yet flexible nylon pins provide just enough tension to create curls with ease. The Denman brush is less likely to cause breakage than traditional hairbrushes, making it a safer option for those with delicate curls.

Finally, the Denman brush can help to create uniformity in your curls, which can be difficult to achieve with other brushes.

Which Denman Brush Is Perfect for Your Curls? How To Choose the Right One

So you’ve witnessed the power of the Denman brush and you’re ready to give it a try. But with so many different Denman brush options on the market, how do you choose the right one for your hair?

You can always start with the infamous D3 Original Styler. It’s the most versatile brush and can be used on all hair types! However, there are several other versions with different number of rows.

The more rows of pins, such as the D4 with nine rows, will create tighter curls, but fewer rows of pins, such as the D14 Mini Styler with 5 rows, will produce looser curls.

Please note, this is not an end all, be all guide. The best way to find the perfect Denman brush for your hair is to experiment and see what works best for you!

Factors to consider when choosing the right brush:

Hair type: 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.

Here are a few of our recommendations:

Those with thick, curly hair will benefit from a larger Denman brush.

Here are our recommendations:

Other brushes

Hairstyle: If you’re looking to create defined, bouncy curls, opt for a Denman brush with widely spaced pins. For a sleeker, more polished look, choose a Denman brush with closely spaced pins.

Budget: Denman brushes range in price from $10 to $38 (depending on where you shop). If you’re on a tight budget, you can find a good quality Denman brush for under $20.

The Different Denman Brushes

D6 Be Bop Handy Detangler Brush

Perfect for massaging the scalp and hair and can be used to detangle hair. The pins are flexible and have a round end, allowing for simple distribution of the product throughout the hair.

D82M The Finisher

This brush is perfect for adding shine to hair and brushing out coils.

D200 Skeleton Vent

This brush is ideal for adding volume and shaping.

D90 Tangle Tamer Ultra Mini

A small, wet and dry detangling hairbrush is ideal for medium to thick hair.

D93M Tangle Tamer Gentle

For fragile locks, delicate scalps, and kiddos.

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.

D14 Mini Styler 5 Row

The smallest hairdressing brush for on-the-go styling. Also, perfect to take with you when traveling. It is perfect for targeting specific areas, such as the crown or nape of the neck.

D38 Power Paddle

For fast and comfortable detangling and blow-drying.

D4 Original Styler 9 Row

This is a large styling brush for styling and smoothing long hair and defining curls.

D31 Freeflow Styler 7 Row

This 3-in-1 brush is a styling tool to create volume, define curls, and detangle thick hair.

D83 Paddle

Paddle hair brush can be used for all hair types and lengths. Can be used for rapid blow-styling, styling, straightening, detangling wet and dry hair.

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.

D84 Small Paddle Cushion Brush

This brush can be used in multiple ways; blow-styling, styling, straightening, detangling wet and dry hair and to create a smooth finish.

Denman Brush Myths

There are many myths surrounding the Denman brush, and it can be hard to sort through all the information to figure out what is true and what is not.

The Denman brush is a type of hairbrush that is made of nylon material. It has durable flexible pins that are spaced evenly apart, and it is often used in conjunction with leave-in conditioner or gel.

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

Another myth is that the Denman brush is only for people with very curly hair. However, this is not the case either. The Denman brush can be used on any type of curl, from loose waves to tight coils. So, if you have curly hair, don’t be afraid to try out this versatile brush.

How To Use A Denman Brush On Curly Hair

Video Credit: Jayme Jo

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

  1. Start with clean, damp hair that has been evenly distributed with a leave-in conditioner or your favorite styling product.
  2. Use your Denman detangling brush to remove any knots or tangles in your hair. Begin by brushing through small sections of hair, using gentle strokes. Start from the bottom and work your way up.  
  3. Once you have brushed all of your hair, you can then 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 in order to get the best results.

Why Do Curlies Modify Their Denman Brushes?

Video credit: Beige Ojai

The answer is simple. 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 different ways that curlies modify their Denman brushes. The most common way is to bend the pins. This can be done by either taking a pair of pliers and bending them yourself.

Another way to modify a Denman brush is to cut the bristles. This is usually done if a Denman brush is too big for your curls. You can cut the pins down to a size that is more manageable for your hair.

How To Clean Your Denman Brush

Video credit: Denman brush

As any hairstylist will tell you, keeping your tools clean is essential for maintaining healthy hair. That’s why it’s important to clean your Denman brush on a regular basis.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by removing loose hair from brush with a comb or use the Denman Hairbrush Cleaning Brush.
  • Then, soak the bristles in warm water for about 5 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Rinse the brush thoroughly with warm water and remove any excess water. Keep the brush away from direct heat and sunlight.
  • Finally, allow the brush to air dry before using it again.

Replacing 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:

  • Start by removing the old pins from the brush.
  • Then, insert the new pins into the brush. Make sure that the pins are evenly spaced and that they are pointing in the same direction.
  • Finally, gently tap the pins into place.

Other Tips For Using The Denman Brush

D3 Denman brush for wavy fine hair

Video credit: India Batson

In this Youtube video, India is demonstrating how to use the D3 brush for wavy hair to create curl definition.

D3 Denman brush for curly hair

Video credit: Voted Best Hair

In this Youtube video, Alicia is sharing how she uses the classic D3 Denman brush on how to use it for curl definition.

D4 Denman brush for coily hair:

Video credit: Tierra Hogan

In this Youtube video, Tierra shares how she uses the Denman brush to achieve the best definition.

We’d like to offer a few more suggestions for getting the most out of your Denman brush:

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

Note, if you’re experiencing a lot of discomfort when brushing and your hair is breaking, the Denman brush isn’t the best fit for you.


My hair snags while using the Denman brush. What should I do?

First of all, make sure that you’re using the brush on wet hair. You should also use a conditioner or leave-in conditioner before brushing to help protect your hair. It could also be that the pins are too close together. 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 that are widely-spaced into a half-round pad which makes them ideal for producing lift and creating volume during blow-drying and, detangling thick hair and defining curls.

What’s the difference between 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, which is ideal for detangling curls and because it’s lightweight, it’s great to take along when traveling.

What is the best Denman brush for wavy hair?

Those with wavy hair desire to enhance their natural hair pattern as much as they can. The best Denman brush will be the ones with rows of pins that are arranged close together. Try the D3 or D4 brush.

How often should I replace my Denman brush?

You don’t need to replace your Denman brush as often as you would other hair brushes since the pins are very durable. However, you may need to replace the brush if the bristles become damaged or if the pins become bent.

What is the best Denman brush for curly hair?

Those with curly hair experience tangles more often. Curly hair will will benefit from a Denman brush with pins that are spaced further apart, which will help to avoid tangles. Try the D31 or D41 brush. If you want more definition, try the D3 or D4 brush.

What is the best Denman brush for coily hair?

Those with coily hair have the most fragile hair type and should take extra care when brushing to avoid breakage. Detangling hair is also more difficult with coily hair. The best Denman brush for coily hair will have pins that are spaced further apart to avoid tangles. Try the D31 brush.

What is the difference between the D41 vs D4 brush?

The D41 brush has 9 rows of pins that are widely-spaced into a half-round pad which makes them ideal for detangling thick hair and defining curls. The D4 brush has 9 rows of pins that are close together, which is ideal for defining curls on longer hair.

When should use the D3 or D4 Denman brush? 7 vs 9 row

The most popular Denman brushes are the D3 and D4. The D3 has 7 rows of pins, while the D4 has 9 rows of pins that are close together. Both brushes are suitable for all hair types, so it will just depend on what your styling preference and hair length are.

If you have short to medium length hair, the D3 with 7 rows of pins is a great option. It will help to add definition and shape to your curls.

If you have long hair, the D4 is the best option. The extra rows of pins (9 rows) will help to add definition and shape to your curls while also helping to detangle your locks.

What is the difference between the D3 vs D31 brush?

The D3 and D31 brushes are both great for curly hair. The main difference is that the D3 is a smaller version of the D4 brush with fewer rows of pins.

The D31 brush is a smaller version of the D4 brush and also has fewer rows of pins. However, the pins on the D31 brush are spaced further apart.

When should you use the D31 or D41 brush?

If you have thick coily hair, the D31 or D41 brush are great options for you. The D31 has 7 rows of pins that are widely spaced into a half-round pad, which make it perfect for detangling thick hair and coils.

The D41 brush also has 9 rows of pins that are widely spaced. This brush is ideal for defining and shaping curls and coils.


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