A Pro Hairstylist Explains An Easy Brush Trick To Get Shiny Curls & Waves

mbg Beauty Director By Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director. Previously she worked at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com.
A Pro Hairstylist Explains To Use A Denman Brush To Get Shiny Curls & Waves

If you have wavy or curly hair, you likely know this hair truth all too well: The final outcome of your prep work and styling is contingent on many variables. For example, the stage of the drying process at which you apply your styling products can affect the volume: Apply it on sopping wet hair and you'll likely get more control and hold, or apply it on damp, towel-dried hair and you'll get fluffier, more voluminous hair. The way you layer protects can affect hold, hydration, and texture. 

Well, the way you set your hair as it dries has a pretty dramatic effect as well. Some swear by braids to get a nice loose wave. Others love the "plop" method, in which they let their hair dry in a microfiber towel to achieve more lift. Of course, there's the classic scrunch technique. 

Well, want to take your loose curls or waves to the next level? Consider using a Denman brush, a favorite among hair experts and amateurs alike. As New York City–based hairstylist Matt Newman recently shared on his popular TikTok MattLovesHair, it can really give your final outcome just the right amount of softness and movement. 

How to get glossy waves & curls with this expert trick.

Denman paddle brushes come in several sizes—depending on your hair type—but share a few key features. The bristles are round-ended nylon pins that come in seven or nine rows and are staggered to help provide separation. The base itself is curved—almost like a half-moon—which will help shape your hair as you use it. (Most experts recommend doing a little experimenting as you find the right one—consider ordering a few and sending back those you don't want.) 

Now, you can use these for expert-level blowouts, but as Newman showed in this video—you can also use it when air drying. First, he divides his hair into sections (the number will depend on how thick your hair is). Then "prep the hair with a curl-defining product," he says. After, he takes his brush, and starting at just below the root, he pulls it through the hair while twisting the brush as he moves down the strand. "After, don't forget to scrunch the hair back up," he says. "Then you can air dry or diffuse." 

The results—he did a side-by-side comparison here—show softer and shinier curls. A total game-changer if you're looking for glossy curls or waves. After, you can finger through the sections to break up any curls or waves as you see fit. Or you can spritz in some texture spray for some grit and that undone, tousled look. 


The takeaway.

Getting perfectly undone, beachy waves and curls likely requires a cocktail and routine unique to you. Everyone will have their own favorite products and tweaks to get their hair just right. If your goals include a touch more shine and smooth strands, consider incorporating a Denman brush.

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