Which wide-tooth comb is best?

Hair gets tangled easily, especially if you have thick or curly hair. To avoid breaking or damaging your strands, use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your knots and snarls.  

These combs have thick, wide-set teeth and are made from a variety of materials. Wooden ones, such as Louise Maelys Wooden Wide-Tooth Comb, are anti-static and distribute your natural hair oils to enhance shine and health.   

What to know before you buy a wide-tooth comb

Uses

Wide-tooth combs are used primarily for detangling hair. They work best on curly, thick or long hair (or a combination of all three). If you have curly hair, the wide-set teeth won’t disrupt your curl pattern. They can also be used to loosen tight curls.

Apply a detangling spray or conditioner to wet hair before using a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair. They will soften your strands and help the comb slip through the hair without snagging. Be sure your comb is waterproof before you take it into the shower. 

Material

Wide-tooth combs are made from a variety of materials. 

  • Wooden combs offer a traditional look and are nontoxic. They distribute your natural hair oils to promote healthy, shiny hair. They are not recommended for use in the shower, however, and they can be pricey.
  • Plastic combs are widely available and a fraction of the price of wooden combs. They’re waterproof and can be taken into the shower. Their durability can vary based on the comb’s quality, and some can snag on hair. 
  • Cellulose acetate combs are made from plant-based materials and are more eco-friendly than plastic combs. They can be taken into the shower, and are strong and flexible. They typically come in faux tortoiseshell designs and can be pricey. 
  • Metal combs aren’t as popular as wood, plastic or cellulose. They run smoothly through the hair, but their teeth can feel sharp to sensitive scalps. 
  • Rubber combs are made from natural rubber, a hard and durable material that’s nontoxic. Rubber teeth feel gentle on the scalp and can withstand a lot of pressure. These combs are expensive and not widely available. 

Size and length

Wide-tooth combs vary in size and length, with larger combs typically better for longer hair while small ones are more portable. A pocket-sized comb can be as small as 3 inches long; large combs can exceed 9 inches in length. Be sure to factor in handle length when choosing a size, as only a portion of the comb will contain teeth if it has a handle.  

What to look for in a quality wide-tooth comb

Handle vs. no handle

You may find more control using a handle or prefer the simplicity of a hand-held design. If picking a comb with a handle, be sure it’s comfortable to grip. Many combs offer ergonomic handles.

Look for a model with a hole or built-in hanging hook if you want to hang your comb in the shower. 

Tooth width

Generally speaking, the wider the gaps between the teeth, the wider the teeth (and the lower the tooth count). It’s all about finding the ratio that works for your hair type. Some people also prefer longer teeth for a pick or rake-style comb, which works well for curly or coiled hair types. 

Tooth sharpness

Another feature to look at when choosing a comb is how sharp the teeth are. Wide-tooth combs can have pointed, tapered or rounded teeth. Pointier teeth are great for targeting snarls and knots, but can be scratchy on the scalp. Tapered and rounded teeth feel more gentle on the scalp but may not be as effective on stubborn tangles. 

Color

Plastic combs come in a wide range of colors. Cellulose acetate combs come in tortoiseshell colors and faux ivory for a classic appearance that’s also cruelty-free. Wooden combs come in their natural color. Metal combs typically come in metallic colors, such as silver or gold, as well as classic black. Rubber combs come in their natural color or in black. 

How much you can expect to spend on a wide-tooth comb

Wide-tooth combs cost between $4-$25. Wooden combs start at $10. Select luxury brands make cellulose acetate combs that cost upward of $35. 

Wide-tooth comb FAQ

Should I use a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush? 

A. You can use both. Use a wide-tooth comb before you brush your hair to remove major knots and tangles. Then use a brush to smooth out your hair and remove any smaller snarls.   

How do I detangle my hair in the shower with a wide-tooth comb? 

A. First shampoo, then condition your hair as normal. While the conditioner is in, start combing at the ends of your hair. Slowly make your way up to the scalp. Starting at the ends instead of at the roots helps minimize damage.  

What’s the best wide-tooth comb to buy?

Top wide-tooth comb

Louise Maelys Wooden Wide-Tooth Comb

Louise Maelys Wooden Wide-Tooth Comb

What you need to know: This sandalwood comb carries a natural scent that calms the mind as you comb your hair. 

What you’ll love: It’s perfect for detangling curly hair and doesn’t snag or break the hair. The well-finished teeth gently separate tangles. The comb can also be used to massage your head and increase circulation on your scalp. 

What you should consider: The wood’s color naturally changes over time from brown to dark green. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top wide-tooth comb for the money

Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Detangler Comb

Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Detangler Comb

What you need to know: This big plastic comb gets the job done and is a great value.

What you’ll love: It costs under $5 and is perfect for detangling wet or dry hair, or loosening curls. It’s sturdy and over 9 inches long. Reviewers like that it’s white, a color not often found in plastic combs.   

What you should consider: For some users, this oversized comb is too large and unwieldy. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Ouidad Wide-Tooth Comb

Ouidad Wide-Tooth Comb

What you need to know: For detangling in the shower, it comes with a convenient hooked handle. 

What you’ll love: This high-quality plastic comb comes in black and a pretty lavender. Users see less hair loss from pulling with it than with other wide-tooth combs. It doesn’t disrupt curl patterns and can be used on thick, curly hair. 

What you should consider: The plastic teeth aren’t as finished as they could be and some are jagged and scratchy. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Sephora

 

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Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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