Changing our appearance has always been a vital part of the human need to express our identity. Different clothes and makeup along with changes in hairstyle and hair color have been a part of our culture for several millennia.
Some may consider such changes in looks superficial or unnecessary. But the fact that we are so persistent at expressing ourselves through our look speaks to a deeper reason behind it; something other than just wanting to look nice.
Feeling understood is a basic human need. We search for this understanding by using body movements and language to communicate with others. Yet, there are more subtle ways in which we can communicate those more elusive aspects of our personalities. We do so by merging the symbolism behind different colors and patterns and the ideas they represent with our own physical appearance.
Everyone knows the cliché about breakups and hair change. But, after going through any stressful period in our lives, both men and women tend to change their hair. It is really easy to attribute this behavior to vanity. But it is much more likely for people to change their haircut and hair color in order to communicate that they have been through a life-changing experience and that they are not the same person they were before. The best way to communicate that subtle change in character is by making changes to their hair.
All of that being said, in other articles, we have talked about haircuts and hairstyles. Today, we are going to focus on hair dye. This is one of the most visible manners of changing your hair. That is why when dyeing your own hair or someone else’s you want to make sure that you have a good dye brush.
The Importance of a Good Dye Brush
Now, a visit to a hair salon is not cheap. That is why some people often use a store-bought box of hair dye and its hair dye brush in hopes of achieving salon-worthy results. Sometimes those efforts are a success, but they often end up with an emergency hair appointment and regrets over the outcome. (Hello, orange-yellow hair that should have been a beachy blonde!).
Many people attribute these home-coloring fails to the quality of the hair dye – and they are not wrong. But what most people do not realize is that hairdressers use not only professional hair dyes but professional hair color brushes as well.
We all tend to use the dye brush that comes in the hair dye box. This tool is almost always low-quality, flimsy, slippery, and looks like it will fall apart after only one use.
That is why we have made this buying guide in which you can find hair color brush reviews. We have included our top picks for the best hair dye brushes and interesting hair color brush information, as well as tips and tricks on how to use them. Enjoy!
The Top Hair Dye Brushes
1. The Framar Power Painter Hair Color Brush 2-Pack Set
Classic, long-lasting, and a best seller, all in one product. There is not one (and we mean it – not one) dissatisfied customer with this fantastic five-star Framar Power Painter brush!
It is lauded by hair coloring professionals and amateurs alike as an all-around hair dye brush that is easy to handle and that lasts for a very long time.
Framar made this brush to keep up with the latest trends in the industry. Specifically, it was designed for the balayage trend that has taken both runways and the rest of the world by storm. Regular hair dying brushes pick up too much product because their goal is to cover all of the hair rather than blending. The Framar Power Painter, on the other hand, picks up just enough product and diffuses it perfectly throughout the hair strands. It is wide enough to allow for faster color distribution on bigger surfaces, which is key to achieving a successful and well-balanced balayage.
This brush comes in a set of two, with one black and one pink. This is really helpful if you are going for two-tone highlights. Built to last and incredibly sturdy, even if this brush ends up covered in hair dye, the ergonomic handle makes it easy to maneuver so it will not slip out of your hand.
Customers are unanimous in their reviews. They say that this brush is a joy to work with and makes blending and hair painting a breeze. It is an ideal choice for not only balayage, but for lowlights, high-contrast weaving (feathering), and babylights (without weaving).
The AccuSoft bristles are a company staple. They are three times denser than a regular brush and are flexible enough to make the color transitions soft and imperceptible.
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- Ergonomic handle
- Sturdy and durable
- AccuSoft bristles
- Ideal for balayage and blending
- Come in a 2-pack with two different colors
- Wide bristles cover bigger spaces faster
- Great choice for thick, long hair
- Not meant to be used for high-precision highlighting
2. Framar Coloring Brush 3-Pack Set
One of the best things about the Framar family pack is that you can actually get high-quality, professional hair color brushes at a budget price. The three brushes come with different bristle widths and handle functions. This will allow you to achieve any coloring style you like and really get your money’s worth.
All three brushes feature AccuSoft bristles. They are soft enough to make blending easy while stiff enough to apply the color evenly. The brushes come with tapered edges, which guarantee high precision and easy detailed application.
The extra-wide brush is exactly what the name says. It is truly extra-wide, making it perfect for quick root touch-ups, without losing any precision during application. The second dye brush is the classic Framar brush that can be used for most color applications. The third brush in the set is a multifunctional medium-sized brush with a metal pin tail to enable effortless parting and sectioning of the hair.
Together, these brushes are all you need to foil, tone, balayage, highlight, lowlight, blend, feather, and color melt. This amount of variety would be enough for them to be our top pick. The only reason that the Framar Power Painter prevailed was that its brushes have the same quality bristles but at three times the density!
This Framar variety pack allows for precision color placement, which will reduce product waste. The bristles’ perfect balance between softness and stiffness will keep them from pulling on your hair and will allow them to apply even very thick, pasty color mixtures evenly.
On the cons side, in the brush reviews, a few consumers reported that the bristles were frayed a tiny bit, even before use. But they also stayed the same throughout use, without fraying further. One user noted that the seam on the extra-wide brush was not formed well, causing a serrated edge. Even though it was not exactly top-notch quality, they were still satisfied with their purchase.
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- AccuSoft bristles
- A three-piece set: extra-wide, classic, and medium with a metal pin tail
- Sturdy and durable
- Bristles are not as dense as the Framar Power Painter
- Minor fraying on the ends
3. Soft ‘N Style Translucent Dye Brush 3-Pack Set
This three-pack of trendy, translucent, Soft ‘N Style hair dye brushes is extremely practical for people who are on a budget. The brushes come in three different colors: blue, pink, and purple. Having three distinct brushes makes it really easy to achieve a nuanced, tonal look with up to three different hair colors without having to rinse the brushes in between.
The bristles are easy to wash so that you can rinse out every last trace of the hair dye. This means you will have no problem using them over and over again. The bristles are made out of synthetic fibers, which are softer than most plastic bristles out there, especially in this price range. But they simply cannot beat Framar’s AccuSoft bristles.
The Soft ‘N Style brushes are not professional hair color brushes. They are not the fanciest brushes on the market, either. But they will get the job done. Because they are not too wide, they are good at applying hair color to specific strands. They are also great at dying all of your hair, as long as it is not too long or too thick. The length of the bristles and the handle allows you to apply dye or bleach to some hard-to-reach areas of your hair, making this a really great product for professional-looking DIY hair coloring.
The length of the handle makes it useful for sectioning the hair and flipping the strands as well as for stirring bleach or hair dye if need be. Yet, the handle does come with a downside. Due to its length, it bends easily after a few uses. The bristles can also start to bend and pull on the hair after being used a few times, especially with bleach. But, on the other hand, there are three identical brushes in this set, which means that they will last for a long time, regardless if they are of a slightly lower quality than our top two picks.
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- Three brushes come in the set
- Come in three different colors
- Great price-to-quality ratio
- Stiffer bristles
- The longer handle tends to bend over time
- All three brushes are equal widths
Additional Options to Consider
4. The Diane Large Tint Brush
This is a great, one-size-fits-all option for those who do not like to make a fuss about their hair coloring. The handle of this Diane tint brush is sturdy and durable while its large size makes it easy to cover a lot of hair, fast. It is also excellent for touching up roots in a hurry.
At their widest, the bristles are 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) apart and are made out of black nylon, which makes them effortless to clean. The handle is great for sectioning the hair and it will not bend or break under the weight of the hair sections. The bristles are on the stiffer side, so until you work them in a bit, it will be a bit harder to evenly distribute the hair dye. However, this brush will do a good job of coloring your hair, after you get used to it.
Some customers even reported using this brush to apply hair treatments, conditioners, and coconut oil to their hair. They were also more than satisfied with their results.
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5. Mudder 5-Pack Hair Dye Coloring Brushes
This Mudder hair dye brush kit comes with five equally-sized brushes. This can come in handy if you are planning on trying a wild, rainbow-colored style or if you prefer to always have an extra brush on hand.
These silver-grey hair tint brushes are best for personal use because they run a bit small for salons, where time is always of the essence. While the white nylon bristles are too narrow for some, they do contribute to the overall precision these brushes have to offer.
The tapered handle is made out of plastic and has a comfortable grip, making it easy to section hair. The plastic material is not of the highest quality, but these brushes never claimed to be the best on the market. They are a good deal with a satisfactory price-to-quality ratio, provided you do not have long or thick hair.
The bristles will not pull on your hair or get it stuck in them, making the coloring experience clean and enjoyable. Most customers have stated that they are satisfied with the brushes’ performance. On top of that, these brushes do not shed their bristles either, which is a remarkable achievement considering their price.
The downside to these brushes is that they are not as easy to clean as some of the others mentioned. That is due to the combination of the tightly packed bristles that are on the stiffer side and the nylon material they are made out of.
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6. Invisibles Large Tint Brush 3-Pack
At nearly the same price as the Mudder brushes we have just seen, the Invisibles come as a 3-pack, with the added bonus of four duck clips included in the bag. If we had to choose an affordable brush to apply hair color – that is also ideal for a coloring beginner – we would definitely choose this one.
Unlike many other brushes, the bristles on this semi-transparent brush are not soft, nor do they want to be. They are sturdy for a reason and that is to cater to the needs of people with textured or thick hair. At around 2.25 inches (5.7 cm), the bristles are also pretty wide, which makes them ideal for root touch-ups.
While they are not completely transparent as advertised, these brushes are stylish. They will make for pleasing aesthetics if you also have a transparent dye bowl and need the brush to match. These brushes are extremely easy to clean and with a bit of shampoo and lukewarm water. They will recover even if the dye has stayed on them for a day or two. (Hey! It happens, right?)
The dip in the plastic handle makes it comfortable to hold and the plastic does not feel cheap. This brush is solid enough to make this a purchase that will last.
One major downside that makes this brush tricky for professional use is precisely the sturdiness of the handle. While it is solid, its tip is also too wide to be able to section hair with ease, so it really is not that convenient for use in hair salons.
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7. Colortrak Wide Color Brush 3-Pack
The Colortrak brushes come in a pack of three. With a price of around $5, they also pack a punch! They feature stiff, angled, rounded bristles that will not fall off or fray and are suitable for dying thick hair. Even though one customer did not agree with this, a lot of others did. At this price point, it is not that important if it turns out that your hair is indeed too thick for these bristles.
The wide bristles might not be ideal for doing highlights on small strands, but with a little practice, they could be used for balayage. These colorful brushes can be reused many times and are easily washable. If would you like to feel a bit fancy, travel a lot, or do not dye your hair regularly, you will be glad to know that each brush comes with a clear plastic cap that covers the bristles for easy storage and transport.
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8. Annie Silicone Dye Brush 6-Pack
Made for applying highlights and relaxers, this Annie Silicone Dye Brush six-pack includes two small, two medium and two large brushes.
One of their main selling points is that they are the fastest and the easiest to clean out of all other brushes. Simply take off the silicone applicator, rinse it out, and let it air dry. Also, because no product is wasted by getting stuck in the bristles, this silicone brush is the best in the cost-efficiency department. Annie Silicone Brushes all come in different widths, ranging from less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm).
However, a lot of hairstylists refuse to use these, because the product can fall off the silicone brush applicators often. This brush also cannot deposit the product evenly on longer, thicker hair or on individual strands. These brushes are excellent for applying hair conditioner using broad strokes and they really shine when people with short and/or thin hair need coloring. It all comes down to your specific needs and hair type.
For all those nifty people out there, these silicone hair dye brushes can also be used in the kitchen, for painting crafts, and for other creative hobbies.
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9. Annie Silicone Dye Brush Teal 2-Pack
Similar to the 6-pack of Annie Silicone Brushes we just mentioned, these are also used for applying highlights and relaxers. They also make the perfect mixing tool. As with any silicone brush, they are very easy to clean.
These brushes come in a pack with two medium-sized brushes. One is a flat brush while the other one has “teeth” or faux-bristle endings for easier application. They are effective for root touch-ups and depositing thicker hair dyes and conditioners. While the silicon color is pretty, do not be surprised if it washes off and the brushes become all black after a few uses.
10. Soft ‘N Style Rubber Color Applicator 3-Pack
These colored rubber applicators come in a set of three, which are all different sizes. The small is 1 inch (2.5 cm), the medium is 1.5 inches (3.8 cm), and the large is 2 inches (5 cm). They are chemical resistant, soft, and flexible, which makes them ideal for applying hair relaxer. These brushes will simplify the process of applying relaxer so that you can simply forget about the wooden stick that usually comes in the kit.
As with the silicone brushes, these can apply more than enough product without the bristles absorbing the majority. Their ends are not completely flat, though. There is a small crease that tends to hold retain some product in it but even so, they save you time and money. One additional advantage is that they will not cause any stress or hair pulling, making them good to use on clients with sensitive scalps.
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General Information About Hair Dye Brushes
Hair dye brushes are like cooking knives. Everyone has probably used one at least once in their lifetime. But it is only when you use a great cooking knife that you realize how important it is to invest in a high-quality one, which will make your life so much easier.
The best hair color brushes were originally only used in hair salons by professional hairstylists. They were one of those little secrets that made a dye job hard to mimic at home. Then, as the online market began to develop and as more information about beauty and cosmetology started to make its way online, good, high-quality brushes were made available for a broader public – and at an affordable price, too!
There are so many amazing hair coloring tutorials available on YouTube. This, coupled with the rising prices of going to a beauty salon, has made more and more people decide to try coloring techniques at home. To achieve your desired result, you will first have to have a good base to start from. This means that you will need quality hair dye as well as the brushes and other accouterments needed to make coloring your hair at home as easy as possible.
The Differences Between Hair Dye Brushes
Design-wise, hair dye brushes tend to be minimalistic and practical. After all, their main and (almost) only purpose is to dye hair. However, depending on your bathroom layout or the salon aesthetics, it is sometimes equally as important to get pretty brushes that will fit into the overall look of the place. That is why there are different options on the market, ranging from transparent to wooden brushes. But we will talk more about that below.
When choosing the best option for yourself or your salon, try to think of a particular coloring style you need the brush for. Also, consider the hair types that you (or your customers) have and start from there. If you are unsure as to what brush you will need, the best bet is to read the brush reviews and see what other people think of each particular one. Before deciding to buy a hair dye brush of your very own, let’s take a look at some key parts that every hair dye brush has.
Hair color brushes are really quite simple looking. There are only three main components, with a little bit of variation thrown in.
The brush handle is often considered to be next to no importance by inexperienced hair colorists. But the truth is that the quality of the handle is what will determine whether you will be able to use the bristles and apply the hair color properly. The handle needs to be firm and sturdy, which is why they tend to be made out of wood, solid plastic, or metal.
The length of the handle is important as well. The longer it is, the weaker your hand will be during the color application because it will be harder to control your strokes. On the other hand, the handle should not be too short because then it would be hard to use it to separate the hair.
Speaking of hair separation, the handle should be thin at the top so that you can actually use it to separate delicate strands of hair. This is easiest to achieve when the handle is made out of metal.
A continuation of the handle, the grip is a wider piece of material that is used for firmly gripping (shocking, we know!) the brush while applying the color. The more comfortable the grip, the lesser the chance of getting hand spasms due to the unnatural positioning of the hand. Try to find a brush with a wide grip that also has a dip in which to place the tip of your finger. This may seem like a small detail but it will make a world of a difference, especially if you are a professional hair colorist.
The applicator is what decides the function of every hair dye brush. There are two main types of applicators: bristles and spatulas (or sprush) applicators. The bristles can be made out of nylon, plastic, synthetic fibers, or horsehair. The spatula or sprush applicators are made out of rubber or silicone. The bonus of the spatula applicators is that they are usually detachable, which makes cleaning them incredibly easy.
A Hair Dye Brush Buying Guide
Now that you know the basic parts of hair dye brushes, let’s address all the different factors that play a role when choosing the best hair color brushes for your needs.
The Handle Materials
There are three main options to consider. Your choice will depend on what you need the brush for, how much you are willing to pay, and whether you would like it to be able to separate the hair.
- Wood: Wooden handles are the most elegant and the sturdiest. They will last you a lifetime and will never break. However, they are usually the most expensive ones to get. They do look quite professional and elegant in a salon but are often not ideal for hair sectioning.
- Metal: Handles made of metal usually have a pin tail. In reality, this is just a really thin piece of metal that is used for sectioning the hair. To provide comfort while using these brushes, they usually come with a wider grip. While they are a must for any salon, if you are looking to buy just one dye brush for home use, opt for one with a sturdier, more practical handle.
- Plastic: These are the most common handles on the market and often bring the best of both worlds. They can be especially sturdy and can also have a sharp tip. Since they are cheap, so as long as they are well-made, this is the best option for at-home DIY use.
The Applicator Type
Applicators really do come in almost every imaginable material, so we will try to mention the pros and cons of all the main materials.
Bristles are a classic applicator type that is a favorite for hairdressers everywhere. While they do tend to absorb some of the product, they also allow for more controlled application. They are necessary to properly blend hair color.
As mentioned, bristles can be made out of different materials, the most common of which is nylon. The best bristles for varied use are made of synthetic fibers. Some companies like Framar have even developed their own type of bristles – AccuSoft – which are the best on the market.
Bristles can be long or short and both have their benefits. Long bristles give a softer overall look and are able to apply hair color to some hard-to-reach places. Short bristles make root touch-ups easy and increase stroke precision.
Stiff bristles are best for thick, textured hair because they have enough power and sturdiness to work the product deep into the hair. On the downside, they are not as effective at creating a nuanced color transition. They can pull on the hair a little bit and, while rare, can sometimes irritate the scalp.
Soft bristles are ideal for creating soft highlights, blending, feathering, and balayage. They are great at coloring individual strands but they lack exactly what stiff bristles offer: penetrating power with thick hair.
Sprushes are celebrated as product-saving champions! They do not hold any product in and are great for touching up the roots, coloring the whole head, and applying other products such as conditioner. However, a lot of hair coloring brush reviews agree that sprushes are only useful if the hair dye is thick and pasty. Otherwise, it will most likely fall off of the silicone/rubber sprush.
The Applicator Shape
The shape you need will depend on whether you need the hair color brush for highlighting, balayage, or coloring the entire head. There are different shapes available for each individual purpose. Rounded and tapered bristles allow for greater precision in highlighting thin pieces of hair. Flat bristles are used for hair coloring in general and for root touch-ups in particular. Additionally, there are angled applicators which offer extra precision. But it must be said that these are most often seen in hair salons because most people do not know how to use them or do not have the patience to learn how.
The wider the applicator, the less precise it is. That is a general rule of thumb. Some can be up to 3 inches (7.6 cm) wide while others can be so tiny that they resemble a mascara wand more than anything else. If you are after a “universal” hair color brush, aim for one that is 1 inch (2.5-5 cm) wide.
As we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of different materials out there. That is why there are many different looks that hair dye brushes can have. Depending on whether you are buying just one or a set of brushes, for personal use or at a salon, each brush style has its own appeal. The most elegant are the wooden ones but you can play around with transparent or semi-transparent brushes that have a clean, minimalist kind of look. There are also some really quirky and fun patterned hair dye brushes around. These would fit in amazingly at some edgier hair salons that are known for experimenting with their hair colors and haircuts. The high-quality plastic ones give off the impression of a professional, straightforward, and reliable hair salon that is visited not because of its looks but rather because of its results.
Even the best hair color brushes on the market cost $20 or less. If you are buying a brush or a set of brushes for personal use, that investment will probably set you back less than $10. Given these amazing prices, it is not surprising that home coloring is becoming more common. With the good tools and information out there, the perfect hair color is just a matter of practice.
Battery-Powered Hair Dye Brushes
You may have seen this new trend out there. Some infomercials are promoting battery-operated hair coloring brushes with a color dispenser that works just like a regular brush does, only they color your hair in the process. Well, while that may be a tempting idea, those brushes are not effective and do not disperse the equal amount of dye to your hair. Maybe in time people will figure out a way to make them effective, but we would not recommend getting one just yet.
If you have a sprush applicator hair dye brush that you are not using, try using it as a kitchen spatula or as a painting tool. They are perfect for use in a lot of arts and crafts. At the very least, you can use it to evenly apply hair conditioner, hair masks, or plain old coconut oil to your hair.
Expert tip: The best hair dye brush is sometimes right in front of you. Even though it can be a bit risky, the fastest way to get a subtle balayage is to actually apply the dye using your regular, everyday hairbrush! Apply a hair dye that is two shades lighter than the rest of your hair to the upper third of the hairbrush. Then just run it from the middle of your hair down to the roots. Repeat until all of your hair is loosely covered with hair dye. The results will be more subtle than if you had used a hair dye brush and the application will take 15 minutes or less!
It is no secret that hair dye can stain your hairline and refuse to come off for days. Fortunately, that small mishap can be easily prevented by applying some Vaseline to the skin surrounding the hairline.
What most people forget when coloring their hair are the ears. Well, now there is a solution for those dye-stained ears as well and it comes in the form of silicone ear covers! They might seem a bit unnecessary, but if you have short hair, they may be a good investment after all.
Fun fact! If you are having problems separating your hair strands because your brush’s handle is too thick and you do not have a hair comb, try using a pencil!
Hair dyes have immense staining power, so it is not the best idea to use a kitchen bowl to hold the dye. Instead, consider getting a color bowl and brush at the same time! You can even play around with the idea of getting color-coded bowls and brushes, especially if you plan on using more than one color on your hair.
Also, if you are into balayage but do not want to bother using foil to keep the color from transferring onto other hair strands while applying the dye, consider getting a balayage board and brush kit. It will make your life so much easier!
Living With a Hair Dye Brush
The most important thing when using a hair dye brush is to clean it regularly, especially if you have a bristle applicator. Doing so will significantly prolong its lifetime and its effectiveness.
However, if you have noticed that the bristles have frayed too much and are spreading the hair dye to areas you did not want to color, it is time for a new set of brushes.
There is not a lot to say about how to pick the best hair dye brush. It is based on your specific needs so we can only tell you what to look for and what to avoid. We do hope that we have helped at least one enthusiastic DIY balayage artist out there pick the right hair color brush!
Our top picks are the amazing Framar Power Painter Brush and the Framar Coloring Brush, which are ideal for balayage and most other coloring techniques. The reliable Soft ‘N Style Translucent brush is perfect for all-around coloring enjoyment.