How Do Two of the Most Popular Detangling Brushes Work on Natural Hair?

I parted my hair down the center and created two even playing fields upon which the Ultimate Detangling Brush and Tangle Teezer competed.

It's not often that I find myself in front of commercials, but I was recently subject to one that caught my eye. It was for the Michel Mercier Ultimate Detangling Brush, something that looked rather obviously, from the product shots, to not really be for people with hair like mine.

Then, suddenly, a black girl with hair like mine appeared in the commercial.

I stared in dulled disbelief as her mother pulled this torturous-looking brush through her hair, resulting in a straight style that many of us already know is only possible after hours of painful, ear-burning toil under the hot comb.

My internal "Shenanigans!" alarm was ringing like crazy, but I couldn't help but think, What if? What if it were possible for a brush to grant a look that literally only heat, chemicals, hours of physical manipulation or genetics could offer? What if Michel Mercier had been given the gift of hair magic by mystical barbershop elves and wanted to share it with the world for the low, low price of $14.95 plus shipping and handling?

I decided to put it up against the Tangle Teezer Salon Elite, another similarly painful-looking brush that's gotten a ton of praise in natural circles, and see how it stood up.


I started by undoing my updo. I made sure to leave it in for extra-long just so that my curls could get super-dense and in desperate need of the type of detangling that only brushes with upwards of 428 different contact points could remedy.

Testing the brushes on my hair this way also gives the added benefit of testing their quality on both the stretched hair from my unraveled flat twists, as well as the dense, impenetrable mass of my completely untouched hair poofs on the top.

I then took a regular wide-tooth comb from the dollar store and parted my hair down the center, to give two even playing fields upon which the brushes shall compete.

I started with the Tangle Teezer Salon Elite, on the audience left side of my head, working my way up from the ends of my hair.

It was...unpleasant. Bearable, but unpleasant.

Next was the thicker hair on the top of my head.

As you can see, it got off to a really promising start.

The brushing didn't really improve from there, and it was substantially more unpleasant than working on the stretched hair.

The bristles on the Salon Elite were much finer than that of the Ultimate Detangling Brush, which I thought might have been the cause of how painful the process was. Perhaps, I thought, the thicker bristles—pardon me, contact points—of the Michel Mercier brush would lend itself to a smoother pull with each brushstroke.

I thought wrong. Oh, so very wrong.

The Michel Mercier brush was brutal on my stretched hair, to the point that I could feel my hair breaking under it.

Next was the thicker hair on the top of my head.

You know what? No. I love you guys, but not that much.


The hair breakage between the Salon Elite and the Ultimate Detangler Brush seems minuscule initially, but adding in the fact that I only used the Ultimate Detanger Brush on half the amount of hair that I used with the Salon Elite paints a somewhat grimmer picture.

I looked at how the bristles held up next, noticing immediately that the Ultimate Detangler Brush's bristles bent and warped under my hair, which I'm going to assume was fighting back in self-defense at that point.

The Salon Elite's bristles, being much finer, gave way far before my hair did, which was likely also why the experience was much less painful.


When presented with which of these two brushes I'd recommend to a super-curly 3C hair type that'd just like to have her locks detangled, I'd present none other than the trusty dollar-store wide-tooth shower comb as the victor.

Seriously—it's a much less painful process, they're much easier to get your hands on, and they often come in three-packs for around $2, making this comb in particular a grand whopping total of $0.66.

  • Have you tried either of these detangling brushes?
  • Is there a product that you'd rather burn in effigy than ever use again?