natural hair week

This Is the Mason Pearson of Natural-Hair Brushes (and It’s Just $18)

Illustration: Jordan Moss

Editor’s note: This article first appeared on the Strategist in July 2020, and the comb is still one of our favorites for taking care of natural hair. So we’re republishing it today as part of Natural-Hair Week.

When Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst put together an exhaustive guide to taking care of 4C hair (which I very proudly grow on my head), she described the Felicia Leatherwood Detangler Brush, designed by the celebrity hairstylist of the same name, as the “Mason Pearson of detangling brushes.” Almost every stylist she spoke to raved about it — and I have to agree.

In my first-ever Strategist Haul, I mentioned that I had recently bought a Cantu detangler brush as I began wearing my natural hair out for only the second time since 2014. (I usually keep my hair in braids.) The Cantu brush did a perfectly fine job, but then I got my hands on a Felicia Leatherwood brush, and since upgrading, I haven’t looked back.

From the first moment I used it — always on wet or damp hair — I couldn’t believe how effective it was. Working from the ends up, it glided through my thick head of hair with impressive ease and, most important, stretched it along the way. Instead of having to immediately twist or braid my hair straight out of the shower, I can stretch it with the Felicia Leatherwood and pin it on my head until I’m ready to style it, with no worries of my hair shrinking, because, well, the shrinkage is real.

I use this brush for everything. After keeping my hair in a protective style for two weeks, I use it to detangle and clear out any hair I’ve shed so my shower doesn’t end up looking like a scene from The Grudge. While washing my hair, I use the Felicia Leatherwood to brush the conditioner through, making sure every strand is coated from root to tip. And though I divide my hair into four manageable sections before I wash it so I don’t miss any part of my scalp, I’m pretty sure I could get a thorough, undivided wash in with this brush by my side. Finally, when I’m putting my hair back into a protective style, I use it to detangle along the way. And with its flexible, wide-set bristles, it’s easy to clean.

No other detangler brush comes close to the Felicia Leatherwood, and at just $18, it’s a much more affordable luxury than a $240 Mason Pearson. It’s truly the only detangling brush you’ll ever need regardless of your hair type.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

This Is the Mason Pearson of Natural-Hair Brushes