Behind every man with an impeccable coiff and immaculately manicured beard is a trusty comb (or two or three).
Usually small and discreet enough to be stuffed in a pocket and carried around, the comb is a classic staple of men’s grooming kits everywhere, and is indispensable for proper styling.
They also help your hair maintain its natural health and shine, removing leftover residue from hair products and untangling mats and knots.
And as you start taking your grooming more seriously, it’s time to graduate from those plastic, drug store combs to something a little heavier duty.
Today we review some quality combs that will make your ‘do on-point.
But first, here’s a few key pointers:
Does A Comb And A Brush Serve The Same Purpose?
Though most men seem to believe that they serve almost the same purpose, brushes and combs are meant for two very different things.
Combing serves to remove any tangles or knots from your hair, making it easier to brush and easier to manage.
When combing, start at the tip of your hair and brush backward towards the base, straightening and relieving any tangles along the way.
They also work well for parting your hair into classic combovers.
Brushing, on the other hand, is usually performed after combing, and is meant to remove flakes, dirt and hair and buildup (such as from hair product).
The motion of the brush helps massage the scalp and helps stimulate the release of the natural oils that keep your hair healthy and looking great. They are also very helpful after blow-drying, giving your hair a fuller look with more volume.
Using a brush in conjunction with a blow-dryer will allow you to style your hair in pompadours, etc.
Brushing does not need to be done as frequently combing – maybe 2 or 3 times a week for healthy hair.
Of course, it may be beneficial to use both regularly. Style and detangle your hair with the comb, while regularly cleaning and grooming it with a brush for the healthiest, shiniest hair you can manage.
Which Comb Material is Best?
Combs are made from a variety of different materials, each with their own advantages.
Metal combs are great at preventing friction from building up in your hair during use, and keeping it from snagging.
They’re also the most durable and have a great, classic look.
Carbon combs are made to withstand heat from thermal styling, and prevent the buildup of static in your hair. They are also extra durable and lightweight, making them suitable for thick, tangled hair.
Wooden combs are excellent for massaging your scalp, and helping release the natural oils that condition your hair, much the same way that brushes do. This helps keep your hair healthy, nourished and shiny. Common woods include sandalwood, bamboo and Cherrywood.
Cheap plastic combs often have a reputation as worst and least durable of combs, for breaking constantly, as well as for not being the best material to put on your hair; the cheap build quality often leaves lines, ridges or seams from the injection-molding process that can snag and damage your hair.
However, higher-end plastic combs, such as those made of cellulose acetate, are of excellent quality. They are often hand-cut, polished to comfortable finish, and last for years on end.
Horn combs, usually made of buffalo or ox horn, are some of the nicest and most luxurious combs available. Their natural material makes them excellent for smooth brushing where the comb glides through the air. They do not create any static, and – like wooden combs – help spread your hair’s natural oils for a healthy shine.
Design Choices to Consider When Buying a Comb
Once you’ve chosen a material you like, you’ll want to take a look at the comb’s design, such as tooth width, size and comb end. Combs come in a variety of tooth widths, and you’ll want to be sure you use the right one for your hair and style:
Fine Tooth combs are best used on straight, thin hair, and are best used removing tangles, parting your hair or putting and keeping it neatly in place.
They are not, however, best for styling your hair – such as in a pompadour. They will easily get caught in hair that is too thick, and may pull it out.
A Medium Tooth comb is the most common and versatile of comb choices. They are good at removing tangles, but also for preparing to cut hair, and to strengthen thicker hair after blowing. These are the often the best combs for styling and shaping hair.
Wide Tooth combs are usually reserved for curly hair or extra thick hair with lots of volume. They are perfect for combing through damp hair, and especially for detangling hair that is wet or extra matted.
Combs also come in a variety of sizes and builds. Many have handles, especially the higher-end, luxurious combs made of horn and wood. Some come with two different tooth sizes for added convenience, and some even fold, and have metal or wooden handles and pocket clips.
Pocket, or portable, combs are made to be carried throughout the day and fit right into your jacket or pants pocket. They are usually small (under 6”) and remarkably light.
Tail combs are extra-long combs with a thin, pointed tail on the handle (like a rattail) and are used to divide hair into sections or create fine details. They are also often called teasing combs, and can manage cowlicks and stray hairs, putting them into place.
Best Hair Combs For Men
BhBuy Ox Horn Hair Comb
In a world of cheap, plastic combs, it’s a real treat to get your hands on something as natural and substantial BhBuy’s buffalo horn comb.
Sleek, black and elegant, it’s hand-carved and polished down to an easy, gentle finish.
Horn is the smoothest of all comb materials, running through your hair without scratching your scalp or building up any static.
The wide-cut teeth are thick enough for detangling messy hair, and help condition your hair by cleaning it of any dirt and grime, and spreading the natural oils that are essential to healthy, shiny hair. It also has a thick carved handle for easy use, yet remains small enough to fit in your pocket.
Like the Woods World comb above, this wooden tail comb from Breezelike is made from 100% natural green sandalwood.
Breezlike claims that it helps calm nerves and relieve stress with its warm fragrance. Whether that’s true or not, sandalwood certainly makes this tail comb a delight to work with; the soft, refined wood glides easily through your hair without static, the oils imparting a natural shine. As it ages, the wood turns naturally greener.
The tail-shaped handle makes parting and working fine details and delicate hairdos a breeze.
Byrd Pocket Comb
Bolder, brighter and slightly less refined than the Kent combs above, the Original Pocket Comb by Byrd is made in California, out of the same composite material used to make surfboard fins.
This composite plastic not only gives it a vintage vibe reminiscent of 60’s surf style, but also keep it pliable and flexible, making it more comfortable on your hair and more durable; unlike cheaper plastic combs, it won’t break when it comes across a hard tangle.
The medium tooth size makes it comfortable for all hair types, while the compact size (5.25” long) lets it fight right into your pocket.
Light, strong and static-free, the Cricket C30 Power is constructed of carbon and perfect for using on thick hair.
It has two teeth sizes – fine and coarse – for combing all different kinds of hair, and the Cricket touts it as good for all-around cutting and styling jobs.
The sleek carbon material runs through hair without snagging, tugging or pulling, and helps keep the comb light and durable. If you’re just looking for compact, versatile and quality carbon comb, this one will do the trick.
Cricket Rake Comb
Cricket’s Ultra Smooth plastic comb is infused with a blend of argan and olive oils, as well as keratin proteins. Keratin is found naturally in hair, and infusing it into the comb helps create healthier hair and silky shine.
The large, rake comb design works well for mid-length, long and thick hair, and is excellent at separating and untangling hair without combing out the body or pulling, snagging and breaking hairs. Instead, it flows easily, its ergonomic design fitting comfortably into your hand and giving you control over your style.
Genuine Parker Comb
Hand-carved from genuine ox horn, it comes in beautiful shades of yellow; as no two pieces of horn are the same, every comb is its own unique piece.
It is also a pleasure to use, thanks to horn’s natural properties; it doesn’t snag or tear, does not build up static, and is thick enough for untangling even the nastiest of hair.
Small enough to carry in your pocket, it comes with a leather carrying case.
The Go Comb is an incredibly thin, fine-toothed wallet about the same size as a credit card, meant to fit in your wallet and carried with you wherever you go.
Made of high-strength stainless steel, it is coated with an anti-static coat painting; this not only helps it slide effortlessly through your hair, but also further protects it from corrosion and rust. The fine-teeth are specifically designed for those with short hair, or for mustaches and beards.
If you’re looking for a comb that you can carry with you discreetly at all times and you’ll never lose, this is the one.
KENT 143mm Pocket Comb
This Kent pocket comb is handmade with smooth, high-quality tortoiseshell synthetic, and sawcut with two tooth sizes, suitable for both fine and coarse hair.
Rounded edge teeth remain flexible and gentle enough so as not to damage your hair.
At 143mm, the Kent is large enough to make combing easy while convenient enough to still fit snuggly in your pocket all day. Kent has been making brushes and combs since 1777, and are known all over the world for their exceptional quality and attention to detail. If that is what you’re looking for, this comb will last years to come.
Kent 85mm Folding Pocket Comb w/ Clip, Fine
Like the Kent above, this folding pocket comb is handmade from durable tortoiseshell synthetic, with Kent’s premium, refined quality.
The saw-cut, fine teeth are perfect for fine, straight hair, while their rounded points and flexibility keep them from damaging your hair.
Thanks to its quality synthetic material, this comb moves freely and easily through hair, untangling without a hint of static. In addition, the plastic folding handles keep it compact; 6.5” unfolded, the Kent folds up to a nice 3.5”, making it the perfect size to fit in your shirt pocket.
Kent 8inch Thick/Wet Hair Comb
If you have extra thick or curly hair, and need something with the durability to handle it, this may be the last comb you ever need.
This handled rake comb from Kent is a thick, burly piece of plastic, meant to handle some seriously thick, coarse and wet hair with its wide teeth. It is handcut from faux tortoiseshell plastic, and hand polished to a smooth finish to avoid friction or snags, traveling easily through your hair and over your scalp.
8” long, its robust handle makes it easy to use and means that it can handle extra thick and matted hair.
Percy Nobleman Comb
This fine/coarse tooth comb by Percy Nobleman, with its tortoiseshell design, is a stylish, classic and sturdy piece of barbering equipment.
Handcut in France from thick acetate plastic, it’s gentle on your scalp and flows through your hair without snagging.
With both its fine and coarse teeth, you can choose the size that works for you and your hair, and the plastic build means it is sturdy yet lightweight. At 7.5”, it’s a bit bigger and more substantial than most pocket combs, but still convenient enough to bring with you for convenient styling wherever you are.
Pureglo Green Sandalwood/Horn
The craftmanship and quality of this comb from PureGLO are evident as soon as you pick up the box.
PureGLO took their favorite Green Sandalwood Comb and added bristles carved from natural Black Buffalo horn.
The result is a beautiful and all-natural comb that not only looks great and smells better, but is incredibly easy on your hair and scalp, thanks to buffalo horn’s natural proteins and oils.
Combing with this comb with help your hair regain its natural luster. The teeth are medium-cut and suitable for fine hair, while still burly enough for those with thick, curly locks.
Sharpswiss Metal combs are CNC machined from stainless steel, and built to last: Sharpswiss guarantees them for 20 years. This dressing comb is designed for professional barbers, and is cut with densely packed, fine-teeth, perfect for detailing and controlling fine hair, as well as cutting and dressing.
While not the smallest of combs, it is a well-made, rugged option, and its stainless steel build ensures it never rusts. It also comes with a leather carrying case.
Stainless Steel Switch Comb
Inspired by the classic switch-blade style combs of the 1950’s, this comb adds some retro, greaser cool to your hairdo.
The handle is stainless steel, but the comb is itself plastic. It’s more of a novelty or gift than anything else, but if you like to rock a pompadour or have swag like the Fonz – grab one of these.
This carbon comb by Strands is smooth and 100% static free.
Thanks to its carbon construction, it glides coolly through your hair without snagging or irritating.
It is also exceptionally lightweight, as well as extremely heat-resistant, should you feel the need to use a curler or straightener. The large, wide-cut teeth are exactly the right strength for detangling and controlling thick, heavy or curly hair, while the rat tail is perfect for sectioning and fine detailing.
Light, durable and convenient, this Strands comb is a worthy addition to any grooming arsenal.
Ti EDC Titanium Hair Comb
For the ultimate lightweight, durable comb, take a look at the Ti-EDC. Handmade from TC4 Titanium Alloy (one of the lightest, strongest and non-toxic metals on Earth) this comb is ultra-small and lightweight, measuring at only 4”.
It fits into any pocket and goes anywhere. The Ti-EDC features wide-teeth, for untangling some of the toughest hair; the rounded, polished ends are gentle on your head. Titanium is also hypoallergenic, and does not cause any irritation. Thanks to its small and light nature, the Ti-EDC is an excellent choice for everyday carry.
It also looks pretty cool.
Tough and Tumble Barcode
Like their Revolve, this stainless steel comb from Tough and Tumble is robust and built from .01” thick stainless steel.
The Barcode comes custom-cut for each owners, the pattern of the teeth generated by a barcode – reflecting the owner’s birthday, and imparting a personal touch on your hair that no one else can have. As such, the tooth size and pattern varies heavily, and may come with fine, medium and wide teeth. (It also comes in a standard version.)
Every Barcode comes with a leather carry pouch, for extra added, old-fashioned convenience, and is built with Tough and Tumble’s premium quality.
Tough and Tumble Revolve Comb
Tough and Tumble makes all their combs in Brooklyn with a classic vibe, reminiscent of old-school barbershops. Made from .01” thick stainless steel, The Revolve comb features hand-finished teeth, polished and rubbed for a silky, soft finish that flows through your hair without any ridges or tearing. Medium-sized teeth are perfectly spaced – not too large nor too small — for all kinds of hair.
The Revolve is easy to hold, with a ring-shaped handle, and is the perfect size for an everyday carry – vintage leather pouch included. If you’re looking for a premium-quality comb with some old-school cool, the Revolve fits the bill.
Handcrafted from 100% green sandalwood and full of natural aromas, this comb from Woods World is a premium, burly wood comb.
Green sandalwood is one of the rarest and most expensive woods on Earth; its pleasant aroma lasts for decades, while its natural oils cause the wood to change color over time.
These large, wide teeth work well with all kinds of thick, tangled hair, while soft enough to massage the scalp; the wood helps fight frizz and spread natural oils for smooth and healthy hair. With its large wooden handle, this is a solid comb that will stand up to daily use, travel and the thickest of tangled mats.
Continuing in the trend of green sandalwood combs, this comb from Xpreen is luxurious and well-made.
It comes in two variations: a regular comb, with medium teeth, and a double-sided version with both coarse and fine teeth for grooming any kind of hair or beard. The soft sandalwood is strong, sturdy, and resistant to warping from moisture.
It keeps combing a fluid, static-free and enjoyable process; it also ages beautifully. Compact and light enough to fit into your pocket, the Xpreen comes with a cloth pouch and goes with you anywhere.