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A quick word on expensive products that come with a lot of hype: There is almost always a knock off you could buy for far, far cheaper. But in my experience, those knock off almost always aren’t nearly as good.
I know this because for the last two years I’ve been using a reputable knock off of the Mason Pearson boar bristle/nylon combo hair brush. Why? Because I’d heard SO MUCH about how great the Mason Pearson is, and because no way in any alternate universe would I ever willing part with $100 cash for a hair brush. The entire idea is ridiculous. I mean, it better make me dinner too for how much it costs …
Mason Pearson was a person. He was an inventor-engineer with a fantastic beard who just happened to invent the rubber-cushion hair brush (thanks Mason, my head thanks you). The design for his famous Mason Pearson brush was finalized in 1905, which required that the brush be mostly handmade.
The Mason Pearson is supposed to be so good due to the precise spacing of the boar bristle brushes and the nylon brushes. The boar bristles are just close enough to provide the best brush and shine, the nylon bristles are far enough apart to detangle effectively. The natural boar bristles also distribute oils evenly through the hair shaft and remove dandruff and sweeps debris from the scalp, improving the health of your scalp and hair follicles.
So, I decided to try it out.
I’ve been using it for two weeks. The first difference I noticed between the Mason Pearson and all of the knock offs I’ve tried is the comfort factor. I’ve never used a boar bristle brush that didn’t hurt like the dickens. But the Mason Pearson feels nice. It also detangles, something no other boar bristle has accomplished. And the static after is low to none. Do boar bristle brushes turn you into a crazy static magnet too? That’s always bugged me about boar bristle.
All that alone could be worth the price tag (maybe not) except here’s this, too: A few months ago I stopped washing my hair, as you’ll remember, to give my hair its best shot at growing out healthily and to minimize drying and breakage. Well, part of what I gave up when I gave up frequent shampooing was frequent brushing. With all the dry shampoo going on, if I brushed it past day three it just became a helmet of product and gunk and there was no way I could get it to look nice. I could easily go five days without shampooing, but by day six and seven there was usually a bit of the dry shampoo itch, you know the feeling. That’s when I’d know it was time to wash my hair again, when the dry shampoo started to build up. Well, after the first week of using the Mason Pearson nightly (before applying the dry shampoo), I had to remind myself that it had been a week since my last shampoo because there was no itch. The brush had actually removed all the dry shampoo build up and dispersed the oils in my hair evenly, just like it was supposed to do, and my hair looked better than ever. Not helmet-y, not greasy, not itchy. Just smooth and shiny and healthy. It was like day three all week long. I mean … magic.
Is it worth the hype? Verdict: YES.
It is worth the price tag? Since I announced I was trying the brush for this column, a few readers reached out to tell me they’d been using their Mason Pearson for years. One reader said she’d been using her grandmother’s for a few years, another said hers was a gift from her mother when she turned 10, and she’d been using it for more than 20 years. (Do you LOVE the idea of giving your daughter an heirloom quality hair brush as a significant birthday gift? I do.) So I’m going to have to say this is an investment quality brush, and if maintained properly and used daily, then absolutely YES.