Well...I'm in love. I have the pure boar bristle (recommended for fine hair) pocket version and although the price is just crazy, I am now totally and completely committed. I have fine, thin medium length hair and I use this daily to help stimulate oils (and hopefully growth and overall health). The bristles are very stiff (abit scary at first) but it works like a dream.
I also use it on my 4 year old dd's very fine (and sweet) hair. We have made it a "hair health" ritual. Just fyi, the childrens brush is almost exactly the same as the pocket (except for color and a very few bristles).
IMO, the pocket is a perfect size and for my hair type, there is no need for anything bigger. The pure boar bristle is recommended for those with fine hair.
I've had the pure bristle Handy for about 9 years now, and it's the best brush out there. Yes it's pricey but no other brush cares for your hair and scalp like this brush.
It still looks just as good as when I got it, there's a fine patina of scratches on the back of the brush, and it's in great shape.
No noticable loss of bristles, rubber pad still springy and squeaky.
I lost this brush into some storage boxes a while ago and I was SO happy when I found it again.
I agree with other reviewers here when they say this brush is worth the hype and money. I'd been using a vent brush for years now to add body while blowdrying my long, fine hair, but a few months ago I decided to buy a boar bristle brush similar to the ones my mom uses for touch-ups during the day. I first purchased a pure bristle brush from Target for an el cheapo price and returned the brush right back to the store - it wouldn't go through my hair at all and was completely useless. Then I decided to spend the money to see what Mason Pearson was all about. All I can say is - wow! Even my coworkers notice when I use this brush. I keep it in my purse and use it for touch-ups, and also before going to bed at night. I put my head forward and brush brush brush, and then I flip my head back and I have more body than I know what to do with. Then I use the brush to smooth the hair down a bit. Yes, there is some static - but it really disappears pretty fast, especially after you smooth the hair down with the brush after you flip your hair back. I don't know why it's so different, but it definitely imparts body and sheen I don't get from any other brush. Well worth the money! I will be buying the pocket size one to keep in my purse and leave the current one I have at home.
I love this brush. I feel like it's almost the only beauty product ever that lives up to its hype. It is so gentle but also the most effective brush I've ever used. My hair is VERY fine and delicate (although I have a fair amount of it) and I have to really baby it, and this is amazing for that. I seriously would save this brush in a fire.
UPDATE TO UPDATE (2010): paddle brushes just don't work as well on my hair. Plus the Aveda one broke, fast. Repurchased both Mason Pearsons, this time the mixed boar/nylon. Happiness resumed.
UPDATE: They both died. The large one lasted nearly 20 years (minus 1 month and 10 days), the little one 18. The rubber pad finally died. Went over the course of about a month, then rapidly, and the bristles fell out. Can't justify the expense of replacing them right now - saw the cost and nearly fainted - but their temporary replacements are doing wery well: an Aveda paddle brush and a similar mini version from the Body Shop. Will update on them later ... say, in another 20 years' time. If they don't last till then, or aren't good enough, I'll repurchase the Mason Pearsons immediately of course.
Yes, they're expensive hairbrushes; but that might just be because they're good and last forever. It's an investment. The pure bristle one is supposed to be more suitable for fine to normal hair, and finer long hair. Thicker hair - bristle and nylon mix. Hair that's really rather thick indeed - nylon. Aside from the practicality of the smaller ones for handbag or travel, one is supposed to go for a longer handle and larger head the longer one's locks happen to be. For more info on all that, see here.
I have had the "small extra" (medium head, 7 rings of bristles, full-length handle) since 1989. The only wear and tear is some scratching to the back, and the disappearance of the gold from the embossed lettering on the handle. All else works fine. I haven't used it for a while, as it works better with long hair and my hair is currently short/growing out.
I also have the "pocket" (small head, 5 rings of bristles, shorter handle). Bought in 1991, as a bag-brush. Similar condition to the Handy. It worked fine on longer hair (was down to elbows) though obviously that took a bit longer to brush than with the slightly larger brush. It's still great on shorter (chin-length) hair.
What's so good about these brushes? Scalp massage. The even distribution of oils down the hair-shaft. Soft, shiny, smooth hair. These brushes actually help hair condition, unlike many others that hinder it. Hairbrushing incidentally becomes an enjoyable and relaxing activity, what between the tingly scalp and the silken strands.
The brushes come with small square handle-less cleaning brushes, with long nylon bristles. Very useful - mine is cleaned with comb + that small brush at least once a week. I'd also recommend cleaning your brush with water about every couple of weeks, and letting it air-dry. Not shampoo or other detergents. Well, if you do it once or twice the brush probably won't die. Cleaning is fun as water accumulates under the squeezable cushion + small hole at end of brush = water-pistol joy.
These brushes do come with a couple of warnings attached. As other reviewers have noted, it's not a good idea to mix the bristle brushes with oily or siliconey products, and maybe be wary of using them around various other styling products. Partly to do with the natural bristles, partly to do with the rubber backing (think condom + baby oil...). So this is a brush for a more natural look and minimalist hair-care regimen. More info on all that - the Mason Pearson main site: http://www.masonpearson.com. continued >>
I love my brush! Anything that does not add static to my fine, thick, color-treated, straight hair (in the southwest no less) is great with me. Worth every penny.
I have the extra large, pure bristle, paddle brush. It was a gift from my husband, and I adore it. I am well aware the brush cost £53 because I was there when he bought it! Extremely expensive!
From childhood until now (25 years old), I've only used Mason Pearson pure bristle brushes - but I've only gone through two brushes in total. My parents bought the first two, and my husband's gift is my third. They aren't kidding when they say they last a very long time, IF you take care of them. Clean them regularly with the cleaning brush, avoid getting excessive amounts of hair products on them, and never ever use the pure bristle brushes if you've just put used any kind of oil-based hair product on your hair. I expect this one to last another ten years, at least. continued >>
I've never had a Mason Pearson up until recently and have only got interested in caring for it (and growing it longer) in the last few months. My hair is fine, but there's a lot of it, and it's coloured (foiled); it's also been through hell and back due to DIY colour disasters, awful haircuts, etc etc, from which I have sworn to stop should I ever want it to grow past my ears. Anyway, the Pocket Bristle (pure bristle) is a lovely little brush. It's certainly lovely to look at and it feels nice and balanced in my hand. The brush itself got through my hair really easily and made it extremely smooth and shiny with no static or flyaways. Feels great on the scalp, not harsh at all. I'll update when I've had a bit more experience with it but it's certainly the nicest brush I've used for a long time.
This is an amazing brush! I have an abundance of baby fine shoulder length straight hair that is color treated. Since my hair is so fine, i really have to be careful about damage prevention. This brush really makes the condition of my hair much better and keeps it shiny. Every night I enjoy taking a couple minutes right before bed just brushing my hair with the mason pearson brush. After brushing, my hair is fluffy and feels thick. I love it!
this brush is what polishes off my long, straight, milk chocolate colored hair. when used in conjunction with FF glossing cream, my hair looks and feels like silk. IMO, it's the ultimate hair luxury. i couldn't see myself having to repurchase this brush.