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.
About 3 yrs ago, I invested in this brush. I thought it would be a good investment since they're supposed to last a decade or so. I have really thick, curly hair and was never totally satisfied with it, because it really couldn't get through my hair to the scalp very easily. It also never detangled too well. Its main benefit is that it was totally and completely gentle (ie didn't break my hair or anything). However, now I am really disappointed because it's starting to fall apart -- bristles are falling out, etc, - so very frustrating and disappointing since it was so expensive.
I even emailed the company about their guarantee. They said it is only 1 yr. This is too expensive for such a bad warranty. They invited me to send my brush back to them in London to see if they could save it, see why the problems are happening, or remedy the problem in some way. This could take several weeks. I guess I'll have to see what happens. As of right now though, I will never buy another one of their products!
i bought this in the UK at a specialty shop about two years ago but have never reviewed it. this is without a doubt the best hair brush on the market. hand made, completely high quality, with no tiny rivets or imperfections to snag and break the hair. doesn't hurt to brush my hair when i use this, and the difference between this brush and any other is obvious from the first time you use this. i have the extra large version, which i need since i have such long hair. i used to hate brushing my hair, probably because i used a brush with a combination of boar bristles and nylon. terrible for the hair unless your hair is short and thick. these pure bristle brushes are perfect for long, fine hair. i don't know why either, but this really makes hair super shiny. my hair practically floats around me now. since i bought this i have less breakage too. i take really good care of this brush...i clean it once a week with soap and water (as the instruction manual recommends) and i clean it with the little cleaning brush (included with the large brush) at least once a day. this will last me a long time i hope. worth every penny and then some. highly recommend!!!!!
It is an investment and you will never need to buy another brush again!
I got the mini, pure boar bristle brush for the purse. This really polishes and brushes my hair beautifully, adds extra softness, pliability and shine, makes my wavy hair look naturally straight, as the bristles care for my hair so beautifully. Why didn't I try this sooner? Cool classic that really works.