Thursday, June 9, 2016

Royal Hair - The Mystique of Mason Pearson Brushes & Combs

Mason Pearson's iconic boar bristle brush and hand polished combs.

I can remember visiting my grandmother and going to her bedroom to play at her vanity. Among the fragrant little perfume bottles and powder puffs was a brush set in sterling silver. The bristles were of natural hair otherwise known as boar bristle. My mother had a similar brush and her hair always had a beautiful shine. England based Mason Pearson and Kent & Sons brushes are two of the oldest, heirloom quality brush makers who still produce them to this day. In fact Princess Diana was said to keep a Mason Pearson Brush in her handbag. I have a travel sized Kent Boar Bristle brush in my bag!

Kent Travel Boar Bristle Brush and Madora Polished Travel Comb
Kent Travel Brush & Madora Travel Comb in a Molton Brown Travel Bag.

What Makes Mason Pearson Brushes Superior?
There's a reason why these brushes have been selling since their invention in 1885. The pneumatic rubber cushion brush conforms to the unique shape of your head getting deep down to the scalp. The natural boar bristles are actually hair themselves so they pick up sebum from the scalp and distribute it along the hair shaft. They also close the cuticle for a brilliant shine.

Mason Pearson is a pneumatic rubber cushion type brush.
Pneumatic Rubber Cushion
In fact you can hear the air coming out of the top "blow hole" of the Mason Pearson brush with each successive stroke. It is so invigorating and steps up the blood flow while gently cleansing dust and debris from your scalp. I have tried a few similar brushes but my Mason Pearson is by far the most effective on my hair. Still made in London, England most full sized Mason Pearson brushes come with a little brush cleaner (see it in the upper right hand corner of the photo above). Likewise their hand polished combs are super gentle on your hair. I seldom see but a few strands in these beautiful combs and both make amazing wedding, bridal and anniversary gifts. You can purchase Mason Pearson Brushes and Combs at: Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Barney's in NYC or online. You may also purchase Mason Pearson Brushes and Combs on Amazon (see my links at the end of the article).

My Mason Pearson is a Pure Boar Bristle, Handy Size in Dark Ruby.

Acceptable Mason Pearson Brush & Comb Dupes
I often leave my Mason Pearson brushes and combs at home but travel with other similar tools. No, they don't feel quite the same as Mason Pearson but still do a lovely job. The Kent Travel Brush No. CSFS (also made in London, England by a brush maker even older than Mason Pearson) is a rubber cushion brush with more dense boar bristle tufts. It is perfect for quick touch ups on the fly and fits inside my Molton Brown Travel Bag. Kent & Son's World's Finest Brushes were founded in 1777 and have a Royal Brush Maker's Charter. Still made by hand in England they are a little less expensive than similar models of Mason Pearson brushes. 

Likewise Madora makes equally beautiful hand polished, one piece combs. These have no seams to tear or damage hair or scalp. I have a Madora Hand Polished One Piece Travel Comb and Rake Comb. My Mason Pearson Styling/Detangling and Rake Combs are left on my vanity. The George Michael Salon in NYC (Madison Ave.) uses both Kent Brushes and Madora Combs so check them out: HERE.

Isinis Cushion Boar Bristle Brush on top, Kent Boar Bristle Travel Brush on the bottom.
Another acceptable dupe is the cushion boar bristle brush by Isinis of France. Some prefer this to the more expensive Mason Pearson and Kent Brushes as it is quite a bit less than either of these English made brushes. The 100% Boar Bristle model has a slightly longer handle than my Mason Pearson Handy sized brush. It is similar but the Mason Pearson tufts are a bit more dense. Once again, not quite the same feel and performance as the Mason Pearson but an acceptable starter French made Natural Bristle Brush.

The Isinis Rubber Cushion Brush (top) is made in France.
I purchased my Isinis 100% Boar Bristle Vanity Brush on Amazon. Likewise you can purchase Mason Pearson & Kent Brushes on Amazon

Buying Tip: To make sure the bristles in your brush are 100% natural boar hair, pull one out and hold it over a flame. If it smells and acts like burning hair, it is natural boar. If it curls up and melts, it's nylon. Return it.

Here are my affiliate links to the brushes covered in this review starting with my top choice, the Mason Pearson Handy 100% Boar Bristle Brush as shown here:

My second choice would be a Kent & Sons Boar Bristle Brush, Purse Size which as you can see is not that much smaller than the large vanity sized Isinis:

Last of all is the Isinis of France 100% Boar Bristle Large Vanity Brush. This is a little closer in feel to my Mason Pearson brush and a good brush to start with if you are new to this style of hair brush:

Disclaimer: I earn a commission from purchases made at the above affiliate links. However my reviews, opinions and purchases are my own for which I have not been paid or influenced to make.

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