This $150 Hairbrush is Actually the Shit

I pitted a Mason Pearson brush against a cheap brush to see if everyone was lying

11.17.16

I am such a stupid sucker for expensive beauty products. I love $100 candles and the idea of only-legal-in-Europe face cream. I went through a phase where I spent the equivalent of a fancy gym membership on my eyelashes every three weeks and I was tricked into my current toothbrush because someone sold it as “the Lamborghini of teeth care.” Maybe you don’t think toothbrushes should fall into the beauty category, but this one has a whitening setting that is an alternative option from the “clean” setting. When people see my toothbrush in action they ask me, “Why can’t your Lamborghini of teeth care manage to both clean and whiten at the same time?” My answer to these people is that they just don’t understand luxury.

Sometimes I don’t either. Sometimes, when the more financially responsible part of my brain kicks in, I remember things like, “You cannot afford a $150 detangling tool. How dumb.” Blackstones hair stylist Joey Silvestera nearly convinced me otherwise this summer by transforming me with a Mason Pearson boar-bristled wand — the Lamborghini of hair brushes, apparently — but I remained strong.

And a proud member of a totally new kind of cult. Cool.

This photo was taken in June after Joey worked his magic with the Mason Pearson brush. I was still wearing my lash wigs then, too. 

I bought a $40 version instead from Ricky’s NYC. (The brand is called Denman.) The girls who work there know what’s up and told me this one was good.

It really was. I used it a ton and incorporated into the when-I-have-five-extra-minutes routine. BUT, I stayed curious. Could I be getting better results with a better brush? Was Mason Pearson a better brush?

“There may be lookalikes, but there are no ‘feelalikes,'” its website boasts.

Besides the fact that the Mason Pearson hairbrush dates back to the industrial revolution, I learned that each one is largely handmade, no boars are harmed in the making of the bristles (although they also offer a nylon option), there are no sharp edges on the handles (much appreciated) and while they’re not indestructible, they’re intended to last. Per the website, they suit “most types of hair.” (Comment below if you’ve tried one and think yes/no.) More than anything, I liked the fact that “[t]he basic product has barely changed since the 1920s.” I pictured a bunch of people sitting around an office like, “Yeah we did a good job with that one product we sell. Let’s not mess with something perfect,” probably similar to how god thinks about dogs.

Still. You know just as well as I do that reading will give you plenty of facts but it’s not the the same as a proper test. So I tried both brushes — the Denman and the OG MP — to pit them against one another.

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That’s me without my hair brushed, freshly washed with an annoying hair tie crimp.

I tried the Denman first on the RIGHT side of my head. That’s your LEFT, so long as you’re not reading this in a mirror.

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Cool thing with my eye, huh? Here’s the result:

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So, okay. The Denman got an unfair disadvantage by brushing the more problematic side of my head with less hair and less post-bun wave. It fell a little flat and frizzy after the brushing. I’ve had better results with this guy in the past, but frizz was a common side effect.

Then I tried the Mason Pearson brush next on the LEFT side of my head — your right.

Left: Delman; Right: Mason Pearson

Okay? So to the ^left^ you can see the Denman-brushed hair, and to the ^right^ you can see the Mason Pearson-brushed hair.

While both gave me shine, the Mason Pearson brush made my hair appreciably smoother and eliminated static, which is my absolute least favorite thing ever and a big problem I endure. I am so static-y that you would think I live with balloons. Which I do.

Now here’s me with my whole head brushed by the Mason Pearson brush!

Full Head: Mason Pearson

Much better.

In conclusion, the Mason Pearson brush really is better than the Denman. Is it worth $150? Kinda. I think it’s the shit, but your thinking it’s the shit depends on how willing you are to spend on something that you can sort of get for $40 (or what, like $5 at CVS). Please don’t tell my dad I did this because he thinks “combs should be a buck.” Here is what I will say: the mystical Mason Pearson sports car for hair didn’t whiten my teeth, but I’m sold after test driving it.

Still have hair on the brain (ew)? Check out beauty writer Arabelle Sicardi’s relationship with her hair or read beauty editor Megan O’Neill’s hair routine.

Photos by Krista Anna Lewis.

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