When joining a popular social-media site last spring, one of the get-to-know-you questions was “What is your most shameful secret?”. I’m sure they were expecting a more salacious answer, but here was mine: I once spent $190 on a hairbrush. I remember the day very clearly, Saks 5th Avenue, on Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills, the beauty department. I was financially sweating over the purchase, but so excited and thrilled to finally be a part of the hair elite- today was the day I was buying my first Mason Pearson hairbrush. I had read about Mason Pearson brushes in every beauty magazine, all the celebrity hair stylists insisted they were so amazing, how every supermodel has one in her purse, the shine, the luster, the hefty price tag. I am no wimp to big-ticket beauty, I have shelled out for the Creme De Mer concentrate, the Natura Bisse Diamond cream, and SK-II everything, but I had never spent that much money on something as simple and obvious as a hairbrush. I paid big bucks for the promise in a jar, the priceless dream of turning back the clock and having that dewy skin so ripe with youth and future. But a brush? Like I could get at Target for $8? Was I really going to say goodbye to the Goody aisle and turn the corner into “that girl” land?
Well, that bright and shiny morning in Saks, I did. I received my first Mason Pearson hairbrush in it’s charming vintage style box, as though I was receiving my winner’s bouquet of roses at a beauty pageant. There had been a very in-depth discussion as to which size and bristle I was to have. Mason Pearson brushes come in an array of sizes, handle colors, and bristle.
From the Mason Pearson website:
Pure Bristle brushes: For fine to normal hair, fine long hair.
The models: Large Extra, Small Extra, Handy Bristle and Pocket Bristle.
Bristle & Nylon Mixture brushes: For normal and short thick hair.
The models: Popular, Junior, Handy Bristle & Nylon and Pocket Bristle & Nylon.
All Nylon brushes: For very thick hair.
The models: Universal, Handy Nylon (Detangler) and Pocket Nylon.
I have fine long hair, so I went with the pure bristle, and I got a large size. In for a penny, in for a pound. That was about 2 years ago, and I have to say, I didn’t think about it much after the initial sticker shock wore off. It definitely was excellent quality, all Mason Pearson brushes are handmade, and if you look at the website graphic regarding sizing, it is more like an aeronautical diagram than a design for beauty. And it is a lovely brush, helpful for smoothing bumps from a ponytail, nice for calming down a frantic overcurl. But I really didn’t get it. I honestly didn’t see what the big deal was, it was nice, my hair looked soft, but was that more to do with my arsenal of shine serums? My scalp seemed healthy, but it always had been, I had never been an oily scalp or dandruff sufferer. Had I just bought into the status symbol of the brand, without receiving the admiring and envious side eye from toting the latest Chanel? I had listened to all the experts, I swiped the credit card, I brushed my hair, and no one, not one single skinny bitch ever said “your hair looks amay-zing” in that tone that simultaneously exhibits both desperate longing and murder inducing jealousy. So what was the point??
I am not a big blowdryer- I have had the same model hairdryer for 15 years, I own one round “blow dry” brush, and I blow my hair out maybe once a month. Maybe. I have that wimpy straight hair that if you use one drop extra of styling cream, the whole thing goes limp, and every time I have blown out my own hair I have been incapable of inducing volume. So I do a natural air dry, and then hot rollers. That had been my routine for 18 years. Until the day I could not find my blow dry brush. I looked around my bathroom, with 10 minutes to get myself coiffed and out the door, and panicked. I could not arrive at my boss’s house with wet hair, I had cut my primping time way too close, and a big hat was not available. But my eye fell on the plain brown Mason Pearson, sitting quietly, waiting to unleash it’s simple magic. I turned on the hairdryer, picked up the brush, and within 5 minutes had the most beautiful, shiny, glassy straight, volumized, gorgeous mane of hair I had ever seen. On my very own head.
It’s like hot cocoa and marshmallows, cheese and macaroni, eggs and bacon, you could not think of a better combination than a Mason Pearson hairbrush and a damp head of hair. I don’t know how or why, but it’s two strokes with a hairdryer, and the hair is dry. It literally makes my hair smoother, shinier, and swingier than any shampoo commercial I have ever seen. And it does it so fast! With my old round roll brush it took at least 20 minutes to get my hair 80% dry. This simple, albeit expensive, hairbrush does my whole head in under 5 minutes. I now blow dry my hair 4 times a week, just so I can marvel at the magic of the Mason Pearson. This sucker is worth every dang penny. There is no longer shame in my hairbrush game. If my house was on fire, it would go in my purse with the cat. And boy would she come out shiny.
*Do not use your Mason Pearson on animals. They will be unable to verbalize it’s genius.
Mason Pearson brushes are available at Nordstrom, Saks 5th Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Barneys NY, and many other retailers.
Michelle Brookhurst is a former teen actress (Can’t Hardly Wait, Charmed, Foxfire), turned celebrity stylist (clients include George Lopez and Baron Davis) turned writer. She has written a television series based on her life called “Certain Something”, and is currently based in Los Angeles.