Sunday, September 27, 2020

Mason Pearson | Boar Bristle & Nylon Hairbrush: Review

Disclaimer: The product featured was purchased by me.
As I've mentioned many times in the past, I'm not very keen when it comes to taking care of my hair. Unlike my fastidious skincare regimen, my haircare routine is lackluster at best. But as I'm approaching my late 20s, I'm noticing more and more gray hairs on my head. Therefore, I've been really making an effort to take better care of my hair, not in an attempt to reverse time or fight genetics (thanks a bunch, mom), but simply to appreciate what I've got before it's too late. One of the efforts I made was investing in a Mason Pearson hairbrush, touted as "the Ferrari of brushes". Invented in 1885 by British engineer Mason Pearson, the design of the "pneumatic" rubber cushion hairbrush remained pretty much unchanged for over 130 years. Often passed down for generations, the average Mason Pearson hairbrush is priced well above $100. As someone who never spent more than $20 on hairbrushes, spending that much seems plain crazy! I was very skeptical at first but after doing some research, I decided to pull the trigger. So to find out whether the Boar Bristle & Nylon Junior Hairbrush (~C$175) was worth the investment, read my review to find out......
Mason Pearson | Medium Boar Bristle & Nylon Hairbrush (Junior BN2): Review
Mason Pearson | Medium Boar Bristle & Nylon Hairbrush (Junior BN2)
Tufts & Sizes:
Mason Pearson offers more than a dozen hairbrushes but their website offers an easy guide to help you choose. Essentially, the brushes are differentiated based on size and tuft. There are three main types of tufts: boar bristles for fine to normal hair, boar bristles and nylon for normal to thick hair, and nylon for thick, difficult-to-manage hair. It's worth noting that there are two different types of boar bristles: extra stiff for shine and scalp stimulation and extra fine for very fine, thinning hair. Needless to say, the price increases with the amount of boar bristles used, so the boar bristle only brushes are the most expensive.
In terms of sizes, there are four for traditional women's hairbrushes (large, medium, handy, and pocket) and three for handle-free military-style hairbrushes (large, medium, and extra-small). The larger brushes are more expensive as they contain more bristles.
Mason Pearson | Medium Boar Bristle & Nylon Hairbrush (Junior BN2): Review
Mason Pearson | Medium Boar Bristle & Nylon Hairbrush (Junior BN2)
I had trouble choosing between the pure boar bristle tuft and the bristle/nylon hybrid tuft but I was set on one of the smaller sizes to save money. Luckily, through a Reddit thread, I learned that Costco online sometimes carries the Boar Bristle and Nylon Medium Hair Brush (Junior BN2) for a discounted price and lo and behold, I found it there for only C$126.99 plus tax. This is a serious bargain as this exact model can be found online anywhere from C$175 to over C$200, depending on the retailer. Despite its name, the Junior is actually a medium-sized brush and it's really the perfect size for daily use. 

The Rubber Cushion & Handle:
Like all other Mason Pearson brushes, the Junior features a very flexible pneumatic rubber cushion that allows the bristles to hug the contour of the head, ensuring each stroke penetrates the thickness of hair and stimulates the scalp for a therapeutic experience. The body of the brush is made of a translucent dark ruby plastic that looks almost black although other colors like pink, blue, and white are available through select retailers. Additionally, wooden backs are available upon request for a higher price.
Mason Pearson | Medium Boar Bristle & Nylon Hairbrush (Junior BN2): Review
Mason Pearson | Medium Boar Bristle & Nylon Hairbrush (Junior BN2)
The Bristles:
The Mason Pearson Junior features 7 rings of boar bristle and nylon tufts. The nylon helps penetrate and detangle thicker hair while the tightly bunched boar bristles help catch dirt and dust while also distributing natural oils from the scalp and root to the ends of the hair. While the nylon bristles can't beat a specialized detangling tool (ex. Tangle Teezer), they actually do a pretty good job at tackling lose knots. So unless you have super unruly hair, the Mason Pearson Junior can be used without a comb or detangler. The boar bristles, on the other hand, are stiff but not abrasive. They penetrate thin to medium hair to really help smooth hair cuticles.
In the past, I've only used plastic brushes and since switching to Mason Pearson, I've definitely noticed shinier, smoother hair. As I have long wavy hair, it's easily weighed down and I almost always have to wash daily to prevent greasy roots. Since I started to use this brush, however, I've noticed a better distribution of oils, allowing me to maintain a more presentable second-day hair.
Mason Pearson | Medium Boar Bristle & Nylon Hairbrush (Junior BN2): Review
Mason Pearson | Cleaning Brush
Cleaning & Maintenance:
As the boar bristles are densely packed on the paddle, they have the tendency to catch and trap a lot of dust, fibers, and dead skin cells from the scalp and hair. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. Compared to hairbrushes with only plastic bristles, the Mason Pearson gets "dirty" a lot quicker. For that reason, I would not recommend combing your hair with this brush when you have dry shampoo or excessive hair products in your hair.
Because of this, the Mason Pearson needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. For the larger sized brushes, a cleaning brush is included for just this purpose. After removing loose hair from the paddle with a wide-tooth comb, simply draw the cleaning brush across the bristles from one end to another in different directions to remove dust and scales. For a more intense cleaning, move the cleaning brush in a scrubbing motion to dislodge even more debris. I find this process helpful but not thorough as there will always be some remaining fibers traped amongst the bristles. Additionally, oil build-up on the rubber pad will cause deterioration over time so the brush will also need to be washed every so often. Detailed instructions are included with each brush to ensure that this is done properly as to avoid damaging the brush.

Overall:
This is without an doubt an luxury investment and I would understand if you thought I was crazy. It's certainly not an essential item by any means but the quality is there. I've noticed shinier, silky hair that doesn't look as greasy without daily washing and the penumatic rubber pad makes the brushing experience very theraputic. The cleaning/maintenance is the biggest drawback but hey, when you spend this much on a hairbrush, you better take good care of it!

Availability:
I purchased this Mason Pearson hairbrush online at Costco Canada. However, it is no longer listed online (at least at this moment). Please find a list of your local/online Mason Pearson retailers here.
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