The “Hairdressers’ Hairbrush” and its storied history

In the hairbrush world, Mason Pearson gets a lot of attention. Hairstylists and celebrities swear by them, and I personally know more than a few women who claim to have had the same one since their teens (most of us are now 35+), which definitely helps rationalize prices that can surpass $300. Personally, I have a travel-sized one that I must have received as a gift when I was an editor, and if memory serves it’s in my son’s bathroom drawer right now. Mason Pearson certainly deserves the accolades, and today’s rubber-cushion design is still strikingly similar to the original, which dates back to 1885 (though subtle improvements have been made along the way).

I do love an underdog, which is why I’m all about Denman brushes, the first of which was patented in 1938. This brush may have come along a bit later, but it still holds a place in hairstyling history. An endorsement from Vidal Sassoon in the 1960s solidified the brand’s place on the coiffure map, since these brushes were perfect for achieving his smooth bob, which was all the rage at the time.

Unlike Mason Pearson brushes—which are predominantly known for their natural (i.e. boar) bristles, Denman brushes feature nylon bristles—which significantly reduces the price. Just so you know, a pocket-sized nylon Mason Pearson is $68, but a full-size original Denman is $20.

During a haircut about a year ago, my stylist told me to pick up a Denman brush because my hair requires very little coaxing to get straight. I never got around to it, but I literally stumbled upon a rack of them when I was in London last April. Let’s just say it’s been smooth sailing hair-wise ever since…

IBB Splurge: "The Lip" Brush by Kevyn Aucoin