How to pick a shaving brush

14.11. 2019
How to pick a shaving brush

What is a shaving brush good for and how to choose the right one?

  • Shaving brush is used to create a rich lather by whipping up either a shaving cream or a soap.
  • Each shaving brush has slightly different characteristics depending on the material of its bristle. These differ in their ability to absorb water as well as in their coarseness.
  • The most traditional and luxurious choice is the badger shaving brush. These are renowned for both their softness and ability to absorb water. Even individual types of badger shaving brushes differ in that respect with silvertip badger being the most expensive and luxurious pick, super badger and best badger being the middle ground and pure badger being the basic choice.
  • The basic level of a shaving brush is the natural boar bristle version. It is much more affordable than a badger brush, but also significantly more coarse and with a slightly diminished water-absorption ability. However it makes a decent starting-level choice and its price tag is much more appealing to those who only want to try out wet shaving before committing to it fully. 
  • There is also a relatively uncharted territory of the synthetic fibre brushes. These - especially when made properly - can be of superb quality close to that of the badger brushes without the obvious ethical dilemma.

Now let's have a look at the individual types of shaving brushes in more detail, starting with the badger shaving brushes as a staple of quality. Once an unaffordable luxury for most, these have gone down in price in the recent years. The individual badger shaving brushes differ in look, size and most importantly in the quality of the badger hair used. This is the basic differentiation: 

Silvertip badger

The most luxurious brushes of them all. They are made from the finest and rarest badger hair located only in small areas of the badger's neck. Their name arrises from their color that's naturally silver. To let its famed softness fully show the silvertip badger hair are never trimmed. The individual silvertip badger brushes can be further divided into the most luxurious 3-band silvertip version (silver hair color on both ends with a black strip in the middle) and a slightly tougher 2-band silvertip version that's silver at the ends and black at the roots.


Super badger

Super badger brushes only consist of very carefully selected soft hair located on badger's back. They resemble Silvertip badger in both their look and their softness, but are usually a bit darker. That's usually made up for by additional coloring, which is also how you can tell these two types apart - the color of the ends of a super badger brush is usually noticeably whiter with a worse depth of color. On one hand they are slightly tougher than the silvertip badger version, yet much softer than the best badger and pure badger versions.


Best badger

Best badger is by far the most popular version of a badger brush, namely thanks to its superb value for money. It consists of soft hair from larger parts of badger's body with a less distinctive coloring. They still maintain a pleasant softness, yet they offer a stronger massaging sensation.


Pure badger

The most affordable type of badger brushes. It's made from the hair located all around the badger's long body. Compared to the best badger hair these are shorter, visibly darker and also a bit less dense. Their ends are sometimes trimmed to achieve the required shape, which is why these brushes are the coarsest of the badger brushes. Overall they make for a solid choice both for beginners and for those who use thicker shaving soaps, because that's where their coarseness comes in handy. 


That would be all about badgers for now. Or let's maybe finish with an anecdote:

A customer comes into a barbershop and asks the barber whether there's a reason to use natural bristle brush instead of a badger brush. The barber thinks for a second and then replies: "There sure is, especially if you happen to be a badger."

Natural boar bristle

The main advantage of boar bristle brushes is fairly obvious: they come at a much lower price. However they can serve their purpose more than adequately. Beginning wet-shavers like them for their affordability and some actually enjoy their toughness for the massaging effect. For uncompromisingly tough they are indeed, not in an unpleasant way though. However compared to the gentle touch of a badger brush the difference is quite stark. Boar bristle don't absorb as much water and will consequently create a less dense lather. On the other hand they work great with thicker shaving soaps. A word of advice: before even trying to lather up the soap or cream soak the brush in warm water for a while so that it absorbs more of it.


Synthetic fibre

There's an obvious drawback of the synthetic fibre brushes - it's a modern-day invention trying to make its way into an inherently traditional wet shaving ritual. There are some major advantages to it though, be it an affection for badgers or a decent price tag. We don't offer the basic synthetic fibre brushes, because we believe they don't provide any real advantage. On the contrary we only offer brushes that have been honed for some time and offer perfect performance as a result.


A big shout out to you for making it through the entire article. Hopefully it helped you to learn a thing or two about shaving brushes and will subsequently help you choose the right one for you taste. If you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to contact us!

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