Buying Guide: Best Shaving Brush Models and Features
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If your going to get your nose dirty and try out wet shaving, your going to need to gear up properly. This means purchasing great safety razors, blades, creams, a shaving bowl, and yes, brushes. So, I hear you asking, why bother with a shaving brush, don’t we have shaving canisters which create?
Shaving brushes are used to help stir up and mix shaving soap. Shaving soap is appealing for a couple of reasons. First, unlike the lather that you would get from creams like Barbasol and that you would have to apply by hand, the process actually exfoliates your skin. Using a shaving brush, it softens your beard and distributes the lather across your face evenly, which pushes your hair up and away from your skin.
While standard shaving cream can matte your hair while you use your fingers, and clump it together, the shaving soap actually lifts your hair. The final process means that you will have an extremely close shave, with fewer nicks, creating silky smooth skin.
One thing to note is that you should definitely use a shaving stand to keep the hairs on your brushes from touching any sort of counter surface. The reason being, the brstles will never get a chance to properly dry out which can cause them to break down quicker and even mold in the right environments. So buy a great shaving stand to go with your brush!
Types of Brushes
Shaving brushes can range in price, by quite a bit. Some can go for as much as $100, or even higher! However, not only is there a discrepancy in price, but each brush has certain attributes, that might be more appealing to you, for instance, do would you like a soft brush, or a brisk brush? If your someone who has sensitive skin, a soft brush will probably appeal to you more, while others may want to be able to feel the hair across their face, opening up pores for exfoliation. These are divided into four types of standard brushes for shaving, which include badger hair, boar hair, synthetic hair, and horse hair. Each one is unique, so pay attention to these attributes.
Badger Hair: Badger hair is considered to be the premium standard when it comes to shaving brushes. They hold tons of water, are very soft, and produce and excellent lather easily for your face. The prices of these brushes will range considerably, depending on the brand, with the best brushes having very thick and full bristles.
Other things to consider are where the brush is made, the material of the handle, and whether the bristles are silver tipped (very soft bristles from the underbelly of the badger). Handles are another attribute that you should consider, as wooden handles feel great and have a sturdy grip, but can wear down over time. Acrylic handles on the other hand are much more sturdy, and they won’t rot like wooden handled brushes. No matter which brush you choose however, make sure that you hang it up so that they dry properly, or they’ll damage over the years.
Recommendation: Wet Shaving Products Badger Brush
This badger brush is a great combination of softness, while also having great exfoliating properties, all while on the cheap. This 21 mm Knot brush comes with a travel box, for easy storing and transporting.
Boar Hair: Another very popular type of shaving brush hair, is boar hair. These brushes are much more coarse compared to their premium badger haired cousins, so it isn’t ideal for sensitive skin. However, the increased firmness of the hair also means that forming lather is a cinch. A few issues with the boar hair, aside from its dexterity, is that it had an odor(which goes away over time), and it has to be soaked in hot water for at least 8 minutes prior to shaving, in order to soak up water.
Recommendation: Omega Boar Bristle Pro 48
Its hard to find boar hair that is soft enough to pass most peoples criteria of what they’d prefer to use, but Omega makes their brushes with extremely soft boar hair. These brushes have chrome ABS handles, so they’ll last, and the boar hair is extremely durable.
Synthetic Hair: Synthetic shaving brushes are brushes made from artificial materials, and these brushes can be appealing for quite a couple of reasons. First off, they come odor free, unlike the other three brushes on this list. They are also very soft (although not as soft as badger hair), and very firm (although not as firm as boar hair). Personally, I believe these to be the best brushes overall, but again, everyone has a preference. Overall, these are brushes which you will find quite commonly and they produce an excellent lather. Paired up with a high quality shaving mug and you’ll be good to go for years to come.
Recommendation: Parker Synthetic Bristle Shaving Brush
Parker is one of the oldest and most respected brands in wet shaving, and they produce fantastic synthetic brushes. These ones contain no animal products, and fast drying, so they are easy to maintain. The bristles are in between soft and firm. This brush also includes a stand, and produces a perfect lather.
Horse Hair: These guys you will typically find on the fringe of the wet shaving community, and aren’t as popular as the other three on our list. Horse hair comes with an extremely foul odor, and it can last for quite a few days after purchase, and still maintain its scent to some degree longer after its broken in. These brushes, just like synthetic, are middle of the pack in terms of firmness and softness, and won’t have to be soaked for very long before use.
Recommendation: Vie-Long 13061
This particular style of brushes like previously mentioned, are very rare. However, the 13061 from Vie-Long is an excellent quality brush. It creates just enough lather with each swipe, is gentle on the skin, but also is firm enough to apply evenly.