How to Choose Your Shaving Brush
Traditionally, shaving brushes are made from badger, beaver, boar, horsetail, or some other animal hair. These materials have now been challenged by high quality, vegan synthetic fiber that rival the performance and feel of the finest badger hair.
The hair softness varies between them and this is normally the main consideration for choosing one type of hair over the other. However, all types of hair will do the job, and in the end, what you really have to think about is what type of brush you can afford and if it feels good in your hand.
Choosing your shaving brush is very simple. This is what you have to keep in mind:
Knot Size | “Knot” is the name given to the bundle of hairs. Its size is given in millimeters and is defined by the diameter of the base of the knot. The most common sizes are 21mm and 24mm. They are both good sizes and the only difference between them will be the price, especially on a natural hair brush, being the latter more expensive than the former as it has more hairs. Smaller brushes will give more control, while larger brushes will cover larger areas more quickly. How big you want the knot to be is a matter of preference.
Loft Height | this is the total height of the knot from the top of the handle to the tip. the average height is about 50mm. A higher loft makes the brush feel softer and hold more lather than a shorter height. How high you want your brush to be is a matter of personal preference.
Material | When it comes to the material, think about what is important to you. If you want a firm brush that gives you a good rubbing and increases blood circulation, then choose a black badger or perhaps, even a coarse bristle as boar or horse hair. For a very versatile, intermediate firmness you might want to go for a pure badger bristle (marketed also as best badger and fine badger). If you want the gentle massage of a softer brush, then a Super Badger or a Silver Tip are for you. If you are allergic to natural hair, want a brush that does not have animal hair, or simply want an affordable brush that does the job choose a synthetic fiber brush. Due to their softness, the last three types are also ideal if you have extremely sensitive skin.
Badger is the most classic and most used hair for shaving brushes. It is sorted into four different grades according to their firmness/softness level, Pure Badger being the firmest and usually, the cheapest, and Silver Tip being the softest most expensive quality. What defines softness is which part of the animal the hair comes from. If you want to know more about the different types of hair you can refer to this article.
Brush Size | If you have really big hands, a small brush may feel dinky and awkward to handle. Other than that, there is no real reason to choose a very big brush. A smaller brush is quicker to rinse after use and takes up less room in your toiletry bag.
The Easy Guide to Choosing
Just starting out? A synthetic hair brush will do the job just as good as a natural hair brush. It is a good idea to get one of these at the beginning if you are still uncertain about changing to traditional shaving. You can after a while upgrade to an elegant natural hair brush and leave the synthetic one as a travel brush that you will not cry over if you lose it. Or, you can just continue using it, a good quality synthetic brush will last for many years.
Vegan or concerned about not using animal fur? Well, choose a synthetic hair brush. They do the job as well as natural hair brushes.
Allergic to animal hair? | Choose a synthetic hair brush.
Extremely Sensitive Skin? | Choose a Super Badger or a Silver Tip. Some synthetics are also very soft.
Prefer lathering directly on the face? | Choose a soft brush. Either a synthetic bristle brush, Best Badger, Super Badger, or Silver Tip.
Are design and the use of natural materials important? Get your self a natural bristle brush, it will be an investment for life. You will never regret it and your children and grandchildren will treasure it as much as you.
Luxurious taste? | Choose a Silver Tip
Caring for Your Shaving Brush
Whichever brush you choose, it must be properly cared for, so it lasts for a long time in proper condition. Here are three simple rules for this:
Rinse thoroughly | Make sure you give the brush a good rinse after each shave. It is not necessary to use boiling hot water, just use pleasantly warm water, and a lot of it. Use your fingers to work through the hairs, making sure the brush is clean and clear of all shaving cream or shaving soap residue. Once a year you may choose to clean it more thoroughly using alcohol or boiling water.
Shake excess water | Equally important as rinsing, is to make sure to shake all excess water out of it after rinsing it, so your brush stays healthy and mold-free. The brush should be free of soap residue and as much water as possible thoroughly shaken off.
Air dry | Do not put your brush into a bag, container, tightly closed drawer, or other confined space, at least not until it is completely dry. This is not the time to be fussing about a spotless bathroom shelf. If you are into minimalism and want to keep your bathroom shelf clutter-free, get rid of the real clutter. A shaving brush is not clutter. It is a thing of beauty and will spark joy every time your eyes fall on it when you enter your bathroom. If you are traveling and have to pack down your shaving brush in transit, make it a habit of taking it out of your toiletry bag as soon as you reach your destination.
Follow these three simple rules, your brush will stay in top working condition for years to come. Failing to do so may result in mold growing between the hairs, and if that is not a nasty enough thought in itself, it may also cause the brush to start shedding.
Some prefer to store the brush upside down to make sure excess water drains away from the brush bottom, but this is not important. If cared for properly, a good quality shaving brush will last you a lifetime and beyond.
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