If you’re new to the world of wet shaving, you’ve probably considered buying a shaving brush. As a fellow wet-shaver, I’m here to say that you shouldn’t put off doing so any longer! A good brush will dramatically improve the quality of your shave, by virtue of thicker, more consistent, and longer-lasting lather.
Shaving Brush 101
Shaving brushes are typically comprised of a handle into which many hundreds of natural bristles – horse, boar or badger – have been inserted, creating a soft yet textured brush head, whose tip protrudes at the centre and tapers at the sides, making it well suited for creating and applying lather.
Which Bristle Type is Best?
Horse, boar, badger – is there significant difference between the three? It depends. A variety of factors, including bristle quality, manufacturing technique and bristle density, determine the characteristics of a given shaving brush. It isn’t possible to say that one type of bristle is always better than another. We can only generalize.
And so, generalize we shall. Horse hair shaving brushes are less common than those of boar and badger hair. Horse bristles have a reputation for pungency (when new), stiffness and scratchiness. But for all their detractors, there are as many proponents, who claim (as mentioned above) that not all horsehair is made the same – and that with time, those smelly, stiff and scratchy bristles become wonderfully soft and pliant.
Much like the hair of their long-distant equine cousins, the bristles of a boar can be used to create shaving brushes that span a wide range of quality. Boar hair brushes are often considered an acceptable, affordable middle ground between horse and badger. Again, stiffness, scratchiness and the ability to whip up a frothy lather depend on the grade and arrangement of the bristles.
Finally, badger. The highly regarded, much sought-after, crème de la crème of shaving brushes. Or is it? By now, you can probably anticipate that the answer is, yet again, “It depends.” That being said, badger is well-regarded with good reason. Badger bristles find their way into the costliest of shaving brushes, are soft and luxurious, and hold water well, making them excellent for lathering and moisturizing skin.
Shaving Brush Stands
Is a brush stand absolutely necessary? No, at least not if your brush’s handle has a sufficiently wide, flat and sturdy base that allows the brush to stand upright. Having said that, a stand is a very nice accessory to have – it allows a brush to hang, bristles pointing down, ensuring they dry quickly and evenly, and preventing the ingress of water into the brush handle.
If you’re new to wet shaving consider this one hundred percent pure badger bristle brush, made by Benny’s of London. It’s part of a quality set, which also includes an elegant brush stand and matching razor. The set is reasonably priced, perfect for beginners – and would look great on any bathroom counter.
Shaving Brush Sets
A shaving brush is nothing without lather – and lather is impossible without cream or soap. If you need a good quality shaving brush, but would prefer to purchase a brush stand and razor of your own choosing, take a look at this Taylor of Old Bonds Street shaving brush set. Included is an English-made pure badger brush, with a beautifully branded white handle, and a container of delightfully scented Almond shaving cream – perfect for sensitive skin.
Taylor of Old Bonds Street is highly regarded in the wet shaving community, and even at a very affordable price of £29.95, the brush is well made, and not prone to shedding bristles.
A Highly Recommended Shaving Brush
Perhaps you need neither razor, nor cream, nor stand – all that’s missing is a brush. Consider investing in something made with pride and built to last – such as the Kent Pure Badger Silvertip Medium Shaving Brush.
Founded in 1777, Kent has over two centuries of experience in designing and manufacturing products of the highest quality. This medium-sized brush features a handle that’s neither too large, nor too small, created from a visually appealing and cruelty-free, mock ivory material.
The bristles are of pure silvertip – considered the highest-grade badger bristles available. Silvertip is never dyed. The distinctive appearance comes from carefully grading, sorting and selecting hairs, which are masterfully arranged in the handle.
The bristles found on this Kent brush have been described as soft and “cloud-like”, yet not floppy – they’re perfectly capable creating a luxuriant lather. And though any shaving brush should be allowed to dry after each use, the brush comes packaged in a handsome red and gold case, ideal for travel.
Treat your face to a good badger bristle brush. You’ll wonder how you got on for so long, applying cream by hand – and your skin will thank you for making the switch!