Great Shaving Brushes for Thick Lather
You need a good shaving brush to build thick, rich lather for the best shave. And you need to understand how to use and care for it, to preserve the bristles and handle. But which brush should you get? There are so many choices!
I'm going to show you the most popular types of shave brushes - the badgers, boar, horsehair, and synthetic - and explain how they differ and what each is best suited for. For instance, did you know that badger hair brushes are graded depending on which part of the badger's body the hair comes from?
Shaving brushes make great gifts for any man - whether he uses a double-edge safety razor, a straight razor, or a modern cartridge razor, he'll love getting a smooth, soothing shave.
- Silvertip Badger
- Super Badger
- Best Badger
- Pure Badger
- Economy Brushes
- Horsehair Brushes
- Boar Bristles
- Synthetic Bristles
- How to Lather
Caring for your shaving brush
Your shaving brush will last for years if you care for it properly.
- Always rinse it after use, first with warm water, then with cool water. This will close the pores in the bristles.
- Gently shake the excess water out - don't shake the brush hard!
- Hang the brush to dry - if you stand it on its handle while it's wet, the water will weaken the knot and damage wood finishes.
- Slip the brush into the holder either where the handle narrows, or else at the base of the bristles, depending on how it fits best.
- After your brush is thoroughly dry, you can store it upright on its handle, if you wish. This will let the bristles bloom out.
Silvertip Badger Shaving Brushes
Silvertip badger hair brushes are the finest and most luxurious made. The tapering hairs absorb water readily, build a thick lather, and feel soft and delightful on your face.
This style is especially good for sensitive skin. It will do best with soft soaps or creams - use a light touch when building the lather. However, if you need exfoliation or want to vigorously whip up a hard soap, you may want to choose a coarser brush.
These bristles come from the soft neck fur of the badger, which turns silver at the tips in winter.
Super Badger Shaving Brushes
The "super" badger hair comes from the back of the badger. It is almost as soft as the silvertip brush, and holds water just as well. Like the silvertip hair, it should be used gently and washed and dried carefully after each use.
Best Badger Shaving Brushes
“Best” badger hair makes an excellent quality brush. The hair is usually dark, from the body and belly of the animal. The tips of the hairs are soft, and feel smooth on the face. Overall the hair is stiffer than the higher grades, so you can lather more vigorously and scrub your face harder.
Pure Badger Shaving Brushes
"Pure" badger hair makes the coarsest of the badger brushes. The hair is thick and springy, and it does not feel as soft as the finer grades. These brushes are good for exfoliation and vigorous lathering. Good for working up hard soaps.
Economy Shaving Brushes
Tweezerman and Escali are two of the most popular brands of economy shaving brushes. They are favorites of people just starting to learn to wet shave. Though they are low-priced, they are of good quality. Be sure to rinse them after each use and hang to dry, and they'll last until you get ready to try a higher-end brush.
Horsehair Shaving Brushes
Horsehair shaving brushes were common a century ago, but have been eclipsed by badger hair. However they are preferred by people who want animal-friendly products, as the hair is trimmed from the horse's mane and tail. It is finely graded, and can feel softer than some "pure" grade badger hair.
Boar Shaving Brushes
Boar or hog bristles make a stiff shaving brush, good if you like the "scrubby" feel. The brush will hold water well enough to build up a good lather, but the bristles are a bit more brittle than badger hair - you'll want to work up your lather in a shaving bowl or mug, rather than directly on your face.
Synthetic Bristle Shaving Brushes
You may prefer a synthetic-bristle shave brush for several reasons:
- You wish to be animal-friendly or follow vegan principles
- You are sensitive to animal hair
- Synthetics don't have the smell of a new natural brush
How to Lather
Vintage and Antique Shaving Brushes - Limited time auctions from eBay
Many people prefer vintage shaving brushes, because they are soft and well broken-in, as well as for their historical interest. You can also update a good old handle by adding a new knot.
© 2012 Valerie Proctor Davis
Which brush do you prefer?
electricmaze on June 02, 2013:
I'm a bit lazy so use an electric brush, while wet shaving for special occasions. I've yet to convince my dad to take the plunge and even TRY a wet shave, this might just be the push he needs!
Arod17 on June 02, 2013:
My dad would love a brush
Ann Scaling Tucker from Enid, OK on May 27, 2013:
My dad had a brush he prized and often talked about its "life time guarantee". My brother (about 5 or 6 years old) was playing with it in the bathroom, dropped it in the toilet, got scared and flushed it down. So much for the guarantee. Boy was he in trouble!!!
Therestlesssoul on May 25, 2013:
SO many choices here...........:)
Cynthia Haltom from Diamondhead on May 17, 2013:
I don't actually have a preference, however my husband has had several different types of brushes for shaving.
CristianStan on January 14, 2013:
I have to say that the Escali is a good choice. I have been using it for years.
writerkath on January 11, 2013:
I gave one of these to my dad years ago - he loved it!
Sicilian on January 09, 2013:
@TCB dan: I agree about the ritual of shaving. I have to be frugal with my money is all. I good shave is still possible without spending big bucks. A barbarshop shave is still the best!
Sicilian on January 08, 2013:
I use a Van Der Hagen brush. I have two in rotation. They are sold at local pharmacies and at Walmart and are fairly godd price. They feel good on my sensitive skin. I use a DE razor.
TCB dan on January 02, 2013:
There's something about the ritual of using one of these brushes, a high-quality English shave cream (not something you could find at Walmart), and a fine razor. The smell, the lather, the process, the freshness, ... ahhh.... although a little time consuming, once in a while it brings you back to the old barbershop days. Nice post!