One of the most highly recognizable things about Traditional Wet Shaving is the Shaving Brush. The Shaving brush is one of the best tools for shaving. However most men don't use one. It is a very nostalgic thing that you might have only seen your grandfather use or in those old-time movies. However, the brush does have some great value to your shave.
There are many benefits to using a shaving brush. First, it is used to make and whip up a lather to use for your face. You can do this by using a bowl, mug, scuttle, or even hand lathering (making a lather on the palm of your hand with the brush). It's also a great tool for exfoliating your skin. It lifts the hairs on your face and massages the lather so that it get all around your hair for a clean shave. And the best part about using the brush? It's fun!
The Shaving Brush is often made with a handle and some sort of natural or synthetic hair. The handles are often very decorative, sometimes made from porcelain, wood, ivory, and even gold. Today, however, most are made with either a wooden, plastic, or porcelain handle. This Simpson brush is made from plastic.
The bristles of the brush are often made from synthetic or natural hair. The cheaper brushes you may find in the mega-marts and corner drug stores are usually the brushes made from synthetic hair. These brushes usually are in the $5 price range. The bristles of these brushes are usually made from Nylon. However, some may be made from "natural" hair, i.e - Boar hair.
By far, the most popular and most useful brushes are made from Badger hair. Badger hair holds more water than any other natural or synthetic hair. This means that your creams and soaps will be more hydrated and create a more creamy, fluffy, and slick lather. Which transitions into less razor skipping and dragging.
The Badger hair can come from many parts of the badger. The closer to the belly and neck of the badger, the softer and more luxurious the hair can get (in other words, the more expensive it can get.) My Simpson Special Badger brush is made from pure badger hair. This is a less expensive brush than most badger hair brushes. Most pure badger hair brushes, like mine, will run you in the $20-$40 range. A step up would be best badger hair. These brushes will be more soft and fuller than the pure hair. These usually will be in the $40-$80 range. Then you start getting into the Super and Silvertip Badger hair. However, I don't see paying upwards to $150-$300 for a shaving brush...Yikes!
These pictures are when I first got my brush in the mail. As you can see, it looks pretty new. No bristles are out of array (except for just a couple), there isn't any discoloring, and the head of the hair hasn't really "bloomed" yet from use (It usually takes about 2 weeks worth of use for the bristles to fully bloom and get softer, wider, and hold more water).
When I first started out, I used one of those cheapo Wal-Mart specials. the $5 boar hair brush. After about 3 weeks of use, the bristles didn't bloom, they were very stiff and not soft, and the brush started loosing the hairs when it was used and put away. I loved using it, but was frustrated with the fact that it wasn't doing a good job. Just Ok. Then I got my Simpson brush and I was AMAZED at how different the brush felt and performed! It produced and much better lather, it was softer, and it look a whole lot better!
If you're interested in owning a shaving brush, you can read reviews about different brands at the Badger and Blade forum (http://badgerandblade.com/), check out Mantic59's Youtube videos (He's got a special review of brushes in this video http://www.youtube.com/user/mantic59#p/u/57/bEX7BnD595A), or you can browse around on one my favorite sites to purchase shaving items - West Coast Shaving (http://www.westcoastshaving.com/).
If you'd like more information, or have any questions, just leave a comment.
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