Wet shaving: badger brushes are important for a close shave
One of the most important factors of achieving a quality shave from wetshaving is using a quality brush. A double-edge razor may be the main tool for the process, but it is the brush that delivers the shaving soap or cream to the face, which allows the razor to shave. The preferred brush for shaving is the badger brush. However, synthetic brushes can be bought, along with brushes made from other kinds of hair.
There are different qualities of badger brushes available. The lowest quality brush is the pure badger brush. This is hair from the underbelly of the badger. These types of brushes cost much less than brushes made with finer hair. The best badger has hair that is longer than pure badger, and is also more dense. The color is lighter as well. It is said to produce a better lather than a pure badger. Due to the types of hair used in both the pure badger and best badger, the hairs may be trimmed to shape in order to fit the brush
A super badger brush costs more than the pure and best badger brushes. This grade of badger brushes contains hairs that are sorted for better performance than the pure and best badger grades. The most rare and costly type of badger brush is the silvertip. This brush includes hairs that are naturally white or silver. Bristles in a true silvertip brush are not bleached. This brush is fluffy and can hold a large amount of water in it. This allows the brush to easily create a generous lather.
The design of brush handles has remained largely unchanged over the years. There are a number of different materials that are used for handles. You may find that even higher-end shave brushes use synthetic handles. There are benefits to synthetic handles. They are usually more resistant to moisture damage. This is important being that they will repeatedly be subjected to wet conditions. Natural materials are available for shave brushes as well.
On the topic of costs, as in anything else, you typically get what you pay for. You may find that a pure badger brush will be perfectly suitable for your needs. If you are just beginning wetshaving, it may be best to buy a pure badger brush. Save the money by avoiding the more expensive brushes for now. A pure badger brush will likely be a huge improvement over using no brush at all. If wetshaving isn't your thing and you decide not to stick with it, you won't have spent a ton of money on a more expensive brush.
If you are already a wetshaver, or are getting into it, don't skimp on the brush. Buying a boar brush or even one made with horse hairs likely will not produce a quality shave, as compared to a badger brush. Once you are experienced, you will likely be able to discern differences in brush quality better than when you are just jumping into wetshaving.