Wet Shaving: The Right Brush for You
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. A quality brush can help provide for a luxurious, and dare I say "enjoyable" shaving experience. The preferred brush for this type of 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. You may find that this type of brush is ideal and desirable. Or, perhaps, you may find that a lower quality brush will work just fine for your expectations. I have found that I desire a brush in the middle. I like it firm enough that it has some resistance as I apply it, but also want a soft tough to my sensitive skin.
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. You may also want to factor in durability. If you are a bit clumsy, you may find that you drop your brush occasionally, as I do. Direct falls on to a hard surface may chip the brush handle and cause damage. Over an extended period of time, this may begin to wear the handle down.
On the topic of costs, as in anything else, you typically get what you pay for. This is no different when it comes to shaving brushes. 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, and start off with that. Save 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. Besides, if you are stuck with an unwanted shaving brush, what else are you going to use it for?
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. Comparing brushes of different qualities, you will notice a difference. Once you are more experienced, you will likely be able to discern more subtle differences in brush quality than when you are just jumping into wetshaving. You will be surprised that something as simple as a shaving brush can vary so much between types and qualities.