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Best Shaving Brushes: Gifts for Him

Updated on October 11, 2014

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.

[Buy Lather print]

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.

Georgetown Pottery G12 Shaving Scuttle Mug - Hamada & Blue
Georgetown Pottery G12 Shaving Scuttle Mug - Hamada & Blue

A shave scuttle keeps your lather warm for extra comfort. The interior is ridged to help you quickly build a thick lather.


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.

Kingsley Shave Soap Bowl with Lid Dark Wood
Kingsley Shave Soap Bowl with Lid Dark Wood

Handsome wooden bowl holds your shaving soap and lets you cover it between shaves to keep it clean.


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.

Proraso Shaving Soap in a Bowl, Refreshing and Toning, 5.2 oz
Proraso Shaving Soap in a Bowl, Refreshing and Toning, 5.2 oz

Refreshing soft Italian soap is easy to lather. a good choice for beginning wet shavers and popular with all.


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.

Col. Conk Shave Soap 2.25 Ounces (Variety 4 Pack)
Col. Conk Shave Soap 2.25 Ounces (Variety 4 Pack)

Hard glycerin shave soaps in four classic scents: amber, almond, bay rum, and lime.


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?

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    • profile image

      electricmaze 4 years ago

      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 profile image

      Arod17 4 years ago

      My dad would love a brush

    • grannyann lm profile image

      Ann Scaling Tucker 4 years ago from Enid, OK

      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 profile image

      Therestlesssoul 4 years ago

      SO many choices here...........:)

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      I don't actually have a preference, however my husband has had several different types of brushes for shaving.

    • profile image

      CristianStan 5 years ago

      I have to say that the Escali is a good choice. I have been using it for years.

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      I gave one of these to my dad years ago - he loved it!

    • Sicilian profile image

      Sicilian 5 years ago

      @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 profile image

      Sicilian 5 years ago

      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 profile image

      TCB dan 5 years ago

      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!