Present Buying? Shaving Brush Buying Guide
How To Choose The Right Shaving Brush
You may think it’s easy to buy a shaving brush, I guess it can be, simply look shaving brushes up on Google, click and pay, hey presto brush bought. But, is it the right brush?
Did you pay too much?
What if he doesn’t want an animal hair brush?
What if it’s too wee or too big?
Right colour or wrong colour?
Does it need a stand?
Is it any good for lathering hard soaps?
So many questions, so let me answer them in easy to understand terms.
Boar and badger hair brushes have been used in shaving brushes for over 200 years, the natural hairs retain heat and water better than other types of hair and that’s what has made them popular ever since.
Most customers who have bought boar hair brushes in the past have found that over time the can begin to smell and they tend to be prickly on the skin. However, if you are looking for an inexpensive shaving brush, or a good brush to start with, look no further.
You can find our range of boar hair brushes here.
Badger hair brushes are overwhelmingly made in China. Almost all badger hair is produced in China and exported around the world.
Badger hair shaving brushes are avilalbe in three different grades - Pure, Best and Silvertip or Super - these grades reflect the levels of softness and performance of the shaving brush. You can read more about badger hair grades here.
Unfortunately, badger hair shaving brushes can be prone to hair shedding and fanning. Also, as badger hair becomes more difficult to obtain, they are increasingly becoming more and more expensive, especially for brushes containing the top grades of hair.
You can browse through our complete range of badger hair brushes here.
I have to admit to being a huge fan of the new generation synthetic shaving brushes especially the ones Muhle and Executive Shaving offer. They are super-soft on the skin, and unlike boar and badger hair they don’t shed hairs and they don’t smell. The only slight downside with these brushes is they don’t retain heat as a badger hair brush does. That aside they will lather up soft creams and hard soaps easily.
There are two big plusses for synthetic brushes. One, they are cheaper to buy than badger hair brushes. Two. They are more ethical, no animal had to die.
You can browse our range of synthetic shaving brushes here.
You generally get what you pay for and shaving brushes are no different. But real bargains can be found, for example, the Executive Shaving Big Jock Synthetic is only £24.50 which is excellent value for money considering it’s a large size brush that’s extremely well made, expect 10 years daily use from this beauty.
Marfin of Italy handmade brushes are unique, no two brushes are alike and they benefit from silvertip badger hair which is one of the top grades of badger hair. Marfin brushes are expensive but beautifully made and they come boxed and with a certificate of authenticity. Expect to pay around £265.00 for a Marfin brush, you can find them here.
In between Executive Shaving’s Big Jock and a Marfin, there are 100s to choose from including the Simpson of England range, Simpson still makes their brushes in England the old-fashioned way. Their Duke range is very popular, a Duke 3 in pure grade badger will cost around £62.00.
Some men enjoy using a large size brush, others delight in small brushes like Simpson’s Wee Scot, play safe go for a medium-large size brush like this fine example. Small and medium sized brushes are generally easier to use on the face when lathering up. The lrager sizes of shaving brush can be quiet unwieldy to use.
If the person the brush is for uses a black coloured razor, it would make sense to buy a black coloured brush. Having said that, traditionally brushes were ivory coloured and ivory is still very popular today, so too is faux horn. In the early years, shaving brush handles would be made from real ivory and horn, these days brush handles are usually made from acrylic.
Is a shaving brush stand required?
If you buy a synthetic brush, a stand isn’t absolutely necessary. However, if you’re buying a natural badger hair brush, my advice is to buy a stand. This way when the brush isn’t being used it can hang upside down and dry by aeration prolonging its life (brushes that are not dried properly will smell and eventually rot). Some stands are very smart indeed and display the brush to all who visit the bathroom. Stands vary in price from £3.00 for a plastic stand to around £50.00 for an elegant, metal and chrome plated version. Choose from this range.
Will it lather up his shaving soap?
Yes. Even the super-soft synthetics have sufficient backbone to lather up hard shaving soaps.
Always look after your shaving brush, look after it and it will look after you.
Animal hair brushes in particular need looking after, read this short blog and watch the video on shaving brush care.
Written by Brian Mulreany
The Executive Shaving Company
16th October 2018
Prices correct at 16th October 2018.