It can be very difficult for a beginner to wet shaving to understand why they should spend so much money on a brush. This Buyer's Guide explains the difference between all the difference shaving brushes available, but if you are more interested in finding out how to use a shaving brush than read through our definitive guide to using shaving soap.
A common question we get asked is 'Why should I use a shaving brush?' which is quickly followed by 'What is the difference between Synthetic, Boar, and Badger bristles?'
There are many different types of brushes which all have the following different properties - bristle thickness and stiffness, moisture-holding capacity, price, and the ability to generate and apply a soap lather.
Boar brushes are generally the cheapest type and have thick, stiff bristles. They hold less water than badger brushes and create a lower quality lather, but as mentioned before have a lower price.
Badger brushes are the gold standard of brushes and have a softer bristle pattern which holds more water, creates a better lather and is generally more luxurious. There are several different quality types of badger brushes with a large range in price.
Badger brushes can be split up into further categories:
- Pure - pure badger hair is the most common and abundant source of badger hair. It is on the stiffest side which can be good for trying to lather very hard soap pucks.
- Best - best badger hair is sourced from the belly of the badger and is softer than pure badger hair. It can also store more water so is ideal for dense shaving creams.
- Super - super badger hair is extremely soft but is not as easily available. This gives it superior water-absorbing capacity but can be more difficult to maintain with the fine, delicate bristles.
- Silvertip - this is the rarest and most expensive category of badger hair. It is sourced from the same area as super badger hair but is sorted very carefully based on softness and colour. It is the gentlest and most delicate but can often cost more than $1000 per brush.
There are also horse hair brushes available, however, these are much less common. They are generally only used if you have an allergic reaction to the other brush types.
You should consider your own requirements around quality, bristle stiffness and price before making a decision. See our range of badger haired brushes here to see the difference for yourself.
We have also put together a comprehensive article about how to make lather from shaving soaps using a shaving brush.