Sunday, November 16, 2014

What's in the Cabinet: My Current Shave Brushes

I'm not a shave-brush collector, though I do have more than some traditional shavers. I have three, none of which would an aficionado call top drawer.
My three inexpensive shave brushes:
Left: Omega Syntex (synthetic), Center: Tweezerman (badger), Right: Van Der Hagen (boar)

I have never had the pleasure of swishing a very high-end brush against my beard; but I've never had the pain of paying for one either. Maybe expensive shave brushes are totally worth the price, and I just haven't learned that yet.

I have merely tried inexpensive brushes of each of the three common bristles: boar, badger, and synthetic. I was interested in trying an inexpensive horse-hair brush from Turkey, with which I had been teased by the now-dormant but still-available blog site, BruceOnShaving. However, by the time I read his article and was willing to order one, they had disappeared from the available market.

All three of my brushes work fine, but some are better suited for certain tasks.

The Omega synthetic was purchased (that is, rationalized) as a travel brush because it is rather small, but more importantly, because its synthetic bristles will dry quickly. Also, of the three brushes, the synthetic is probably best suited to dry sitting upright on the bathroom counter -- though I still hang it to dry when used at home. This brush is excellent for bowl lathering, but was initially the most harsh of the three when face lathering -- though not really harsh, and quite sufficient and usable. Ironically, I use a soap stick when traveling, so in that capacity this brush would be exclusively used for face lathering. One of the nice qualities of this brush is that it hasn't shed a bristle since it arrived, while the two natural-bristle brushes do still leave an occasional hair behind in the bowl, which can be annoying.

The Van Der Hagen boar is a fine all-purpose brush with the largest knot (and handle) of the three and excellent backbone combined with the softer tips that come when a boar brush is broken in. It was also the least expensive of the three as well as the most available, being sold in my area in a Meijer department store as well as in my local drug store (that's the chemist's shop, for you in Great Britain).

The Tweezerman badger is the softest of the three, and was the most expensive as well -- though still not pricey. It has the least backbone, and is the softest against skin. Prior to the arrival of the Omega brush, this Tweezerman was the one I used daily merely because it was a bit smaller, fit my face better.

All three are a good value and highly usable. The best? Tough call; I, personally am ambivalent though I do lean toward a smaller brush. That said, I tend to appreciate each for its best features, but don't have a favorite because each has its imperfections.

Happy shaving!

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