Four Questions of Brush CareThe main questions of brush care are the following:
- Should you rinse your brush after shaving, or not?
- Should you store your brush bristles up or down?
- Should you shake out and dry your brushes as much as possible
- Should you rotate brushes?
In my opinion, the answer to all these questions is, it depends. Let's look further into these questions, shall we?
Brush-Construction IssuesShaving brushes are either of natural or synthetic bristle. Both fibers are going to be relatively tough and resilient with respect to water. Yet natural bristle, deprived of the oils provided by their host in their natural state, may suffer over time, possibly becoming brittle -- although they may be more likely to develop split ends, which might actually improve the brush, as is the case with boar-bristle brushes as they are broken in during the first few weeks of use.
Then there is the issue of the adhesive that binds the knot (the collection of bristles) together and holds the knot in the handle. Sometimes these adhesives tend to weaken with prolonged exposure to water.
Also the handle material may be less than ideal such as with wooden handles. Wood, when repeatedly subjected to cycles of wetting and drying can develop dry rot. Plastic, of course, will be pretty much invincible in the face of most threats.
Store Up or Down?Hanging a brush to dry with bristles down is a no-brainer optimal choice. However, is that required?
Not necessarily. If your post-shave brush care includes rinsing well, shaking as much water from the brush as possible, and perhaps even swiping the damp brush on a dry towel to remove as much water as possible, then setting the brush on its handle bottom and letting it dry bristles up poses little threat to the longevity of the brush life.
Of course, if you store the brush standing on its bristles, then they are likely to take on a "set," a shape that deviates from the original fan shape of a brush in good condition.
In my opinion, which is based on experience, there is little risk to hanging a brush to dry irrespective of whether you rinse and remove moisture or not. If you dry bristles up, then more fastidious rinsing and drying may certainly have long-term benefits.