10 Best Shaving Brushes (Badger, Boar, Travel & Synthetic) – Reviews & Buying Guide
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In this article, we will help you find the best shaving brush for your preferences and needs. The goal is to make you have a good shaving experience.
Wet shaving has been around for a long time, but for some time it has dropped off the radar screen and is just recently finding its way back to the hearts of many. The on and offs with the use and popularity of this shaving technique is no reflection on its efficiency. As a matter of fact, though an old-school product, a shave brush is one of the best and most efficient shaving tools. Ask your grandfather or any man who shaved back in the day and they will definitely testify to this.
TOP 5 Shave Brushes (Summary)
If you are looking to take up wet shaving in the 21st century, you have the opportunity to change the task of shaving into something special. However, if you intend to do it the right way, there are several tools that you will need to get a close and smooth shave. Aside from the shave cream or soap for shaving and a razor, either a safety razor or if you want to go for the cutthroat razor, it is imperative that you get a great shave brush as well.
Shocking right? How does a shave brush affect the quality of wet shaving? Well, believe it or not, it does. And many people tend to disregard this vital piece in any shaving kit – also if you want to go real hardcore and pick up a straight blade razor kit. This page is all about shaving brushes, all the ins and outs and how you can choose the best shave brush in the market for your specific needs and preferences.
In this article, we’ll give you our recommendations for the best shaving brushes based on your preferences – including our Editors’ Choice, the Edwin Jagger Large Silver Tip Badger Hair Shaving Brush.
Some Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Good Shave Brush
Why in the world would anyone with fingers need to use a brush when shaving? This is a concern that many of you might have. One can lather up the hair using their hands. But the question is, is this as effective as using a shave brush?
Honestly, no. Take it from a professional.
Getting a quality shave brush is one of the signs that you are taking your wet shaving routine seriously. But in addition to this, it also is a clear indication that you are intent on getting a close and clean shave. That said, below are some of the advantages of using this tool.
- First and foremost, it will help to whip air into the shaving soap or cream which will help to create a richer lather
- It will soften as well as lift the hairs from the skin
- Using a brush creates some bit of friction which in turn not only helps in lubricating the skin but also helps to generate enough heat to open up the pores
- Bristles of the brush exfoliate the skin gently and rid the face of dead skin
- You’ll need less shave cream or soap to create a good lather
- No harmful gases or by-products from a pressurized container
It is a given, wet shaving is similar to what your Grandpa did. We all agree to this. However, the finer things and moments in life have value to many of us and it is without a doubt that classic shaving is an important niche in the market.
Now that we have that of the way and you are clearly ready to purchase a top shave brush, whether for the first time or not, there are several things that you have to consider before you spend your hard-earned money on any product.
The 5 Most Important Factors to Consider Before You Buy Any Shave Brush
The type or kind of hair the brush features is probably the most important decision that you need to make when picking the best shave brush. There are our main types/ kinds of bristles that you are bound to come across. These include boar hair, badger hair, horse hair, and synthetic hair.
Each of these bristle types come with their own positives and negatives. But be it as it may, as a golden rule of thumb, the boar hair bristle is by far the most popular and easy to find in drugstores and supermarkets. Horsehair, on the other hand, is slowly increasing its popularity in the market. As its name suggests, it has been made from a horse’s mane or tail.
At this point, I feel it is important to point this out. Getting boar or badger hair means that you will have to kill the animal.
That is the price paid. As such, if you have a problem with this, then you are obviously better off buying a horsehair or synthetic brush.
2. Price – Your Personal Budget
An important part about this piece of equipment is the fact that you will always be able to find one that will suit your budget. There are high-end ones going for $150 and affordable ones that go for less than $30. Heck, there are some that can go for as low as $10. However, even with the variation in prices, you should still consider the quality of the brush.
The shape and size of a brush is also another really important factor that one needs to consider. The dimensions are measured in millimeters. They are usually divided into 3 parts; the height, knot, and loft.
The loft refers to the length (millimeters) of hair. It is measured from the handle’s top to the ends/ tip of the hair. The Knot, on the other hand, refers to the amount or bulk of hair that is packed into a handle. The overall height adds the handle length to the loft.
Generally, the large brushes are best as they tend to lather fast and cover a large surface area as well. On the flip side, small ones tend to have a bit more control when applying lather to the face.
4. Handle Fit and Material
The handles of the brushes come in different weights as well as sizes. These variations are determined by the manufacturer. When choosing the handle size, consider the actual size of your own hand. You should grip the handle comfortably.
Handles are also made of different materials. These include horn, wood, metal and synthetic materials. The metallic handles are mostly made from brass and plated with nickel or chrome to enhance their durability. The wooden handles, on the other hand, are made from pine, ash or sycamore. As for the horn handles goes, the best and by far the most popular is the buffalo horn. This horn has lots of good attributes and has longevity.
5. Shedding of Bristles
It should not come as a shock when the brush starts to sheds some of its bristles in the first few days of use. The shedding will stop soon enough. However, you may wish to hasten this process by cleaning the brush using a shampoo or even combing it.
Later on, we shall have a more in-depth look at the brush bristles.
Before You Buy – Remember This
Our list is not a rating the best shave brush per se – it all comes down to:
- Your experience level with wet shaving
- Your skin type
- Your beard coarseness
- Your personal preferences – for instance, are you ok with using hair from animal products?
- And finally – your budget
All the models on our list that we have reviewed to find the best option and therfore the best shaving experience for you are all great choices, it is just a matter of your personal opinion and the above-mentioned factors.
10 Best Shaving Brushes 2020 – Our Picks
1. Edwin Jagger Large Silver Tip Badger Hair Shaving Brush – Best Shaving Brush – If You Want Nothing But The Best
(Drip Stand Included)
Ever since it was established in 1988, Edwin Jagger (EJ) has been a global leader and pacesetter in the distribution of luxury wet-shaving products, mostly serving the Sheffield area’s shaving market in England, with the brand’s secret to the captivating appeal being its founder and owner Neil Jagger.
Neil designs and crafts himself every single piece of the wet shaving product. He is highly meticulous to every detail, in the end producing some of the greatest traditional English-style pieces melded with avant-garde design. The family-owned and operated firm is dedicated to high integrity levels and the famed Sheffield craftsmanship.
Among the many badger hair brushes manufactured by EJ, the Large Silver Tip Badger Hair Shave Brush is the most acclaimed when quality-wise. Its silvertip badger hair and ebony handle are made with cutting-edge technology using succinctly-picked and crafted polyester materials. The badger hair is also natural, fine and superior-grade yet flexible. While its absorption of hot water is superior, the Badger hair brush also evenly distributes it to the face to soften it and make sure your lathering and shaving is consistent and smooth.
If you have a highly-sensitive skin or just want to experience gentle shaving, a soft and luxurious touch, as well as even lathering and mild exfoliation, then the Large Silvertip Badger Hair is your ideal choice.
The brush comes with a plastic drip stand that is beautifully-packed in a box, with guidelines on how to use and care for it.
2. Edwin Jagger Best Badger Shaving Brush – Best Shaving Brush Under $50
(Drip Stand Included, Ivory Imitation)
The company has been designed and built specifically to cater to the needs of wet shavers then world over. It was founded back in 1988. Over the years, EJ has gained popularity courtesy of its high-quality design and manufacturing. Its high-quality accessories have also played a big part in making this brand one of the top picks in the industry.
The company manufactures a brush called Edwin Jagger Best Badger Shave Brush that comes with a drip stand. This is expected since after all the company brand prides itself on manufacturing products of great quality.
EJ makes a big chunk if not all of its shave brushes from the Meles Meles badger hair. This is a sustainable source of the brush hair. As it has been pointed out, badger hair is one of the most common choices for shave brush bristles. It has been the preferred choice by many companies for several centuries now. Why is this so? Well, it tends to absorb water better than all other bristle types.
When you combine this quality Badger shaving brush with high-quality shaving soap or cream, you are guaranteed to have quality lather and subsequently the best wet-shaving experience ever.
But enough of that- let us get down to the nitty-gritty of why this shave brush is the top choice in the industry.
- The badger hair the shave brush features has been designed to absorb hot water prior to shave. This helps you to whip up a rich and creamy lather for your wet shaving. In addition to this, badger hair brush has also been proven time and time again to provide great results when working with hard soap. This is especially advantageous to the individuals who prefer getting a closer feeling when they lather or those who have somewhat coarse hair.
- EJ, unlike most wet shaving brush producing companies, hand-makes their product. They combine their unmatched craftsman skills with some of the most up-to-date technology in the industry to provide its consumers with the top quality.
- This brush is a bit shorter than most on the market. But nonetheless, it is comfortable to hold and has great control when mixing and lathering. As a matter of fact, its size makes it a perfect travel wet shave brush.
- The Best Badger is designed with a drip stand. This provides a storage area in which the brush dries after use. Speaking of which, it is imperative to rinse the brush with warm, but not to hot water before hanging it to dry.
3. Parker Long Loft 100% Pure Badger Bristle Shaving Brush – Best Budget Shaving Brush
This superior quality brush uses pure badger material in a relatively wide and plush bristle head. This feature allows the Parker Long Loft 100% Pure Badger Bristle Shave Brush to hold lots of water and produce a great lather buildup to give you a comforting shave experience in no time.
When you buy this brush, you get a free drip/brush stand that enables the brush to get dry faster and preserve the bristles for longer. With its avant-garde horn handle, the brush stands out due to the classy look.
4. Edwin Jagger Super Badger Brush – Great Companion For Your Wet Shaving Regime
This English company is a popular brand in the shave brush industry. It has earned the right to be among the top brush companies courtesy of its attention to quality and detail in the products it produces. The Super Badger Brush is not any different. It excels on many different fronts, making it one of the favorites for men into wet shaving.
When you first lay your eyes on this brush, you’ll notice two things; it is medium-sized, and it’s beautiful. It is just the perfect weight and size for men with small hands. And more to this, the brush is designed with incredibly soft and natural brushes. But though they are soft, EJ designers made sure they are not floppy.
Though it is a product designed for the 21st-century market, it has a classic look and feel. The imitation ivory it sports adds to its allure. The handle is ergonomic, which makes it easy to use and maneuver on the face during shaving cream application.
We should also point out the fact that the super badger hair is held in place with a high-quality knot. The soft hair generates a good lather since it retains a perfect amount of water when it’s soaked. Because of the water it retains, it softens the beard, lifts the hair from the skin and sets you up for a great shaving experience.
5. Semogue 620 Superior Boar Bristle Shaving Brush – Great All-round Shaving Brush
You’ve probably never heard of Semogue before now. As such, it might be shocking for you to learn that it is an industry leader, and it has years of experience in the industry (60 years). Because of its experience, the men who’ve had the chance to use its products (in this case the Semogue 620 Superior Boar Bristle Shave Brush) have nothing but praise for the brand.
If you are a pro wet shaver, or have just stumbled upon wet shaving in the recent past and want to give it a shot, the Semogue 620 will help you to get the best experience ever. The brush is handcrafted for a beautiful finish and a superior performance. Many men love it for many reasons. At the top of the list is the fact that it helps to build a significant amount of lather without causing skin irritations like the low-quality shaving brushes do. Also, the boar bristles on this brush are denser than in most brushes on its level. And because of this, you are guaranteed of achieving desirable lather with soap or shaving cream.
Like most new bristle brushes, the Semogue 620 requires break-in time. Fortunately, this time is not too long. And once it has broken-in, it will only take about 15 minutes soaked in water to soften. The beauty of this brush is that during the soaking, the tip of the brush not only becomes soft but also retains water which is not the case with many other shaving brushes.
And last but not least, the Semogue 620 is designed to last for ages. It made with a strong backbone. Its handle is acrylic, and it is just the right size. Or added comfort, it is well balanced. On the other hand, the boar bristle knot is secured by a sterling ring which adds to the beauty of the brush.
6. Parker 100% Silvertip Badger Bristle Shaving Brush – Soft & Durable
(Drip Stand Included)
Parker is yet another brand that has earned itself a solid reputation over the years. It has made it its business to provide only quality shaving brushes to its consumers. Of its list of shaving brushes, the Parker 100% Silvertip Badger Bristle Shaving Brush is the top pick of all.
It has been designed with high-quality bristle. The brush bristles have an extremely soft feel and are better than many of the brushes that have a high price tag. While it is not the cheapest in the stores, it is considerable lowly priced in comparison. The bristles can retain lots of water making it easy to create superior lather.
At the top, the bristles have a light color. They also come with a clear black band that stands out. In comparison to other competitors, they feature reduced break-in time. And while they are soft, they are incredibly tough and resilient to wear and tear. It will be years before you think of buying a replacement.
Like many high-quality models, the Parker 100% Silvertip features excellent exfoliating abilities. In addition to this, it is perfect for sensitive skin courtesy to its soft bristles. It is common for shaving brushes to shed during their first use. The Parker Silvertip is no exception. However, is shed rate is low.
The Parker 100& Silvertip Badger Bristle Brush is handmade. The quality of this brush is renowned and can be felt when held in the palm of your hand. The handle proves comfortable with regards to its length. It is not too long nor too short.
Another cause why the Parker 100% Silvertip Badger Bristle Shaving Brush has grown in popularity is its chrome shaving brush stand. This provides for excellent storage and drying. Those who have had the luxury of using this brush have given it positive reviews. They also have recorded that the brush is slightly loose closer to the handle. This makes it not perfect for aerosol creams. This is because some of the creams will get stuck in the brush’s bristles and therefore may never get to your face.
But then again, it doesn’t make sense to invest in a high-quality shaving brush and skimp on the shaving cream. For a great wet shaving experience, purpose to get a high-quality shaving kit.
7. Omega Professional Boar Bristle Shaving Brush – Lots of Bang For Your Buck
(no Drip Stand Included)
Omega started its operations back in 1931. It has over the years climbed to the top of the ladder and is now considered one of the top brush manufacturers in the world. The brushes produced by this company are not just of good quality but they are also reasonably priced. They are without a doubt worth every dime a consumer spends on it.
Omega Professional Boar Bristle Shaving Brush has been made from natural boar hair. It features a black handle made of resin that is almost similar in length to its loft. This makes it one of the biggest handles available on the market. Sure the resin handle has got nothing on the premium wooden handles other brushes feature, but nonetheless, the handle’s quality is undisputed. The grip is great and superior to other handles.
As is the case with the boar bristles, the Omega Professional does take some time to break in. But on the flip side, the more the bristles are used, the better they become. Compared to other boar bristled brushes, the Omega Professional bristles are softer.
The bristles will provide you with superior lather which covers the area intended to shave with great ease. They are great in exfoliating and in getting rid of the dead skin cells. They will leave your skin feeling refreshed and smooth.
The Omega Professional is affordable. At its price and even higher, there are very few if any brushes that match its quality. That said, this review would be incomplete if we did not mention the strong odor the Omega Professional features. The odor, however, vanishes with time as you continue to use the brush.
8. Vie-Long 12705 Horse Hair Shaving Brush – Best Horse Hair Shaving Brush
(no Drip Stand Included)
The Vie-Long is a Spanish shaving company. It is one of the dominant brands that provide horse hair shaving brushes. All other brands follow suit at a distance. The Vie-Long features a great line of shaving brushes. The Vie-Long 12705 Horse Hair Shaving Brush is by far the best they have available.
Now, horse hair is a perfect alternative for individuals who cannot stand the thought of killing an animal for personal gain as is the case with boar and badger hair brushes. But even then, these same individuals still want a rich and creamy lather that can only be achieved with a shave brush.
Those who decide to turn to hose hair brushes because of their concern of harming the animals are usually astonished by the quality of the brush bristles. The horsehair proves to be strong as one would expect and the brush can last for a considerably long time when it is accorded proper care and maintenance. As though that is not enough, the brushes are soft at the tips and really helps to produce a rich lather.
Those consumers who have used both horse hair and badger hair shaving brush greatly commend the quality of horse hairs. This is a big plus for the horsehair brushes.
It is also worth pointing out that the Vie-Long 12705 experiences a reduced amount of shedding. This as such, helps to extend the life-span of the shaving brushes.
The Vie-Long 12705 looks great right-out-of-the-box. This is courtesy of the red acrylic handle which compliments the overall beautiful design. The Vie-Long 12705 brush features a square shape and the handle is easier to hold while you shave.
The Vie-Long 12705 brush works great with all kinds of shaving creams and soaps. It, however, specifically excels with the harder kinds of shaving soaps.
9. Vikings Blade Luxury Synthetic Silvertip Brush – Best Synthetic Hair Shaving Brush
The Vikings Blade brush is one exciting product. From the name you’d think the brand is rough and lacks tact. But on the contrary, they are a luxurious company that offers men an opportunity to enjoy luxury shaving without paying the full high-end price for it. This brush is designed to feature the benefits of the Silvertip badger hair (which is a high-end material) through a synthetic product. But though it is synthetic, it is one of the most high-end synthetic shaving brushes available on the market.
As we start this review, we must mention the brush is ideal for men who want a premium brush, but one that will not mess up their budgets.
Now, we have mentioned that this brush is a premium material. Because of this, it also features a premium cost. Luckily, the brush looks and feels premium. For a synthetic brush, the hairs are shockingly soft.
Unfortunately, it lack the water and heat retention of the real Silvertip, but honestly, it does not fall too far for a high-end synthetic ‘imitation.’
The handle of this brush is traditionally style. And though it features a practical and somewhat boring acrylic, the Swedish alloy at the tip gives the brush stability and beauty.
When you pick this up, you’ll probably be looking to see how it fairs against the Silvertip brush. Can it replace it? Unfortunately, no. The Silvertip badger hair brush is an all-natural product, but the Vikings came darn close to it.
10. FS Synthetic Hair Travel Shaving Brush – Best Travel Shave Brush
This brush is manufactured using synthetic hair that is as soft as animal hair and similar, yet it is relatively smaller and easier to use, take care of and travel with. This is made possible by its smaller loft, unlike the girths of bigger and unwieldy shaving brushes that are made of natural hair.
The FS Synthetic Hair Travel Shave Brush lathers well and easily dries because of its synthetic fibers. Its storage is also simple, being easily positionable and locked inside the sturdy metal container that comes with it.
Although with a smooth and comfy-to-hold handle, the brush can slip rather easily when moist. You can, therefore, apply some alum on your fingers to make the handle sticky and avoid accidental slippage.
The bristles of the FS Travel Synthetic Brush may not be as good as natural ones at holding moisture but it dries out quickly for and storage when traveling.
5 Easy Steps on How to Use a Shaving Brush
Using a brush for wet shaving is not a complicated thing. Sure it can be slightly difficult to get a hang of, but it is not something that will have you thinking of quitting. There are some techniques that are involved in using a brush and that guarantee a great wet shaving result.
1. Prepare the Bowl And Brush
Get a bowl or a mug. There are some that have been specifically designed for wet-shaving if you, however, do not have these specific ones, a normal mug/bowl will work just fine. Fill the bowl/mug with some hot water. The water should not be boiling, warm will work perfectly.
Dip the shaving brush in the water and ensure the entire length of the bristles is under water. Allow it to soak for several minutes.
You can be doing something else during this time, probably taking a shower. Soaking softens the bristles all the more and makes the lathering process a breeze.
2. Drain Some Water
After the brush has soaked in water for a while, you should raise it from the water and drain the bristles of the excess water. You just need to squeeze it slightly, applying just enough pressure that your brush is not dripping water but still is very moist.
3. Build the Lather
Now it is time to lather up. The process you will use will depend on whether you are using soap or shaving cream.
With Shaving Cream
If you are using shaving cream, there are several ways in which you can build the lather. First, you need to put some cream in a shaving bowl (it can be the same one you used to soak the brush) and add some drops of water. Mix the shaving cream with your brush until you get the thickness and the texture you are looking for.
It is important to remember that you are looking to have just the right amount of water and air mixed into the cream to form the lather. You will know when the lather is good for use as it will be cream and rich as opposed to being foamy. The process of building a great lather takes about a minute or so depending on your skill in the technique, the brush you use as well as the shaving cream used.
The other technique you could employ is applying some bit of shaving cream to a cavity in the hairbrush. You can make this cavity in the bristle by pushing down on the shaving brush.
While the latter process is faster, you should note that it still is a great idea to mix the cream in a bowl before you apply it to the brush.
Add a small amount of shaving soap in a bowl and add a small amount (think drops) of water onto the shaving soap it to moisten it. Swirl the brush on the soap for a bit until it contains a sufficient amount of the shaving soap.
4. Lather Your Face
Now, this is the fun part. Or at least the fun is starting. Apply the lather on your face generously using the shaving brush
When doing this, you should ensure that your skin on your face is wet before you lather it up. It is best to shave after you have taken a shower since then the facial hairs are softer and are more pliable to the effects of your razor.
The motion to use are swirls. You do not need to use a lot of pressure on the face but just enough to lather the face and still exfoliate.
After you have covered the desired area with the lather, use up and down motions to smoothen the cream on your face.
This will provide you with a nice and slick shaving surface.
5. Reapply the Lather
After you have had at least one pass over your face with your preferred razor, it is important that you lather up again. The initial lather usually goes with the hair shaved. The lathering process should be the same as described in the above process. This step will ensure that you get a close, smooth shave.
While shaving, you should ensure that the cream or soap you use does not dry up. As such, keep applying a little water as needed to keep it moist for the shaving process.
So Which Is Better, Your Hand or a Brush?
If you are one of those men who is wondering why one should go through all this process while they can still use their hand, you are not alone.
For a long time, men have been using their hands to lather and their fingertips to apply the lather to their faces. This is not something that is about to change overnight.
True, using your hand to lather up is a simple process. After all, you do not have to warm water, soak the brush and follow the five-step technique explained above. In addition, with palm lathering and when using dense creams, you do not have to worry about the cream sticking to the edge of your shaving bowl rather than your shaving brush.
Some men may argue that it is the simple and easy things in life that prove to be much more satisfying than the complicated processes. While this might be true to other processes, but it does not hold true in the shaving process. How is that?
Well, shaving brushes are good for the skin. When you apply lather to the face using a brush, you also are exfoliating the skin and getting rid of the dead and dry skin cells. A good shaving brush also helps in raising hair and making them softer for shaving and last but not least, with a bowl and brush, you get a richer higher quality lather and ultimately the best shaving experience.
FAQ Shaving Brushes
Does A Shaving Brush Make A Difference?
The best shaving brushes make a difference in the shaving experience. You will enjoy a closer shave and, overall, a satisfying shaving experience with minimal irritation. To top it all off, it gives wet shaving a luxury experience.
Are Badgers Killed To Make Shaving Brushes?
Yes, badgers are killed to make the best shaving brushes. If you have a problem with such cruelty, you should purchase synthetic or horsehair brushes instead.
How Do I Choose A Shaving Brush?
Shaving brushes are not the same. To choose the best shaving brushes, you should consider the type of brush you want, your budget, the shape and size of the brush, the material and fit of the handle, and whether the bristles shed or not.
Why Is A Badger Hair Good For Shaving?
Badger hair makes the best shaving brush. This is because it scrubs the skin, causes the skin pores to open and stimulate hair follicles. As such, the badger hair stands straight, making it easier to yield a closer shave.
How Long Do Badger Shaving Brushes Last?
The best badger hair shaving brush should last between ten and fifteen years. But since they are natural, they need a lot of care and maintenance. For instance, dipping the brush in boiling hot water is a no-no.
How We Made This List of Best Shaving Brushes
There are several factors that I put into perspective when reviewing the items on this list. But for me, the most important of them all is the type of bristle it features. This is the number one way of determining the quality of a shaving brush. While badger hair brushes take the lead in this, I also wanted to consider other popular brushes that feature different bristles for purposes of diversity.
When considering the value of brushes, we have done our outmost to find a perfect balance between the between quality and price. Not all expensive brushes made the list simply because their quality and price did not complement each other.
We also considered the construction of the shaving brushes. With regards to this, I zeroed in on the handle of the brush. If the brush is not comfortable to hold, then there are high chances it will be uncomfortable while shaving as well.
Last but not least, we spent a great deal of time reading through reviews of the products. I did my due diligence and sifted through quite a pile of reviews to help ensure that the list is a compilation of nothing but the top picks.
But as I stated at the beginning of the article this list not a ranking list per se – as in most cases it all comes down to your personal opinion based on 5 factors:
- Experience level
- Skin type
- The coarseness of your beard
- Personal preferences
Hopefully, you have found this review helpful in your selection, review and purchase process for the best shaving brush and the information provided has been informative and assists in making your choice into a good shaving experience.