How to Choose a Shaving Brush

Posted by Emily Wheeler


The shaving brush is a crucial tool when it comes to wet shaving. So why should you invest in a good shaving brush? While you can create a lather with your fingers, the shaving brush is how you achieve the light and creamy consistency for the perfect lather. Because the brush whips air into the shaving cream or soap, you can't get the same lather from just using your hands. Not only does the shaving brush create the right type of lather, but they also help with application and preparing your skin and hair. When you apply your shaving cream or soap, the bristles on the brush gently lift the hair away from your face. This allows the razor to get closer to the base of the hair, resulting in a closer shave. The bristles also help to exfoliate your skin by removing dead skin cells. Removing any dead skin cells will help your razor glide over your skin more closely for an even shave.

Like any wet shaving product, it may take some time to figure out what specific product works best for you. If you are new to wet shaving or are new to using a shaving brush, the number of choices can seem overwhelming. Shaving brushes are available in a wide variety or different shapes, sizes, bristle types, materials, and prices. If you are looking for your first brush, or just looking for a different kind of brush, we're here to help guide you to find the best shaving brush for you.

When choosing a shaving brush, it is best to understand the basics of a brush and what the differences of each type mean. When choosing a shaving brush, here are each of the factors to consider:

Bristles - The bristles, or hairs, on the top of the brush are one of the biggest deciding factors when choosing a shaving brush. Primarily, brushes are made from badger hair or synthetic fibers. There are a few different levels of quality when it comes to badger hair: Best, Pure, Super and Silvertip. They are named based on the specific hair that is used. Best and Pure are the base quality of badger hair, but they are also a great budget option while still offering a good quality bristle. Super is the second best grade of hair and comes at a slightly higher cost than Best and Pure. Silvertip is the highest quality hair, but also comes at a higher price point. If you want to learn more about each specific type of badger hair brush, check out our blog that talks all about the different badger hair shaving brushes.

Shaving brushes are also made using synthetic fibers. This is a great brush for those looking for a cruelty-free and vegan option. Synthetic fibers tend to last longer than natural hair, are easier to clean, and dry more quickly. While some prefer the texture and feel of natural hair, synthetic brushes have come a long way when it comes to quality, texture and feel. Many synthetic brushes are now made to resemble the softness and feel of the best natural hair brushes. Synthetic fibers brushes can also offer a good budget friendly option if you don't want to spend the money for one of the higher quality natural hair brushes. Synthetic fibers do not retain as much water as natural hair, so you will need to keep this in mind when lathering. However, because they do not retain as much water, they also dry much quicker.

Shaving brushes are also available in other types of hair, such as boar or horse hair. Boar and horse hair brushes are much more stiff than badger, which means they also retain less water. They do come at a much lower price point, but the quality is also lower than that of badger hair or synthetic fibers.

When it comes to the bristles, another thing to consider is the length or height. The length or height of the bristles is referred to as the Loft. Brushes come in a variety of different lengths. Choosing a bristle length is mostly based on personal preference. The height of the bristles may also depend on the size of your hand. Depending on your size, some may be more comfortable with either shorter or longer bristles. The knot is where the bristles come together and are glued into the base. The knot also helps determine the sturdiness of the bristles. You want the entire structure of the bristles to be sturdy enough so they can effectively whip the shaving cream or soap and hold up well. A good brush will have a sturdy knot but soft, flexible fibers that still exfoliate your skin and lift the hairs well. The knot size and loft height are usually measured in millimeters. Usually, the larger the knot, the larger the handle.

If you already have a preference between shaving cream or soap, this can also help you choose the type of bristle. Shaving soap requires a little added water to create a lather, so look for a type of bristle that is great for retaining water. Synthetic fibers retain a good amount of water and are great for using with shaving soaps. If you generally use shaving cream, you can choose from almost any bristle. Any type of bristle will still work with either cream or soap, it just depends on your preference.

Base - Next, you can look at the base of the brush. The base is the bottom of the brush to where the bristles begin. The size of the base will mostly depend on the size of your hand and personal preference. You want to choose a brush that is comfortable and fits in your hand well. Brushes are available in a wide variety of different sizes, styles and materials. When it comes to the base, you should consider the size first. The size should be comfortable enough to use regularly. Then, you can choose between different styles and materials. While there are hundreds of different bases to choose from, make sure to keep your budget in mind. Some bases are made of certain materials or include a unique design, but these tend to cost more. If you are new to using a shaving brush, if may be best to stick with a budget option at first. Then once you know the exact brush and size you want, you can spend a little more on the one that is perfect for you.

Handle - The handle is where you hold the brush while lathering and applying. The handle is particularly important when it comes to lathering. Make sure that you choose the right type and size of handle so that it is comfortable when whipping the shaving cream or soap into a lather. Handles are also available in a wide selection of different sizes and styles. Consider the size and shape of the handle first. Different shapes will feel different for everyone. If the handle feels too big or too heavy, you won't be able to comfortably whip the shaving cream or soap into a good lather. You want a handle that is easy to grip and fits well in your hand.

Once you understand the basic components and are ready to choose a brush, take into consideration your budget, preferences, and how long you have been wet shaving. If you are new to wet shaving, you may not want to buy a very expensive brush at first, until you know exactly what you want and what works best for you. Luckily, shaving brushes come in a range of prices, from very affordable to more expensive. Remember, it may take a few weeks of shaving with your new brush until you are fully comfortable with it and have learned how to use it well. Be patient and pay attention to how the brush feels and how easy it is to use. Once you have experimented with brushes and have a better idea of the type, size and length that will work best for you, you can spend a little more to get the exact brush that you want.

Whether you're looking for your first shaving brush or already know the specific kind that you want, we've gathered some of our favorite shaving brushes, from synthetic to Silvertip Badger, and in a range of prices to work with any budget.

 

Bib&Tucker Black Fiber Synthetic Shaving Brush 

 Bib&Tucker Black Fiber Synthetic Shaving Brush

Looking for a cruelty-free vegan brush option? This B&T Black Fiber Synthetic Shaving Brush offers all of the benefits of a synthetic brush. The fibers are soft and gentle on your skin and help to lift the hair for a closer shave. They are made to resemble natural hair and feel pleasant against your skin. The fibers are also easier to clean, dry quicker, and will usually last longer than natural hair. 

 

Taylor of Old Bond Street Pure Badger Brush 

Taylor of Old Bond Street Pure Badger Shaving Brush

Made with pure badger hair, this classic shaving brush is perfect for beginners or those who are new to using a shaving brush. The brush helps you effectively whip together a creamy lather, and the bristles lift hair and stubble for a closer shave. The handle is handmade with imitation ivory for a classic style and design. While pure badger is slightly more coarse than super badger, it still offers a good quality brush and comes at a very affordable price. This brush is available in 9.5 and 10 cm height. 

 

Taylor of Old Bond Street Super Badger Shaving Brush

 

If you are looking for a better quality bristle, this Taylor of Old Bond Street Super Badger Brush includes soft and flexible fibers and a unique handle design. The brush is handmade using high quality super badger hair that feels smooth and soft on your skin. The soft bristles will gently exfoliate your skin while lifting the hair. The bulbous shaped handle allows you to easily and comfortably hold the brush while creating a lather. 

 

Mühle Silvertip Badger Sophist Shaving Brush

Muhle Silvertip Badger Sophist Black Shaving Brush

This handcrafted Silvertip Badger brush from Mühle is made using only the best, carefully selected badger hair for an incredibly soft and comfortable experience. Silvertip fiber is exceptionally soft and flexible for better comfort and exfoliation. The fine hairs are conically tapered to retain a large amount of water and help you produce a rich and creamy lather. The handle is carefully made from high grade black resin for a lasting handle that also feels comfortable when using. This brush is also available in Silvertip Fibre for those looking for a vegan option.