Shaving Brush Types – How to Choose?

Shaving Brush Types

I am going to discuss shaving brush types, just like I promised in How to choose shaving brush typesmy previous article. Which one is the best type of shaving brush? People usually differentiate shaving brush according to the hair types. Even though you can separate them according to their knot, handle materials, etc. I will use the commonly hair types distinction.

So far I found 4 types of shaving brush according to their hair originality:

  1. Badger brushes
  2. Horsehair brushes
  3. Boar brushes
  4. Synthetic brushes

Badger Hair Shaving Brush

This brush uses badger hair. People use badger hair for centuries. This is the best hair type according to many users. Even this type can be classified into several categories.

  1. Pure Badger
  2. Best Badger
  3. Silver Tip Badger

Pure Badger. This hair comes from the most part of the animal body. It has a rather large shaft. Not so supple. It has a good ability to massage the face. The length of the hair is medium. The color varies from light brown to black. Since it comes from a larger part of the animal body, it is the least expensive type.

Escali 100% Pure Badger Shaving Brush

Best Badger. This hair tends to be longer. It comes from 25% area of the animal body. It has softer feeling compare to Pure Badger, thanks to its flexible property. Not as scratchy as Pure Badger, too. The color tends to be light but also varies to darker tan. Because of shorter supply, this type will cost more.

Ambroley Best Badger Shaving Brush

Silver Tip Badger. This type is the most luxurious of them all. It comes from animal’s neck and chest area. The color will have 2/3 part that is darker. Its hair is the longest and the most supple. It will massage your face so gently. It also holds water better than other types. Because the hair comes from the part that protects the animal from cold, it also retains warmth better. You will have good warm lather using this shaving brush type.

Parker Safety Razor 100% Silvertip Badger Bristle Shaving Brush (Chrome Handle)

Horse Hair Shaving Brush

This hair is “animal-friendly”. Why? Because it comes from horse’s mane and tail. You just cut the hair from the horse without harming it. You groom the horse, you got the hair. It is that simple.

Horsehair is fine at the tip but a bit stiffer compare to badger hair. This is the in-between shaving brush. Its performance is below badger hair brushes but above boar hair brushes.

Vie-Long 12601 Horse Hair Shaving Brush

Words of warning: IT SMELLS! You have to wash it several times with good fragrance shampoo.

Boar Hair Shaving Brush

This hair comes from boars. (Duh!) Its hair is harder than badger’s and much coarser. The coarse texture really helps to lather from a soap. It is recommended that you lather in a bowl rather on your face. After longer use, the tip will become softer and much more bearable to do face lathering.  The break in period (from new to its peak performance) usually takes a month.

The color of boar hair is ranging from white to yellow, but you will find a black band as manufacturers try to imitate badger hair brushes.

Semogue 1305 Superior Boar Bristle Shaving Brush

Synthetic Hair Shaving Brush

This is the safest shaving brush for people that have allergies to animal hair. Also the most animal-friendly one. Manufacturers use nylon or other synthetics to produce animal-like hair properties. Usually have medium to hard stiffness.  It does a poor job in holding the water in compared to animal hair. You will have to put drops of water to build a good lather. Soaking the brush will also help in building a good thick lather. This shaving brush type is commonly known as the cheapest among all.

The Body Shop Synthetic Shaving Brush

The Handle

Shaving brushes come with all kind of handles. How to choose a shaving brushWoods, metals, and plastics are the most common piece. Find one that fits well in your palm. Get a good grip. You do not want to feel the brush is too big, too small, too heavy or too slippery.

The Knot

Shaving brushes also come with all kind of knots. The size of the knot is measured in mm by the diameter of the knot base. The bigger the knot, the more bristles it holds and usually it is more expensive.

Why Use a Shaving Brush?

It is because shaving brush has lost its appeal to the younger generation. It is neglected and forgotten in this fast-paced information age. People just want to have a quick dry shave and just go about their daily activities.

But people also coming back to the good old ways of wet shaving. Wet shaving is a calming and soothing routine. Of course, if it is done correctly. And the most important thing for wet shaving is the shaving brush.

The Benefits

You will find that using a shaving brush is essential in wet shaving. It will produce a rich, creamy, thick layer that gives your skin protection from the razor. You can not get that kind of lather from rubbing your hand with water and soap. It will be too runny and too thin.

It will also help to exfoliate your skin and remove dead skins. Gently lather your face with a circular motion using a shaving brush will do this trick.

The shaving brush also helps to soften and lift the hairs, suspending them in the thick lather. This process will give you the closest shave that you yearn all this time. Lifted hairs are much more easy to cut.

Final Words

You really need a shaving brush. Which one is the best for you? I don’t know. You have to find it yourself. Fellow wet shavers have more than one brush. You should try some shaving brush types and choose your own favorite. If you already find one, please tell me below in the comment area.


10 Replies to “Shaving Brush Types – How to Choose?”

  1. Wow,
    This is such a fascinating post. I had no idea that they used badger hair for shaving brushes. In fact even as I started reading I assumed it was just a label only to discover that you really do mean badger hair?! Where do they get the hair from? Do they farm badgers? I thought they were protected.
    I am really amazed by the very many different styles of brush and the various features. Its amazing how technical they are.
    I know you said you cant suggest a brush as people need to make their own choices and try different ones but would you be able to suggest a brush that would be good in terms of very sensitive skin? I know a lot of sensitivity is from the soap/cream used but I think some bristle types may also cause issues?

    1. Hi Jason.

      As far as I know, they do farm badgers for continuous supply.

      I recommend you to find the softest bristles that you can find. Silver tip badger hair is my recommendation.


  2. I completely agree that shaving brushes are not favoured by the current generation. When you walk into a village barber shop though, it is always there and used a lot! Great post – you really are a master of the male shaving niche 🙂

    1. Hi Shaz.
      Thank you for calling me a master, even though I am not worthy of such call.

      It is almost a lost art. Even I can’t find any other shaving brushes other than The Body Shop’s at my local malls.

  3. Wow man there is so much great info on this site, I want to guy buy some shaving gear now haha 😀 Your content is really good and the layout/visual appeal of the site is awesome! You’ve got yourself a fan, keep it up!

  4. Just my opinion, but I enjoy “face lathering” with my Omega Pro model 248. It is a large boar brush. Within 2 weeks of using it the hairs begin to split and soften. I like the scrubby scritchy feel of the bristles. It is much stiffer than a badger brush I use.
    Thanks for sharing your experience!

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