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first shave brush help

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first shave brush help

Postby mrjediconsular » Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:40 pm

so i decided to pick up a shave brush this cyber Monday that's coming up later this month so i just want your opinion on the different type of shave brushes and if i should use soap or creams with the brush, and if sensitive skin will come into play.
thanks for any help.
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby brothers » Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:57 pm

Good question. It's a good thing you're here at SMF. I'd recommend a badger brush for your first. Don't overpay. Try to stay under $100 at least. Then don't worry about cream vs. soap. Get both after you've had time to read a large number of the associated threads here on SMF. Pick out some highly recommended products, and then post your proposed choices here, along with the information on the brush you buy. Don't make a mistake and get a shaving product that's not recommended for lathering with a brush (brushless). You'll notice I have intentionally held back giving you a list of brand names. For every one that is suggested, there'll be someone to say that's not a good one, but my favorite is better. :) This is the fun part, and we want you to enjoy the process and to discuss your experiences with us, just as as we have in our own shaving journeys.
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby mrjediconsular » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:42 pm

i also forgot to tell that i'm prone to have migraines so if that changes anything let me know
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby CMur12 » Sun Nov 15, 2015 11:29 pm

I have very sensitive skin, myself, so I can speak from that perspective. You are free to make your own independent choices, however.

First of all, I don't think the choice between cream or soap makes much of a difference relative to sensitive skin. Cream may be a little easier to lather. I, personally, use soap exclusively, but I never had a negative experience with any of the few creams I tried years ago. I just like soap in concept. I don't know what triggers your migraines. Fragrances burn my olfactory, but I don't get headaches from them. You could find that certain fragrances are triggers.

When choosing a brush, you may need to decide if you plan to face-lather or lather in a bowl. My skin is too sensitive for face-lathering, so I lather in a bowl. If your skin is less sensitive than mine, you might still get away with face-lathering.

For face-lathering, you will want a brush that has more "backbone" to resist the pressure associated with working the brush in circular motions. If you lather with back-and-forth strokes, this will be less important, but most do the former. Face-latherers typically choose silvertip badger knots that are very densely packed or two-banded badger knots that are made with thicker/stiffer hair. Brushes with shorter lofts also contribute to backbone. Denser knots tend to pull more lather into the knot, which makes lathering a little more difficult. A two-banded badger knot with less density (since it can be stiff without packing it so tightly) may work better, but it will be more expensive. Still, two-banded badger brushes can be found for under the $100.00 limit that Gary suggested. For lathering in a bowl, I find a thinner (low density), taller-loft, more flexible ("floppy") badger brush to be the most efficient. (Vulfix makes brushes that fit this description; they are not generally liked for face-lathering.)

If you choose a brush for face-lathering and decide that this approach doesn't work for you, you can use the same brush for lathering in a bowl. I don't think it is as efficient, but it will still work.

Boar brushes are another, much less expensive option. Semogue and Omega are probably the most popular brands of boar brushes. These brushes tend to have more backbone by their very nature, so they work well for face-lathering or bowl-lathering. Furthermore, in my experience, a well broken-in boar brush that has been soaked in a cup of water for at least 5 minutes prior to the shave is softer on the skin than even silvertip badger. I can think of one member of SMF with sensitive skin (who hasn't posted for a long time) who couldn't face-lather with even the softest badger brush, but he was finally able to do so with boar. (Lately, for my style of bowl-lathering, I have found the Semogue 1305 boar brush to be the most effective and most efficient of all my boar and badger brushes, and it costs less than $25.00. Of course, everyone works a little differently in all the minute areas of their lathering technique, so each person will have a different experience and their own preferences.)

Note that boar brushes require breaking in to perform their best, while badger brushes typically do not (with minor exceptions). As a boar brush is used, the bristle-tips will split. This makes the brush softer and more efficient. It will generally take 20+ (sometimes quite a bit more) latherings to break in a boar brush. A denser brush usually takes longer to break in. My Semogue 1305 took 20 - 25 latherings to become well broken in. My Semogue 830, with a denser knot of the same quality of bristle, took at least 30 latherings to get there. This doesn't mean that the brushes don't work in the meantime; they just get better and better with use.

You might consider getting a boar brush to get started while you develop your shaving technique. It will keep your initial investment lower and you may decide that you are happy with what you have. Or, you can then decide to try other brushes, razors, soaps, creams, blades, aftershaves, etc., and on down the slippery slope of the dreaded Acquisition Disorders.)

Enjoy the journey! :)

- Murray
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby Antique Hoosier » Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:45 am

Shaving brushes are about the most fun of anything in this morning ritual. They can be addictive and confusing at the same time. Do plenty of searches of reviews but remember that practically everybody falls in love with their new brushes and then time passes and they are off to find another lover (brush). It is probably a smart thing to keep it pretty basic and within your initial budget at first because they can get mighty expensive. The MOST expensive thing however is to constantly buy and flip them (sell) and keep dipping into dollars that you could have slowly spent if at all. A good Semogue or Omega Boar for under $20 in most cases will give you a benchmark on what a BASIC shaving brush is like. These are BOAR hair and will not be as pillowy soft as the better BADGER hair brushes. Among the badger brushes I believe Savile Row and Thater would be my choice as to my favorites after owning over 65 plus Simpson, Shavemac, Rooney, Plisson, Edwin Jagger, and others as well as the two marques I mentioned.

The main thing is to have fun and keep the costs down if at all possible...(but like I said, they are addictive)
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby fallingwickets » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:23 am

Murray, Mike and Gary have offered tremendous advice and insight. My recommendation: Take a look at the kent bk4

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Re: first shave brush help

Postby Squire » Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:03 am

Yes, the BK4 does it all for me.
Regards,
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby Gene » Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:20 am

I got back into wet shaving using the Tweezarman badger brush. Less than $15.00 - at a Target of all places. A bit scratchy at first, an old friend now. It's the brush I take when I travel. I've been thinking of retiring it and picking up a synthetic (for the quick drying properties), or getting my Crabtree & Evelyn BBB re-knotted (knot pulled out - got the handle left over)...but just haven't made up my mind.

My favorite brush overall is my Simpson Colonel X2L. I love it. Soaps, creams, bowl or face lathering - this brush takes it all in.
Gene

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Re: first shave brush help

Postby Rufus » Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:26 am

In my experience the Kent BK4 or the Simpson Colonel in best are good starting points.
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby mrjediconsular » Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:00 am

I think later today I'll post a few brushes I find with the prices
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby mrjediconsular » Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:43 pm

all prices are based off of amazon.com
Omega Professional Boar Bristle Shaving Brush-10.98

Semogue 1250 Natural Boar Bristle Shaving Brush-13.82

Satin Tip The Purest Synthetic Shave Brush Black-19.99

Fine 20mm "Angel Hair" Shaving Brush-22.50 this is the only one that is goes past my budget of 20.00 but not by much

i haven't seen any badger brushes yet i'm willing to up my budget if i need to
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby CMur12 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:08 pm

Either of those boar brushes should be good.

I don't know anything about the Purest Synthetic Shave Brush, so I can't comment.

I don't know what kind of hair, bristle, or fiber the Angel Hair brush has, so I can't comment there, either. I'm a little wary of this one without knowing more.

I would say go for the Omega or Semogue. The Omega for that price probably has a hollow plastic handle, but the boar loft should be good. The Semogue handle would be solid wood, and it, too, would have a good boar loft.

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Re: first shave brush help

Postby mrjediconsular » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:11 pm

the angel hair brush is a synthetic
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby brothers » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:46 pm

I started with a boar brush, and that was a mistake. I had no idea what a big difference a badger brush made until I got my first badger brush. It was as different as night and day. Here's a link for a $12 Tweezerman badger brush with free shipping. This is a starter brush, not intended to be a lifetime choice.
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby ShadowsDad » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:58 pm

I use horse, boar, synthetics, and badger in price ranges from $.50 up to over $100. I face lather and favor shorter lofts. While all of the brushes I use are quite different they all work and work great. I won't tolerate junk, and if any didn't work fine I'd get rid of them one way or another. What it comes down to is what you prefer. Me? I prefer variety. I insist on it.

You'll need to start somewhere. Just pick where to start.
Brian

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Re: first shave brush help

Postby brothers » Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:03 pm

Absolutely right. Your first brush is simply that. There'll inevitably be others and the variety is virtually unlimited. Like Jerry Lee Lewis used to say: "If you ain't got somethin' get somethin'". This is how you get started. Get something! :D
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby CMur12 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:31 pm

I would not recommend the Tweezerman or any other pure-grade badger brush to anyone with sensitive skin. The possible exception would be if you are bowl-lathering and just brushing the lather onto your beard. I used boar brushes before I used badger, I have used an array of badger, and now I'm back to boar. I disagree that boar makes a poor starting brush.

The advantage that boar has over even silvertip badger for sensitive skin is the fact that boar bristle absorbs water into itself and is transformed from stiff and prickly to soft and pliable. The bristle-tips, having absorbed water feel as though they are lubricated. Even the softest badger feels "dry" in comparison (and causes more friction on the skin), even with lather on it. This is why it is important to soak a boar brush before the shave.

- Murray
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby mrjediconsular » Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:51 pm

i'm thinking of going synthetic brush because i heard animal hair can really stink and that it might trigger a migrane.
(i really hate being prone to migraines :cry: ) and that they're are middle ground when It comes to brushes
Jordan
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Re: first shave brush help

Postby ShadowsDad » Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:36 pm

Synthetic is a good choice and there is a synthetic with pretty much any feel you might want. The variety in synthetic is truly staggering. There is also no grading system among them, not even as imperfect the one found with badger brushes. They can be soft with little backbone, to soft with massive backbone. I know of no scritchy synthetics that are made today. They also require minimal care.

Before you make a move to purchase come back and inquire as to the qualities of the brush you're interested in. No doubt someone will have used it and can let you know.
Brian

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Re: first shave brush help

Postby CMur12 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:04 pm

Brian, he mentioned several brushes above that he is considering. Two of them are synthetics for around $20.00, but they do not appear to be of brands we know. This makes it hard to rate them. Synthetic brushes have improved significantly over a short period of time. Synthetics of older technologies will not perform as well as the new ones, which cost quite a bit more than $20.00.

To the OP: Boar brushes do sometimes smell bad when new. I haven't bought one in a long time and I don't remember the Semogues having any unpleasant odor, but I can't be absolutely sure of that. I think a synthetic brush would be good, but you may need to pay more than $20.00 to get a decent one. You might go back through previous threads to research synthetic brushes that have been well received here.

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