In search of a good synthetic

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FireDragon76
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In search of a good synthetic

Post by FireDragon76 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:45 am

I have tried a half dozen or so synthetic brushes and I've never been as happy with any of them as I am with my simple Shave Factory horse hair shave brush. I particularly don't like the springy backbone that tends to fling around soap, or lead to having to use more pressure on the face and producing a "scrubby" lathering. In contrast, my Turkish horse hair has some backbone, but it's a floppier type and tends to moosh down easier. The tips are also split and are very soft.

The best synthetic I have tried so far has been a Razo Rock Bruce. It still has some springiness but it's more manageable. I am going to try a AP Shave Co. Synbad brush I bought off eBay, but I don't hold out high hopes.

The only really great thing about a synthetic is that it uses less soap or cream. But being as that I tend to use inexpensive soaps or creams, that's not a big deal.

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ShadowsDad
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Re: In search of a good synthetic

Post by ShadowsDad » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:39 am

It's been awhile since I've been in the market but when I was the biggest problems I had was that there was no grading system as there is with badger. Maybe that has changed?

Here are some names for you that I give high recommendations for, Simpsons, Muhle, and Plisson. All good synthetics. Note: When I got my Plisson I almost sent it down the road, I was laughing so hard at how I'd gotten "taken". But friends swore that it was a really good brush and I was so happy that I didn't write it off until trying it. Its extremely soft and lathers like a champ.

You might think that because synthetics aren't from an animal that they should be inexpensive, but the better ones have fibers that are thicker at the base and finer at the tips, just like animal hair. That takes $ to produce. The inexpensive ones that I tried, at least years ago, were universally junk. Yes, I had my share of lather flingers and they are the pits.

When you do get a quality synthetic DO NOT dip into water first as you would natural fiber. That does nothing other than ultimately making a mess when the brush dumps it's load of far too much water. The fibers don't respond to it since they aren't animal hair. Just put some water on the soap, and lather it with the brush dry adding water as needed after that. Once a protolather is worked up the brush can be dipped since the lather is holding the water and not the fibers themselves. I face lather and that means once I leave the tub of soap and lather on my face I'm OK to dip the brush.
Brian

Maker of Kramperts Finest Bay Rum and Frostbite http://www.krampertsfinest.com/
Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

FireDragon76
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Re: In search of a good synthetic

Post by FireDragon76 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:53 am

I tried a Muhle some years ago but it was very scrubby, like a cheap boar hair brush. It was not the cheapest brush, but it certainly felt cheap.

I've also used the old Men-U brush years ago back in the mid 2000's. It was the first synthetic I tried that wasn't complete garbage. But very much inferior to animal hair brushes. All I used it for was bowl lathering as it had that typical synthetic sproing. I also had an Omega Syntex that was decent for bowl lathering, but far too abrasive to use on my sensitive skin for face lathering.

The Razo Rock I have has a Plissoft knot. I also have an inexpensive brush (Fendrihan) that has a similar knot with a taller loft, but it's not nearly as good (high loft seems to make it worse). I'm impressed with the RazoRock in terms of its quality and the attempt to deliver a better experience. It makes a thin but dense lather.

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Nitrox
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Re: In search of a good synthetic

Post by Nitrox » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:42 pm

I have a few (okay maybe a few dozen) :wink: synthetics. The ones you mentioned, as well as Whipped Dog, Muhle, Edwin Jagger, ApShave, etc..
La Maison du Barbier made by Plisson is a very good brush, but my favourite is the Timberwolf knot. It can be found on Aliexpress or at Maggard Razors.
Most of the others feel like brooms for sweeping. The Timberwolf has a good balance of softness and firmness. It lathers like no other brush I have and it doesn't hog lather like the high end Badgers.
Then again, everyone's tastes are different and it took me a long time to find the one I like the best. I have found with synthetics that a thick knot is not very practical as it is too dense and doesn't splay enough when lathering. YMMV. :D
Bruno

"Shhhhhaving cream, be nice and clean
shave every day and you'll always look keen."

FireDragon76
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Re: In search of a good synthetic

Post by FireDragon76 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:09 pm

Nitrox wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:42 pm
I have a few (okay maybe a few dozen) :wink: synthetics. The ones you mentioned, as well as Whipped Dog, Muhle, Edwin Jagger, ApShave, etc..
La Maison du Barbier made by Plisson is a very good brush, but my favourite is the Timberwolf knot. It can be found on Aliexpress or at Maggard Razors.
Most of the others feel like brooms for sweeping. The Timberwolf has a good balance of softness and firmness. It lathers like no other brush I have and it doesn't hog lather like the high end Badgers.
Then again, everyone's tastes are different and it took me a long time to find the one I like the best. I have found with synthetics that a thick knot is not very practical as it is too dense and doesn't splay enough when lathering. YMMV. :D
Synthetics are promising but I think folks are struggling with making good knots. They are trying to imitate badger brushes, and I think synthetics are really their own thing.

brothers
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Re: In search of a good synthetic

Post by brothers » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:13 pm

The SilkSmoke synthetic APShave has turned out to be my trusted every day brush. It's in my circle of favorites that includes badgers, the Elite Manchurian, the Thater 4376/5, the Rooney Finest, the Made Rite TGN finest, and two boars, the Dubl Duck aluminum, and the Semogue 2000.
Gary

SOTD 99%: 12 soaps & creams, SilkSmoke synthetic, General by Colonial razors, Kai & Schick, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444 asb

Bill_K
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Re: In search of a good synthetic

Post by Bill_K » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:29 am

I have 4 or 5 synthetics from AP Shave Co; the SynBad (synthetic badger) and Cashmere are my favourites.
Bill

FireDragon76
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Re: In search of a good synthetic

Post by FireDragon76 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:46 pm

Bill_K wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:29 am
I have 4 or 5 synthetics from AP Shave Co; the SynBad (synthetic badger) and Cashmere are my favourites.
How does the Cashmere compare to the Synbad in terms of performance?

I ordered some knots and handles and I'm going to try making my own, BTW.

Bill_K
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Re: In search of a good synthetic

Post by Bill_K » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:10 pm

While the SynBad is very soft and smooth, the Cashmere seems even softer.

To be honest, the difference between styles of synthetic knots - from AP Shave Co, at least - is slight and very subjective. I find that I prefer a little bit of scritch so tend to use my boar and badger brushes about half the time.
Bill

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John Rose
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Re: In search of a good synthetic

Post by John Rose » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:52 pm

My favourite for almost a year has been a 24 mm SynBad in a "Blue Lagoon" handle.
Now though, I'm in a honeymoon stage with a Stirling 2-Band Synthetic that I got two weeks ago.
Image
It's a bit firmer than the SynBad, but the curved hourglass shape of the handle is perfect for me. Sort of an Art Deco vibe.
It's a more of an ivory colour than it looks in most photos. Very close to the colour of a Simpson brush handle.
Don't chase the BBS.

brothers
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Re: In search of a good synthetic

Post by brothers » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:59 pm

John, I really admire that black and white Sterling brush. I can easily see it's a great performer.
Gary

SOTD 99%: 12 soaps & creams, SilkSmoke synthetic, General by Colonial razors, Kai & Schick, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444 asb

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