Featured Image

Worked Into a Lather: The 6 Best Shaving Brushes

Posted By

Dec 2, 2014

Category: Grooming

A gentleman knows that a good shave begins with a good lather, and a good lather begins with the right shaving brush. You could just slap any foamed gel from a can onto your skin and perhaps you’ll remove the unsightly stubble, but that method just begs to cause cuts, razor burns, and leave your skin feeling like a tenderized cut of meat. Don’t go to all the trouble of paying for a good straight razor for a quality wet shave and then ruin it with a weak lather. Treat your skin right.

A quality brush is most commonly made of badger hair since the combination of rigidity and softness will allow your whiskers to stand on end without irritating your skin. Some use boar and others use horse hair, though those tend to be coarse and harder on sensitive faces. For those who abhor animal fibers, there are also synthetics available, but these have very mixed results. The whole point of the brush is to have a texture that opens up your pores, let your skin breathe, create a quality lather, and transfer moisture. Only the 6 best shaving brushes do all these.

Omega Pro 48

Omega Pro 48

Pro: Excellent exfoliation
Con: Long breaking-in period

The Boarsman: Fans of boar shaving brushes are die hard, but they can be a hard sell thanks to the long breaking-in period and initially rough feel. Known as the Pro 48, the Omega #10048 is probably one of the most universally loved among the boar bristle set. It is soft enough to allow beginners to use it, and cheap enough that they won’t have to drop the coin necessary for a full badger brush, but still receive quality. It’s a large brush, requiring fewer strokes to get a good lather and holds moisture better than most of the notoriously dry boar bristles out there. The chrome handle is sophisticated and never looks cheap or out of place. Finding a drying stand can be complicated due to the longer bristle length, but with a nice 28 mm knot and a 5.2 mm loft, this generally covers all of the bases for amateur and experienced blade master alike. The rougher bristles will help shed dead skin and leave your face feeling refreshed. Just make sure you take care to eliminate the animal smell right away. [Purchase: $11]

Parker Safety Razor Synthetic

Parker Safety Razor Synthetic

Pro: Soft bristles
Con: Takes longer to lather

Vegan Green: The synthetic shaving brush market has made innumerable advances in the past few years as more users move away from animal products seeking something that can give them a great shave without harvesting from any beasts of the land. This offering from Parker is as high-quality as their safety razors and doesn’t come burdened with an animal smell or the lengthy shedding period of animal brushes. It had the same coloration of a silver tip brush with the quick-drying action and easy storage that synthetic fans have come to expect. It’s much kinder on sensitive faces than even the most gentle animal hair bristles, though won’t hold or transfer quite as much moisture. Expect to add a few strokes to get a good lather since you won’t have much by way of rigidity. [Purchase: $26]

Edwin Jagger Best Badger

Edwin Jagger Best Badger

Pro: Rich lather
Con: Rough bristles

Beginner’s Badger: If you’ve decided to take the plunge into the badger hair bristles, you can expect to sink a lot of cash in pursuit of a fine shave. Don’t waste money on just Pure badger products, and instead jump right into the middle with the Best Badger line from Edwin Jagger. This is the least you should be spending on a badger hair brush. The craftsmanship is second to few and the same process is used whether you buy the bargain basement of the Jagger line or the top dog. With a medium knot and moderate weight, shavers of any level can handle this shaving brush without mucking up the process. The transfer of heat and moisture are exceptional, despite the lower price, and the hand-made quality shines through with each subsequent use. Sensitive boys just hacking away their peach fuzz will find the bristles a touch on the rough side, but that will only put hair on their chest even while taking it off their face. [Purchase: $40]

Vie-Long PB14080

Vie-Long PB14080

Pro: Works with bar soap
Con: Heavy

The Horse Course: Lifting the PB14080 will immediately give you a sensation of weight since the acrylic base is built to offset the density of the horsehair bristles. Made in the tradition of the Spanish equestrians this steps high and proud right out of the gate allowing users to create a thick, foamy lather with a minimum of work. It’s certainly powerful at penetrating thicker beards and can help drive moisture down to the skin for a smoother, closer shave even among those with wiry hair or serious goatees. Horse hair allows the brush to bounce back and hold its shape longer, even for those whose facial hair have brought down many smaller kingdoms. Can be used with traditional shaving creams and gels, but also handles hard soap shaving for the guy who doesn’t need anything more than a cup and a bar to get his face smooth. Ideal as a larger travel brush when you aren’t sure what conditions you will face. [Purchase: $40]

Kent BLK12

Kent BLK12

Pro: Wide bristle blossom
Con: Does not dry quickly

Travel Badger: When nothing but the best will do wherever you are, then you must invest in the BLK12 from Kent. Built with its own royal carrying case, this is a small wonder for the shaver who wishes to pamper his skin whether at home or abroad. Handmade in Kent’s factories of jolly ole England, this silver tip fare is a daily blessing to any shaving case. The knot sits at a kindly 31 mm allowing the bristles to blossom from the weighted core for a more complete, softer lathering experience. The supple badger hair allows for a smoother, closer shave with less irritation than you will find almost anywhere else. A high bristle density gets between hairs to raise them up so that you can cut them down swiftly and comfortably. Clearly fit for a king. Were we to find a complaint about it, it would be the large size makes drying a slow process. [Purchase: $196]

MUHLE Edition Shaving Brush

MUHLE Edition

Pro: Artisanally crafted
Con: Costly

Home Spa: Before you ride out onto the moors to quell the nattering of the knave who besmirched your lady’s honor, this is the shaving brush you would use to trim the whiskers away from your lantern jawline. The handle is engraved carbon used both for its resistance to moisture and dense weight, which enable you to control each stroke for maximum effect. As lovely as the handle is, it is easily put to shame by the pure silver tip bristles that adorn the interior of the brush. At once soft against your skin yet firm enough to moisturize and replenish by driving your exquisite shaving lotion against the base of each hair, you’ll feel invigorated each time you use it. The pièce de résistance, you’ll long for your hair to grow ever thicker and faster just so you might let this do its daily work. [Purchase: $680]

More From Grooming

Thumbnail

Gerber's USA-Made Fastball Is The Perfect Quick-Action EDC Knife

Equipped with the brand's B.O.S.S. ball-bearing system.

Posted By Mike Bitanga

Partner
Featured Image

This WWII Class A Comb Is A Military Classic Reborn

Flip out this brass grooming tool and keep your hair looking sharp.

Posted By

May 17, 2019

Featured Image

Sculpting Tools: 12 Best Beard Trimmers

The ultimate list of tools to shape your facial hair.

Posted By

Feb 11, 2019

Featured Image

Fulton & Roark Shower Better Kit

A fortifying triple threat of vitamins, oils, and minerals to help you shower with purpose.

Posted By

Dec 12, 2018

Featured Image

Fulton & Roark Sterling Solid Cologne

Leather & tobacco-leaf-scented solid cologne for the cool weather getup.

Posted By

Dec 5, 2018

Featured Image

Fulton & Roark Daily Moisturizer

Yerba-mate-based daily moisturizer that's both an aftershave and SPF 18 sun protectant.

Posted By

Nov 26, 2018