Shaving brushes date back to the 1700s and they’ve long been considered a rather illustrious piece of male grooming equipment. Back then, the French nicknamed their shaving brushes blaireau, literally meaning badger – the tradition stuck and most modern shaving brushes are still created from badger hairs.
Shaving brushes have long used badger hair for its supposed structural and aesthetic qualities but it’s a vanity thing also. Badger hair shaving brushes are split into 3 – 4 categories:
- Pure badger hair brushes are formed from 100% pure badger hair taken from areas that cover 60 to 65% of a badger’s body. These are some of the cheaper shaving brushes.
- Best badger hair covers 20% to 25% of a badgers body and are therefore less available than the hairs used to make pure badger hair brushes. They’re more expensive than pure badger hair brushes.
- Super badger hairs are sorted by hand and graded for quality. They’re some of the softest badger hairs and the most expensive brushes.
- With colour-matched silver-tipped hairs taken only from specific areas of the badger, these shaving brushes are the most expensive around.
Some ‘silver tip’ shaving brushes cost in excess of £100, you pay this premium price purely because the hairs are plucked from areas that cover less than 20% of a badger’s body and are then tested and matched by hand. Essentially, those who select such illustrious shaving brushes are paying for the privilege of putting badgers through even more gruelling treatment than what is required for any ‘normal’ shaving brush!
In essence, though, all badger shaving brushes cause harm to badgers. The vast majority of badger hair is imported from China who have a poor animal rights record and are widely known for their malpractice and ill-treatment of animals in the fur industry. The only natural alternatives are boar hair, which is more coarse, or rarely, horsehair. Fortunately, synthetic brushes are exceptionally good these days and don’t represent a compromise in performance compared to their natural counterparts.
If you want a high-quality shaving brush which doesn’t come with the moral tag of animal cruelty then synthetic shaving brushes are totally vegan and cruelty-free. They also equal or outperform natural shaving brushes in virtually every area!
The Vegan Shaving Brush
A vegan shaving brush is one which doesn’t use any form of animal-related products or materials. Synthetic shaving brushes have developed hugely over the last few years, they look as good, feel as good and work as well as badger hair brushes, without the cruelty.
Synthetic vegan shaving brushes are more durable and have a firmer body to each hair which allows you to form a thicker lather quicker than with a conventional badger hairbrush. They are more durable and last much longer, the hairs don’t fall out, rot or start to smell and are just as soft as badger hair.
Also, since there’s no need for someone to painstakingly remove specific badger hairs by hand, synthetic shaving brushes are significantly cheaper, especially given that they last far longer than badger hair shaving brushes.
There’s really no downside, synthetic fibres are becoming indistinguishable from the real thing resulting in major transformations in grooming, fashion and many other industries. As more of us become eco-conscious and actively opposed to animal cruelty, consumable products which once relied on animals are converting into more ethical, eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives.