Are you drawn to the idea of traditional shaving? A good shaving brush is an essential item for the perfect shave. Perhaps you have bought or been gifted one before, and now you’re looking for an upgrade, or you might be searching for your very first shaving brush. They might look simple, but a lot goes into the crafting of a quality shaving brush and choosing the right one can take some thought. There are a few different factors that you might consider when you’re looking for a shaving brush that meets your needs.
This guide will help you to choose the best shaving brush to match everything from your budget to your ethics.
The Benefits of Traditional Shaving
If you haven’t started using traditional shaving methods yet, it’s worth knowing what benefits it brings and the role that a shaving brush plays. Shaving with a safety razor or straight razor might look a little intimidating, but it can bring you some great advantages. Firstly, it offers you a closer shave, with the single, sharp blade flush against your skin. Of course, this means that you have to be careful, but it also means less drag and less irritation. A safety razor is good for coarse hair, and it can even save you money because replacement blades don’t cost much.
You don’t necessarily have to use a safety razor or other traditional shaving methods to benefit from a shaving brush. The purpose of a shaving brush is to work up a good lather with your shaving cream or soap. It softens the hair and lifts it from your face, plus it helps to open up your pores by adding heat. A shaving brush is also an excellent gentle exfoliator that gets rid of dead skin cells. Combining a shaving brush with a safety razor could be the best way to get a fantastic shave.
Why Do You Need a Good Shaving Brush?
If using a shaving brush can benefit you, does it really matter which shaving brush you buy? There are many options out there, some cheaper than others, and it’s often tempting to get the cheapest product. But a shaving brush can be made using different materials and have different designs, which can make a difference in how good it is, how comfortable it is to use, and how long it will last. Some shaving brushes are also designed for travel, which can be handy but may mean you need to consider some different factors.
The wrong shaving brush could cause a few problems. You could find the bristles falling out if it’s not made well. If the bristles are too close together, your brush might not dry out properly after you have used it. For many people, the composition of the brush is also something to consider carefully. Traditionally, shaving brushes are made from animal hair, such as boar, horse, or badger hair. However, if you prefer to buy vegan or cruelty-free products, there are alternatives that use synthetic bristles so that you can shave guilt-free. The material of the handle, as well as its weight and how it feels in your hand, make a difference to the quality of the brush too.
The Parts of a Shaving Brush
It’s a good idea to understand the anatomy of a shaving brush when you’re buying one. You’re sure to come across different terms, and it’s useful to know what they are.
- The bristles are self-explanatory and can be made from animal or synthetic hair.
- The loft is the length of the hair from the crown of the bristles to the top of the handle, while the height of the brush is the whole brush, including the handle.
- The base is the bottom of the handle and might be flat, so you can stand it upright, or rounded so that you can put it in a holder.
- The knot is where the bristles are joined together inside the base – the bigger it is, the firmer the brush feels, and the more water it will retain.
What to Look for in a Shaving Brush
There are several things that you will want to look for when you’re trying to find the best shaving brush. When you select the right brush, you can enjoy a closer and more comfortable wet shave. Take a look at the following things that might help you to choose the right brush.
What’s It Made of?
The big question that you will want to ask yourself first is what a shaving brush is made from. When it comes to the bristles, there are the traditional animal hair options, as well as synthetic, vegan options. We also have a shaving brush that offers the benefit of being plastic-free for anyone who wants an eco-friendly brush. When you’re looking at animal hair brushes, you’re likely to see boar, horsehair, and badger hair brushes.
Boar brushes start off very coarse, although they get softer over time, so they’re not very comfortable when you first buy them. However, the coarseness does offer an advantage if you use shaving soap, making it easier to work up a good lather. Boar brushes are also often cheaper compared to other animal hair options. Horsehair brushes have finer and softer bristles. They come in various colours, and they’re priced in the middling range, costing more than a boar brush.
Badger brushes have been used for hundreds of years, with different grades of quality available for the hair. They can be pure, best, super, and silvertip, but there’s no exact meaning, so they might vary by manufacturer. Pure badger hair is the least expensive, while silvertip brushes are the most expensive. The softness, water absorbency, and other factors depend on which grade you choose.
For those who are not interested in animal hair brushes, there are vegan options made using synthetic bristles. You can find a range of prices, from the most affordable brushes to the pretty pricey ones. High-quality synthetic fibres are cruelty-free, and they’re also a good alternative for anyone who is allergic to the animal hair options. Synthetic bristles have improved over time and can now deliver a great performance. They’re designed specifically for shaving brushes, and some people prefer them to the alternatives.
Our vegan shaving brushes give you a high-performance shaving brush without using any animal products. The synthetic bristles last longer than animal hair, and the handles still have ergonomic designs for a good grip. We even have plastic-free options, which are ideal if you’re particularly eco-conscious, and you’re looking for a high-quality brush. Synthetic bristle shaving brushes offer a more modern alternative, which is ethical and doesn’t skimp on quality.
Stiffness of the Brush
The stiffness of the brush and the scrub (or scrubbiness) that it has are pretty important when choosing a shaving brush. This is partly affected by the material of the bristles, but it’s also influenced by the tightness of the knot and how stiff the backbone of the brush is. A brush with more scrub will exfoliate your skin more than a softer brush will.
Integrity of the Brush
A few bristles are likely to be lost from your shaving brush over time, especially when you first purchase it. If there’s only a hair or two over a month or so, it won’t make a lot of difference. However, a brush that is constantly shedding is probably not a great quality brush. More shedding can occur later, too, as your brush starts to get older. However, many quality brushes will hold up for years without starting to fall apart.
Different brushes will hold different amounts of water. This changes based on the composition of the brush. You want to have a brush with good water retention so that you are able to work up a lather with the bristles. Without good water retention, it can be difficult to apply a proper lubricant to your skin for a smooth shave. On the other hand, you don’t want a brush that never dries out, particularly if you want to be able to carry it around.
Shape of the Handle
The shape and weight of the handle are important too because the brush needs to feel good in your hand. It should fit well in your hand and be easy to grip so that you can hold it securely when you’re lathering and applying your shaving soap or cream. Handles come in a few different shapes, and you will want to choose something that you can hold naturally. There are also different materials to choose from, ranging from plastic to various types of wood or metal, or sometimes even bone. The material can make a difference in how heavy the handle feels. You might be looking for something with a substantial weight to it, but you also don’t want it to feel too large and heavy.
Of course, budget also matters when you’re looking for a shaving brush. You can find a broad range of prices, from under £10 all the way to over £100. The most important thing to know is what exactly you’re paying for. Are you paying for a brush that’s going to last forever and work extraordinarily well, or are you just paying for a designer name? Not everyone is even too interested in a brush that will last a long time. You might be looking for a shaving brush to try out, or you might be happy to replace it sooner. A shaving brush doesn’t have to last a lifetime to serve its use.
Does It Feel Good to You?
How the brush feels when you’re using it shouldn’t be ignored. You should think about how it feels in your hand, as well as how it feels on your face. Of course, if you’re buying a shaving brush online, you can’t test this out until after you have bought it. It’s a good idea to read the product descriptions on any brushes that interest you, as well as check customer reviews to see what other people have thought of it.
Eco-friendly and Ethical Production
This is related to the materials that are used to make a shaving brush. As discussed above, shaving brushes have traditionally used animal hair, but modern options exist with synthetic bristles instead. It’s not just the bristle material that you might want to think about when choosing an ethically produced shaving brush. The handle and other components can be made using different materials, and how and where it’s made can make a difference too. Does the handle use sustainable materials? You might be interested in a plastic-free shaving brush like our vegan-friendly brush with a wooden ash handle. Sustainability and cruelty-free concerns might be fairly new, but they can go hand-in-hand with traditional shaving products.
Free-standing vs. Stand
Many shaving brushes are designed to stand up on their base. When you’re not using them, you can simply stand them up on the flat base by the sink or wherever it is convenient. Another option is to buy a stand for your shaving brush, which might even come with a brush when you buy it. A stand will take up a little more space, but you can buy one that holds both your brush and razor. However, if the brush has a rounded base, it does mean that you won’t be able to stand it up on its end when you don’t have the stand available.
Travel Shaving Brushes
Finally, you might consider a travel shaving brush. It’s not necessarily what you will want to use all the time, but can be useful if you’re going away and need something compact. Some travel brushes are designed to be popped into a little tube, which protects them while you’re traveling and stops your things from getting wet. However, it can also prevent your brush from drying properly. You might also consider a travel case, which could also hold your razor.
Choosing the best shaving brush for your needs will give you a handy little tool that will help you to get the best shave at all times.