How quickly do shaving brushes wear out? If you’ve thought about switching to a wet shave you’ve probably thought about that question. A good quality shaving brush should last for two or more years. Some people have brushes they’ve used for decades. Ultimately, it depends on how the brush is used, what it’s constructed from and how well it is treated.
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How do Shaving Brushes Wear Out?
Firstly, it depends on what type of shaving brush you’re using. Many people assume there is just one type of shaving brush, the traditional badger hair shaving brush. There is another superior type of shaving brush available, though: the synthetic shaving brush.
The synthetic shaving brush uses plastic bristles that are exquisitely well-designed to mimic traditional badger hair without harming any badgers. There is another benefit to synthetic brushes, though, as they are very durable and last longer than badger hair brushes.
It makes sense – plastic these days is superior to animal hair and it has left many wondering why we still insist on harvesting bagder hair for shaving brushes when there is a superior ethical alternative. In fact, more men are opting for synthetic brushes not just because of their ethical nature but because of their performance!
How Long Does a Typical Shaving Brush Last?
In time, the hairs on a shaving brush may wear down and become shorter with use, though this can take many years. The hairs might also get too floppy and weak to be able to use the brush effectively and whip up a good lather. The hairs or bristles themselves may also warp and become deformed meaning they don’t properly retain their shape and stiffness. You’ll be able to tell from the shape of bristles and you may notice the brush doesn’t track properly over the skin.
Brush durability will depend on how vigorously the brush is used and how frequently you shave. The harder the brush is treated, the quicker it will wear out. If you are shaving daily, or alternating between different brushes, or only shaving weekly, this will have a huge impact. It may also depend on your water mineral content, e.g. whether you have hard or soft water. Hard water with increased mineral content might result in increased wear to the brush over time. Hotter water will also likely weaken hairs over time and may soften any adhesives used in the construction of the brush. You’ll also have to watch out for what creams and gels you use, as leaving these on the brush after use may also corrode it and weaken the hairs.
Poorer quality badger hair brushes can also become mouldy if they’re not looked after properly or used for long periods of time. Organic hair is a much more fertile breeding ground for bacteria than synthetic hair.
Why is my Brush Shedding Hairs?
It’s not at all unusual for a new shaving brush to shed hairs the first few times it is used. But a poor quality brush will continue to shed hair and eventually this will affect the quality of the brush.
When a shaving brush starts to wear out you will notice it takes longer and longer to work up a lather. It will also feel different against your face – the bristles will feel less stiff, for instance. You might notice a lot of shedding, or that the bristles start to splay out or are getting shorter. Try and judge it by the quality of your shave as well as how the brush physically looks. It should be obvious if your brush feels stiff and horrible when you use it.
This will affect your shave but everyone has a different tolerance. One person might want to replace their brush as soon as it shows the smallest sign of wearing out, others won’t mind a little decrease in performance, or not even notice for a long time.
What About Synthetic Shaving Brushes?
Fortunately, good quality synthetic shaving brushes are very longlasting. They are also much more durable than their less ethical animal hair-based counterparts. By using a synthetic brush, you’re not just lessening costs for yourself in replacing rotten badger hair brushes, you’re also making the right choice regarding badger welfare in the badger hair industry. Synthetic brushes are the way forward, they provide a high-quality shave for a low cost and are soundly ethical.
Synthetic shaving brushes are also more resilient to shaving creams and gels and will likely repel bacteria rather than attract it.
As mentioned, many avid shavers that swore by badger hair brushes are moving onto synthetic brushes. They’re also so much cheaper than most badger hair brushes! Don’t be fooled by the price, though, as synthetic brushes are simply making use of modern materials – not low-quality modern materials.
Looking After Your Shaving Brush
In any case, looking after your shaving brush is essential to its longevity. Shaving brushes are exposed to various creams and gels as well as hot water. First and foremost, you have to keep your shaving brush clean between uses. Build-ups of excess foam and other soapy grime may loosen the adhesive or otherwise warp the hairs. Also, try to not expose your shaving brush to very hot water as this could also warp the hairs. Give it a good rinse after every shave to get all the excess lather off. A musty smell is a surefire sign you haven’t been washing your brush properly!
Place or hang it somewhere with a bit of airflow to help the brush dry out – so ideally not in a closed cabinet. You can give it a proper wash with weak detergent once a month or every few months to help it stay in tip-top condition.
Storing wet shaving brushes is the worst thing you can do, especially if you haven’t properly washed off any soaps, gels or creams. These can degrade and become corrosive, or create hotbeds for bacteria or even fungal growth!
Clean, dry and store properly. That’s all you need to do to keep your shaving brush well. So long as you remember those 3 things then you should be good to go!
Photo by Christoffer Engström on Unsplash