Badger vs. Boar vs. Synthetic: What are the main differences in performance?

Discussion in 'Shaving Brushes' started by Codfish, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Do you feel there are significant differences in the various types of brushes in terms of: water retention, loading, lathering, backbone/ease-of-application, “quality” feel, and overall appearance?

    I imagine size and price matter to some degree, but I'm most interested in 21-23mm, non-premium brushes.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  2. As a newbie with brushes in the size and price range mentioned, I shall weigh in on my experiences.
    • Water Retention: My brushes, from most to least: Silvertip Badger -> Horse -> Pure Badger -> Boar
    • Loading: They can all load from every soap and cream I've tried. The horse and boar load fastest, the pure badger isn't very dense and loads slowest.
    • Backbone: Badger backbone is a complicated function of density, loft, and knot size. That said, my dense short silverhair still has less backbone than my horse and boar. Boar has the most.
    • Feel: My pure badger is the least pleasant to use. The worst combination of flimsy and prickly. The horse and boar, due to their heavy backbone, can be prickly if you press too hard, but soft and pleasant when used sanely. The silvertip is a really luxurious feeling on the face.
    • Price-wise, you can get a much nicer horse or boar brush than badger for the same amount of money.
    I own:
    • Shea Moisture Pure Badger brush ($9)
    • Vie-Long 13800 Horse Hair brush ($25)
    • Reconditioned Ever-Ready C40 w/ a Silvertip knot from The Golden Nib (~$55)
    • Omega Pro 49 boar ($10, not yet fully broken in.)
    Caveat: I'm sure a pure or Black Badger brush from a better line would be more comfortable to use.
  3. Thank you for that excellent write-up.

    Myself, I am pretty curious about the Jack Black synthetic. Might have to acquire one for Father's Day.
  4. Yes, the synthetics are interesting. Maybe in a few months I can talk the wife into believing I need another one. :)
  5. Just received the HUGE No. 1 Turkish horsehair brush (smaller size #6 on order) from

    Can't say I wasn't warned! The good folk here tried, but ....

    For the price, it is well made and would be a good scrubbing, exfoliating shaving brush if the bristles weren't so LONG!

    Stiff enough to dig out a good load of Williams, and whips up a quick lather in a warm scuttle - then flops like a mop on the old kisser.

    I can't wait for the shorter and smaller #6 to arrive so I can really give horsehair a decent try.

    As for #1 - retired.
    I have to whitewash my fence and I think I have a better use for it than shaving. Now to put on more aftershave - I smell like a stable.

    I have only good things to say about about Bestshave however. A great place for a newbie to try stuff out, and experienced shavers to stock up on blades etc.
  6. Maybe it's for leg shaving. :)
  7. I thought of that - or some guy's big hairy back.

    Or Robin Williams arms! Yeah, that's it!

    Anyone have his address? PIF in the works!
  8. Re the #1 Horsehair Bestshave brush:

    Now a work in progress. I have a robust electric hair trimmer, and am in the process of slowly shaping this brush - which I've come to think of as a Do It Yourself kit.

    Shame to toss it as it is becoming a good scrubber.
  9. Update:

    Have taken about 1/2 inch off the bristle length and shaped them to resemble a big Frank Shaving Silvertip.

    Now it is a useful horsehair scrubber - and the odor is just about gone.

    I also removed the red and white paint and the varnish - revealing a very attractive hardwood handle. 4 coats of varnish later, and she's lookin' good.

    Now, this morning I received another package from Bestshave containing their horsehair brush #6.

    Perfect size, lovely wooden handle, no odor and 1/3 the cost of #!?

    Well, you folk did try to warn me!

    Cheers everyone

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