Gents, Quite often I am asked "What's the best Shaving brush?" - "Which brush should I get for XYZ dollars?" - "What would you buy between X and Y?" and so on and so forth. I hope to in this pictorial show some of you fellas the difference between the different hair grades, and hopefully help some of you gents decide WHAT CHARACTERISTICS you wish to have in a brush/hair grade. Too often gents are caught up in this whole "What is the best/most expensive" bit - when in reality..... the most expensive badger hair is NOT expensive because it is the best.... it is expensive because it is RARE and as a result, expensive. Method - All of the brushes are from the same manufacture, in new, unused condition so as to eliminate as many variables as possible. Each shaving brush was used under similar circumstances, with the exact same cake of Saint Charles Shave Almond shaving soap. Three Unused Shaving Brushes.... (similar knot size) Same three brushes in "bloom".... (similar knot size) PURE - This is the least expensive form of badger hair and is quite common. The head as you can see is actually trimmed to shape, so it is a little "scratchy" on ones face. Due to its specific qualities, although it holds a fair amount of water - it holds less water then best/silvertip. Although it is packed loosely, it is not "floppy" and has a nice spring to it. Trimmed brush head as new... Loose Pack.... Soak... Shake. Size of whetted head in relation to cake of soap... Couple Turns... Lather beginning to build... Ready to rub on face.... Lathered up... Post "wipe" After 3 Passes... Bloom... BEST BADGER - Best badger hair is essentially a refined version of "pure" it tends to have more of a banded pattern, than a solid black color, and it tends to be untrimmed, and as a result is softer on ones face. Best badger will have the SAME characteristics as far as "feel" as the incredibly expensive "High White Mountain" - "Manchurian" etc, as it will be firm on ones skin, yet supple enough to be luxurious. The bristle pack will often be denser than that of best badger, and as a result the brush will retain more water. The hair will have less of a snappyness (inclination to bend) as best badger, and as a result a highly efficacious scrubbing action can be performed on your shaving soap, as well as face. The ONLY leg up the elustrious (and expensive) "rare" hairs have on this brush is/are their water holding abilities, which admittedly are superior - however I can earnestly say - this inexpensive little $35 Edwin Jagger may be my favorite shaving brush... period. It really works like the dickens (see pictures below) and holds the perfect amount of water - not to much, not to little... somewhat ironic that the "mid-level" tends to have the desirabilities from both spectrums. As far as I am concerned - to hell with "high, euro white, finest" etc - this stuff feels the same, is less expensive, and does not hold excess water. A tremendous brush at a tremendous price, which leaves very little to be desired. Unused Brush... Handmade in England like its more expensive cousins.... Close up of brush head (unused) Size of wet head in bowl for comparison... A few turns... A few more... Ready for action... Lather worked into face... After 3 Passes... Brush in bloom.... SILVERTIP - Ahhh.... Silvertip. The most luxurious of luxury, the most expensive, elusive, finest shaving brush bristle in the land.... or is it? Well, that very much depends. While I wouldn't classify this particular example as "floppy" it is INCREDIBLY soft and the bristle is flexable. A silvertip shaving brush is an exercise in luxury, as it just feels damn good rubbed around your face.... but truth be told - the "scrubbing" action of the best badger brush above will actually do a superior job exfoliating, and lifting the hair on your beard to be cut. From a practical purpose - the best badger brush is superior, however from a luxury standpoint, the silvertip has no equals.... think of it like this - the best is your daily driver, and the silvertip is your weekend toy. Silvertip brushes tend to have more intricate handle designs, look fancier, more handwork, more attention to detail, etc. For instance this brush has a STUNNING horn handle (finest faux horn I have experienced) and is without question the best, most elegant looking brush of the bunch. Pictures do not do this handle justice.... Silvertip brush head (unused) Tightly packed... Overall brush shot (unused) Initially plopped in water (look at the next picture to see how much water the brush "sucks" up... Notice how much "wider" the brush is and how much water it has soaked up... Size of wet brush head for comparison.... A few turns... Lathered up (could not get "peaks" of lather with this brush, as it makes a "wetter" lather since it soaks up so much water) After 3 passes... Brush is so soft that if the wet brush is "mashed" down, it will not spring back to its original shape. Flicked to damp... Beauty in bloom... All three brushes, side by side, post bloom (similar knot sizes) Overall - while all 3 brushes were superb, my personal favorite was the "best badger" shaving brush. A truly wonderful looking, feeling, and performing shaving brush which leaves very little to be desired. If it were my first brush... I am afraid to say, I do not think I would have purchased another. Hope this helps some of you gents! If you have any questions - fire away!