I must say the decision on brush purchasing is not a easy one. This is my first brush ever, but I believe after using this brush solely for almost two months now I can give a pretty accurate review based on my beginner experiences. I decided on this brush after asking in the B&B forum and my dealer what they recommended. After researching all the brands I decided on this one since it was best badger, available, priced right and in the size that I believed would be good for me to start with. I should note that since I purchased this brush the price has gone up at Fendrihan, about 6 dollars off the top of my head.
So on to the brush. When it arrived I was surprised by two things. One was the quality or lack of in the packaging/labeling. It was in a clear see through plastic box with no labeling. But, since I am not interested into collecting boxes, I really didn't care. It came with no damage and that is all that mattered to me, it also could reflect what I believe to be a great price on this brush. No extra expense into paying for high quality/labeled boxes. The second thing that surprised me was when I open the brush box and smelled the brush.. WOW Strong smell in the bristles, more then I expected from reading about this sort of common smell on new brushes. To me it smelled like strong moth balls. With that out of the way, I took some pictures for the forum and moved right to the bathroom to try it out.
I started to make lather with JM Fraser original cream. Being my first time for lather making it was different to say the least. No more pushing a top button on a can and waallaaa.. Lather/ ahem goo... For my first attempt it made a decent lather right off the bat. I soaked the brush for about three minutes and put a dollop/almond size cream in the bowl and it fluffed up the cream fairly quickly. It lost one bristle/hair in the procedure. After I made the lather I tried spreading it on my face with the semogue 2020 brush and again I noticed the smell, awful and experience ruining. It was overpowering and I didn't like it at all. Then I noticed the tips of the bristle seemed stiff and kinda hurt my face. It feel rough and prickly to me and I was a little disappointed, thinking this is what I expected if I bought boar and not badger. After experiencing both bad smell and prickling feeling I decided to call it off for the day.
Next day I took the brush and started to clean it with baby shampoo. I used the baby shampoo as if it were lather and whipped it in the bowl and the rinsed it out. I did this about three times and finished it off with hair conditioner. The conditioner part may have been a mistake according to some views in the forum, but ok to others. In this case it didn't seem to do any harm and may have not done any good either.. I will never know since I cannot go back and do it without it. All I can say is that the next time I used the brush it seemed a little softer, but still a little prickly. The biggest improvement was the smell. The original moth ball smell was not all gone, but subdue compared to when I first took it out of the box. The shampoo/conditioner didn't seem to make any difference in cream making, it performed the same. The cleaning procedure did cause it to lose another bristle/hair, that makes two in total to this day.. None have fallen out since. While cleaning the brush i noticed that label on the oak handle was a sticker and that it had already begin to peel off. My thoughts were, soon this will be a no name brush. Cleaning it I also noticed the metal ring at the base of the bristles and on top of the handle. I think this will definitely help the bristle knot stay in the brush. It also appears to act similar to a wire grommet and help stop chaffing
That brings me to current and my thoughts as of today. This is still my only brush and I have come quite accustom to it. I no longer find the brush bristle to be prickly on my face, I attribute this to either two things. The brush has become softer or my face has become use to it. I did have a chance to feel a silvertip Edwin jager brush at a local store that I found after purchasing this brush and I can say its definitely not as soft as it, but for the price, I am unsure if the softness difference is worth it. Though I did find myself dreaming of owning that brush when touching it.. NICE! Someday I will probably graduate to the silvertip.. But for now the best badger will suffice as it no longer hurts my face and does a great job on making lather. The label didn't fall off completely on the brush, but it has wore enough that its hard to read the brand name. You can still read the Spanish word for badger (texugo). The smell is completely gone and has been since about the third time I used it to make lather. It now smells lovely! My cleaning routine consist of swirling it in hot water in my lather bowl after each time I use it. I swirl it and drain until the water runs clear in the bowl. I then give a few gentle flicks in the sink to force off the water and then use painter strokes on a towel a few times to help absorb left over water on the bristles. I put it in my light fixture upside down as it makes a great hanging place for it and by the next day its completely dry and ready to be used again.
This brush makes excellent lather and quick. It holds a lot of water. My routine is to let it soak in hot water for at least 3 minutes, if longer I empty the cup and let it soak in new hot water for a few more seconds. After soaking I gently squeeze the brush to remove excess water and then a flick or two for a bit more water to leave it. Then I being making lather, with this amount of water in the brush I do not need to add more water. It makes excellent lather with this method and a small dollop of cream. It takes about 1 minute to make the lather and then its nice and slick and creamy. Love it!
Overall I am happy with this brush, the price, size and performance is just right for a starter badger brush. I cannot see anybody going wrong with it at this price. So do I recommend it, YES! Will this change after trying different brushes? I think not. I may find another brush I like in the future, but I don't think I will ever regret buying this brush as my first. I have listed the brush specs below as well as a link to the place I purchased it, to whom I also recommend.
Handle height: 53 mm
Bristle loft: 54 mm
Knot diameter: 22 mm
Hand-made in Portugal
Information on semogue.
Semogue is a family operated business with a tradition of brush-making passed on from father to son for generations.
Purchase it here from a Canadian Vendor