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Badger/Synthetic knot Review (Fan Fiction 26mm)

Hello, all you shaving brush lovers!

I got a hold of a lovely custom brush from the artisan, Craving Shaving. Charles makes great ergonomic handles that looks beautiful. This time I requested for a jade like swirl color with his classic handle shape and 26mm Fan fiction knot. This knot is a 50/50 mix between badger and synthetic and it's not very common. I hear that it's been around for a while but there are not a lot of reviews on it. So here I am.

Craving Shaving 'A Shade of Jade' Mix knot brush.jpg

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First Impression
This knot looks just like a 2-band fan badger. I compared this to my Yaqi Fan 2-band knot and it is almost the same. The synthetic bristles are colored to match the 2-band badger so you can't tell just by looking at it. It has a springy feel like a synthetic but the tips looks like badger. It's hard to tell unless you lather it up.

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Lathering process
The brush lathered up really quickly. It lathers up like a synthetic but maybe a touch behind. It does not splay well on the bowl and in that, I see a resemblance between this knot and Supervisor (Black high backbone synthetic) knot. When I try to bowl lather, the knot pushes back against me and does not splay easily. But when it is splayed out all the way, it is easily to lather in circular motion. It whips up a lather well but it is a bit tougher to splay out the brush.


Face Feel + General experience
For me, the face feel of this knot falls behind. I do not like scrubby brushes and my face can only take so much brush. This knot is bordering on the line of too scrubby and just right. I believe the synthetic bristles are thick and does not bend well. This leads to pokey, scrubby, and lack of splay in the knot. The badger bristles seem fine as they provide softer feel. But as I said, when this knot is fully splayed out, it reduced the pokey and scrubby feel. It resembles more of a 2-band badger when fully splayed out and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

The painting motion was fine for me. It felt soft and moved around the lather easily. It's slightly an issue when I lather the brush in circular motion. I'd say when I splay the knot 30-40%, the synthetics poke against my face and refuse to splay out, resulting in the roughness. But when I fully splay it, it feels a lot better as the synthetics are not poking against my face.

As for the funk, this brush did not have much. As it is 50% synthetic, I did not notice any scent after cleaning out the knot with shampoo/conditioner. When the knot is drained out and stropped a bit, it blooms into a beautiful fan shape and I quite enjoy it.

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In Conclusion,
I enjoy the look of the knot and it performs well. However, the face feel is a bit rough for me and doesn't splay as easily. It'll serve well as a painting brush but I particularly stick to splaying out the brush. I'll put out more update and see if this knot breaks in. Thanks for reading!
 
Did you presoak the brush before using it?
There are synthetic which behave as badger so should be treated as such including break in. For example Muhle STF should be presoaked and is very scrubby. But after 3 uses including presoaking it is only feels scrubby when you apply lather at the beginning of the shave but after that it is barely noticeable so will see how it goes. I also have TurnNShave Silversynthetic and it was scrubby, but way less than Muhle STF, for first 4 shaves but not anymore. Of course YMMV
 
Did you presoak the brush before using it?
There are synthetic which behave as badger so should be treated as such including break in. For example Muhle STF should be presoaked and is very scrubby. But after 3 uses including presoaking it is only feels scrubby when you apply lather at the beginning of the shave but after that it is barely noticeable so will see how it goes. I also have TurnNShave Silversynthetic and it was scrubby, but way less than Muhle STF, for first 4 shaves but not anymore. Of course YMMV
I did presoak it but it still felt scrubby. I'm going to try it again today and see how it feels.

I did contact Charles from Craving Shaving and he says that the knot breaks in after couple uses and becomes less scrubby. He enjoys it so I'm going to only use this for a while and test it out.
 
I did presoak it but it still felt scrubby. I'm going to try it again today and see how it feels.

I did contact Charles from Craving Shaving and he says that the knot breaks in after couple uses and becomes less scrubby. He enjoys it so I'm going to only use this for a while and test it out.
Great, let us know how long it takes to break in
 
Another shave with the brush today.

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I followed the advices and pre-soaked the brush for 30 minute and bowl-lathered it couple times to break it in.

The Result: Success

The brush felt a lot better today. The prickliness of the knot went away but the scrub was still there. Even the scrub, it dialed back maybe 20%. It gives for a good exfoliation on the face. I would say this is probably the most scrub that I would go for. Any more and I would not enjoy my shaves.

I'll be continuing to use this brush throughout the month and see how it breaks in more. So far, I enjoyed my shaves with it and if it becomes softer, I would love it even more.
 
Another shave with the brush today.

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I followed the advices and pre-soaked the brush for 30 minute and bowl-lathered it couple times to break it in.

The Result: Success

The brush felt a lot better today. The prickliness of the knot went away but the scrub was still there. Even the scrub, it dialed back maybe 20%. It gives for a good exfoliation on the face. I would say this is probably the most scrub that I would go for. Any more and I would not enjoy my shaves.

I'll be continuing to use this brush throughout the month and see how it breaks in more. So far, I enjoyed my shaves with it and if it becomes softer, I would love it even more.
Thanks for the update. Hopefully it will not take too long to break in so you can enjoy it more quickly
 
Some more pictures made into a collage

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Another great shave with this brush. It's slowly breaking in so this will be my go-to brush for a while. Whips up a lather in no time.
 
After couple more uses of this brush, the scritch did not go away. I was planning to use this brush for a longer time but I realize that that won't help as much. The scritch of this knot is basically the thicker synthetic bristles poking against the skin. No matter how many times I use this brush, the synthetic bristles will retain the scritch unlike how boars split.

It's unfortunate to say but I think I'll remove this knot and replace it with a badger. I wanted to like this knot but it seems too scritchy for me and only improves by a small amount with more uses and more soak. The good news is that I was able to get a nice SHD badger knot on the way so that'll be a pleasure to use. It was nice to be able to test out this knot but this'll be the last time with this knot.
 
Um
After couple more uses of this brush, the scritch did not go away. I was planning to use this brush for a longer time but I realize that that won't help as much. The scritch of this knot is basically the thicker synthetic bristles poking against the skin. No matter how many times I use this brush, the synthetic bristles will retain the scritch unlike how boars split.

It's unfortunate to say but I think I'll remove this knot and replace it with a badger. I wanted to like this knot but it seems too scritchy for me and only improves by a small amount with more uses and more soak. The good news is that I was able to get a nice SHD badger knot on the way so that'll be a pleasure to use. It was nice to be able to test out this knot but this'll be the last time with this knot.
I have learned that some synthetic knots are made to behave like a badger so needs to be treated as such so need to be presoaked and broken in. For example it took me 4 uses before TurnNShave Silversynthetic stopped to be skritchy but I already have 5 uses on Muhle STF and it just changed a little compared to the beginning so who knows how long it will take to get better
You can try the following
Presoak it for a half hour make lather and leave lather on for an hour while brush is in vertical position. Rinse it, make lather again and leave it for another hour then rinse again and let it dry
 
Um
I have learned that some synthetic knots are made to behave like a badger so needs to be treated as such so need to be presoaked and broken in. For example it took me 4 uses before TurnNShave Silversynthetic stopped to be skritchy but I already have 5 uses on Muhle STF and it just changed a little compared to the beginning so who knows how long it will take to get better
You can try the following
Presoak it for a half hour make lather and leave lather on for an hour while brush is in vertical position. Rinse it, make lather again and leave it for another hour then rinse again and let it dry
I can try to break it in more but even after the 4th - 5th use, It is still too scritchy for me. I also hand lathered it multiple times along with soaking it but it doesn't seem to improve as much. I might give it a one more go after couple days of trying to breaking it in.
 
I can try to break it in more but even after the 4th - 5th use, It is still too scritchy for me. I also hand lathered it multiple times along with soaking it but it doesn't seem to improve as much. I might give it a one more go after couple days of trying to breaking it in.
I well understand that this is why I mentioned Muhle STF which doing to me the same thing after 5 uses
If you want a great knot which will need presoaking but no break in get Fanchurian v4 from Grizzly Bay and you will never regret it. I got my brush yesterday and used it 15 minutes ago for a first time and it even softer than V2 of the knot which has 5 uses. I also have Yaqi High Mountain White and I was told that it will take 10 to 15 uses to break in and after 9 uses I finally feel that it is noticeable improvement so I feel it is worth having it
 
I well understand that this is why I mentioned Muhle STF which doing to me the same thing after 5 uses
If you want a great knot which will need presoaking but no break in get Fanchurian v4 from Grizzly Bay and you will never regret it. I got my brush yesterday and used it 15 minutes ago for a first time and it even softer than V2 of the knot which has 5 uses. I also have Yaqi High Mountain White and I was told that it will take 10 to 15 uses to break in and after 9 uses I finally feel that it is noticeable improvement so I feel it is worth having it
Congrats! I've enjoyed most badgers from Finest and up so I shouldn't have any problem with my incoming SHD knot. With synthetics though, it's either soft or rough from the get-go. When I lathered with the Fan Fiction knot yesterday, it still felt scritchy on the hands so that's not going to feel better on the face. I'll continue for couple more days but most likely, I'll be pulling this one out.
 
Thanks for your review and follow up i never heard of a 50/50 synth badger.
Me neither so this was my first exposure to the mix. I wish the synthetic bristles would have been thinner because that would make for a great knot. The thicker synthetic makes it scritchy which I do not enjoy as much.
 
Congrats! I've enjoyed most badgers from Finest and up so I shouldn't have any problem with my incoming SHD knot. With synthetics though, it's either soft or rough from the get-go. When I lathered with the Fan Fiction knot yesterday, it still felt scritchy on the hands so that's not going to feel better on the face. I'll continue for couple more days but most likely, I'll be pulling this one out.
If you want soft synthetic knot get TurnNShave Quatermoon or Yaqi Timberwolf
 
If you want soft synthetic knot get TurnNShave Quatermoon or Yaqi Timberwolf
I got couple soft synthetics like Duro knot and Tuxedo. Also, I just got a 30mm boss knot and used it today. It was amazing. One of the best synthetic feels on the face.
 
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