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Bleached vs unbleached boar

The only bit of info I found regarding the bleaching process was that it softens the boar bristles, but it raises several questions in my mind:

If a boar brush is dyed to make it look like a two-band brush, is it possible that the brush was bleached first?...or are all dyed boar brushes unbleached?

Second, how do you know if a brush (dyed or not) has been bleached by the manufacturer? I looked at the description of at least 10-12 Omega boar brushes at one website, and not one indicated whether the brush was bleached or unbleached. So, how does a buyer know what they are buying?

...and finally does it really matter?
 
I don't have the experience to answer your questions but I just read through two long threads on Boar Brushes because I'm very new to Traditional Wet Shaving and have so much to learn. Boar brushes came to my attention and I wanted to buy a couple of them.

Anyway, enjoy.

1) Brotherhood of the Boar - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/brotherhood-of-the-boar.349813/

2) 🐗 🐖 🐷 🐽 DecemBOAR 2021 - Only boar brushes… for all of December! 🐗 🐖 🐷 🐽 - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/decemboar-2021-only-boar-brushes-for-all-of-december.616700/

The combined knowledge here is incredible. If you read through those threads, you'll see suggestions at every price point.... and if you ask your question there, there will be so many great people there to advise you.
 
You can tell the difference visually because the unbleached brush has a few stray black hairs mixed in the knot were the bleached knot is mostly white in color.
When they sterilize the knot hairs they more than likely use bleach on the totally white knotted brushes and the unbleached are sterilized with a different method.
On the packaging of my unbleached Omega brush they highlighted that it was sterilized but the funk smell was still present when I cleaned it and got it wet.
I have a bleached Yaqi boar bristle brush and I find it soft to the face compared to the unbleached boar brushes I own, the bulk of the vintage brushes were unbleached from what I have seen and lasted a long time. You can buy a good boar brush for about the same price as a synthetic brush IMO.
If not sure go to reviews on google and the owners tell their view of brush through use.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
...and finally does it really matter?


I think it matters enough to me for me to have gotten interested in it.



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I have a few brushes I know are unbleached.

You'll find unbleached (and described as such) Zenith boars at Your Shaving. You might notice how their color is a bit different from that of the Zenith bleached kmots.



If a boar brush is dyed to make it look like a two-band brush, is it possible that the brush was bleached first?...or are all dyed boar brushes unbleached?


Probably. I am not knowledgeable about the dyed to look like badger boars. I think they look fake, but that is just me.



Second, how do you know if a brush (dyed or not) has been bleached by the manufacturer?


I think you learn by stumbling across an Omega or three which isn't label as unbleached but might be judging by how it compares with knots known to be bleached or unbleached.



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I think maybe these three Omegas are unbleached. I have only my experience to guide me here and could be wrong. Like knots I know are unbleached these broke in slowly and "felt unbleached" until they broke in.



I looked at the description of at least 10-12 Omega boar brushes at one website, and not one indicated whether the brush was bleached or unbleached. So, how does a buyer know what they are buying?


Mostly you don't. Generally assume the boar is bleached unless you have evidence to the contrary.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
So, if I'm understanding correctly, it seems there is no way to know for certain if a brush is bleached, except in the case of the Zenith where the maker specifies it as such.

Which is why I asked the third question, if it really matters. For my purposes, I'm going to assume it does not, and not worry about it. I'm guessing our granfathers and their fathers didn't worry about it.

I have two Omega boars, one dyed and one natural, both under 10 bucks and love them even though I have no clue if either was bleached.

I really just wanted to understand if there was a significant difference between the two variations, and how to tell them apart.
 

Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
So, if I'm understanding correctly, it seems there is no way to know for certain if a brush is bleached, except in the case of the Zenith where the maker specifies it as such.


You could always look the answer up in the back of the book.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
So, if I'm understanding correctly, it seems there is no way to know for certain if a brush is bleached, except in the case of the Zenith where the maker specifies it as such.

Which is why I asked the third question, if it really matters. For my purposes, I'm going to assume it does not, and not worry about it. I'm guessing our granfathers and their fathers didn't worry about it.

I have two Omega boars, one dyed and one natural, both under 10 bucks and love them even though I have no clue if either was bleached.

I really just wanted to understand if there was a significant difference between the two variations, and how to tell them apart.
I think unbleached knots have a little more backbone than bleached knots. A slightly darker color would make it more obvious that it was not bleached. If you feel your bleached knot has a nice enough face feel, backbone and is scrubby enough, I would say it doesn't matter to you. Boti told me in a conversation their boar knots they sell are unbleached. I have a 30mm one and I would agree, it is likely unbleached.
 
Thanks for all the replies.

Just to clarify, I had read some posts here about bleached boar brushes and it piqued my interest. Of course I needed to ask the questions to satisfy my curiosity, as information was lacking.

Like any hobby, we often get twisted up in the tiniest details of the pursuit and worry about stuff that the average Joe wouldn't care about and still be perfectly happy. So, like Joe, I'm taking the "ignorance is bliss" approach with boar brushes and will continue to enjoy the awesomeness of my 10 dollar brushes, and not worry about whether or not they have been bleached.

Thanks again. 👍🙂👍
 
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Chan Eil Whiskers

Fumbling about.
Thanks for all the replies.

Just to clarify, I had read some posts here about bleached boar brushes and it piqued my interest. Of course I needed to ask the questions to satisfy my curiosity, as information was lacking.

Like any hobby, we often get twisted up in the tiniest details of the pursuit and worry about stuff that the average Joe wouldn't care about and still be perfectly happy. So, like Joe, I'm taking the "ignorance is bliss" approach with boar brushes and will continue to enjoy the awesomeness of my 10 dollar brushes, and not worry about whether or not they have been bleached.

Thanks again. 👍🙂👍


At least two of the unbleached boars I discussed earlier were less than than ten bucks.

Take home point: If a boar seems to be taking its time breaking in it might be an unbleached. Most of my unbleached boars required at least 30 to 60 dry to wet to dry cycles.

Happy shaves,

Jim
 
At least two of the unbleached boars I discussed earlier were less than than ten bucks.

Take home point: If a boar seems to be taking its time breaking in it might be an unbleached. Most of my unbleached boars required at least 30 to 60 dry to wet to dry cycles.

Happy shaves,

Jim
Thanks Jim.
 
Bleached, unbleached, mixed, cheap, or expensive doesn’t matter to me either; does the brush perform well and not shed hairs is what I am interested in when selecting a new brush.
 
Omega more than likely has boar that is unbleached. They have their own type that put into 3 different categories when I see it. Banded, bleached and unbleached. Never knew what to call it before. Omega has never been one of much to specify the boar. Semogue started with the classifications as seen on the Vintage Scent site, and it is accurate from what I have tried. I like them all. The fellow that orders from Zenith seems to have a good business relationship with Zenith and gets info when he asks and he passes it on. Nothing wrong with that at all. Very much appreciated.

On a fun note related to boars, I only had 2 brushes that were absolutely abysmal and the knot disintegrated a short time after buying it, and that was two Boreal boar brushes. I think they went out of business. No longer seen around here. Another fun thing you can do if you want: There are boar brushes made by Koh-i-noor. I have one in a plastic handle, and maybe a second in a metal handle. I can't remember though. That's a brand I don't see often. My plastic is of the banded boar variety. All the banded boar I have seen and have always have the blunt, pointy ends to them.
 
I think the bristles used for boar brushes are usually boiled in water for a longer or shorter time. This is partially to sterilize them, but also to soften them. The longer they get boiled, the softer they become and the lighter the color will be. If the maker doesn't specify "bleached" or "unbleached", you can sometimes tell by the color and also may notice some of the tips already starting to split for ones treated longer. Unbleached are more yellowish compared to bleached that are more white.
 
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