Boar Bristle vs Horse Hair Brush Question?

Discussion in 'Shaving Brushes' started by sandstone, May 17, 2015.

    I have three relatively new boar brushes which are going through a break-in period. They seem to work fine for me as is, but I understand that after
    a bit of use they get softer and more enjoyable to use. I’m just wondering if there is a similar break-in period for horse hair brushes?
    Thank you
  1. Yes!
    I have two Vie long horse hair brush. One is very soft and the other is relative stiffer.
    The stiffer one is getting softer and less smelly after daily use for two weeks.
    Since they are easily getting knotted between horse bristles.
    I gently comb it between use.
  2. I would say that a horse needs ~10 uses to soften up and get to its peak performance, while a boar needs ~30 to get there...
  3. Thanks very much for the info....much appreciated!
  4. Awesome.....thank you Sir!
  5. Not as much as with the boar brushes. Boar bristles split on ends, that's why they are getting softer. The knot is expanding, by spiting up, the resistance of the bristles is lowering, so it will splay easier.

    Here's a picture of Omega 10066, the one in the left being used two or three times, the one in the right being used much more:

    $IMAG0166.jpg $IMAG0167.jpg

    Well, horse bristles do not split like boar ones do. You won't see too much "breaking in" from them. Yes, it might get a little softer over the time, but not as radical as boars. If you have a horse hair brush that does not perform as good as you would like, it won't perform much better over the time.
  6. I have both horse hair and boar bristle.

    For my liking the boar is too stiff and the horse hair too limp - and odouriferous. (It stinks)

    I have Finest badger and silver tip. Both are nice.

    All the above are in my weekly rotation which is about to come to a halt in favour of Silky Smooooth Synthetic.
  7. Thank you for your informative post SmurfK, and for the excellent pics!
    My Boars are coming along nicely and I'm getting good results with my Vie-Long 12750 horse hair brush as well.
    Cheers! :biggrin1:
  8. Thank you very much Mickey, much appreciated! I have badgers in my rotation as well. I've heard very good reports on synthetics. In fact my very latest brush acquisition is a Muhle 33K257 Silvertip Fibre Synthetic. I have done one test lather with it (excellent results), and I will be shaving with it for the first time tomorrow. :thumbup1:
  9. I'll disagree with this, I've had a Natural Brown set @ ~44/21mm, known for it's scrub/scritch, which became as soft as my Shavemac Finest, after ~ six months of continuous use. My Natural White & Banded knots softened and improved much quicker, ~2-3 months of daily use.

    As far as hair knotting is concerned, of the ~25-30 Horses I've had, only one had a knotting problem. That was from using too much pressure, once I combed out the knot, and used minimal pressure for minimal splay, my knotting problem ceased to exist.

    That being said, horse hair brushes, or any other type of Hair/ Synthetic brush, doesn't perform equally for everyone.
  10. Six months seems a lot, but i'm gonna take your word for it, as you are much more experienced. My Vie-Long 12750 50/50 ratio did not showed any kind of improvement over about 20 uses, it even started to creating the infamous knot in the middle, so, probably, would not have lasted 6 months of daily use. Also, those 20 shaves with it, were annoying. First ones were ok, as it was my new brush, and was thinking that i might like it. But when i started planting the "not that scritch again" in my mind, my shaves were awful.
    Not very straight forward brush for beginner, that one. My first and last experience with horse hair brushes. I find boars being more "friendly" with errors, like applying too much pressure on the brush.
  11. TexLaw

    TexLaw Contributor

    I agree that the horse brushes neither require nor will benefit as much from use for breaking in. I do like those horse brushes, though. I used my Vie-Long 04312, this morning, and it now is a fantastic brush. It took a little bit of breaking in to get there, but it was worth it.
  12. Yes six months was a long time to reach that feeling of Finest Hairs, but IMO, a Natural Brown is closer to a Pure or Black Badger feel out of the box. If you're noticing too much scritch, ease up on your pressure, another trick I recommend would be to bowl lather using a textured bottom to abraid the tips, a Spice Mortar bowl was my choice.

    For those looking @ Horse Hair brushes for the first time, I always suggest a loft of ~45-48mm if face lathering & ~48-52mm for bowl lathering. Lower lofts with Horses does not add too much backbone akin to a whisk broom, since they are only moderately dense, but will assist in avoiding the knotting issues associated with too much pressure.

    The break-in will occur naturally, I wouldn't obsess over it too much. IMO, there's no reason to own multiple brushes if they all feel the same on your face, I have scrubby brushes and cloud soft brushes, large & small.

    One last note, different hair/ synthetics do require slightly different techniques with loading, adding water and lather building time, if you can't adjust to the tool used, that doesn't mean it's bad, it's just bad for your purposes. I don't own Boars because they're bad, but because I prefer other types of brushes, that still doesn't stop me from recommending a Boar Brush.
  13. Thank you gentlemen very much indeed for for sharing your insights. I have learned and continue to learn so much here at B&B.
    I feel very fortunate to be able to take advantage of the collective knowledge and experience available on the forum. Have a great day!
  14. It's threads like this, an exchange of experiences and ideas, which make B&B enjoyable for me. Sometimes there's too many Desert Island, Apocalyptic set-up, or If you had to choose just one threads I can peruse... No offense to those that enjoy them.
  15. This was six months of not using another brush? I just got a Vie Long Brown and was wondering how long to use it for (before I give up and go back to my boars).

  16. Yes, 6 months exclusive use for that Finest Feeling, ~15 lathers really got rid of ~50% of the scritch using a Mortar Bowl.
    Only you can say how long you're willing to use that brush, I'd suggest just putting it in rotation and use it, no need to forsake your others if you're unhappy.

    I have a V-L 13052M set @52/21.5mm measured, in a 12 brush rotation, ~5-10 lathers in and I have virtually no scritch. I face lather using circular motions without knotting issues, and the tips are softening quickly. Which Model might you have, and what makes you want to give up?

    V-L 13052M
    Last edited: May 19, 2015
  17. I'm not ready to give up quite yet. I have an Epsilon brown bulb. It was an impulse buy. For the last 5-6 years my daily brush has been a 30+ year old Omega Pro that I got NOS. While I still adore this brush, I recently realized that it was different in several ways to the modern Omegas and it would not be an easy replacement. This triggered a bad case of BAD on my part. I now have an Omega 83 and 48 with a Semogue 2000 and SOC on it's way. Out of the box, I'm preferring the 48 over the Vie Long, mostly because it is similar to what I am currently using. The Vie Long is much shorter and more dense. It reminds me more of a badger in many ways.



  18. I love the new Epsilon handles but my SBAD had been pretty intense recently so I'll need to wait. I have a 12750 35/65 brown and a 13061B 50/50 white and in my opinion the 50/50 unbleached whites are the way to go. For all practical purposes the 35/65 browns are almost identical to most boars in face feel. I'm hoping mine softens a bit with time, but the white was comfortable right out of the box.
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
  19. jankdc, I wasn't aware of the new Epsilon offerings, if I was I would have purchased one, the 26mm knot is larger than the knot offerings of the standard V-L line-up of Horses.

    Looking at the photo, it's possibly denser knot with a relatively short 50mm loft, ~1.9 loft/knot ratio, and the lack of bloom at the tips, makes it look to be a very scrubby & stiff brush that would need patience and time to soften. The Epsilons were surely designed for those who like face lathering & plenty of scrub, the White Horse in Fan would have been a better choice due to a softer feel out of the box.
    Last edited: May 20, 2015

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