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Boar Brush Break-in

Yes, but WHAT are we “breaking in?”

I own a boars brush (now two!) exactly because it’s stiff and so can generate a GREAT lather from a HARD soap. 🧼

If I wanted a “softer” brush, I’d just go straight to a BADGER. 🙄

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That's the great thing with boar brushes, as the tips split, the brush get softer at the tips and lathers better, but the brush still retains it's backbone. You don't lose the ability to work well with hard soaps.
 
I played with a bunch of boar brushes in the last 18 months; it gave me something to do while sheltering at home from the virus. The fridge thing was, AFAIK from my readings, a mistranslation from Italian to English of a reference to cold tap water to becoming one of refrigerated water. This seemingly stemmed from a video in which an Italian professional barber was describing in Italian how he broke in a boar brush. Please share- is there any better info on this?

Using a brush is a tried and true and dependable way to break a boar in. To hasten the boar bristle tips splitting that happens naturally after numerous soaking/swirling/drying cycles, leaving a brush soaking most of the way up the bristles in some tap water, shaking the water out, and then rubbing the tips on a rough towel to start the tips drying off while at the same time rounding off some of those sharp bristle tips does seem to shorten the break-in time for me.

As to funk, some brushes I've had had a strong odor, others a very weak odor, but from almost every boar I can sniff at least a little animal, particularly when wetted. Bleached, treated, and dyed boars have seemed a bit less funky than those with the natural unbleached bristles. I do soak any new brush in Dawn or give it a shampoo or two and always a few test lathers with a strong scented soap or cream in a bowl before using.
 
...The fridge thing was, AFAIK from my readings, a mistranslation from Italian to English of a reference to cold tap water to becoming one of refrigerated water. This seemingly stemmed from a video in which an Italian professional barber was describing in Italian how he broke in a boar brush. Please share- is there any better info on this?...

Here is the video (it's a promotional one). The speaker is Franco Bompieri, the owner of Antica Barbieria Colla shop in Milan. He says to soak a new boar brush in "cold water" not "in the refrigerator". He means cold water from the tap; soak the bristles for two to three days and you can use the brush for the rest of your life, etc...

 
Here is the video (it's a promotional one). The speaker is Franco Bompieri, the owner of Antica Barbieria Colla shop in Milan. He says to soak a new boar brush in "cold water" not "in the refrigerator". He means cold water from the tap; soak the bristles for three days and you can use the brush for the rest of your life, etc...

Thank you very much; that must be the video that I had read about :001_smile
 
I've given up on breaking in boar knots. After 20+ shaves with one, and several nights submerged in the fridge, the knot has softened some, and it's usable.But it doesn't retain warmth or moisture remotely as well as every badger brush I've used. I've tried a "mistura" too with similar results. So boar just isn't for me. Life's too short.
 
I've given up on breaking in boar knots. After 20+ shaves with one, and several nights submerged in the fridge, the knot has softened some, and it's usable.But it doesn't retain warmth or moisture remotely as well as every badger brush I've used. I've tried a "mistura" too with similar results. So boar just isn't for me. Life's too short.
Yep, Not holding heat as well is one of the attributes of most boars, when compared to Badgers.

(Sent from mobile)
 
My badger brush is less than ideal. It's still shedding after four and a half months, so I'll probably have to replace the knot before I reap the benefits of a decent badger brush.

I don't care enough yet though, the boar is fun and different, and I don't want to go through ripping out the badger knot I had to re-glue when it fell out so I can measure the knot size. I'll probably end up doin it sooner than later if I keep reading the brush section here :D
 
Or, you can keep it shiny with a product like Flitz.
No!!!! Don’t!!!!

PS. That video is great. It’s interesting that, for him, the key attribute of the boar brush (the attribute that makes boar the “only proper brush”) is that it retains its rigidity.

I’ve seen a Proraso video, where the barber uses the brush pretty much in that same way (which is not even remotely similar to what I do).

I don’t know about others, but I’ve never had a professional shave.
 
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Don't worry; I think patina is cool, and I'm not interested in a shiny copper handle!

@Leverspro it looks great! Mine is on the way:

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Here is the video (it's a promotional one). The speaker is Franco Bompieri, the owner of Antica Barbieria Colla shop in Milan. He says to soak a new boar brush in "cold water" not "in the refrigerator". He means cold water from the tap; soak the bristles for two to three days and you can use the brush for the rest of your life, etc...



That’s how I understand the concept too.
Putting the brush in cold water overnight with no need for refrigeration.
Thanks for providing the reference.

The only difference is that I used the new brush in-between, let it dry after the shave, and then put it overnight in cold water again.
Give it a complete cycle, if you like.


I find it interesting what the gentleman in the video had to say about shaving brushes, with white bristle boar brushes being the only “right” brushes.
Among many, if not most, shavers the mindset seems to be that the only “true” shaving brush is a badger brush and a boar brush is merely a cheaper substitute.

But around the Mediterranean, and in all barbershops that I recall visiting, boar - not badger - brushes were the tool of choice.

Food for thought, maybe it’s time to rethink the lowly boar brush and give it the credit that it’s due…




B.
 
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I find it interesting what the gentleman in the video had to say about shaving brushes, with white bristle boar brushes being the only “right” brushes.
Among many, if not most, shavers the mindset seems to be that the only “true” shaving brush is a badger brush and a boar brush is merely a cheaper substitute.

But around the Mediterranean, and in all barbershops that I recall visiting, boar - not badger - brushes were the tool of choice.

Food for thought, maybe it’s time to rethink the lowly boar brush and give it the credit that it’s due…
For many people, the badger is the more expensive and luxurious choice so it automatically becomes more desirable. In French, the usual term for a shaving brush is literally "a badger"!

It's true there have been many terrible boar brushes made in the past where the bristles are clipped so they never really get soft. Those would be enough to scare off anybody.
:laugh:

That said, I really like my boar brushes and the combination of firm bristles with soft tips makes them great tools for harder soaps, especially. I think a lot of people never really give them a chance.
 
My current worry child the Omega 20102. I only use it sparingly as it looses backbone quickly and is already super soft.

If I may venture to provide some unsolicited advice -
I used the 20102 today, so your comment caught my eye :)
The 20102 is indeed floppier than other large brushes such as the 10098.

However, some of that can be ameliorated by the following methods
  1. Reduce the soaking time of the brush. A quick swirl for about 10s through hot water and it should be good to go. This prevents the bristles from absorbing too much water and becoming floppy
  2. Use more soap than you currently are. My 20102 feels floppy if I load "just enough" soap, but becomes a pillow monster with lots of backbone if I overload it with soap and let some of the lather go to waste at the end of the shave. Of course, I do prefer the "Santa Claus look" on each pass, so very little goes to waste anyway.
  3. Use the Italian barber "pinch" of the bristles by gripping the brush at the bristles rather than on the handle
  4. Go higher and pinch off a portion of the bristles to lather with say 1/3rd or 1/2 of the knot - especially over the upper lip
 

Owen Bawn

Garden party cupcake scented
A lot of men on this site overthink things and turn something as simple as wetting a pig bristle brush into an engineering problem. The other thing is that in the Franco Bompieri video it's funny that his barber is using the €5 Proraso brush and not the €80 Antica Barbieria Colla brush that he sells.
 
A lot of men on this site overthink things and turn something as simple as wetting a pig bristle brush into an engineering problem. The other thing is that in the Franco Bompieri video it's funny that his barber is using the €5 Proraso brush and not the €80 Antica Barbieria Colla brush that he sells.

I do agree with the sentiment you expressed here, but I also feel that wetting a pig bristle brush IS an engineering problem - the solution to which is unique to each brush (loft, knot diameter, density of knot and so on being factors that affect the solution). The only reason it seems simple to someone (like you - and even me :) ) is habit. It's become second nature by now, so we don't think about it too much.

There are folks, though, who may just have begun using a pig bristle brush after - say - using a badger or a synthetic and are therefore not as familiar or as confident with using it.

Just my 2 cents ...
 

Owen Bawn

Garden party cupcake scented
I do agree with the sentiment you expressed here, but I also feel that wetting a pig bristle brush IS an engineering problem - the solution to which is unique to each brush (loft, knot diameter, density of knot and so on being factors that affect the solution). The only reason it seems simple to someone (like you - and even me :) ) is habit. It's become second nature by now, so we don't think about it too much.

There are folks, though, who may just have begun using a pig bristle brush after - say - using a badger or a synthetic and are therefore not as familiar or as confident with using it.

Just my 2 cents ...
Put it in the water. Take it out of the water.
 
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