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Brush Experiment

I'm new to this forum, but I've been wet shaving for over ten years. It wasn't until I took time to do some online investigation that I realized the extent of the wet shaving population. And I'm proud to take part in this community.

Anyway, to give you a bit of background...

For the last ten years, I've shaved with little "meditative" or "zen" focus. It was a chore that needed to be completed before work, or for that matter, any social interaction. My shave was prepped with a hot shower, my brush was boar, my soap was Pro Raso and my razor was a vintage Gillette Rocket (made in England) with a Wilkinson Sword Classic blade. I would do one pass, two at the max, and call it a day.

I have sensitive skin and heavy gauge wire stubble that feels like sandpaper. I shave daily and sport 5 o'clock shadow at high noon, regardless of the time zone. I adopted wet shaving with no guidance as my personal solution to razor burn. Purely a pursuit driven by necessity, not luxury.

Time to make a change.

I continue to shave following a hot shower, but now use a beautiful, perfect, Rockwell Razor 6S that I have completely fallen in love, Feather blades and a Vie Long Cachurro horse hair brush (04312). I switched to Mitchell's Wool Fat. I finish with a splash of witch hazel and Biotherm after shave balm.

I have found my zen.

So what's the experiment?

I have three untouched, brand new brushes:

SIMPSON MILK CHURN BEST BADGER
VIE LONG HORSE HAIR 14030
OMEGA BOAR BRISTLE 10005

I plan on shaving with the above protocol (hot shower, Rockwell + Feather + MWF, witch hazel and Biotherm balm) for seven days.

Week one: Simpson Badger
Week two: Vie Long Horse
Week three: Omega Boar

I will review each shave on day 1, 3 and 7.

Now to be fair, I will begin each week with a brand new blade.

Furthermore, I think it's only proper to recognize the break in time of each brush. As the Simpson Badger needs little to no break in, I will begin using it following an initial clean with Pro Raso.

Each day that I shave, I will also break in the unused brushes: I will palm lather both the Vie Long and the Omega with Pro Raso. Thus, the Vie Long will have a seven day break in before use, and the Boar, which requires further break in, will have undergone a 14 day prep. Please note, that each brush will be thoroughly rinsed and towel stropped until dry. Brushes will not be left to sit for hours with soap residue.

As for the shave. Each shave will be a three pass experience.

Following the three week experiment, all three brushes will be put to a five day test:

Day one -- badger
Day two -- horse
Day three -- boar

Top two will proceed to Day four/five

Winner will be declared.


Disclaimer: I have no dog in this fight.

I am looking for a comfortable, luxurious experience. I don't suffer from brush acquisition disorder. I am not looking to try new blades or collect a closet of safety razors. I am simply curious solve the brush fuss.

(Oh, and I have never had any issue with lathering MWF).



Stay tuned. Tonight I report on Day One with Simpson Best Badger.
 
SIMPSON BEST BADGER (Day one)



After a nice hot shower, I loaded a brand new Feather blade, warmed the SIMPSON Best Badger MILK CHURN and began lathering the Mitchell’s Wool Fat.


A little side note…


The Badger bristles bloomed instantly following an initial Pro Raso lather, rinse and dry. It was a sight to see.


Back to the shave…


The badger brush worked unbelievably well.


I loaded the brush for approximately 20 seconds, followed by 60-90 seconds of face lathering. The lather was thick and dense, with a deep slickness. The brush held more than enough lather for a full three passes without having to squeeze above the knot. I could have easily done two more passes with the amount and quality of lather produced.


Application of the lather was ideal. No scritchy sensation. Easily applied in both circular and brush motions. Even application, good thickness.


The loft of this brush is approximately 50mm with excellent backbone. This lends to good control. Not sloppy at all.


The shave was close, the experience was a little tuggy for the first pass. This was to be expected with a new Feather blade. No cuts, one weeper, but otherwise an above average experience for a virgin blade. Second and third passes were perfect


I cleaned and tidied up the Simpson brush. Little to no odour. Just MWF scent remained. The bloom was downright pretty.


Witch hazel applied, air dried, followed by Biotherm balm. Terrific experience. Shave time approx 20min.


Brush drying standing up.



NB: Vie Long and Omega palm lathered with Pro Raso, rinsed and dried for break in, as per methods. The odour from both the horse hair and boar hair were significant. Surprisingly, the boar hair was more pungent than the horse hair.
 
I had my popcorn and some homemade sweet cider and I enjoyed Episode #1 of the show.

Now I shall wait for Episode #2...

Solid sounding plan and a nice write up. Thank you for sharing.
 
As I continue to learn the nuances of the Simpson Brush, I’m excited to use it more and more. The brush is soft. Loading the MWF is a pleasure. And the lather is thick and rich. Had I not read of the challenges that others encounter with lathering MWF, I would have never guessed that it could be a finicky soap. I owe this to my positive experience with this Milk Churn brush. The question will be whether the MWF responds to the next brushes differently.


As for the shaves, they are stellar. Now that the Feather blade is primed, each pass is smooth with no irritation. The lather is thick and creamy, with just the right amount of slickness.


As noted, the real test will be the comparison with the next two brushes. Speaking of which, both the Horse Hair and the Boar hair are breaking in nicely. The odours are all but gone, although there is some transient, lingering smell with the Omega. Interestingly, the Omega is already softening. Split ends are noticeable along the periphery of the brush.


Stay tuned for Badger Wrap Up….
 
I shave daily and sport 5 o'clock shadow at high noon, regardless of the time zone.

Time to make a change.

I continue to shave following a hot shower, but now use a beautiful, perfect, Rockwell Razor 6S that I have completely fallen in love, Feather blades and a Vie Long Cachurro horse hair brush (04312). I switched to Mitchell's Wool Fat. I finish with a splash of witch hazel and Biotherm after shave balm.
Welcome!

That's a great way to change that chore into an experience.

Out of curiosity, what time do you get the 5 o'clock shadow now that you have better tools and increased the number of passes?

To add to the "zen of the day", my experience back into razor shaving required 50-90 minutes of immense attention to my Merkur 39c slant razor with Kai or Feather blades.. Oddly, it never felt like a chore since the end result of a baby face was always worth the effort. Shaving every other day was fine since my 5 o'clock shadow only made appearance after 30-36 hours.

Looking forward to your upcoming reports!
 
Simpson Best Badger Wrap Up


This past week has been a terrific week for shaving. I shaved each day, Monday through Sunday, with MWF and a brand new Simpson Milk Churn brush. I did not replace my Feather blade for the course of the week, completing seven shaves with the same blade. Each shave was high quality. The blade was getting dull by day six, but I have to admit, I was still able to pull off a decent and comfortable result even on day seven.


The brush performed perfectly. The lather was dense and slick (MWF) and I always had more than enough to perform three passes plus touch ups. The bristles have now fully bloomed and have taken on the clean, soapy scent of MWF.


At the risk of bias, I have to say that the horse hair and the boar brushes have big shoes to fill. For me, the knot, loft, density and overall feel (handle and bristle softness) are of perfect construction and balance. As the week progressed, I felt that I was more and more excited to lather and shave.


This is my first badger brush and I will admit that I was sceptical.


I am a convert.


The Simpson Milk Churn Best Badger is a wet shaving masterpiece.


Rating: 10/10
 
Out of curiosity, what time do you get the 5 o'clock shadow now that you have better tools and increased the number of passes?

My five o'clock shadow seems to show itself much closer to...well...5pm! Depending on my attention to detail on any given morning, I might even make it late into the evening before feeling scruffy.
 
My five o'clock shadow seems to show itself much closer to...well...5pm! Depending on my attention to detail on any given morning, I might even make it late into the evening before feeling scruffy.

Superb. That must be a great feeling!

In retrospect, my coworker had mentioned getting the five o'clock shadow by noon. I began to question his skill/technique in my mind (we are both relatively young). I can now rest at ease after hearing your incredible improvement.
 
VIE LONG HORSE HAIR (day one)

Lathering the MWF went without issue. The brush performed solidly, although, water retention different. The was a distinct difference in the ability of the horse hair to retain water within the knot. This resulted in a wetter loading experience and a slightly less creamy lather.

As for the shave, I loaded a brand new Feather blade and did a three pass shave with no issues. As expected, a very close shave with no discomfort. The MWF performed to it's anticipated standards. Application was a little more prickly, but still quite comfortable. There was more than enough lather for three full passes.

This would lead me to hypothesize that the horse hair vs badger experience is more a question of "feel". The quality of the shave was similar. I will hold my conclusions until the completion of this experiment.
 
The last couple shaves have been a definite improvement. The lather is thicker and slicker. There's clearly a nuanced learning curve between the brushes. Both the badger and the horse hair perform admirably. It takes a little longer to develop a good lather with the horse hair and it is not quite as soft -- but this would almost seem to be splitting hairs (ha!). The final shave quality is superb.

At this point, personal preference appears to be the key.
 
I lit up a cigar and "binge watched" the first few episodes. This is an interesting thread, thanks for doing it. I'll be tuning in through the series finale.
 
Horse Hair Wrap Up

The week was an enjoyable one. It became very clear that the horse hair did a fine job in developing a strong, silky lather. At times, I thought the MWF felt a little watery, not quite as dense, but to be honest, it likely was natural variation in my technique. It certainly didn't effect the quality of the shave.

The Vie-Long performs admirably, with a nice softness, although it still continues to present a scritch here and there. The scritchiness has become the character/personality of the brush. Much like how certain soaps can be temperamental, treated well, the horse hair is enjoyable. Push too hard and it splays and gets sloppy. Just right, and it rewards you with the sensation of exfoliation. Perhaps, the more watery lather is due to overpowering the brush? Regardless, great fun finding the sweet spot.

An acquired taste -- but a gourmet experience nonetheless

Here's where it gets interesting:

The horse hair has undergone the same amount of lathers as the upcoming Omega boar. I'll remind you, the boar continues to be worked in with a palm lather each morning. I have not shaved with the boar yet, but dry comparison leaves little doubt. The broken-in boar feels softer! The backbone is by far and away firmer, but as the hairs split, the softness is uncanny. It doesn't take the place of the badger, but it isn't very far behind -- especially if you want a firmly backboned brush.

It would be jumping to conclusions to say anymore....
 
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