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Brush Important?

I will start off with a simple word................... Newbie

I was thinking about going to wet shaving awhile before I made the move. I bought my Merkur 34C at a shop while in Vegas "The Art Of Shaving". I have one near me as well.

I also bought a travel wet shave start up kit. Small bottle of pre shave oil, tube of cream and a post shave balm. This kit also came with a badger brush. The entire kit was about $60 and I know that high price was due to that store. Anyway, all I know is that it must be a cheap brush. Not sure how important to a shave a brush is. I have no problem getting a good lather with my soap. Plus I have gone a bit overboard with the soaps as I have about 8 - 9. I know thats not many but when you are only up to your second shave, the wife starts giving you that look as "and I thought you said this was going to be cheaper look".

Needless top say, if a brush is that important I would like a recommendation on a decent brush that wont break the bank. Sorry, I cannot see paying hundreds for a piece of wood with some hair. At least not yet. I know I have an ad addictive personality, but I cant see that happening for a very long while.
If you don't want to spend a lot of money on a brush, boar brushes are great options. Having both brushes I'd give a recommend for both the Omega 10066 and the Semogue 1305.
Check WSP, they have very nice brushes. Also Omega has a boar/badger combo brush that seems to get good reviews.
Welcome Rush2112,

If that brush makes decent lather, feels comfortable in the hand, doesn't irritate you and feels good on your face, then you won't need another one. I think what you have is a pure badger in that kit which for some may feel prickly or itchy. Softer options would include boar (after break-in) and most any other badger (not all). There's also scrubby brushes, and scritchy brushes, and gel-like brushes.

So, do you need another brush... that all depends on you. You could be fine with that one for a long time, or you might choose to explore options. There are several lower priced, excellent brushes available. Browse some of the posts here in the Brush forum and you'll find many options.

Or, you might begin a journey to find that perfect knot of hair...

I had heard the whispered tales of immortality
The deepest mystery
From an ancient book I took a clue
I scaled the frozen mountain tops of eastern lands unknown
Time and Man alone
Searching for the lost Xanadu

Good luck and Go Hawks!
If you use a bowl or scuttle, you won't need more than a Semogue SOC. Expensive for a boar, cheap compared to decent badgers. To give it 48 hours of rest, get a Vie Long horsehair, like The Lord Randal. Those are the two of my seven I use most often. My two Simpson badgers get no air time any more.
What is it about the brush that you don't like? Too prickly? Too floppy? It would be good to take some time using it just to get an idea of what characteristics you would like to improve upon. Also, some brushes take some time to break in.
You don't need another brush, but I'm sure you will buy one. Just remember technique is more important than equipment. That being said, I bought three brushes this week....... and still the search for the perfect knot continues, though a SOC boar is close.
Huge fan of my Whipped Dog silvertip. I am a bowl-latherer, and my 22 x 50 knot is perfect for both creams and soaps.
Short answer: VERY MUCH YES!
The brush is very important, because the quality of your lather is VERY important, but also the way your brush treats your face is very important.

Now that does not mean you have to spend 100's$ for a brush? No, you can get great results from modestly priced brushes...here just some suggestions, that I personally can recommend in terms of lather quality and face feel :

Omega (Boar ~10-20$)
Semgogue (Boar ~15-40$)
Vie-Long (Horse ~15-40$)
Whipped Dog (Badger ~30-40$)
Plisson (Synthetic ~35-???$)

As you can see, you can get a good brush for ~10$, you just have to know, how to use them. Boars are in my experience the most "Complicated" to use (breaking in, soaking), but most likely the best bang for your buck.

The Plisson synthetic is in my experience the easiest to use and the easiest to make great lather with - so I would highly recommend it (although I personally prefer others).

The Whipped Dog (especially the Silvertip) is definitely the most luxurious out of those.

My favourite at the moment is maybe the Vie-Long - but that's maybe because mine is broken and I am impatiently waiting for the replacement :lol:

So there you go, here some suggestions, for modestly priced great brushes...if you want you can also read my reviews about some of them:

Investing a good brush is quite worthy.
Goodness does not mean expensiveness.
Owning a Simpson best badger before, but I found a boar serves me better.
I think Omega boars have the same hair, they only differ in sizes.
Therefore, just purchase the brush with a suitable size for me if purchasing Omega boars.
On the other hand, Semogue boars have several different hair grades.
I think Semogue boars are suitable after knowing your own preferences.
(for example: backbone, softness, and knot size....)
You can start with a really good brush without giving a kidney?
Yes! Go for an Omega boar or a boar in general.
$10-$20 and you are okay.

They so good that many people prefer boars to badgers, although badgers can be a lot pricier.

I think a specific recommendation list is good.
Let's focus on Omega boars.
small knot: 11047 (this is a mixed). My first brush, I never regret buying this.
medium knot:11137, 10066. These two only differ in the material of handles. I own 11137, just can't praise it enough.
large knot: Pro 49, Pro 48. My Pro 49 just arrived. I have so so much confidence with this huge guy.

You can hardly go wrong with the above brushes, perform great with less cost.
Omega S Brush. You can get one for less than ten dollars. It has synthetic fibers but in my experience synthetics outperform badger and boar brushes for the same price. Synthetics do not behave the same as natural fibers in every way, but the newer ones tend to resemble natural fibres more. Still, even a cheap synthetic brush has a lot of positive qualities, such as faster lathering and less need for water and soap.

Avoid cheap boar or badger hair brushes, they have been shaped by cutting and the ends of the hairs will not split and become softer. I wish someone had explained that basic fact years ago, so I'm just passing that on to you. The types of brushes sold in shave kits are often of the cheap variety, like the Van Der Hagen brush sold in drugstores. The bristles will never split and will remain scratchy.

As far as natural fibers go, I prefer horse hair, though one of these days I'd like to add a nice Semogue boar hair brush to my collection. I have not tried Vie-Long but it have a good reputation as a horsehair brush. My horsehairs are from Turkey and very cheap, but they work just fine. Horse hair isn't quite as soft as fine badger hair but its much softer than boar hair. It works well for soaps and the fibers don't drink up as much water as boar hair, which sometimes can actually be a very good thing, as most of the water and soap is held by capillary action rather than going into the bristles, which means that less soap and water are used.
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Omega 10066 or 10005. Great all around brushes with the same knot, and only 9-15 bucks. BTW, I feel that using a brush is essential to a great wet shave.
Great advice above. My favorite brushes so far are Simpson's in best badger and Shavemac in finest badger, VieLong horse, and Omega or Semogue boar pretty much in that order. 1st two are more expensive of course but in my opinion worth it for sure.

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In general, I see three types of wet shavers:

The Utilitarians (stage one)The brush is just a tool to build lather. Get something that works and gets the job done. And there's not much sense in having more than one or two brushes.
Brushes: Something in the $10-25 range, including Omega 10066 or Pro 49, Tweezerman/Escali, Art of Shaving Pure Badger, or VDH.

The Hobbyists (stage two)
Wet shaving is meant to be enjoyed, and a nice brush makes it more enjoyable. A rotation of brushes allows them to dry fully between uses and provides variety to the shaves.
Brushes: Usually between $40-80, including Semogue SOC, EJ/Muhle/Plisson synthetic, Simpson Best, Vulfix Super, Whipped Dog Silvertip, and restores or customs with TGN knots.

The Extremists (stage three)Go big or go home. Gotta try everything out there and find the best brushes possible. Maybe have a small collection of expensive brushes, maybe have 20, 30, or more brushes. Obsess over 2mm increment in loft, what type of 2-band hair is used, and the exact shape of the bulb.
Brushes: Everything over $100, including Simpson Super, Shavemac, Thater, Kent, Plisson HMW, Rooney Finest, M&F, etc.
Omeaga boars for under $10 are what you seem to be wanting! Possibly, the best brushes for their price, but the less expensive Semogues are also excellent brushes that would meet your requirements.
Not sure how important to a shave a brush is.
Important enough to have a subforum dedicated to the topic.

Needless top say, if a brush is that important I would like a recommendation on a decent brush that wont break the bank.
Decent is always highly subjective and selecting a brush is always a matter of finding what suits the individual. Look at the stickies in this subforum. There's at least one guide on how to get recommendations for brushes. Read through it and supply as much info as possible. You may have a harder time given your limited experience but give it your best shot. With some experience you'll have a better idea of what you specifically want and don't want from your brushes.

Also, give us a hard number or a range. What make break one's bank may not for the next. Always clarify subjective words (decent, good, bad, expensive, inexpensive, worth, etc, etc) and don't assume that your notion of them is universal.

Sorry, I cannot see paying hundreds for a piece of wood with some hair. At least not yet. I know I have an ad addictive personality, but I cant see that happening for a very long while.
It's not necessarily a matter of addiction but experience and changing tastes and preferences. I wouldn't have paid over $150 for my first brush but had no problem doing so when I knew what I wanted and expected.

Similarly, I though $450 was very expensive for my first "real" espresso machine. I just recently purchase a new machine for $2,500. Perspective can and does change with experience.

I don't recommend spending a large amount on brushes at your stage. At this point you need to get experience with different brushes whether it's boar, badger, synthetic, etc. Even with badger the different grades of hair, brush dimensions, etc can have an impact of how the brush works. You have to find out what you prefer and what works best for you. Once you have an idea you may or may not want to try the upper end of the pricing spectrum. Then again, some never do because they can't see justifying the cost.
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