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Brush questions -

I'm a newbie, only wet shaving for about a month or so. I have 1 synthetic and 2 boar brushes (Both from Stirling)

I can get great lathers with my synthetic brush w every soap I have (all 3, tabac, col conks, and stirling) but every time try to use one of the boar brushes, it just doesnt work. I soak them first, have used more water, less water ect. The lather I get just isnt as good as the synthetic.

I'd love to get the same, or at least a usable performance from the natural brushes but it's just not working. Any advice would be appreciated.
Natural hairs like boar and badger actually absorb water, and possibly hydration from the lather. Perhaps soaking for at least 10 minutes ahead of lathering. Synthetic fibers do not absorb water at all. Perhaps more water is needed in the lather when using the boar. Do you lather in a bowl or on the face?
if the boars are new, they aren’t broken in yet—the ends of the hairs will split and curl eventually and then they’ll be softer and lather better. You can do a search on B&B for tips on how to break them in quicker… or just use them.
Most new boar brushes are like this. Just use the brush normally. Soak in warm water for at least five minutes before using each time when the brush is fairly new. After each use, let it dry out completely. After about 15-20 cycles of this, your brush should be pretty well broken in. The tips will be split, it will be softer and lather more easily.

There are some tricks that can accelerate break-in, but you can just do it the old-fashioned way and use the brush to shave with. It will take more soap until it is broken-in. Don't worry, it's normal.

Boar bristles split at the ends as they break in. This makes the brush softer and helps it produce much more lather.


Broken in on left - New on right


Lounging On The Isle Of Tugsley.
After each use, let it dry out completely.

@Ezra this will take more than a day; sometimes more than two. Some people use hair dryers to accelerate the drying, but it can ruin the glue holding the bristles together and is on the extreme side of things even when care is taken.

With your Stirling synthetic, you’ll at least have an extremely good brush until your boar is fully ready.
Great advice! You can either go through one of the break in routines or just keep using the brush until it breaks in.
I started with a $30 pure badger almost 12 years ago and hated it. Since then I've had at least 25 brushes, mostly 2 & 3 band badgers, 3 boars and 3 synthetic. I was never able to break in a boar to my liking and hated my first two synthetics. While I favor my more expensive badgers, if plied with enough gin, I would probably admit that my 24mm RR synth lathers just as good. If only today's synthetics were available when I started.
I used exclusively daily for about 4 years my synthetic brushes and just recently started using badger and (boar brushes again). The best way for myself to use my natural hair brushes is soak the brush for a minimum 2 minutes and I squeeze out most of the water and then load or use the lather bowl to start the lathering process and just dip the tips when you figure you need a little more water as you would with a synthetic brush. I personally can get rich lather in about the same time as a synthetic brush but the feel of natural hair is a different experience to the face IMO.
I used my recently broke in new Yaqi boar brush this morning and the feel was soft and very enjoyable. Some fellows like to get a brush very wet and just one small shake and off trying to make lather, I find that not the best way for myself.
My lather really is not a lot different than from my synthetics and with badger brush you can get a little more on the face for a 2nd pass & pickups IMO if that is important to some folks.
Would I get rid of my synthetics NO, would I get rid of my Natural hair shave brushes after broke in NO. A good broke in boar brush can be very very good IMO .
Rons 21 shave brushes.jpg
Have some great shaves!
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Hi Ezra, welcome to this nerdy place :001_rolle,

I would use some dish liquid and give the brush a good soak with a built up lather for at least 30 min. then rinse and try to build up lather with your regular shaving soap. Eventually the natural bursh will allow you to also build a good lather, possibly some natural badger fat residue still coates the hairs. Does it have some animalic funky smell?
Breaking in the tips for a softer feel on skin is a different matter mentioned already.
You can get an excellent boar brush for $20-$30, and a really nice one for a couple of dollars less. That's impressive.

I don't know Stirling boars, but every boar has a break-in period. You can still use them, but they will get way better as the weeks go by. My SOC's took about 6-8 weeks to hit their peak.

Are you loading the same amount of soap with the boar? It's a different brush and may take a slightly different amount of load time. A new boar is also going to take longer to make lather.

My boar brushes make the same lather as my synthetics (and my badgers, for that matter). Experiment a little and find out what the brush requires.

For the record, my synthetics are my least favorite, so know that there are good lathers to come.
I used nothing but boar brushes for a few years. Then I tried a Yaqi synthetic. I haven't picked up a boar since.
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