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Do badger hair brushes normally stink?

I received a VDH badger hair brush for Christmas. I used it once and it really smells bad, wet dog bad. Is this normal for a badger hair brush? My boar hair brush does not smell bad to me. If this is normal, does the smell subside over time?
yup, they stink. some more then others. give it a few test lathers and it it shouldn't be noticeable after a few shaves.


Cheaper than ink
Moderator Emeritus
My experience is that there isn't normally much stink with the badgers i buy.

Rudy Vey

Of all the 20+ brushes I have, none ever stank or smelled in bad way. These were brushes from all well known makers. Anyway, whenever I get a new brush in, I soak it a bit in warm water and soap it up with a nice scented soap a couple of times (mainly I use QED sandalwood) - before I put the brush to the soap, I sniff it (yes, I am a brush sniffer) and never could detect any bad smell.
In my experience it happens more often with boars than with badgers. The only badger in my den that had a horrible smell for some time was the cheap Wilkinson Pure Badger and even a week of lathering with Arko didn't work. Using Tabac did the trick though....

My dyed boars didn't smell and the same counts for the bleached ones but the 'natural' boars can be real stinkers too. They are probably less processed. It will pass though.
The pure badger brush that came with my Van Der Hagen shave kit reeked badly when I first got it wet. I didn't want to put that thing anywhere near my face. I had to soak and shampoo it about 6 to 7 times before the stink wore off.
The only brush that I have ever purchased that was rank was the VDH brush. Even after numerous washing in hot soap water it left the water brown. For a week I palm lathered it and allow it to sit over night to condition the hair. Even after that it was nasty smelling.


Moderator Emeritus
I had some that were really stinky and some that were not. The worse smell that I had was from a Semogue but it quickly went away.
Had dozens of brushes and never had a "stinker" until this month. lots of threads on here about how to "de-funk" the badger smell, most suggesting (in addition to soap and shampoo, mentioned above) a couple of minutes dip in water/borax solution or white vinegar.
The white vinegar soak, 2-3x, followed by dish soap, followed by Tabac, then Xpec seems to have worked for mine.


Sometimes it happens. With a new brush I use Tabac and all troubles stop.
+1. I've had at least a couple of badger brushes that were pretty rank at first. One was a Simpson Tulip 3 in Manchurian and another was (still is slightly after a couple of uses) an M&F in Blonde that's virtually indistinguishable from the T3 in terms of hair. Sometimes it takes a few lathers. Consult the stickies for brush break-in recommendations. I wouldn't worry.
I just got a Simpson Special 1 and it STIIIIIIIIINKS. Gave it a couple test lathers + shampooed it twice. Still smells. Oh well.
I just got a Simpson Special 1 and it STIIIIIIIIINKS. Gave it a couple test lathers + shampooed it twice. Still smells. Oh well.
Don't give up on it yet. My brush still stunk a bit after 7 shampoos. The smell dissipated pretty quickly after that with each successive lather.