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Finally! The truth about Taylor's "Imitation Badger" brushes

I emailed Taylor's to see if they were still producing synthetic and animal hair hybrid brushes labeled as "imitation badger". I wanted to know the full story, so I just stated the facts and tried to word it as kindly as possible. Here is the email I sent them:

Hello, I was curious to know if the hair that you are currently using in your Imitation Badger Hair brushes is purely synthetic, or if it is a combination of synthetic and animal hairs. I have read replies that your company has sent to other people in the past, where in July of 2007 a sales representative described these as completely synthetic, whereas in May of 2008 they were described as being composed of Hogs Bristle, Nylon and fine hair. The representative also said that they would, in the next few weeks, be bringing out a new version of the imitation badger shaving brush with different hair. So I am asking, what is the current imitation badger hair brush currently composed of? Please research this with your company thoroughly before getting back to me, because these exchanges have led me to only 3 possible conclusions: Either the representative who said that the brush was synthetic simply was incorrect, your company deliberately changed the composition from synthetic to animal hair without alerting the consumers, or the representative who said that the brush was synthetic was lying to the individual. I hope that the answer is the first one. I am not mad at you personally, as I know that you personally did not have any say in this matter, however I am a little aggravated at your company right now. Please get back to me on this. Thank you.
And this is the response they sent:

Thank you for your email.

A batch available in July 2007 was synthetic and was designed for customers against the use of natural badger hair but not necessarily opposed to other natural hair.

A further batch was produced with a mixture of synthetic and other natural hair in 2008. Labeled ‘Imitation Badger Hair’ or ‘Non-Badger’ it was never labeled to indicate anything other than imitation badger; as a better lather, shave and durability were obtained from this combination than the previous synthetic one.

In the meantime, we have continued testing various synthetic only hair shaving brushes for the person who does not wish to use a brush with any natural hair. This is a time-consuming process, although we feel that we have the new brush ready, we are still testing the quality of shave obtained and its durability.

You are on our list to email when this product becomes available for sale.

Kindest Regards,

Barry Klein

Taylor of Old Bond Street
I have to say, I was kind of mad at them, but they gave me such a clear and detailed answer that it's hard to stay upset. I am also interested to try out their new fully synthetic brush when it becomes available. I wonder how long the testing takes?
 
Really? No posts? I thought it was pretty interesting. I guess I'm in the minority there.
 
Sorry . . . I think most of us think "Synthetic? Why bother?" To me, it's like calling Nestle to complain about the quality of their instant coffee . . . why should it even matter, since you shouldn't be drinking that dreck anyway? *grin*
 
Sorry . . . I think most of us think "Synthetic? Why bother?" To me, it's like calling Nestle to complain about the quality of their instant coffee . . . why should it even matter, since you shouldn't be drinking that dreck anyway? *grin*
I'm sorry but this response is a bit narrow minded. There's plenty of members here who have valid concerns against the use of badger hair that have been covered in many other posts. Even in our small corner of the shaving market there's a wide variety of products, and we all have our reasons for the choices we make. Don't put down synthetics just because they aren't the right choice for you.
 
Tux, thanks for looking into this. I'm not a fan of using real badger (or any animal) hair due to lifestyle reasons. I've always been very curious about Taylor's "imitation" brush, but hadn't bought one yet. Now I know to wait.

In fact, I'm going to email them and inquire as to when they think the new synthetic brush will be available. I'll let you know if/what I hear.

Thanks again, Tux.
 
I wouldn't put down advocates of synthetics, regardless of the reason for the individual's desire to not use an animal product. I guess there are two trains of thought:

First, someone doesn't choose to use a brush made with animal hair, and that is their right. Brushes with synthetic bristles are plentiful, and those who prefer to use them to the exclusion of all other options should do so.

Second, there are evidently those who think they should control the manufacturing, distribuition, and consumption process, for whatever reasons they hold dear, even though such control has not been granted or relinquished to them.

The first is possible, logical and natural. The second is forever untenable due to the absolute fact that there is no individual or group who can gain such a power to control all of the others, yet some try.
 
Well I bought one of the Imitation Badger brushes in 2008, one that includes some animal hair. While I was disappointed when I learned the brush wasn't truly synthetic I did have to admit that TOBS never told me it was synthetic. The brush was and is clearly labeled as "Imitation badger". This doesn't mean it's synthetic.

I will say however that the TOBS Imitation Badger (The big B16 I believe) is my favorite brush. It's not as scratchy as my C&E Best Badger and not as floppy as my Enchante V100. Overall, I love the brush. I use it every day. I've tried the Body Shop synthetic and it's a decent travel brush but not my choice for daily use.

I for one look forward to the day when a synthetic brush that performs well is available. I'm no animal activist but I'd like to think animals aren't being killed just to support my shaving hobby. Also, let's all recall that toothbrushes use to be made of animal hair too. Why'd they stop making them? Because a better synthetic was developed.There are enormous advantages to a synthetic brush, particularly for travel where getting a badger brush sufficiently dry for packing can be a problem.

To those of you who insist that a synthetic brush has no place in wet shaving you can just close your collective pie holes - we've heard your arguments enough. "It's like drinking instant coffee" "It's worse than an automatic transmission" blah, blah, blah. If you don't want to talk about synthetic brushes then quit reading the posts about them and go read one of the thousands of other posts around here and leave the rest of us alone!

That's my rant for the night. Thanks for the update on the TOBS synthetics.
 
Sorry . . . I think most of us think "Synthetic? Why bother?" To me, it's like calling Nestle to complain about the quality of their instant coffee . . . why should it even matter, since you shouldn't be drinking that dreck anyway? *grin*
I'm sorry but this response is a bit narrow minded. There's plenty of members here who have valid concerns against the use of badger hair that have been covered in many other posts. Even in our small corner of the shaving market there's a wide variety of products, and we all have our reasons for the choices we make. Don't put down synthetics just because they aren't the right choice for you.
I have to say, I don't feel he was so much putting synthetics down as much as he was saying the reason there wasn't much response is because the percentage of people here that prefer them tends to be small, though not insignificant. at least that's the way I read it
 
I have to say, I don't feel he was so much putting synthetics down as much as he was saying the reason there wasn't much response is because the percentage of people here that prefer them tends to be small, though not insignificant. at least that's the way I read it
Thanks much! I just revisited this thread and I didn't realize that I had been taken as somewhat offensive. Your read is correct: most people here seem to think the quality of shave given by a synthetic brush is severely lacking. I didn't mean to belittle any moral concerns (though, obviously, I do not personally share them) with natural hair.
 
UPDATE: I heard back from Taylor's and the rep said their 100% synthetic brush will be released within the next two weeks.

They also said that due to high demand for the synthetic brush, the first batch has already sold out. When more become available for the public, they'll let me know (and I'll be waiting to throw cash at them).

So, us synthetic users may be a minority, but there's enough of us create a decent amount of demand. That's good to know. :001_smile
 
UPDATE: I heard back from Taylor's and the rep said their 100% synthetic brush will be released within the next two weeks.

They also said that due to high demand for the synthetic brush, the first batch has already sold out. When more become available for the public, they'll let me know (and I'll be waiting to throw cash at them).

So, us synthetic users may be a minority, but there's enough of us create a decent amount of demand. That's good to know. :001_smile
Hmm, so much for the "lack of market" theory.
 
UPDATE: I heard back from Taylor's and the rep said their 100% synthetic brush will be released within the next two weeks.

They also said that due to high demand for the synthetic brush, the first batch has already sold out. When more become available for the public, they'll let me know (and I'll be waiting to throw cash at them).

So, us synthetic users may be a minority, but there's enough of us create a decent amount of demand. That's good to know. :001_smile
That's great! Thanks for asking them about it. I was thinking they would try to release it by Christmas but I was starting to think maybe not. I wonder how people purchased the original batch. I don't see anything on their website about it. The first batch was probably just for people "in the know". They should have sent one to Joel (or Tux :biggrin:) here to review. They didn't email me about it either- although I presume they are going to once it goes on sale to the masses. That's great news. I'm really in need of a better brush and it looks like I soon will have the option of purchasing a great Taylor's synthetic brush.
 
I'm intrigued by quality synthetics..but then, I also like boar brushes, so I must be CRAZY! How much are these new guys going to run? Any idea?
 
I wonder how people purchased the original batch. I don't see anything on their website about it. The first batch was probably just for people "in the know".
My guess is that they produced enough for some distributors and shops over in the UK/EU. So maybe some lucky shaver over there might come across one.
Hopefully the next run will be bigger due to the first batch selling out.

I hope I can get my mitts on one soon.
 
UPDATE: I heard back from Taylor's and the rep said their 100% synthetic brush will be released within the next two weeks.

They also said that due to high demand for the synthetic brush, the first batch has already sold out. When more become available for the public, they'll let me know (and I'll be waiting to throw cash at them).

So, us synthetic users may be a minority, but there's enough of us create a decent amount of demand. That's good to know. :001_smile
Any word on these? Their website doesn't indicate anything new in the synthetic brush range.
 
They have arrived! This is the email I got December 22nd:

We are pleased to inform you that our new 100% synthetic hair shaving brush is now available at £35.00, if you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.



Kindest Regards,



Taylor of Old Bond Street



www.tayloroldbondst.co.uk
Now I just need to find where on their web site they're at. Under shaving brushes, they don't have any marked at 35 pounds sterling, nor any marked as 100% synthetic.
 
Do your thing synthetic brush users. Anyone that shaves like a real man is alright in my book and I don't care how you get there.
 
Now I just need to find where on their web site they're at. Under shaving brushes, they don't have any marked at 35 pounds sterling, nor any marked as 100% synthetic.
If anyone finds one, please make a post on this thread!

Right now, my best synthetic brush is the Edwin Jagger Chatsworth which is just a little better than the Men-U offering.
 
If anyone finds one, please make a post on this thread!
Just an update, even though several months have passed.

The Taylors website now has:

02255 - Synthetic Shaving Brush
This brush is made from 100% Durable Synthetic Fibers that have been specially crimped to retain water and shaving cream/soap when in use.
Price: £35.00

I am certain that is the brush you were looking for.

Anybody tried these?
 
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