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For face lathering, I would suggest the Semogue 1470, 1250, 1800 or 620. Just pick the size and shape you like the most from one of those. The 1250 is probably the most versatile and resembles a smaller scale SOC.
SOC boar = worst boar (and brush) I've ever used. It was especially awful at face-lathering using a shave stick. Natural brushes tend to steal your lather, but this one took the cake in that regard. It's also extremely dense and therefore way too scrubby (and messy) for me. Some love them however, and it's not that huge investment at roughly $30, so you can always try it. I have one sitting in my drawer.
If I was in your shoes, having tested several hundred dollars worth of brushes, I would either go for a nice synthetic in the $20 range or spend a little more and get a nice badger like a Simpson in the $60 range. They will both make quick amazing lather with no "break-in" period. If you like smaller overall brushes, the new Simpson Trafalgar synthetics may be a good bet for you though I find them generally too small to hold.
If you're set on a boar, the Semogue 1800 is the nicest one I've ever used. It has a unique knot, gorgeous comfortable wood handle, never stunk, and was well broken-in after only 5 shaves. Costs roughly $20.
It's a great brush if you want a soft feel with a bit lower backbone and bigger splay. I do have to load heavy all the time but I think it's worth it. If you want to conserve soap, this is not the one but if you don't care, go for it.
longer answer - it’s a great brush, despite being on the higher priced end of a boar brush, but you have to be committed to breaking it in. Just buy and use it for a month or so of daily shaves. It’s a wonderful brush and transforms almost daily during this period. If you want to spend a little less or similar money, depending on the retailer you buy from, you can get Zenith which I like as much or more than my SOC. If you are in the US, the gentle shave sells zenith but at a decent markup and you’ll get the brush pretty quick with very reasonable shipping.If you want a bargain and great service, yourshaving in Spain has a decent assortment at less than half the price but then you have to expect about a 2 week delivery and about $10 in shipping cost.
I love boar and zenith brushes. I have bought multiple brushes from yourshaving due to price and Jose who runs the business is just about as good as it gets when dealing with a business owner. Just today I received 4zenith brushes 3 boar and 1 horse. I acquired the 3 boar brushes for the price of one SOC or one Zenith sourced from the US.
I am currently using an SOC boar for all of August.
It is a big knot, but even with just 23 uses or so it's very soft and will just keep getting better as the tips continue to split.
Mine doesn't eat lather... I just used it to get a very nice 6 passes if lather from MDC with only 13 swirls of loading. But I do use a bowl, which definitely makes best use of the soap that you do pick up.
If thu splay ends up too big for you, one thing you can do is put an o-ring at the base of the knot, maybe even two, which will rein in the splay.
also if you want a similar feel without as much expense, I recommended the Semogue 2000.
The SOC Boar is a very nice brush, soft tips but with a fair amount of backbone and scrub. It'll take a 2-4 weeks of shaves to break it in properly
I like both the SOC and the 830 which is almost badger-ish in its softness after it's broken in.
I absolutely love my SOC...I'm not sure it's my favorite boar now that I have the Omega Connaught Jade, but it's definitely a contender for the top spot. I can't speak to the break-in process, though, since I got mine secondhand already broken in.
I've been using my SOC with Tabac this week and getting great results. I'm almost ready to forgive her for her disturbing past. Yes, she takes a year or so to break in. BUT, she's great even at the beginning of a relationship and she only gets better and better with time. Yes, when she's finally yours, she splays out in the morning into a bedraggled bed-head look. BUT if you keep her well, she can stay presentable, even attractive. Yes, she burns through your reserves like they're nothing. BUT, come on, it's only soap. Yes, she's rather pricey. BUT, she's sooo beautiful with her pure white mane and rich, shapely body. And when she kisses your cheek ...
I owned the SOC and after 6 months, the knot fell out. I wasn't going to send it back from Australia to Portugal so tried to glue it back in but the "waterproof" glue cracked and the knot fell out again after about a year. After more research, it appeared that others had the same problem with their SOC's so it's something to watch out for.
After the second failure, I tossed it in the bin. That said, the boar hair used was first class and broke in very, very nicely. Made and held and huge amount of lather. The handle felt great in the hand too so I was pretty bummed.
I replaced the SOC with the Semogue 620. This brush is bomb proof and has travelled with me without problems. That said, the 620 doesn't have the same quality boar bristles as the SOC does and still feels pretty stiff and scratchy after about 2 years. It is, however, easier to control the smaller loft and can easily get 2 passes with it.