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Is there a break in period for Badger brushes?

I'm curious if there is a break in period for Badger brushes, like there is for boar brushes?

My first badger brush was a VDH Luxury Pure Badger, and I remember it being very soft when I took it out of the box. I'm sure it's not as soft as higher grades of badger hair, but it was very nice all the same.

I received my second badger brush today, an Edwin Jagger Best Badger from Italian Barber, and it's significantly more prickly and less soft than the VDH brush that I've been using for a couple weeks. Is this normal? I don't recall my VDH ever being this uncomfortable.
 
With badger you pretty much end up with it being very much like the first few uses. In this respect it is much different from boar.

I have noticed a few things that tend to improve with badger with use, more so on some brushes than others. Badger can repel water like crazy when new. This eventually goes away, again with some sooner than others. Building lather when the brush is like this is difficult.

Sometimes they are very clumpy when wet when new. Sometimes this never goes away but more likely than not it will eventually settle down.

But scratchiness seems to be something that never goes away. If it is scratchy new it will likely never settle down.
 
I would agree with Jim. Scratchy is scratchy with badger but not with boar. Some of the badger brushes I've owned have been horrific latherers prior to break in. The good news is that it should only take you 5-10 shaves to condition the brush. If your EJ best is still too scratchy, try using a painting motion when face lathering instead of circular motions next time. With your next purchase, you might also want to consider a fan shape instead of a bulb as these tend to feel a bit softer.
 
I alternate between painting strokes and circular. Usually circular, at first, then ending with e painting strokes.
 
Oh, forgot, sometimes a good washing with hair shampoo will revive, or get a badger brush to work correctly. Also, a scritchy badger will always be scritchy. There is no reason you cannot try to soften it up by lathering a few times, on some sandpaper. Just don't go crazy with the sandpaper.
 
The EJ brush will probably get easier to lather with, but I'm afraid the scratch will remain; it has on my EJ best, after more than two years of fairly regular use.
 
With boars folks talk about break in and softness with badgers I have noticed that a badger that is 6 months old seems significantly different from a NID brush. They seem to splay more like a mushroom or an open flower. and you can really load them full of cream. A new brush seems tighter and it's less easy to get it to whip up. It's not backbone. They still have backbone but they open up more.
 

BigJ

Ambassador
Started with boar brushes which uniformly required break-in, sometimes taking a month or more of steady use. Took time to lose the funk and for the bristles to split, etc., etc. I still use an old blond boar from time to time.

My experience with badger (mainly Simpson's) is very different. Mine all settled down quickly, sometimes within a few uses. The scritch and backbone was established for me in the first few uses. For me, Simpson's best is consistent and best matches my needs.

Hope this helps!
 
Thanks for the input, guys. I just used it to "lather" some moisturizing shampoo, have it soaking in the shampoo/water right now. I'll repeat this process a couple of times and christen it tomorrow.
 
I would absolutely say, based on my experiences that badger brushes will change significantly from when brand new.

I have had EXTREMELY scritchy brushes settle down after about 15-20 uses and become quite pleasurable to use. Flow through always improves.

I have never had a brand new badger stay the same from when I first purchased it, thankfully! Some were nice right off the bat. But not most!
 
I would absolutely say, based on my experiences that badger brushes will change significantly from when brand new.

I have had EXTREMELY scritchy brushes settle down after about 15-20 uses and become quite pleasurable to use. Flow through always improves.

I have never had a brand new badger stay the same from when I first purchased it, thankfully! Some were nice right off the bat. But not most!
My experience too.
 
I would absolutely say, based on my experiences that badger brushes will change significantly from when brand new.

I have had EXTREMELY scritchy brushes settle down after about 15-20 uses and become quite pleasurable to use. Flow through always improves.

I have never had a brand new badger stay the same from when I first purchased it, thankfully! Some were nice right off the bat. But not most!
This has also been my experience. I have a Duke 3 in Best and a Rooney 3/1 Super Silvertip that were about to fall out of the rotation because they both had a bit too much scritch for my liking. However, after about 10-15 uses, they became noticeable softer and have moved up the favorites list.
 
This has also been my experience. I have a Duke 3 in Best and a Rooney 3/1 Super Silvertip that were about to fall out of the rotation because they both had a bit too much scritch for my liking. However, after about 10-15 uses, they became noticeable softer and have moved up the favorites list.
I have a very old chubby 3 in best. It is incredibly soft. I got it used and it seems like it's got two decades of regular use. I have another Simpson in best (I can't remember which one) which is much newer and it's nowhere near as soft.
 
I have noticed a few things that tend to improve with badger with use, more so on some brushes than others. Badger can repel water like crazy when new. This eventually goes away, again with some sooner than others. Building lather when the brush is like this is difficult.

Sometimes they are very clumpy when wet when new. Sometimes this never goes away but more likely than not it will eventually settle down.

But scratchiness seems to be something that never goes away. If it is scratchy new it will likely never settle down.
Very well said.
 
Thanks for all the feedback. After shampooing the EJ brush twice and letting it soak in lather overnight, it is quite a bit softer. Still not as soft as my pure badger VDH brush, but it's improving. I'll keep it in rotation, it's not like the scratchiness bothers me, I was just surprised that something from a higher tier brand which was labeled as a higher tier quality was not as soft as my other.

In other news, my Parker Black Badger showed up yesterday and that is by far the softest of my 3 badger brushes. I think I'm in love. IT did have a bit of roadkill funk that came out with a good shampoo and overnight soak in lather, but wow this brush is great compared to my others. If I'd found it first, I probably would have stopped here. Until I'm ready to dole out the money for a Chubby or a Wolf Whiskers or something that is really luxurious (read: more than I'm willing to spend at the moment).
 
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