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Looking for Brush Recommendations

I’ve spent most of my shaving career playing with razors (SEs, DEs, blades, etc.) and soaps. I’ve only ever tried two brushes: a floppy, thinnish, long haired badger brush I got for about $15 on Amazon and which always lathers quick and well and is a workhorse (but now has a loose knot) and a Simpson’s Chubby 2 in best that was too dense, too stiff, and almost impossible to build a lather with (I tend to use Mitchell’s or other “skin sensitive” soaps), though I loved the feel of the hair.

I’m considering trying a new brush, but have no idea what to try. Obviously, performance trumps comfort, but if I can get something that lathers like my $15 brush and feels soft like the chubby it would be ideal. I’m looking for suggestions!
 
It was recommended I consider a shavemac some time ago as an alternative to Simpson’s, but I’m not sure if they would perform any differently?
 

ackvil

Moderator
What's your budget? What size knot do you prefer?

I would consider a Shavemac synthetic. It makes good lather, loads easily, and is soft to the face.
 
If you want to stick with natural hair and can afford ~$65, I would go for a nice Simpson, like a Commodore X3. It makes lather quickly, is pretty soft after a couple of uses, and hits a nice sweet-spot. The handle is the perfect size too, not too small or too big.

IMG_0142.jpeg
 
Yaqi 24mm. silvertip is crazy cheap right now on Aliexpress, I feel pretty stupid when I just bought it at full price. Love the brush though!
 
I’ve spent most of my shaving career playing with razors (SEs, DEs, blades, etc.) and soaps. I’ve only ever tried two brushes: a floppy, thinnish, long haired badger brush I got for about $15 on Amazon and which always lathers quick and well and is a workhorse (but now has a loose knot) and a Simpson’s Chubby 2 in best that was too dense, too stiff, and almost impossible to build a lather with (I tend to use Mitchell’s or other “skin sensitive” soaps), though I loved the feel of the hair.

I’m considering trying a new brush, but have no idea what to try. Obviously, performance trumps comfort, but if I can get something that lathers like my $15 brush and feels soft like the chubby it would be ideal. I’m looking for suggestions!
Omega 10049 Pro boar
 
Thanks for the tips so far. My budget could run up a bit over $100, but seeing as so far my really expensive brush was a lot less satisfying than my really cheap one… I’m inclined to spend less. I haven’t really used enough brushes to have any idea about shave knot sizes, so if anyone could link me a good writeup on the concept I’d be appreciative!

I would prefer to avoid Chinese companies, probably also prefer to avoid Simpson’s after my failed Chubby experience. I will look into the Omega and Shavemac models; I haven’t tried either boar or synthetic before.
 
Wow! That surprises me. It is proof that we are all different. The Simpson Chubby 2 is my favorite brush. I like it so much I have four of them. One in Best, Super, Silvertip, and Manchurian. I have a Duke 3 in Best and it is very nice. You might like the Duke it is less stiff and dense than the Chubby. But the bristles still feel nice. I hope you find a brush that works for you.
 
No idea where its made, but the RazoRock Synthetics aren’t bad for the price. I have the barber model. Definitely different from boar/badger, but cheap way to try. The Omega 10290 is also great imo. Cheap too. I wouldnt steer completely away from Simpson-i have a 46 and it lathers easily. Lot of variation among different models.
 
Wow! That surprises me. It is proof that we are all different. The Simpson Chubby 2 is my favorite brush. I like it so much I have four of them. One in Best, Super, Silvertip, and Manchurian. I have a Duke 3 in Best and it is very nice. You might like the Duke it is less stiff and dense than the Chubby. But the bristles still feel nice. I hope you find a brush that works for you.
Do any of the Simpson you know splay easily, I like to face lather and the duke looks appealing?!?
 

Rudy Vey

Contributor
Vendor
Thanks for the tips so far. My budget could run up a bit over $100, but seeing as so far my really expensive brush was a lot less satisfying than my really cheap one… I’m inclined to spend less. I haven’t really used enough brushes to have any idea about shave knot sizes, so if anyone could link me a good writeup on the concept I’d be appreciative!

I would prefer to avoid Chinese companies, probably also prefer to avoid Simpson’s after my failed Chubby experience. I will look into the Omega and Shavemac models; I haven’t tried either boar or synthetic before.
With this budget, a Shavemac finest would be the perfect choice.
 
I’ve spent most of my shaving career playing with razors (SEs, DEs, blades, etc.) and soaps. I’ve only ever tried two brushes: a floppy, thinnish, long haired badger brush I got for about $15 on Amazon and which always lathers quick and well and is a workhorse (but now has a loose knot) and a Simpson’s Chubby 2 in best that was too dense, too stiff, and almost impossible to build a lather with (I tend to use Mitchell’s or other “skin sensitive” soaps), though I loved the feel of the hair.

I’m considering trying a new brush, but have no idea what to try. Obviously, performance trumps comfort, but if I can get something that lathers like my $15 brush and feels soft like the chubby it would be ideal. I’m looking for suggestions!
I'd recommend a synthetic brush. 24mm synthetic brushes seem to be a perfect balance of performance to softness/backbone. There are many quality synthetics out there and I recommend you look towards Maggard's, Stirling, and WCS for your sources.
 
If you're set on avoiding a Chinese knot, then I'm guessing it would rule out many of the private label brushes like WCS, Stirling and Maggards. I'm not sure, but I have read on this forum that most of their badger knots are from China (as are most badger knots full stop). Again, while I'm not sure, I think that even non-Chinese manufacturers like Simpsons import the badger hair from China but then assemble the knots locally. So depending upon how important the non-Chinese factor is to you, you might want to do some research.

If you're OK with a possibly Chinese knot from a non-Chinese company, I can recommend the Maggards two band badger. It is less dense than the Simpsons Duke (which in turn is less dense than the Chubby), is soft but not floppy, and has good flow through. They also make a 2 band super dense knot which I haven't tried, but which I wouldn't recommend for you based upon your experience with the Chubby.
 
Thanks! Good info here. I’ve also heard a lot of the good badger hair comes from the northeast of China, so I’m not necessarily trying to avoid materials sourced over there (I would be curious to hear from anyone that knows about badger hair sourcing though and where the quality locations are). I will definitely look into Maggards. Do they have any reputation/tendency for shedding?

If you're set on avoiding a Chinese knot, then I'm guessing it would rule out many of the private label brushes like WCS, Stirling and Maggards. I'm not sure, but I have read on this forum that most of their badger knots are from China (as are most badger knots full stop). Again, while I'm not sure, I think that even non-Chinese manufacturers like Simpsons import the badger hair from China but then assemble the knots locally. So depending upon how important the non-Chinese factor is to you, you might want to do some research.

If you're OK with a possibly Chinese knot from a non-Chinese company, I can recommend the Maggards two band badger. It is less dense than the Simpsons Duke (which in turn is less dense than the Chubby), is soft but not floppy, and has good flow through. They also make a 2 band super dense knot which I haven't tried, but which I wouldn't recommend for you based upon your experience with the Chubby.
 
Maggards is a very reputable vendor, so if you wind up with a shedder I would expect that they would exchange it for you. It can happen, although I can't say that I remember anybody on the forum mentioning that they had a problem with one of Maggards' brushes shedding. I have this knot, which I put in a vintage handle. It's on the small side, so one question you'll need to consider is how big of a brush do you want. You can buy a handle and set the knot yourself or you can buy a complete brush.


My recommendation is to go with an inexpensive brush - not necessarily from Maggards, the other vendors previously recommended are also very reputable - WCS, Stirling, RazoRock, etc. You may wind up with exactly what you are looking for, but if you don't you won't have spend much money and you'll have an idea of what you don't want. So, for example, if you buy a 20 mm brush and decide it's too small you'll know to look for something bigger. Also, many of these vendors, certainly Maggards, can provide a great deal of advice if you email them.

Or ... you could buy a Shavemac. I've never owned one, but I've only heard good things about them, and I would never second guess Rudy Vey when it comes to a shaving brush!
 
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