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Omega vs. Semogue Boar Brushes

Suzuki

Moderator Emeritus
Its clear that there are lot of fans of both Omega and Semogue boar brushes and I think it would be interesting to see how gents who have brushes from both makers compare them.

One of the reasons I'm starting this thread is that I'm a fan of the boar brushes (although I'm not getting rid of my badgers!) and think they offer a great value:performance ratio and that a nicely broken in boar is a thing of beauty.

The other reason is because I think that the Semogues are getting a lot of press lately because they have only relatively recently been made available in North America and they have hyped the notion of different grades of boar hair and a certain % of "tops".

Now call me a doubter, but I think that, as with some of the grading of badger hair, Semogue's attempt to distinguish between different grades and "tops" is a way to justify higher prices for its boar brushes.

I'm also interested in whether folks think that the Semogues are worth the price premium - by way of example, the cheapest Semogue sells for 8.95 Euro (or about US$11.50) when you can buy an Omega with similar specifications for abotu US$8 or 9 (I just bought an Omega 10018 at a local grocery store for $7!).

At the higher end, the difference is quite significant - the most expensive Omega sells for between $22 and $25, while the Semogue "Owners' Club" sells for over $33.

I'm not trying to start WWIII here or imply that Semogues are not good brushes (by all accounts they are), just wondering if folks feel that the price differential equates to a performance differential.

More generally, I think it would be useful to folks impression of whether there are any significant differences between the various types of boar bristle used by both Omega and Semogue, as well as whether there are any interesting differences between brands.
 
Very interested myself for mostly identical reasons. I own about 10 boars right now from different makers but didn't go for the Semogues just yet. That is partly because they have a lot of wooden handles on their brushes (nice but not ideal) and partly because there is no vendor close; I can't take a look first.

Anyway I wanted the hype to blow over before I go in here on any semogue.
My Omegas, Vulfix, Mühle and other boars are doing fine for 6-10 euros...
 
I think the Semogues are worth the price. The Omegas are not bad brushes either, but I find I like the Semogues better. I've tried others as well, and there were nice qualities to them as well, but I found for myself the Semogues give me everything I want. Good density, soft tips, and a tad lower lofts for the most part.

I wouldn't dismiss the Omegas totally either. The Pro 48 while it had a longer loft than I wanted was a great brush for the price and would recommend it if price was a concern and you could put up with the stink and waiting for it to break in.

I have an Omega 31064 still that I keep that lathers extremely well, but it could use either more hair to keep it in place a bit better, or a shorter loft. Also I feel more often in the brush the bristles that should be in the knot and not at the top, and they can be a bit harsh on the face which is annoying. I get that much less on the Semogues.

I think there is a difference in the quality of the hair used between Semogue and all the different manufacturers and the various brushes. The 90% tops are very soft and don't get the prickliness that I don't like, and the Special grade is even nicer for me. For some the difference wouldn't be worth it, but for me it's worth it. :thumbup:
 

Suzuki

Moderator Emeritus
I think there is a difference in the quality of the hair used between Semogue and all the different manufacturers and the various brushes. The 90% tops are very soft and don't get the prickliness that I don't like, and the Special grade is even nicer for me. For some the difference wouldn't be worth it, but for me it's worth it. :thumbup:
Interesting - do you find that the Semogues are softer than even a nicely broken in Omega or is the difference primarily when talking about new brushes?
 
They both soften up quite well after many uses, but I still need to give them all much more breaking in. My Omega 31064 and Semogue 2000 are pretty equal in their usage both sitting at around 20 uses.

I found the tips on the Semogue 2000 to be softer than the Omega 31064 when I got that. The Omega tips look and feel to be a bit blunter overall than the Semogue 2000 which looks and feels finer.

The 31064 has definitely improved with use and has been splitting nicely, but it still looks like it could stand another 20 uses say to soften it up very nicely. The Semogue 2000 has been coming along nicely as well, but could still stand for more usage to see how it goes. I still give the softness to the 2000 though for me, but less dense brushes feel softer than dense brushes to me at least, and could see the Omega feeling softer because of that even though the tips from the beginning and even yet still don't feel as soft as my 2000. That's not even thinking of the Semogue LE 09 which needs mucho break in. I should get back to work on the boar break in train. :thumbup:
 
R

rodeo

I realize this does nothing to add much to this thread but I am a Semogue fan and just today received my new "painted" wooden handle Semogue 1438 and you know what? Semogue just continues too impress me. What a sweet little brush! The handle is excellent quality and finish too. I guess that's the whole point. You remain loyal (and don't switch) when you find something that works and Semogue just works nicely for me. That makes four Semogue Boars in my rotation now and will not be my last purchase either. Some day, I'll try an Omega Boar, but not today..

Owner's Club, 830, 620, 1438 :thumbup:

As for price? I myself don't consider the Semogue Boars versus Omega or any other Boars. I look at it versus owning or buying a Badger Brush and we all know that the bottom end "pure" is not too worthy for too many people, so really you need to look higher up the grading chart and at that point, the Semogue Boar is just a pure bargain.

P.S.
I dont like and don't want "soft" brushes. Not that I face lather all the time but I want to feel the brush exfoliating my skin and there isnt a brush in Semogues line up that is too hard for me. I like that "scrub brush" feel...
 
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My Omega 31064 and Semogue 2000 are pretty equal in their usage both sitting at around 20 uses.

Now I don't want to play the smart @$$ here but all of my boars needed far more uses than 20 before they showed their true face. None of them were as soft as my Vulfix boars from the start but where the Vulfix needs a lot of time before they really break in, stiffer boars, that have been used less, are actually softer now with less use (Omega/ Il Ceppo vs. Vulfix after about 50 uses).
 
I have a Semouge Owners Club, and a Omega 31064. I just got the Omega and the SOC is only half way broke in, so keep that in mind for this.

The Omega is very soft right out of the box and has a GREAT handle. I thought it to be plane from pictures, but in person it is quite elegant. Trouble comes into paradise when you notice the loft is WAY to high. In the precious few lathers I have gotten in, it seems like it is not going to be a great soap brush. I think maybe I should have gotten one of 1000's or the pro for the traditional bristles. I am assuming they would have more backbone not being bleached and colored. You live and you learn.

The SOC is not nearly as soft or luxurious, but it is closer to the dimensions that I want. It has a shorter loft (if only slightly shorter), denser knot with much much more backbone. It is better at picking up soap in my opinion though again neither brush is broken in.

Just my 2 cents and YMMV.
 
Now I don't want to play the smart @$$ here but all of my boars needed far more uses than 20 before they showed their true face. None of them were as soft as my Vulfix boars from the start but where the Vulfix needs a lot of time before they really break in, stiffer boars, that have been used less, are actually softer now with less use (Omega/ Il Ceppo vs. Vulfix after about 50 uses).
I understand that, and I commented also that I felt I needed to give these brushes far more break in time to really see how well they are. 30 uses if I'm lucky but more likely 40-50 uses. That's why I say I need to get back on the boar break-in train! I've been getting distracted with other acquisitions. :lol:
 
A trend I see developing here and what I've experienced with my own use is that all boars need alot (30-60 times) of uses before they are really broken in. For the most part, many of us have so many brushes it becomes hard to really compare the brushe's potential. The last time I checked, most of us only shave once a day. IMHO, the best we can do is use them all alot and enjoy. They're all a bargain for the price. Just give them time.
 

Suzuki

Moderator Emeritus
A trend I see developing here and what I've experienced with my own use is that all boars need alot (30-60 times) of uses before they are really broken in. For the most part, many of us have so many brushes it becomes hard to really compare the brushe's potential. The last time I checked, most of us only shave once a day. IMHO, the best we can do is use them all alot and enjoy. They're all a bargain for the price. Just give them time.
I think that's a fair comment - my Omega Pro and Vulfix Grosvenor (boar/badger) have been used about that many times (probably closer to 60 lathers) and it took almost that long to come into their own.

Based on the posts so far, it seems like its a matter of personal preference, but it doesn't seem like the Semogues are necessarily worth the price premium (again, I'm not saying the Semogues are not good brushes, just that I have a hard time understanding the reason for the price difference). That being said, its pretty clear that either brand offers great price:value.

Anyone else have both a Semogue and an Omega and want to share their views?
 
On all comparative models, I believe that Omega uses finer bristles all around. Looking at Zach's comparison of an Omega 48 & 49 vs a Semogue 2000, my own 830 vs the 31064 knot, a 50014 knot vs the Semogue 620, my SOC, LE 09, 1250, 1305..... all of the Semogue hairs seem quite thicker when sifting through the knots. While the Omegas are seemingly breaking in quicker, none have felt like they're going to end up quite as soft at the ends as the 830 with the Premium bristle.

The knot geometry is also a bit different. Omega isn't quite as packed, but with less built-in splay from the beginning. My Semogues have all been quite a bit dense (readying for a longer break-in, when combined with the hair thickness), and splayed quite a bit more after a couple of uses. Semogue also comes across with a much nicer build quality, the aluminum setting ring adding an extra touch compared to the black plastic rings used by Omega - which eventually split apart (not crack).

Omega boars are a wonderful value, but I've never really liked their handles. When comparing equal brushes however, the price difference is only a few dollar usually. Some people think that's a decent tradeoff for something they enjoy more aesthetically, like I do with virtually all Semogue. I like the bristle from both companies though, no doubt.
 
Based on the posts so far, it seems like its a matter of personal preference, but it doesn't seem like the Semogues are necessarily worth the price premium (again, I'm not saying the Semogues are not good brushes, just that I have a hard time understanding the reason for the price difference). That being said, its pretty clear that either brand offers great price:value.

Anyone else have both a Semogue and an Omega and want to share their views?
My SOC probably isn't broken it yet, but I do prefer it to my Omega 81052. Mostly this is a question of knot density: the SOC exceeds the density of any Omega I own, and even the density of the Boreal that I have from DarjeelingExpress. Do you have an Omega that you think would compare?
 
At the higher end, the difference is quite significant - the most expensive Omega sells for between $22 and $25, while the Semogue "Owners' Club" sells for over $33.
Lordy - a whole $8 difference, better call out the Boar Police. :scared:

I'm sure Omega make fine brushes above the cheapest level, but my experience of the 10005 many moons ago was massively underwhelming. However it only got to play with goop, so make of that what you will. But it always felt rough, stiff and flicky.

After an unused decade at the back of the cabinet, I dug it out to soap up with my new DE toys, and it died in huge clumps all over the floor and on the puck. I did get a lathering or 2 out of it before it coughed its last, but it was still as stiff and flicky as memory served. So my intro to them (and boar generally) wasn't good.

That's how I ended up with a Silvertip $$:crying:$$
Any any price even at top end, Quality Boars are massive bang for $ in comparison. And I think at these sorts of prices, Suzuki, you really are spitting hairs - pun intended, collective groan can commence...

I've 2 semogues and they don't feel anything like the cheaper Omega. For around $5-7 more, the #620 is miles ahead IMO.

Nor do the 620 and SOC feel like each other, and I don't think you can simply attribute that to loft and density differences. And as other have said, I like the variety in Semogue handles.
 
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Luc

Moderator Emeritus
Interesting subject.

I cannot compare the bristles as I did not own the same grade of hair from both companies.

I can compare the handles. The Semogue handle has a better shape than Omega IMO. The grip is much better (if I think of the 2020 - Best Badger). But Omega is made of acrylic...

The problem that Semogue had with the wooden handle is supposed to be fixed but I always have a doubt when it comes to wood and water. I could keep the handle out of the water and always make sure that I keep it dry but then, I don't have to think about that with a plastic handle...

If the exact same handle than the Semogue would exist in Acrylic, I would probably get that one... I would be missing a silvertip knot and we're in business... That handle probably exists... I didn't check. If it does, please let me know the model number.
 
I've had 4 or 5 Omegas and really like them, but have to go with Semogue on this one. For me it comes down to the combination of softness and backbone. I've had Omegas that were stiff and a few that were very soft--my 81064 is actually a little too soft for soaps these days--but (for me) Semogue hits that sweet spot right in-between almost every time. They are the best all-around performers I've used, including my badgers. I've got 5 of 'em now and use them all.
 

Suzuki

Moderator Emeritus
Lordy - a whole $8 difference, better call out the Boar Police. :scared:

That's how I ended up with a Silvertip $$:crying:$$
Any any price even at top end, Quality Boars are massive bang for $ in comparison. And I think at these sorts of prices, Suzuki, you really are spitting hairs - pun intended, collective groan can commence...

I've 2 semogues and they don't feel anything like the cheaper Omega. For
There's no doubt that any of the Omega's or Semogues are good values and relatively inexpensive.

While $8 isn't a lot in terms of money, it represents a good 25% or so premium - which is a fair bit.

Clearly I'll have to buy a Semogue at some point to see the difference for myself.
 
While $8 isn't a lot in terms of money, it represents a good 25% or so premium - which is a fair bit.

Clearly I'll have to buy a Semogue at some point to see the difference for myself.
I still think you're splitting hairs here; a 25% 'premium' is still only $8. That's 2 cappuccino's.

You can only judge value by trying something yourself, as you intend doing. We make all sorts of differing judgments about whether something is good or bad value. I find $$ only becomes part of that judgement when we don't like something.
 
I've only had the Omega 49 (I want a 31064 or a Rudy Vey custom w/the same knot) but it didn't match up w/my Semogues (830, 1470, SOC). Even though I originally bought & sold a 1470 and SOC, I only kept the 49 because I was going to use it as a neck duster when I cut my hair. I ended up continuing to break it it, and found it a fine brush. I've sold it off, though - it's not my taste. I think I had 90% split ends in a matter of two weeks, but my barely breaking in Semogue 830 has softer tips and more backbone. I re-bought the 1470 at the same time, and it's still a notch higher on my list than the Omega 49 in terms of hair quality. The ergonomics aren't good for me though.

I'd listen to Jesse (Klarion) as a guy who has both high-end Semogue and Omega brushes, and has demonstrated the ability to use 'em quite well.
 
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