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Simpsons Duke 3 Platinum Fibre Review

Hi everyone! I am really excited to finally review the Simpsons Duke 3 Platinum Fibre. e I have wanted a brush with this material for a little while and recently in the Black friday sale on Simpsons I saw they were offering a Duke 3 in this material for ~£60 with shipping - I couldn't resist.

Below is my method to reviewing the brush;

I aim to review different categories pertinent to the brush, explain my use case- the dimensions as well as performance to conclude with a final review. Although I will be ranking certain fields (apart from quantifiable aspects) 0-5, instead of giving a final average of 0-5 (so as to not bias max backbone where 0 is no backbone and 5 is max - but max is not necessarily the best) I will give a bottom line with the good, the bad and my final thoughts.

Takeaways: some key takeaways for those who don't want to read the full review; Simpsons platinum fibre requires a break in period; Simpsons platinum fibre has the strongest backbone (potentially owing to the density of the night); and yet seems ever so slightly softer than the Mühle STF; although this dense of a brush does not splay very easily, or should I say typically, there are ways of using the brush to exfoliate which I have found to be very effective and enjoyable. The brush is costly the handle is short on occasion, water/leather drips down the side.

The Brush:

IMG_5998.jpg


My Use Case: Face lathering from a bowl of TOBS Sandalwood (never gets old!) with a 34c (hello old friend) and an astra platinum (wowzah!)

Specs;

Cost: ~£53 (2023) (note this was a sale price I got during black Friday) this brush typically costs 69.95 in faux ivory on their website.
Weight: 69g
Knot Width: 23mm
Knot Height: 48 mm
Knot Density (observable): high
Handle Height: 47cm

Fibre Performance;

Water Retention: 4/5
Heat Retention: 4/5
Backbone: 5/5
Splay: 2(3)/5
Softness Factor: 3/5
Scrub Factor: 5/5
Bounce/ Spring Factor: 1/5
Realism Factor (for synths): 3/5
Glue Bump Factor: 2/5
Precise Factor (when painting): 4/5
Flow Through: 3/5

The good: The first obvious thing (besides the absolutely gorgeous resin) is the backbone; the fibres here can be used almost like a toothbrush to lather. This fibre is very soft when painting on lather. I would add that they bristles - for having such back bone - rival and I would dare say excel Muhle STF in softness. It has great water and heat retention.

The bad: I face lather so splay is meaningful to me; so far I am kinda disappointed with splay on this brush. The density of the knot is almost too dense! Even though there is a steel plate in the bottom, it is still fairy light at 69g. Also I wasn't too happy to see that some hairs were actually set upside down. Using this brush, also involved a learning curve; basically, if I left any water in the brush at all, it had a tendency to drip down the handle. This is also true with lather.

The neutral: the color is what it is, the handle is a subjective thing as far as material and shape goes. Size preference is subjective.

Final Thoughts: after using the brush, the first couple times, I found that I had mixed emotions. That said, I'm starting to really enjoy using the brush and I want to confirm I do feel there is a break in with Simpsons brushes that use platinum fibre given their density. The knot is so dense it is hard to splay, for a face latherer this is disappointing- even though it has gotten easier. I absolutely adore this color, though the handle is not necessarily the most ergonomic. The brush is costly. When watching an online review of this brush (
) they described the brush as having 51mm loft, but now on the website it reads as 48. This difference might seem small, but owing to the density which gives the impression of a slight glue bump (even though it's actually much smaller), this brush feels even smaller than its specs. The bristles are profound, in that they are incredibly soft and yet have substantial backbone although one could attribute the backbone to the density of the night perhaps more than the material I couldn't be sure.

I want to add some folks have pointed out that certain synthetics require break in period. I can say, with certainty that the brush felt substantially different on its second and third use than when I first used it; I noticed that the bristles felt softer and bent ever so slightly easier meaning that splay was a little bit more possible.

I have included some additional photos of the brush, and also a side-by-side comparison of the Aesop brush, which some may say is built by Edwin Jagger, using by Edwin Jagger, using Muhle STF.

Update:

I also want to add that part of using a brush with this stout of a loft is to essentially paint on the lather, and then perform a sort of swirling motion, using the centre point backbone as a pivoting point. In this sense, it is different from the typical splay, where all of the hairs/bristles spread out across your face. Nonetheless, I find that I can get a really really effective exfoliation using this technique and in the end, the brush becomes a doodle to use dare I say, a delight!

I have found that the handle is a bit short, which means that I almost always get lather on my hand. For some, this may not be an issue, but for me personally, I find it a little bit annoying and takes away from the ritual as an act of self-care/cleaning. Subsequently, I am looking to get the M7 platinum fibre. I am convinced with a 50 mm loft (even just 2mm) and 22 mm knot width alongside the 60 mm handle the M7 might be in fact the single best face lathering brush the Simpson offers, even though I know it is marketed as a bowl lathering brush. I will report back if I decide to go to for that brush.
 

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Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on the brush! I'm glad to see this as I recently ordered one of these myself! I got the Duke 3 with the platinum fibres.. I also ordered an M7 with the same fibres too.

However they have not arrived yet. I expected they might be here by now simply because I'm not all that far from Simpsons and my last order came very quickly, but its possible they're very busy with the run up to Christmas and the post being slower during the Christmas deliveries also. It also says on the Simpsons website that some brushes are made when they are ordered rather than being ready and waiting to go.

I don't know about you guys but I never seem to get dispatch emails or any update from Simpsons. I just get the initial order received one when I place it. It just saying something like "order received" forever on the order status then the item arrives you one day when you least expect it!

I checked my account to day to see if there was any change in the recent order and coincidentally it still says "order received" on a previous order I made with them last July I think it was! 😄

I'm looking forward to try these two brushes out. I only use synthetics and I mostly use the PAA brushes, Omega, Muhle STF, Executive Shave Company's own brushes etc. I do have a Simpson T3 also with the sovereign fibres but I wanted to see what these platinums were like.. if they were worth the extra.

It's difficult to figure out the size of the brushes and the pictures on Simpsons website aren't great. I feel sometimes trying to gauge by the knot and loft size can be deceiving.. I've brushes with only a few mm apart and one maybe dwarfs the other!

I'm keen to get one of the Chubby brushes in the near future also. I think I will go for one of those after my two new Simpsons get to me. I typically go for the larger brushes without being cumbersome.. I used to go for smaller brushes and often regretted it.

I know Chubby comes in 1, 2 and 3 in various badger fibres and in sovereign synthetics also. But it seems when it comes to platinum fibres they only sell Chubby 1 and 2 platinum and no Chubby 3 with platinum fibres. Can anyone confirm this for sure? And if this is true why it might be that there is no Chubby 3 platinum?

Any time I checked for a Chubby 3 with platinum and couldn't find any.. maybe there isn't huge difference between 2 and 3 anyways.

Thanks again!
 
My initial impression was "soft but stiff bristles" as well. Keep using it. The stiffness will loosen up a bit after about 40 or so shaves. @awk_m4 actually pointed this out to me, and I am very glad I worked through the break-in period.
I’ve noticed that as well with both the sovereign and platinum Simpson’s. It does take awhile for them to loosen up but well worth the effort

Beautiful brush. The Duke 3 for me is a good size and probably about the smallest I will go
 
I’ve noticed that as well with both the sovereign and platinum Simpson’s. It does take awhile for them to loosen up but well worth the effort


Beautiful brush. The Duke 3 for me is a good size and probably about the smallest I will go

Which of the Simpson brushes are in the larger category anyways? I tend to like the slightly bigger end so I'll likely buy a few more in the near future! I find it can be tricky to figure out which ones are of a bigger size on the site.. the pictures being quite low res and now comparison pictures.

I thought the M6 and the M7 would be of a relatively similar size then I saw a picture of the two of them together somewhere and it actually looked like the M7 was considerable larger than the M6. It would be great if someone had a large variety of all the different models and posted a snap of them all together for scale. 🙂

On another note, many thanks to good ol' Simpsons.. as my brushes arrived today.. or at least a package with "Progress Shaving" on it did and I'm presuming that's them because I don't think I ordered anything else in the past week. As suspected the must have taken a few days to be made up and then shipped out yesterday as they were sent via next day special delivery.
 
Which of the Simpson brushes are in the larger category anyways? I tend to like the slightly bigger end so I'll likely buy a few more in the near future! I find it can be tricky to figure out which ones are of a bigger size on the site.. the pictures being quite low res and now comparison pictures.
In my mind I would consider the Chubby CH2 and CH3 along with the Trafalgar T2 and T3 to be on the larger side. The Duke 3 is in my mind medium large. While I have small hands anything smaller than the Duke 3 feels too small for me and I will occasionally get hand cramps using them
 
Thank you for your thorough review. It is well written & quite informative. I enjoyed reading it as well as others comments.
 
My initial impression was "soft but stiff bristles" as well. Keep using it. The stiffness will loosen up a bit after about 40 or so shaves. @awk_m4 actually pointed this out to me, and I am very glad I worked through the break-in period.
The CH2 is hands down my favorite synthetic brush. I checked my records and I've used it 61 times and I find it only gets better.
 
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Interesting review. I've heard conflicting reports about the Plat. fiber esp. re: the softness of the tips.

I like the Sov. fiber (I have a Trafalgar 3 and a Tulip 4) just fine but may try the Plat. fiber down the road - don't really need more brushes!

Currently waiting for a Shavemac custom synth to land and then might be done with brushes for a bit.
 
I’ve noticed that as well with both the sovereign and platinum Simpson’s. It does take awhile for them to loosen up but well worth the effort

I'm quite glad to hear this. I used my M7 today for the first time. I'm not sure what to make of it! Maybe it needs a little break in time or something. It seemed quite stiff.. got a little softer when in warm water for a while but it feels like it'll need a bit of softening up. It also seems a tiny bit on the small side for my liking.

I didn't really get a great lather with it either.. maybe due to the fact that it is indeed quite stiff. Not like I would if using my other brushed. Lather was kind of runny texture rather than the usual nice whipped cream foam. I had to keep adding more soap as it wasn't going very well. Kind of like you had started with too much water in mix.. even though I hadn't.

Could be just due to new brush that I'm not used to using, I'll maybe do a little practise lathering a few times with it.. which also might help it break in.

I bought three new Simpsons over the past few weeks. I also ordered one of the Chubby 2 as an early Christmas present to myself, but it's yet to arrive. To date I've only used the M7.. I could return the unused ones but I dunno.. maybe I'll stick with them and hope it pays off! I think I'd like to keep the Chubby anyways and I've used the M7.. so all I could return is the Duke 3 and it was only £55 in the Black Friday sale so it's hardly worth the bother.

The Duke 3 looks to be quite similar in size, width, loft etc to the M7 apart from the handle. The M7 looks like a Duke 3 on a longer handle. So I don't know if the Duke 3 will work much better.. Maybe the Chubby being a bit on the larger side will work better for me.

Honestly, bang for buck when it comes to synthetics.. I think the PAA brushes are probably my favorite brushes that I've came across.. even bang for buck aside, they're up there with the best synths IMO. For under £25 each I've yet to find anything that can come close. They're also quite large brushes which I love also. I'm not one for small brushes.. even the M7 and the Duke 3 are probably a bit smaller than I'd ideally want.
 
I'm quite glad to hear this. I used my M7 today for the first time. I'm not sure what to make of it! Maybe it needs a little break in time or something. It seemed quite stiff.. got a little softer when in warm water for a while but it feels like it'll need a bit of softening up. It also seems a tiny bit on the small side for my liking.
All of the synthetic brushes I have have needed a break in period to loosen up. I do prefer slightly larger handles for my brushes and the Duke 3 is at the bottom of what I’m finding comfortable right now.

I didn't really get a great lather with it either.. maybe due to the fact that it is indeed quite stiff. Not like I would if using my other brushed. Lather was kind of runny texture rather than the usual nice whipped cream foam. I had to keep adding more soap as it wasn't going very well. Kind of like you had started with too much water in mix.. even though I hadn't.

Could be just due to new brush that I'm not used to using, I'll maybe do a little practise lathering a few times with it.. which also might help it break in.
I think you’re right on track about getting used to a new brush type. I’d recommend adjusting the amount of soap and water you’re using by increasing the amount of soap slightly

I bought three new Simpsons over the past few weeks. I also ordered one of the Chubby 2 as an early Christmas present to myself, but it's yet to arrive. To date I've only used the M7.. I could return the unused ones but I dunno.. maybe I'll stick with them and hope it pays off! I think I'd like to keep the Chubby anyways and I've used the M7.. so all I could return is the Duke 3 and it was only £55 in the Black Friday sale so it's hardly worth the bother.
I have a Chubby 2 in both the platinum synthetic and best badger. Both are great but the platinum feels super dense to me but the tips are super nice. I’d recommend giving all 3 a try and see which one(s) work best for you. If the Duke and/or the Chubby don’t work out then you can always put them on the B/S/T
 
Hi everyone thank you so much for all your good comments enjoying my review.

I thought I might do a quick update just because I've been using the brush for a few weeks and have come to a few realizations.

I can now say with sureness that the platinum fibre brushes do "open up" in the sense that the knot gets slightly larger and less stiff after a couple uses. I know a lot of people would say that this is impossible because it's synthetic made out of some kind of plastic but I think it has more to do with the way the knot is set.

The most critical thing I noticed about this brush, which is unfortunate, is that *some* of the fibres seemed to be set upside down inside the knot.

I have included some photos to illustrate this to show what the problem is:
IMG_5985.jpg
IMG_5984.jpg


Hopefully you can see that a few of the fibres seem to just be flat at the top. It might not seem like this is a big deal, because there were only a few of these, but actually, I suspected it was part of why this knot felt just simply too abrasive on my face.

I was struck with quite a difficult decision to make; given I have used the brush already a number of times I was no longer able to return it, and yet I was dissatisfied with how scratchy the fibers on the knot felt.

I'm sure that all of you are about to gasp in horror as to what I did; but deciding that I could either never use this brush again, or try to fix the problem myself I decided to simply pluck as many of the upside down fibres out as possible.

This was the result of about 30 minutes of carefully plucking each one out (apologies for using my keyboard, It was the darkest thing I had on hand to provide adequate contrast):

IMG_6139 2.jpg


I was pleased to find out, but there was only about 20 upside down fibres in the knot. The above photo reflects all of the fibers that I collected, which reset upside down.

I want to mention some of the fears I had concerning removing some of these, and what I found out by going through this process:

- I was scared that if I removed fibres from the knot, then I would lose density;
- that I would start losing even more fibres randomly;
- that the knot wouldn't feel less full or dense (which seems conceptually true- although "feeling" this might look different in practice)

I'm delighted to say that firstly, the fibres were very easy to remove. This is because the tips of the fibres are very tapered, which means they didn't occupy much space at the very tip (and therefore in the knot), which made them easy to remove. I can also confirm that no additional fibres have simply fallen out, although I've only used the brush once since this process. I will say that the knot feels ever so slightly less dense, which, in a way, is kind of good, considering the Duke is so dense to begin with.

The outcome of removing the upside down fibres:
+ the knot feels noticeably softer and consistent, and enjoyably so!
+ the knot has better flow through, although I still am dealing with some soap flinging (although less)
+ the knot still has very good backbone and it's more like what I expected it to originally be

Final Thoughts:
This brush is very soft now that the upside down fibres have been removed. I still suspect there are softer brushes out there, perhaps STF or the G5C. I think it's good to highlight this issue in the event that Simpsons sees this because this was for me and unfortunate thing to go through, considering this is meant to be the cream of the crop. I want to highlight the following; that I think Simpsons customer service is excellent and I still recommend their brushes and buying from them; that I chose to not reach out about this issue to Simpsons because I actually really like the handle and the brush and wanted to see if there was a way I could keep it and not have to return it; and finally, when I first bought this brush I also bought a second Duke three which had the same issue, although I caught it at the time.

All things considered it's very soft has great backbone, It is very dense and the handle is actually quite nice to use now that the brush has better flow through and the lather doesn't leak down the handle as much. In the end, I find the handle, still slightly uncomfortable for my use although when it stays dry, it is still very nice for face lathering. All things considered I regard this brush is very fancy looking and use it when I want to "feel luxurious aesthetically". That said, if I want to "feel luxurious in practice", I wonder if I still prefer my Aesop brush or if maybe STF or G5C would work better. The search goes on.

Let's just say I won't lose any hair on it. Well maybe a couple..
 
This is a problem with natural hair brushes too, sometimes, and this is the easiest way to deal with it. And yeah, you can definitely feel the difference.
I think it happens more often than most of us realize. And with certain hair/fiber types it can be more noticeable than others. For example most of us would expect a pure badger knot to be more “prickly” than a good silver tip or Manchurian. Same goes for synthetic knots. Personally I’d expect a “budget” synthetic to be more prickly than a Simpson platinum synthetic
 
(...)
Takeaways: some key takeaways for those who don't want to read the full review; Simpsons platinum fibre requires a break in period; Simpsons platinum fibre has the strongest backbone (potentially owing to the density of the night); and yet seems ever so slightly softer than the Mühle STF; although this dense of a brush does not splay very easily, or should I say typically, there are ways of using the brush to exfoliate which I have found to be very effective and enjoyable. The brush is costly the handle is short on occasion, water/leather drips down the side.
(...)
Update:
(...)
I have found that the handle is a bit short, which means that I almost always get lather on my hand. For some, this may not be an issue, but for me personally, I find it a little bit annoying and takes away from the ritual as an act of self-care/cleaning. Subsequently, I am looking to get the M7 platinum fibre. I am convinced with a 50 mm loft (even just 2mm) and 22 mm knot width alongside the 60 mm handle the M7 might be in fact the single best face lathering brush the Simpson offers, even though I know it is marketed as a bowl lathering brush. I will report back if I decide to go to for that brush.
This is very similar to my experience with this brush. Disappointed with the splay. I don't attribute it to the density, but to the type of fibers.
I've just checked and I have 19 shaves with this brush, so I don't think it will get any better.
 
This is very similar to my experience with this brush. Disappointed with the splay. I don't attribute it to the density, but to the type of fibers.
I've just checked and I have 19 shaves with this brush, so I don't think it will get any better.

I have a Duke 3 and Chubby 2, both with the Platinum fiber. My Chubby did change for the better (opened up more and less rigid) after about 10-12 shaves, but that never really happened with the Duke. I still enjoy the Duke, but I like the Chubby a lot more.
 
My initial impression was "soft but stiff bristles" as well. Keep using it. The stiffness will loosen up a bit after about 40 or so shaves. @awk_m4 actually pointed this out to me, and I am very glad I worked through the break-in period.
I have kept using and yeah I would basically agree- the bristles are mighty soft- but the loft hasn't bloomed so it really doesn't work for face lathering for me. It really sucks because I adore the handle- it really has gotten me thinking of using a nice handle is inportant. I would maybe consider getting the knot replaced with muhle stf 23mm .. not sure though.
 
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