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Third time may be the charm; a tale of Pure Badgery

IIRC, my first Badger-ish brush was an Omega Mixed Midget, which stank to high heaven and didn't hold enough lather for two passes of face lathering, I thought I'd upgrade and wound up with a Simpson Special in Pure, which was uh... *coarse* at best and just shy of using a wire brush at worst, plus it shed like crazy to the point that I drilled out the knot and put a TGN finest knot in the handle (sadly lofted a bit too tall for my taste), then passed it along to a friend.

Fast forward about six years, I decided to try another "pure" badger brush, this time it's a NOS English made Simpson Beaufort B2, it has a great handle and after just a few shaves the knot is beginning to go from a definite skritchy+ to fairly smooth, I doubt that it'll ever qualify as a soft brush, but it's good and springy and face lathers quite nicely.

I'm looking forward to this brush being fully broken in, I think it's going to be a regular in the rotation, despite all of its den mates being "best" or "finest" knots.
 
I have tried a couple of pure badger brushes and find them to be way too rough for my face. I would rather get an inexpensive boar brush knowing that it will be lovely once broken in. I do have a high density best badger that is OK, but I prefer two-band finest or silvertips. Of course, if you like soft brushes, some of the newer synthetics are excellent without breaking the bank like a premium badger.
 
I enjoy my Simpson Eagle 1 in pure. Definitely scritchier than my Simpsons in super, but a nice change when it comes up in the rotation.

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Simpsons pure has a bit too much ‘scritch’ for my taste. I prefer their their ‘best’ and ‘super’ grades!
 

nemo

Cheaper than ink
I have six pure badger brushes -- no Simpsons -- and find them worthy, refreshing in the morning, and pleasant. The London series by Vulfix are some of my current favorites. All mine were previously owned, I guess guys don't find them to their liking ... my gain. :001_smile
 
I had a cheap pure once and it was tearing up my face and it finally ended in a bin it was so bad. Now when I want the "badger feel" I use the semogue 830 - blooms like a badger, and super smooth when fully loaded with later from the bowl.

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I have two Pure brushes: a Plisson No. 8 and a Rudy Vey job with shavemac knot (which may be a hybrid of Pure and Best). They both have some scratchiness (more like a tickle) and lots of backbone. I like how they feel. They also lather like champs and, as the last post says, with lather they're quite smooth. They don't absorb water like Best and Silvertip knots, but an extra quick dip in the sink solves that problem. I could live with these two brushes alone quite happily, but I'm glad to have a few Bests and Silvertips too.
 
It may not be completely broken in yet, but the Beaufort is definitely working its way in to the rotation on a permanent basis. It lathers well, has a great handle and gives a really invigorating face scrub, without going too far into scratchiness. If vintage pure brushes I have are any indication, it'll only get smoother over time, I just hope it doesn't soften up too much...
 
IIRC, my first Badger-ish brush was an Omega Mixed Midget, which stank to high heaven and didn't hold enough lather for two passes of face lathering, I thought I'd upgrade and wound up with a Simpson Special in Pure, which was uh... *coarse* at best and just shy of using a wire brush at worst, plus it shed like crazy to the point that I drilled out the knot and put a TGN finest knot in the handle (sadly lofted a bit too tall for my taste), then passed it along to a friend.
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Thanks for the review of the Simpson Special in Pure; while no one wants a shedder, I have been keeping an eye out for a small-medium sized scritchy brush.

My Mixed Midget did not stink but I have not warmed up to it yet. The short handle and stiffness make it harder to hold while lathering than I would like, even though it is the overall size which drew me to buying it. I am okay with the amount of lather it can hold though it does not provide much room for error when loading as there is little reserve if wanting more than a two pass shave. (I should probably consider the all badger version in the same handle to get a little more flop and lather holding.)
 
I would say that extremely short loft brushes (like the Special) in a potentially prickly fiber accentuate the harshness of the bristle, add to that variation in natural fiber attributes from batch to batch... I had a Wee Scot that was super prickly, despite being "best". With these facts in mind I tend to believe that a slightly taller loft is a good thing in pure badger brushes, even if the proportion of loft to knot diameter is similar, the taller knot will be a bit more forgiving.

Another variable is the tips; most "pure" brushes are shaped (at least partially) by trimming the tips to final shape, I'm interested to try a Shavemac in pure, since they don't remove the tips on any of their badger knots.

If you want a small Omega in silvertip, I would suggest the 615, it's got a knot that holds plenty of lather and a handle that is actually a useful size. But Omega badger tends toward flopiness, if you like some scrub in a brush they probably won't satisfy.
 
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I would say that extremely short loft brushes (like the Special) in a potentially prickly fiber accentuate the harshness of the bristle, add to that variation in natural fiber attributes from batch to batch... I had a Wee Scot that was super prickly, despite being "best". With these facts in mind I tend to believe that a slightly taller loft is a good thing in pure badger brushes, even if the proportion of loft to knot diameter is similar, the taller knot will be a bit more forgiving.

Another variable is the tips; most "pure" brushes are shaped (at least partially) by trimming the tips to final shape, I'm interested to try a Shavemac in pure, since they don't remove the tips on any of their badger knots.

If you want a small Omega in silvertip, I would suggest the 615, it's got a knot that holds plenty of lather and a handle that is actually a useful size. But Omega badger tends toward flopiness, if you like some scrub in a brush they probably won't satisfy.

Short loft brushes will definitely accentuate the harshness of Pure, especially if you've gotten a batch that isn't particularly soft. Simpson Pure and Shavemac Pure are my best experiences into modern Pure. I had a Somerset B6 that should have been labeled Best it was so nice, and even a little Coates as nice. I've never met a vintage Pure yet that wasn't wonderful either. Used to have Rooney Pure 3/1, and that thing would scratch anyone to death. Probably should have just tossed it, but I disclosed my displeasure of the brush when I sold it.

I have a wonderful Eagle G3 Pure in a fan that does wonderfully well, and a B3 I have seems decently soft. I've yet to use that brush. I've passed it on my face a few times, and I can feel more prickle than I do with the Eagle, but the B3 is bulb shaped, and the Eagle is fan so that is another reason for difference in how they feel.
 
Simpsons pure is definitely something different when comparing it to other pure badgers like Semogue, Plisson, HJM etc. I just used Duke 3 in pure yesterday and it is one of the best face lathering brushes i own. It isn't that scratchy after breaking it in but the scrub it offers is just something else.

Haven't tried Shavemac's pure yet but i'm going to order one soon.
 
I have a Simpsons Eagle 3, and a Plisson, both in pure. Wonderful brushes that easily lather harder soaps like MDC, and MWF. Shavemac or Saville Row will probably be my next selection for a pure badger. Embrace the scritch.
 
Part of the problem with pure badger that causes it to be prickly is when the manufacturer trims the hair taking away the natural taper of the hair. Then sometimes you'll get some hair that's got more presence to it where it almost feels like it's been clipped. I've never seen that happen with Simpson or Shavemac cutting the tips, but good lord a Rooney Pure I had was definitely trimmed to shape. Couldn't get rid of that fast enough.
 
Do clipped badger hair brushes stay prickly after usage or does it soften up? I ask because nearly 2 years ago I bought one of the cheapest black badger hair brushes I could find on ebay. In hopes that it would be prickly and function as a travel brush. The knot was relatively small at 19-21mm and felt scritchy when new and looked to have been trimmed. But 6 months later and after maybe 20 shaves (probably less) it felt too soft. The biggest negative factors were that the brush lacked density and lacked backbone so I only used it lather creams from a tube until I gave up on using it, as it provided very little feel.
 
Do clipped badger hair brushes stay prickly after usage or does it soften up? I ask because nearly 2 years ago I bought one of the cheapest black badger hair brushes I could find on ebay. In hopes that it would be prickly and function as a travel brush. The knot was relatively small at 19-21mm and felt scritchy when new and looked to have been trimmed. But 6 months later and after maybe 20 shaves (probably less) it felt too soft. The biggest negative factors were that the brush lacked density and lacked backbone so I only used it lather creams from a tube until I gave up on using it, as it provided very little feel.
Tough question, there's more variation across the spectrum with Pure Badger than probably any other fiber. Not trying to sound snobbish, but my experience shows more consistency with the better makers who can do very nice things with the fiber. Proper balancing of dimensions can easily make the difference between a shoe brush, and a shave brush.
Pure Badger is the wild west of shave brushes.
 
No personal experience there. I didn't keep any clipped pure badger long enough to see if it would. My thoughts would be no as the hair isn't meant to split and soften like boar does. I've heard of varying reports of some saying it does become softer with use and others stating it doesn't get softer.
 
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