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Trying a few Manx (Simpson & Vulfix) small brushes

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I'm not much of a shopper, so it is rare for me to be adding brushes (or anything else) to the line-up. Despite me using double edged razors for 30 years, I have quite limited knowledge about different kit, so I will be approaching these new acquisitions as somewhat of a noob.

These are the four brushes that arrived this week.

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Left to right:
Vulfix 403 Mayfair (mixed badger and boar)
Simpson Special (Best Badger)
Simpson Case (Best Badger)
Simpson Wee Scot (Best Badger)

Over the course of this thread, I'll be breaking them in, trying them out, and deciding which I will be keeping to hand for regular use, and which I will be laying away as spares (I don't like being overwhelmed with choice at every shave).

Again, as mentioned above, I'm not an experienced shopper. In the last 30 years, I have only ever used one badger brush, three boars, one mixed, and a few synthetics. So it'll be interesting to see what I make of these four.
 
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AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Which, when, for how long, and in what order?

I'm the kind of guy who likes to have a plan, even if (as I usually do) I end up ignoring said plan, and doing something completely different instead. :devil:

The Vulfix Mayfair, being a mixed bristle brush, may well need the longest break in period, so it makes sense to start with that one. Do mixed bristle brushes benefit from a prolonged soak before first use, or am I as well adopting my default method, of breaking it in by just getting stuck in, and using the damn thing?

I do know that it will benefit from adequate dry times between uses, and so I won't be using that brush alone. I will put all my usual synthetic brushes away for a while, and leave three brushes out in the bathroom (I normally only have two brushes in the bathroom). I'll put out the Vulfix Mayfair, and one of the three small Simpson Best Badger brushes. I'll probably work through those three in descending size order (Special > Case > Wee Scot), replacing each with the next size down, once I'm happy it has settled in nicely.

The third brush that I will leave out, just to allow a little extra drying time for the other two, is my Omega 11047 Mixed Midget aka Scritchy, the Italian dwarf that Snow White never talks about (a line I have already used recently in my shave journal, but which is too good to not use again :biggrin1: ). I may also refer to it at times as the Mixed Scritchet, or even Scritched Midget. It's given my face a hard enough time through its break in, and I like to give it a hard time back. I even demoted it to keyboard duster duties for a while, as punishment for being so irritating. :tongue_sm

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That should let me use the new mixed brush, and one of the new badgers, a couple of times a week each. I think that's sensible.

So the initial line up will be the Mayfair, the Special, and "Scritchy". I might start with the Special, while I decide whether or not to pre-soak the Mayfair...

The soaps that I will be using, are Edwin Jagger Aloe Vera mug soap, St James of London Black Pepper and Lime cream, and a small portion of a tub soap - yet to be decided - as I haven't put another serving out yet, after finishing the last one. Yes, I only put out a limited selection of soaps, as well as brushes. I don't like being faced with too many daily options.
 
Simpson makes quality brushes from what I understand, people tend to like them. Of course, everyone's going to have a different preference on hair type, synthetic, bore, badger, mixed. One things for sure, while that Wee Scott would make an excellent travel brush, for those who travel, that brush is far too small for me. I've seen that thing in video's and I am like, I'd take all day to lather up my face with that thing lol.

From the three brushes that I actually own (Yes I know most of you own far more then that) I've decided that I like 24mm knots and up, don't want nothing smaller. I love 2-band silver tipped badger, good soft tips, but solid backbone, equals solid scrub. Bore is not really my thing, so I didn't get into it. I like my new synthetic brush, but its certainly not a perfect brush.

I think synthetics share the same commonality that real hair brushes do, in that all of them are different, they are all going to act different. And its for that reason, is why I think you are on this journey with testing out these brushes, am I right? Cool beans! 😎
 
I will follow this as well Al. I’m especially looking forward to the Wee Scot entry and how you compare the Best Grade brush by brush.

I only have one Simpson in Best (Captain 2) that I still don’t fully embrace in contrast to Pure, 2Band Silvertip and Manchurian.
 
The soaps that I will be using, are Edwin Jagger Aloe Vera mug soap, St James of London Black Pepper and Lime cream, and a small portion of a tub soap - yet to be decided - as I haven't put another serving out yet, after finishing the last one. Yes, I only put out a limited selection of soaps, as well as brushes. I don't like being faced with too many daily options.
As you're going to be testing your brushes' differences, Al... wouldn't it be best to stick to JUST ONE SOAP (preferably the one you like most)?

That's just my two cents (and contribution to science). :wink2: :001_tongu :letterk1:
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
From the three brushes that I actually own (Yes I know most of you own far more then that) I've decided that I like 24mm knots and up, don't want nothing smaller.

I'm partially bearded, with moustache and goatee, so a smaller brush is a better for me personally.


I think synthetics share the same commonality that real hair brushes do, in that all of them are different, they are all going to act different.

Absolutely! My Kent INF1 is superb with hard soaps, my Maggards 22mm synthetic is excellent with creams and soft soaps, and my Trafalgar T2 is "second best" at everything, and is a good all-rounder.


And its for that reason, is why I think you are on this journey with testing out these brushes, am I right?

Not exactly!

I have a nasty habit of killing brushes. I'm not sure how and why, but I do. I've even managed to get a synthetic to develop terminal shedding. So for me, a natural hair brush is semi-consumable, and I wanted to "stock up". Not having an in-depth knowledge of natural brushes, and knowing they are variable anyway from beast to beast, I decided to stock up on an assortment, rather than put all my eggs in one basket.

So these will all get used, but one at a time, (after this initial test stage) and I'll pull out the next spare brush as needed. However, understanding the brushes nature, helps me know what to pair it with. I want two brushes in the bathroom at any time, with another two accessible to swap them with. Each pair should handle all soaps well, between them, and at least one one the four needs to be good 'n' scrubby, in case I cop for an ingrown hair or two.

So for example, if one of the badgers works great with cream, but struggles with harder soaps, I know to pair that with the Kent INF1 or Trafalgar T2.
 
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AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I will follow this as well Al. I’m especially looking forward to the Wee Scot entry and how you compare the Best Grade brush by brush.

I only have one Simpson in Best (Captain 2) that I still don’t fully embrace in contrast to Pure, 2Band Silvertip and Manchurian.

The only badger I have, and have ever used (not counting the mixed Omega), is a 26mm DS Cosmetic Ltd Ed Kensurfs 2020. I have no idea what flavour of badger it is, other than the scrub is perfect, but at 26mm it's bigger than I need. Being the brush slayer that I am, I kind of hold that brush in reserve till I need the scrub, but I am hoping that one of these four will have decent enough scrub to be a back up for it, should I manage to wreck it somehow.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
As you're going to be testing your brushes' differences, Al... wouldn't it be best to stick to JUST ONE SOAP (preferably the one you like most)?

That's just my two cents (and contribution to science). :wink2: :001_tongu :letterk1:

Well, I hope to be using each brush with all three of my current soaps/creams, so I understand the strengths and weaknesses of each brush. Some might be good all-rounders, but others might favour one soap type over another.
 
I have a Berkeley best, great brush, perhaps similar to your Case? The Wee Scot is clownish for me, a novelty that I was curious about. I should give it another go around because I hate having things I’m not using tucked away in a drawer. Or punt it!
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I have a Berkeley best, great brush, perhaps similar to your Case? The Wee Scot is clownish for me, a novelty that I was curious about. I should give it another go around because I hate having things I’m not using tucked away in a drawer. Or punt it!

I think it might be nearer to the Special. Not sure. I knoe it was in the right area size wise, but to be perfectly honest, I focussed on the ones with lower price tags, and didn't look at the Berkley too closely :tongue_sm
 
I think it might be nearer to the Special. Not sure. I knoe it was in the right area size wise, but to be perfectly honest, I focussed on the ones with lower price tags, and didn't look at the Berkley too closely :tongue_sm
Lower price tags is always part of my consideration. That’s how the Wee Scot came into my possession. Curious to hear your experience.
 

AimlessWanderer

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First test lathers - just palm lathering.

I soaked the Vulfix Mayfair for 2 hours in cold water, about two-thirds of the way up the bristles. Then I lightly (or so I thought) loaded the brush with the Jagger mug soap. It didn't feel particularly scrubby while palm lathering, but then again, I wouldn't normally soak a brush that long before using it, so I'm not taking that as a fair trial. This was more about getting the brush wet and thoroughly soaked up a couple of times.

There was lather galore, and it seemed to lather quickly too. I wasn't overly surprised how quick this loaded, but was pleasantly surprised how quickly it turned that soap into a very useable lather. I like my lather thin, but as I have an audience with diverse tastes in this thread, I started it out thick, then thinned it down. I took it right down to the point of collapsing the lather, and yet it still somehow bounced back.

Initial impressions, are quite promising. I think that once this brush is fully dry, I will give it a short (normal) soak, and put it straight to use. I see no benefit in dithering around not getting shaves from it. From this test lather, I would say this brush pretty much arrived ready to use.

Six escaped hairs were counted.



When I took the Mayfair out of the mug to lather with the warm water in the sink, I popped in the Special for a short soak. Again, about two-thirds of the way up the bristles. If probably sat there about four or five minutes, while I played around with the Mayfair brush. This damn thing loaded even quicker than the Vulfix did!

No shortage of lather again. Easily enough for three passes for me. Not a whole lot of scrub from this brush though. I wouldn't call it floppy per se, but it certainly had a very soft feel on the hand. I had to resist temptation to "lean in", to try and find some scrubbiness.

This behaved "newer" than the Vulfix, in that the flow through wasn't as free as with the first brush. As I added water, but remained mindful not to mash the brush into my hand, the lather thinned out nicely in hand, but I could clearly see denser lather being held back in the knot. It took getting the lather to the point of collapse again, before that flushed the retained lather out, and again resurrected it in hand.

An excellent lather maker, but not a scrubby brush. Or didn't seem to be. Obviously both these brushes will feel different on more sensitive face skin, than they will in the palm of my hand.

There was at least ten Houdinis from this brush.



I thoroughly rinsed both brushes out, and will allow them to dry in full before I consider using them in anger, as it were. Until then, I'll probably stick to one of my synthetics to shave with. When they both enter service, I will cycle through them both, along with the Omega "Scritchy". That should give them adequate time to dry between each shave, particularly as I am not a strict daily shaver. After a few shaves, I'll take another couple of pics, so we can see if/how they are starting to open up.

I'll probably do three shaves with each soap, so I get a feel for what the brush seems to prefer, them swap the Simpson Best for another one - but keep the Mayfair and "Scritchy" in play. That will give me 9 shaves with each of the Simpson's, and 27 with the Vulfix. That should get each of them a good way towards being settled in, and give me a clearer chance of drawing some conclusions for us all.
 
The only badger I have, and have ever used (not counting the mixed Omega), is a 26mm DS Cosmetic Ltd Ed Kensurfs 2020. I have no idea what flavour of badger it is, other than the scrub is perfect, but at 26mm it's bigger than I need. Being the brush slayer that I am, I kind of hold that brush in reserve till I need the scrub, but I am hoping that one of these four will have decent enough scrub to be a back up for it, should I manage to wreck it somehow.
I have the Special in Pure and it gave me brushburn on the first use. Now I handle it more carefully and it is much nicer than the Mixed Midget.
 
Cool idea for a thread, and will be following along!

I have the Special in pure, and wouldn't travel without it. I prefer it over my Classic 1 actually because of the longer handle. The Special is a sleeper in my opinion.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I have the Special in Pure and it gave me brushburn on the first use. Now I handle it more carefully and it is much nicer than the Mixed Midget.

After today's test lathers, and feeling how "not scrubby" they both felt (albeit on my hand, not my face), I think pure might well be something I will explore later. It's early days though, so I don't want to prejudice these too much. Don't get me wrong - they felt great - just not very scrubby.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Cool idea for a thread, and will be following along!

I have the Special in pure, and wouldn't travel without it. I prefer it over my Classic 1 actually because of the longer handle. The Special is a sleeper in my opinion.

I must admit, I still prefer synthetics for travel, and I don't think that will ever change. They dry so much quicker, and even if there is a smidge of moisture left in when you pack, it's not going to spoil anything. It'll just need a bit of a wash later.
 
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