Shave brushes can be awkward to pack and keep dry when traveling. Since travelers often need/want to shave, taking a brush along is a requirement for some. Also given that traveling means taking a limited subset of one's possessions, one has a limited amount of space. Thus, shave brushes often come in smaller sizes, with vented cases, or using unique designs to make the most efficient use of the brush and handle's size/volume. Keeping a brush dry and free from abuse when packed warrants some innovation by manufacturers and individuals: there are different cases and expedient (non-traditional) cases or practices that can protect and maintain a brush when on the road.
Styles of travel brushes
Some travel brushes use the carrying case as a handle. Some use a press fit (turning the brush head around from its tube), perhaps with O-rings to improve retention, and others, like the Simpson Major, use a threaded fit.
Smaller brushes hold less lather than larger brushes, but quality brushes can still be small. The Simpson "Wee Scot" (with a 19mm knot) is probably the smallest shave brush made and, despite its size, it has a following on B&B, and not merely among frequent travelers. This category of brush is probably the most common for travel brushes.
Synthetic brushes require less care than an animal-hair brush, and as such synthetic brushes can be a good choice when traveling, since drying time may be short. Synthetic brushes have long been completely unable to compete with badger and boar brushes since synthetic bristles do not absorb water. Until recently, the bristles were not frayed on the end, providing a poor lather at best. However, several quality synthetic brushes are available that perform well.
Traveling with a shave brush can be tough on a brush. You might consider leaving your nicer brushes at home and going with a Tweezerman or similarly inexpensive brush.
Some lowest-end boar and synthetic brushes are so inexpensive ($3-$10) that they might be used and discarded at the end of a trip. While this choice is wasteful and potentially expensive if done regularly, it remains an option for traveling with a brush.
Traveling without a Brush?
It is possible to use no brush while traveling. Some products, such as Cremo, are designed for use without a brush. You may also choose to use an aerosol foam or gel. And many creams and shave sticks can be used brushless with some level of success. It is possible to create acceptable lather using the palms of your hands. This choice saves space and weight in one's travel kit, and eliminates some prep and clean-up time during the shave routine.
Traveling with a brush
Preventing the brush bristles from being crushed, folded, or crumpled is also important. Even a toilet-tissue or paper-towel roll can prevent this problem, though there are more upscale solutions (that don't absorb moisture).
- Simpson Wee Scot
- Dovo silvertip travel brush
- Edwin Jagger Synthetic travel brush
- Men-U Synthetic shaving brush
- Simpson's Berkeley #46 (available with a travel tube)
- Second review of Simpson Berkeley
- Simpson Major travel brush
- Crabtree & Evelyn travel brush (discontinued, but should be the same as the Edwin Jagger Travel Brush) Comes with a travel tube.
- Simpson's Case (available with a travel tube)