Shaving brushes come in two types - there are those made with synthetic bristles and those made with a natural material, the most popular being badger hair. Brushes made with synthetic bristles are generally cheaper and can feel rougher on the skin. They also tend not hold as much water as natural brushes so it can take longer to build up a lather. Some travel brushes, however, deliberately use synthetic hair as it dries more quickly. Badger hair conversely actually soaks up water instead of repelling it making it perfect for making the thick lather required for wet shaving.
There are different types of badger hair used to make brushes – the difference between them is in the quality of the hair itself. The most common is pure badger. This hair comes from the body of a badger. It is coarser due to the thickness of the hair shaft and also because the hairs are often trimmed to make them fit into the base of the brush removing the natural tip of the hair. It usually varies in colour from a pale tan to a darker brown along the hair. Brushes made from pure badger are generally less expensive than other types of badger hair. Best badger brushes are made generally from hair from the underbelly of the badger where the hair is longer and of better quality. Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between pure and best badger brushes. It usually depends on whether the hairs have been trimmed to fit or placed in the base of the brush. Super badger hair is taken from the back of the badger. It has the distinctive dark mid-section and white tip. The hair is finer and has a tapered end making it feel much softer. The hair is generally placed tightly together into the base of the brush thus giving it a thick, dense feel. Silvertip badger hair is the rarest of all. It comes from the neck of the badger where the hair is very soft and pliable. Care needs to be taken with both the super badger hair and the silvertip badger brushes because the fragile hair can be easily damaged.
Whatever brush you choose you will need to take care of it if you wish it to last. You should rinse the brush thoroughly in clean water after each time you use it to remove all traces of soap. Then gently squeeze or flick the brush into the sink to get rid of any excess water and allow it to dry in the open air. If possible hang the brush in a stand hair down so that any remaining water does not collect in the base of the brush.
We stock a selection of brushes including examples from Kent, Dovo, Boker and Thiers Issard, as well as our own brand at prices to suit every pocket. We have a number of custom brushes handmade in England each one unique - so if you are looking for something different - look no further!