Help With Picking the Best Shaving Brush
An Introduction To Shaving Brushes
Shaving brushes cost anything from as cheap as £5 and all the way up to the top of the range of around £225. The average price though for a good quality shaving brush is about £15-25. They are made by companies like Edwin Jagger, Wilkinson Sword, Vulfix, Bluebeards and Proraso.
At the higher end you are paying that extra money for what the brush is made of, in terms of quality of bristle, quality of wood, and the addition of either ebony or precious metals. They are made by companies like Simpsons and Thiers-Issard.
For the normal wet shaver though those would be an extravagance, and well out of the price range of most people. They price on between £50-200 depending on which model you go for.
The one I have pictured on the left is the Simpsons Duke D2 Pure Badger, and for this be prepared to shell out close to £50
If I owned one at this price, I would probably be too afraid to use it.
Nevertheless these do exist, so I thought I should at least make you aware of them. These are a bit of an indulgence for sure. Now let’s get back to normality.
Why Bother With A Shaving Brush At All?
If you are making the move to traditional shaving, then you will be using a safety razor, or a straight blade razor. If that is the case, then you will be using either a shaving cream or a shaving soap. We discussed the difference in these two in another article which you can read by clicking here.
So we can either go with the cream, and simply rub that in by hand, or we can decide to use a shaving brush. If you have decided on soap, then you will also need a brush, as shaving soap and the hand don’t really work.
Benefits of Using A Shaving Brush
First up, we here at the Shaving Emporium just believe they are good fun to use. Not only that, but they also look good, especially if they are hung on a shaving stand. They look manly around the home, and they say just a little something about the owner. We think that they are a nice touch for a man to have in the bathroom.
Now that of course is all well and good, but do you really need one to have a good shave? If you want to get a really good lather on your soap or cream, then a brush with good bristles, will infuse the soap or cream with water, which is needed for a creamy lather. You can of course still do this by hand, but a brush simply does a much better job.
Now you have to apply the lather to your face. The bristles of the shaving brush do this while at the same time, help exfoliate the skin, and remove any dead cells. This makes for softer and smoother looking skin that just looks a great deal healthier.
Finally it serves its prime purpose, which is to raise up the facial hair, making it more open to the blade that will soon come along and remove it. For us here at the Emporium, a wet shave without a brush, is like eating ice cream without a cone. It is we believe a key part in the entire wet shaving process.
Just think of the difference. Some “squirty foam” out of a can rubbed on your face by hand, OR, a quality shaving cream, well lathered and pushed into your bristle by a badger hair brush? Which one does the better job and is better for your skin? As Holmes would say, Elementary my dear Watson.”
What Are The Parts of A good Quality Shaving Brush?
You will already know just by looking at them, that there are only two parts; the handle and the bristles. Of these, the bristles are what really matters. They are the major factor in just how good a shave you will manage to have. The handle, providing it is of a decent quality, will simply be the appearance and just how the brush will feel in your hand.
How the bristles are joined to the handle is important, because if that is poorly done, then the bristles will start to fall out. Really cheap £5 shaving brushes all have that problem, and we would recommend that you avoid those like the plague.
Let’s Talk Bristles
There are basically three types:
- Badger hair
- Boar bristle
Our advice is to not consider a synthetic bristle brush as although they work ok, they are not great. They do come slightly cheaper than buying a natural hair one, but they feel horrible. We just don’t like them or rate them. Boar hair is a very good choice if you have a very big wallet, so we would avoid those as well. You can find the odd brush that uses boar hair, and is well priced, but they are rare.
Almost all good brushes costing around an average £20-25 are made from badger hair which does a fabulous job. if you are a beginner to wet shaving, or a returning shaver, then we strongly recommend buying one around this type of price range. Anything cheaper is poor quality and anything more expensive is an indulgence.
Now we do feel obliged to issue a warning here. If you make the decision to buy your first shaving brush, you will buy more. It is addictive and you have now been warned. While writing this article I did a quick count of how many I had bought – the answer 17. So as I said, you have been warned. I also have a different shaving brush for travelling and holidays. Sad but true I know.
Badger hair works best as it can absorb large amounts of water, and yet it retains a nice strong bristle, that can raise up the hairs on your face. This is a tried and tested hair that has been in use since the 18th Century and no-one has found a better replacement yet. So our main recommendation when it comes to buying a brush, is to make sure that it uses badger hair, and we then know you will not be disappointed.
Let’s Talk Handles
As we mentioned earlier handles are made from different materials, and they also come in different sizes. In terms of size, these will either be short handles, or long handles. Some men like the short or “stubby” handles as they can make smaller motions when building up a lather. Other men like the longer handle as it can then rest in the palm of your hand. My own preference is the short handle but each person will have their own preferences.
Once you have made that decision, then it comes down to the weight, colour and type of handle you like the look of. Tradition would dictate a light wood, but there are so many other nice looking finishes about, that settling on one can be difficult. I guess that explains, why I have 17 and no doubt more to come.
Which Shaving Brush Will You Pick?
Well if we have managed to convince you that shaving without a brush is not an option, then which is the best one to select. Like other shaving products there are many to choose from, so once again we have put together our top 10 list of shaving brushes, that are currently available in the UK. We hope that you find this useful.
All ratings are taken from actual buyer reviews at where they rate their products out of a score of 5. Please note that we check and amend these every month.
Prices change all the time, so we have put in average prices which were correct at the time of entry. Please note these prices can change on a daily basis. Please always check the actual price on the day to make sure you get the best value.
Best Shaving Brushes Available In The UK
|Black Omega 49 Professional Pure Bristle Shaving Brush||4.6||Around £11||We have noticed this one getting some pretty rave reviews on the various shaving forums so we included it on the list. It is an Italian made shaving brush.|
|Edwin Jagger Traditional English Best Badger Hair Shaving Brush||4.5||Around £23||Medium best badger hair which has been hand made, and creates a great lather. Comes with a matching drip stand.|
|Edwin Jagger Traditional English Faux Ivory Shaving Brush||4.5||Around £31||Medium sized brush made with the best badger hair. Comes with a matching drip stand.|
|Progress Vulfix Grosvenor Mixed badger and boar bristle Shaving Brush||4.5||Around £14||Has a lathe turned handle and uses both badger hair and boar hair. Gets strong reviews.|
|Edwin Jagger Badger Imitation Ebony||4.5||Around £23||Moulded plastic handle and an ideal starter brush|
|Kent Pure Badger Shaving Brush||4.4||Around £35||Good quality company Kent produce this medium sized badger hair brush. This grey badger is coarser than the silver tip and better for strong beards. Comes in a beautiful red and gold cylindrical case.|
|Shaving Factory Hand Made Shaving Brush||4.4||Around £7||Wooden handle and made from natural hair|
|Taylor of Old Bond Street Best Badger||4.3||Around £20||Imitation ivory handle and very much in the classic and traditional style.|
|Wilkinson Sword Shaving Brush||3.9||Around £3-4||Not the highest ratings but remains a best seller. Great Beginner brush|
|Luxury Frank Shaving Pure Badger||3.9||Currently Unavailable||Made from badger hair but with a stylish black handle|
You can see from the table above, that there are plenty of brushes to pick from. I started out with a wooden one and then tried one of the newer materials, which was like a hard black plastic. I did however revert back to wood as I just find that more traditional. So that concludes our reviews of what we believe to be the best shaving brushes around the market in the UK at the moment.