The History

Shaving brushes have been around since the 1700’s. Bristles are generally made from badger hair, boar hair, or synthetic materials. Shaving brush handles are available in wood, porcelain, pewter, tortoise shell, and plastic. Shaving soap in a shaving mug is lathered using the shaving brush and applied to the skin. This softens and lifts the facial hair making it easier to shave.

Badger hair has been a major industry of China for many years. China exports badger hair to shaving brush manufacturers in other countries and sells badger meat in their markets. Therefore, the badger population is carefully watched. Badger hair is more expensive due to the higher cost of removing the hair from the badger. The different grades of badger hair are pure, best, super, and silver tip.

The Difference Between Brushes

Pure badger hair is firmer and coarser than the other grades of badger hair. This grade works well to remove dead skin cells from the skin before shaving. Pure badger hair ranges in color from light tan to almost black with some silver. Best badger hair is finer and more flexible. This hair is slightly longer in length than pure badger hair and lighter in color. Super badger hair is softer on the skin. This grade has slightly grayish-white tips and is often mistaken for the silver tip grade. Shaving brushes made from this grade are more expensive. Silver tip badger hair is the most expensive and rarest of badger hair. This grade is extremely soft and has white tips.

Boar bristles are also used to make shaving brushes. Boar hair is stiffer and less expensive than badger hair. Synthetic materials such as nylon are also used for shaving brushes. This is also much less expensive than badger hair.

Price Range

Depending on the grade of bristles and the material of the handle, shaving brushes range in price from $5 to over $1,000. Shaving brushes can be purchased in local department stores, drug stores, beauty supply stores, and barber shops. Better quality shaving brushes can be purchased online from manufacturers all across the world.

Why You Should Use One

Utilizing a shaving brush is more beneficial and favorable than using a razor with shaving cream. The motion to use the shaving brush softens and lifts the facial hair. Applying shaving cream without a brush mats or unevenly raises facial hair making you more vulnerable to an uneven shave.

Remember – The ultimate reason why you need a shaving brush is to build lather. A great lather will make for a better shaving experience all around.

3 comments

    1. Hey Tom,

      Thanks for commenting. A shaving brush should be washed when you begin to notice a ring of soap scum at the base. To clean the brush, we recommend adding a small drop of detergent and rinsing under warm tap water until the brush returns to its original state.

  1. Its worth pointing out that there’s not “standard” grading on badger hair brushes. One manufacturer’s “best” might be another’s “silvertip.” Complicating it further is some brands make up their own grades like “fine” or “grey.”

    @MGR, you should thoroughly rinse the brush after every use and leave it to dry in some place that gets some air circulation. As Male Standard said, you should give it a more thorough cleaning when you start seeing build-up or its performance starts to drop off. Along with detergent, you could also use some animal shampoo or a diluted mix of distilled white vinegar and hot water (1 part vinegar, 9 parts hot water)

    But “A multiple-blade razor is needed when using shaving cream whereas only a straight razor is needed when using a shaving brush.” ?!?! Wait, what?? A shaving brush can be used with any kind of razor: a brush is used with traditional shaving soap or cream to build lather.

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