Have you been rocking a hair coat on your face all winter? With warmer weather in the forecast, you may want to consider shedding a layer. Even if you are content with your current lifestyle or you feel your look is on-point, consider that active change is almost always a positive thing. If you want to keep your beard or mustache, do, by all means; but if you want to shed a layer for spring, then you might as well do it goddamn right. A good shaving brush, though not an essential shaving tool, is an excellent bathroom companion. For your consideration, we’ve put together a list of high-quality shaving brushes we’ve found.
How to Use a Shaving Brush
Before we get to the list, we thought it would be useful to explain why and how you would use a shaving brush. Well, for starters, a shaving brush can help you feel more like an old-timey gentlemen — especially if you use a metal coffee cup as a scuttle and a shiny pan as a mirror. Another bonus of the shaving brush — and one you can actually take to the bank — is that it helps make the whiskers on your face stand up so they’re more receptive to your razor’s kiss. A shaving brush can also help your shaving cream penetrate further into the hairs of your beard and moisturize your skin.
We reached out to a Kyle Hinton — beard expert and founder of Prospector Co — to ask for instructions on how to use a shaving brush:
After soaking the brush in hot water, flick excess water away from the top of the brush hair. Whisk the brush into your shaving mug or bowl to create a lather, or spread the cream evenly across the face if you don’t have a mug. Using a massage technique is key to getting facial hair to stand away from the face, while allowing for gentle exfoliation. Rinse the brush well after usage, clean thoroughly, and hang to dry.
For a more in depth background on why you should consider using a shaving brush, check out our article What’s the Deal With Shaving Brushes?
Now, to the brushes:
This is a a great starter shaving brush. Period. When considering quality for price, this brush out competes just about any other one on the market. Sporting 100% badger hair bristles for less than $20, this choice will introduce you to a life of quality shaving. The brush itself is lighter in weight than others, meaning the quality and feel of the handle was compromised for affordability. If you are looking for your first shaving brush — look no further.
Unfortunately, your whiskers don’t stop growing when you go on vacation. If you’re looking for a budget travel brush, consider this handsome number from Imperial. It’s made with boar bristles, which are generally considered less effective than badger hair, but at just $18, the price is right. This brush makes an excellent casual gift for someone who is just starting to shave with a brush.
If you’re the kind of fella who steers clear of animal byproducts, then this might be the best option for you. It’s technically a travel shave brush, but it might just be nice enough to become your regular brush. The white bristles contrast nicely with the sleek black of the base, making this brush a solid bathroom decoration when not in use.
Related: How to Shave with a Straight Razor
If you already have a synthetic or boar bristle brush, then you might be interested in graduating to a legit badger hair brush. To start, we recommend this handsome beast from C.O. Bigelow. Founded in 1838, C.O. Bigelow has been around for nearly as long as shaving brushes have. Plus, “C.O. Bigelow” is just fun to say. These brushes are made in England, and available in imitation ebony and imitation ivory.
While all of the above brushes will give you a decent shave, this brush from Baxter of California will give you a downright heavenly shave. This brush is made with 100% fine silver tip badger hair, making it as soft and effective as can be. It also has the benefit of German engineering, having been made in Germany. Also, the handle has a sleek, elegant design that’s easy to grip and easy on the eyes.
Yet another step up is Prospector Co.’s Silvertip Badger Brush, touted by our friend Kyle Hinton, whose advice we sought above. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to get a shave at an upscale London barber circa 1850, this 100% badger brush will get you there. The handle is a classic shape and color, and the hair is softer than just about anything you can imagine.
Article originally published December 3, 2015. Updated March 27, 2017 by Hendrik Broekelschen.
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