Why You Should Use a Shaving Brush (and the 10 Best Options to Buy)

Shaving brushes, while not exactly necessary to a good shave, are — along with pre-shave oils and a good shaving cream — absolutely essential for a great shave.

Why? Because the bristles (preferably made from badger hair) of the brush not only work your shaving cream into a rich lather, but the movement of the bristles against your facial hair causes the hairs to stand more erect and at a plane perpendicular to the surface of the skin. That means a closer shave, less stubble, and smoother skin.

So, how do you use a shaving brush and which are the best kinds? Look no further friends, we’ve got all that information in one handy guide below.

best shaving brushes featured image
Patrick Coddou / Unsplash

How to Use a Shaving Brush

You’ll need your shaving brush, a shaving mug, shaving cream or soap, a little elbow grease, and these four easy steps.

  1. After soaking the brush in hot water, flick excess water away from the top of the brush hair.
  2. Whisk the brush into your shaving mug or bowl to create a lather.
  3. Use a circular motion massage motion over your entire beard and neck area to raise facial hair and provide gentle exfoliation.
  4. After shaving, rinse the brush well after usage, clean thoroughly, and hang to dry.

Now that you know how to use one, it’s probably time to pick up a shaving brush for yourself.

Best Shaving Brushes

Perfecto Badger Shaving Brush – $19
best shaving brushes brush perfecto

This is a great starter shaving brush. Period. When considering quality for the price, this brush out-competes just about any other one on the market. Sporting 100-percent 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, but if you are looking for your first shaving brush, look no further.

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Imperial Travel Shave Brush – $18
best shaving brushes brush imperial travel

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.

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Satin Tip Travel Shave Brush – $20
best shaving brushes brush satin travel tip

If you’re the kind of fella who steers clear of animal byproducts, then this might be the best option for you since it subs in synthetic fibers rather than animal hair. 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.

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C.O. Bigelow Shaving Brush – $79
best shaving brushes brush co bigelow

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.  

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Baxter of California Silver Tip Brush – $95
best shaving brushes brush baxter

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 percent fine, silvertip badger hair, making it as soft and effective as can be. It also has the benefit of German engineering. The handle has a sleek, elegant design that’s easy to grip and easy on the eyes.

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Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush – $50
best shaving brushes brush silvertip badger

Yet another step up is Prospector Co.’s Silvertip Badger Brush. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to get a shave at an upscale London barber circa 1850, this 100-percent 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.

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Omega Hi-Brush from West Coast Shaving – $21
best shaving brushes west coast omega

Featuring an attractive ebony handle, the Omega Hi-Brush from West Coast Shaving is a great affordable alternative to some of the pricier brushes on this list. Outfitted with synthetic fibers as opposed to animal hairs, it’ll also please eco-friendly shavers in search of a full-bodied soapy lather.

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Edwin Jagger Shaving Brush – $41
best shaving brushes jagger brush with stand

Built with firm fibers and a pleasantly lightweight in the hand, this brush from Edwin Jagger could make a great addition to any guy’s arsenal of shaving accessories. An added bonus of this particular item is its stand, which allows the bristles to drip dry overnight and will look damn fine on your sink while doing so.

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Parker Safety Razor Silvertip Badger Bristle Brush – $60
best shaving brushes parker safety razor brush

Made with 100-percent silvertip badger bristles, this option from Parker Safety is as attractive as it is practical. Expect a full, fibrous bloom from this brush after just a few uses, which allows you to cake on your shaving cream of choice in a satisfyingly thick layer.

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Semogue Superior Boar Bristle Shaving Brush – $21
best shaving brushes excelsior brush

For those with longer, tougher beards, you may want to consider a brush composed of boar’s hair. These bristles are a bit sturdier than badger ones, allowing for more full coverage. Sure, it can feel a little rough on the skin, but once you get used to it, you’re bound to notice a big difference in the quality of your shave.

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Article updated October 16, 2018, by Cody Gohl.

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