Simpson’s shaving brushes #2

I have said before on here that one of the joys of real shaving is that we are all different, real shaving offers infinite variety in its various elements so we can pick and choose what works for us, we aren’t forced into a shaving “system” designed for someone else.

A shaving brush to most people may seem to be a very simple thing, a knot of hair in a handle used to administer lather to the face. But Simpson’s know that there is vastly more to it than that, which is why they offer such a huge array of models. They are trying to give as many shavers as possible the exact brush for them.

With the handle, variety comes mainly in the shape, size and weight. The one you choose has to do with your own personal ergonomics. For instance many prefer the squat functionality of the Chubby and the ring round the handle that provides a secure grip. Others may prefer the hugely different and elegant Persian Jar which has to be held and used in a different way. Both these brushes are available in three sizes and two different grades of hair. So two models of brush give us 12 different combinations. And there are over 20 models of Simpson brush, nearly all with a choice of different size and hair combinations, so the range is immense. Which is how it should be, you want the brush that is made for you.

With the knot we have huge variety again. Simpson’s offer three grades of badger, ascending in price they are Pure, Best and Super (which others call silver tip). Not all grades are available in all brushes. And paying for a more expensive grade doesn’t necessarily give you a better brush for your requirements. It depends whether you are using hard soap, soft soap or cream. It depends how thoroughly you want your face massaged and how soft you want it to feel. All personal criteria.

Knots come in different diameters from small travel brushes to absolute monsters like the Polo PL14, and they come in different lofts, or heights. There are three main shapes that the hairs in the knot can be arranged in: bulb, fan and flat top, but there are plenty of different shapes that are some way between these three. There is the density with which the hairs are packed into the knot, which for Simpson’s is traditionally very high. And there is how deeply the knot is cemented into the handle, which has a huge bearing on how it will behave.

As you can see Simpson’s really understand that we are not all alike and so they go to considerable trouble to tailor their manufacture so as to give everyone an almost bespoke brush.

Next, more about the different models.