I have written here before about Acquisition Disorders (ADs) and for me the biggest is Shaving Brush Acquisition Disorder (SBAD). This is because there is more variety amongst brushes than there is amongst any other element of the shave.
There are brushes made from horsehair, boar, badger and synthetic fibres. Plus mixtures of these. All these have totally different characteristics. Then there are the variations within each hair type and the variations in the construction of the brush, both handle and knot. Just getting to grips with the Simpson’s range would involve buying dozens of brushes and spending a fortune. And of course you can have brushes custom built, which then introduces infinite possible variation.
Each brush I have was bought for a reason. Mostly just curiosity. There were some big surprises along the way, an exceedingly cheap Turkish horse hair brush works better than just about everything else, for instance. A concept that some have trouble getting their head round.
In this first article I will deal with the synthetics, the horse and the boar brushes.
Here we have the Body Shop and the Men-U synthetics, as you can see they have pretty similar knots, the main difference is the handle. So in use they are also pretty much the same, which is interesting as you can buy several of the Body Shop brushes for the price of one Me-U. These brushes work quite well and you could live with one, as vegans must. But they do not come anywhere near a good natural bristle brush. Their big advantage is that they dry almost instantly and the fibres can’t rot, so they are perfect for travelling.
I only have these two horse hair brushes and they are brilliant. I wish I had more. The top one is a “Barber Brush” from Spain which cost just ten Euros, it is from a retailer who specialise in Vie Long brushes so it is probably made by them. The bottom one I have written about before, a fantastic brush from Turkey for just two and a half dollars. This really is a must have for any traditional shaver.
There are two sorts of boar brushes. Those that have had their tips trimmed and those that haven’t. If the tips are trimmed then the ends won’t split and the brush will never break in and become soft on the face. All this and more is in an authoritative article that was published on here.
So, the Disco, on top, is a unique brush but very different to use because of it’s height. Next the Omega 49, a design classic and a very good brush for just £8. The Semogue Owner’s Club is a lot more expensive and is a good brush. The Wilkinson Sword is less than £4 in most British supermarkets and works just fine. The Vulfix VS5 is about £5 and also does the job. The Vulfix 404 Grosvenor below it is included here because it is mostly boar with some badger added. It is a totally brilliant brush in every way and is a great bargain for £10. The Jaguar is a top notch brush with poor QC on the handle, the knot on this is right up there with the best bristle knots so I am amazed that they are not more accepted in the traditional shaving community. Next is the green handled Omega 10018 with Arabic script that I bought in Egypt, a good smaller boar brush. And finally an old model Body Shop brush with clipped tips which have not split in hundreds of shaves.
The super stars on this page are the Turkish horse brush and the Vulfix 404. Obviously other will disagree but this is my experience.