Boar brushes are common in the wet shaving market. Their ubiquity makes them more economical compared to the badger brushes. Because of this, there is a perception among wet shavers that they are of inferior quality. However, they achieve great results in a unique way when it comes to lathering up for a shave. The boar bristles are strong and thick. In comparison to the badger, the boar bristles are less flexible. They absorb water, while the badger bristles don’t. They hold less water as well. On the first days of using a new boar brush, they are coarse on the skin but gradually become soft with continuous application.
Presentation of Boar Brushes
The boar brush does not come in grades as the badger does. The bristles are not classified according to the part they come from on the boar. They are presented in varied ways as follows.
- Un-dyed – Which are natural with brown, yellow, or grey colours like this Semogue boar brush
- Bleached – They are natural bristles normally dyed in white
- Sketched – Made to look like badger bristles with a dyed stripe
- Clipped – The bristles are rounded to make a bulb through clipping
Other elements that provide different boar brush presentations include the hair length, loft, hair thickness, and the size of the knot.
5 Benefits of Boar Brushes
The boar bristles come with several benefits:
- The boar bristles split into smaller hair tips over time. This splitting will provide you with a finer and softer brush with thin hairs on firm shafts. Initially, the brush will be coarse on your skin, but eventually, it becomes soft.
- Even though boar brushes hold less water compared to badger brushes, they still hold enough to lather up for a shave. More than enough water is not good for lathering and so, boar brushes are perfect to create the lather you need.
- Thanks to the bristle strength and thickness, the boar brush uses hard soaps better. They can extract lathering soap much faster compared to the badger hair brushes.
- It takes time to build lather using the boar brush, which gives you the opportunity to create a good lather and correct any mistakes you might make during the process.
- The boar brushes like the Semogue owners club Taj Resin Boar and blend edition are great for exfoliating your skin. Because of their tough bristles, they eliminate dead skin, as they work the lather into the pores and follicles.
What to Consider When Buying a Boar Brush
Omega used to be the best producer of great boar brushes in Europe. But now there are several other companies that make high-quality boar brushes as well. Consequently, you have to be sure about what you are looking for to get a satisfactory boar brush for your wet shaving routine. The first thumb of rule is never to purchase the cheap ones. Anything under $5 is not good. Such cheap brushes will shed a lot. But understand that dense boar brushes normally shed while they are still new. So don’t confuse the two.
Most English boar brushes like the White Handled Omega Professional Boar Hair Shaving Brush are great. Consider companies like Vulfix or Kent. Brushes with big knots will work well if you love making multiple passes with a single loading. Those with heavier handles are the best with boar because they can take the heavy-handedness required. Look out for acrylic and solid wood handles. Plastic handles can work too if you are being economical. Some people are willing to spend extra to get custom made handles, which costs a lot.
A New Boar Brush
Since boar bristles come from wild animals, they smell skunk. The manufacturers don’t do much to remove the smell, maybe because it is a costly process. So, you’ll notice a smell like that of a wet dog when you bring it closer to your face. If you hate the smell, you should invest a little time in making it smell better. Rinse it in water and Listerine 50% solution, and immediately wash using baby shampoo. You should do this for about the first twenty or more shaves, or until you can’t smell it anymore.
Your boar brush will improve its usefulness with time. By the time it is three months with continuous use, it will achieve high-quality lathering just as a new badger brush. Therefore, be patient with it in the initial stages.
Care for Your Boar Brush
The boar brush is not as good quality compared to the badger. They are cheap and so, produced in mass translating into the poor build. On the contrary, the badger brushes take a lot of effort and craftsmanship to make and so, are costlier.
The boar bristles are thick and less flexible. With time, they break. The knot will also crack after a while because as the bristles absorb water, they expand and push against it thus causing the cracks. The glue value dwindles every time this happens. Some boar brush producers are aware of this and make them using a plastic cup to counter this situation, but most do not. Of course, your boar brush will last even ten years as the manufacturers promise, but the badger one will still last longer.
The boar brush doesn’t require frequent cleaning because it does not cake up. But if you want to, boil water until it’s around 165 degrees, and then insert the bristles to soak till they splay. Give it quick spins afterward (by rubbing your palms back and forth). For a used brush, you should increase the water temperature to about 175 degrees and make a borax solution out of it. Doing this will remove the smell and eliminate as many germs as possible.
If you buy a vintage boar brush, consider replacing the knot with that of a badger brush. You are doing this because the knot might have dried up over time making it prone to cracks.
It is critical not to let your boar brush dry with the lather in it. The bristles will absorb the soap which will rob it of its flexibility after rinsing. Poor rinsing exercises will make the bristles dryer, stiff, and inflexible making them easier to break. This effect will also reach the knot resulting in cracks. To remedy this situation, you’ll have to soak, rinse, and let it dry before you use it for thirty or so days.
Don’t do the following to your boar brush: Never use a hard object like a hammer to soften the bristles. Avoid soaking it in barbicide. Lathering should happen on the soap and the face. Doing it on a brick or cement will damage the brush. Do not boil your boar brush also.
Lathering Soap Vs Cream With a Boar Brush
In any lathering process, you want to achieve a thick and slick layer to protect your skin from getting nicks and cuts. Because the boar brush holds enough amount of water, you want to dip it in hot water. Hang it to drip and immediately use it to lather up.
Initially, the lather will be watery. Recapture the water content to create a thicker lather by working it into the soap, swirling it in a bowl until it builds up to the desired consistency and thickness. In the end, you’ll have a cream sticking on the brush. With the Semogue S.O.C Boar Bristle, Shaving Brush, achieving this will be easy. The load shouldn’t run loosely away from the brush. If it does, continue working it until it isn’t running anymore.
You can then apply the lather onto your wet face. If the lather on the tip is not enough, squeeze the brush from the base into the bristles.
When it comes to cream, it is easier to use a boar brush. However, you should start the process with drier bristles. When you need more water, go ahead and wet the tips of the brush. After getting the brush out of the hot water and letting it drip, shake it once. You can then start working your cream which is already on a bowl.
Do this for about 15 seconds and apply it on a wet face for half a minute or more. If you feel the lather is not good enough and need more water, dip the tips of the brush in the water and swirl the brush evenly on the face until you are satisfied.
For a fluffy lather, take about two minutes to work it out in the bowl until full and then apply it to your face. If you want it to be watery, do the same but this time with more water. If your lather it too wet, add in more cream.
Regardless of the method or product you use, whipping more air and adding water will create more lather. Such lather is not the best for wet shaving even though it looks great. If you want your lather to be warm, use a mug to create it.
Though boar shaving brushes are of lower quality than the badger, they do great work at building lather on your face. They even get better with time. When considering to buy one, look at its qualities from the handle to the bristle tips. Then spend as much as you can to get the best quality in the market.