To some, the shaving brush is seen as an unnecessary luxury item in a man’s grooming kit. However, the shaving brush is essential to anyone wanting to ditch the electric shaver for a close, traditional wet shave. The shaving brush is used to work up a lather with foams and creams, to exfoliate the skin and to soften facial hair. Anyone looking to enhance their shaving experience must consider which type of shaving brush is right for them.
Shaving brushes are manufactured using various bristles and designs, and so it can be tricky to determine what might be right for your skin type and your desired style of shaving. This guide will help you to determine the different grades of bristles used and how they impact the quality of the brush, the different design elements of each shaving brush, and why certain high-quality brushes might not be suitable for everyone. We’ve analysed some of the best shaving brushes on the market, to save you from investing in a brush that won’t last.
We’ll help you to get familiar with the various types of shaving brushes to choose the most appropriate for your skin and hair type. Buying a low-quality shaving brush will result in repurchasing, either due to deterioration of the brush or an incompatibility with your needs.
We’ll discuss the most crucial factors you must give heed to before your purchase.
Best Badger Shaving Brush
The Best Synthetic Shaving Brush
The Best Boar Shaving Brush
Best Horse Hair Shaving Brush
The Best Badger Shaving Brush
Winner: Parker Safety Razor 100% Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush
Our winner for this category is the impressive Parker Safety Razor 100% Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush. Parker Safety Razor, a brand that is synonymous with high-quality products, has been producing exceptional quality shaving brushes for almost half a century.
Parker Safety Razor are known for their attention to detail and their use of premium materials, their products are among the most popular on the market and are consistently acclaimed by users.
The bristles of this brush are of the highest grade of badger hair attainable, silvertip. Not only does this make the product easily identifiable, it has the smoothest and most therapeutic feel imaginable.
This shaving accessory has excellent water retention, as you’d expect with its high bristle density. It comes complete with a plastic drip stand for drying and storing this masterpiece, which will increase its potential lifespan. Hanging the brush upside down will prevent water from accumulating near the base and compromising the bristles.
The bristles are tightly packed to form a high density, creating a thicker lather than most other models. the brush is hand crafted and no toxic ingredients are used during its production, making this model ideal for those looking to purchase a traditional shaving brush.
Not only does it allow you to create a creamy lather, but it also dries off quickly and doesn’t lose its shape even after long-term use.
The Parker Safety Razor 100% Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush is available with a great looking plastic drip to stand for just over $62 on Amazon.com.
Runner-Up: Edwin Jagger Best Badger Shaving Brush
Our runner-up product comes from leading manufacturers in the shaving gear industry. The brand Edwin Jagger is world-famous for its luxury wet shaving products and has been in business since 1988.
The Edwin Jagger Best Badger Shaving Brush is a product that has won the hearts of thousands of shaving afficionados
Using only the highest-quality materials, this brush is the best for preparing your beard for a perfect shave. With a classy Imitation Ebony Handle, the brush will be a functional and stylish addition to your shaving kit.
Another great feature of this shaving brush is that it comes in an efficient Drip Stand for secure storage. Once you shave using the brush, store it in its stand, so it dries off completely.
This product might be more suitable to you than the Parker Safety Razor model if you prefer a more vigorous exfoliating experience, the stiffer bristles (characteristic of best badger hair) will accommodate you. The sturdy, weighted brush handle will also assist in a rougher-feeling application. However, this product most likely won’t be suitable for extremely sensitive skin types.
Edwin Jagger are known for creating products centred on quality and ease of use. This model is no exception. The lather produced by these brushes is exceptional, and the skin beneath the lather will be perfectly-prepped and ready for an incredibly close shave.
The shaving foams and cream from this brand are also second-to-none, in case you’re looking to complete a full kit.
This brush is great for beginner users as the drip stand and enclosed brush care tips will maximise the lifetime of this brush that’ll soon become your favourite.
This brush is available at Amazon.com where it is available for just over $45.
The Best Synthetic Shaving Brush
Vikings Blade Luxury Synthetic Silvertip Brush
If you are looking for a premium shaving brush, choose nothing but the Vikings Blade Luxury Synthetic Silvertip Brush. The fabulous shaving brush features a more substantial base which is made out of obsidian black acrylic and ensures a closer shave.
Similarly to authentic badger brushes, there is a break in period where the brush is likely to shed some of its hairs, and so we recommend you wash the shaving brush with some gentle shampoo a couple of times before using on the face to prevent picking rogue synthetic hairs from the foam before you can shave.
The brush has a larger than average sized knot at 28mm with an average loft of roughly 50mm. Thanks to this larger knot, the brush feels incredibly firm on your facial skin to let you enjoy a flawless shave.
The brand behind this brush, Vikings Blade, has carved a respectable name in the shaving industry. This fantastic Silvertip brush is a testament to the brand’s continuous commitment to producing the highest quality products
Another great feature of this product is that the brush features a stunning-looking alloy base that users seem to love. The high quality and durable handle are made out of onyx to give it a good heft. This brush is never going to fall over.
This brush almost identically emulates the bristles of silvertip badger hair – making it a wonderful option vegans and those who are allergic to animal hairs. The only clear difference between this imitation brush and a shaving brush made with genuine silvertip badger hair is that this synthetic model has better water retention capabilities. Not to mention that this brush is almost half of the price as the genuine silvertip we reviewed earlier.
If you’re in two minds about investing in the Parker Safety Razor model, try this one out first to see whether it’s the right grade of badger hair for you.
All in all, the Vikings Blade Luxury Synthetic Silvertip Brush is the best shaving brush for anyone who seeks a beautiful and incredibly soft model. Choosing this synthetic design doesn’t mean compromising on quality, users will not encounter any irritation or discomfort from this model.
The synthetic silvertip brush has garnered many favourable reviews on Amazon.com where it is available for nearly $33.
Best Boar Shaving Brush
Semogue Owners Club – Cherry Wood Bristle
Purchasing a high-quality boar shaving brush is arguably more difficult than shopping for other materials. As often men will shop for badger and synthetic brushes due to their softness, there is a wealth of information available to compare them. However, a boar brush is ideal for men who prefer a vigorous and thorough exfoliation during the application stage. The Cherry Wood Boar Bristle Brush by Semogue Owners Club is our absolute favourite for this purpose.
Hand-crafted to perfection, this fantastic shaving brush originates from Portugal. It is one of the most highly-regarded boar shaving brushes that are available in the market due to its high-quality bristle and cherry wood handle.
Softening your facial hair also contributes to a better shave and minimises the risk of nicks and cuts. Harder facial hair increases the risk of the beard snagging on the razor, leading to itchiness, nipping and potentially spots. The Pure Bristle Cherry Shaving Brush by Semogue Owners makes a rich, foamy lather that prepares your facial hair making them softer, preparing them for a proper trim.
Investing in expensive exfoliating masks becomes a recurring cost and adds an additional step to your personal grooming routine. Instead, purchasing a high-quality brush like this will exfoliate the skin while it creates lather. Though the bristles feel smooth and comfortable, they’re gently shedding away layers of dead skin cells.
The wooden handle on this brush is ergonomically designed to enhance your shaving experience and minimise the amount of effort required to achieve a perfect lather.
The Semogue’s Owners Club is available for less than $38 on Amazon.com.
Best Horse Hair Shaving Brush
Vie-Long 12705 Shaving Brush
Our pick for the best horse hair shaving brush offers all of the quality of high-end badger brushes, with coarse hair which many men prefer. Horse hair brushes also come in at a fraction of the price as authentic badger brushes, and so might be a great alternative to those considering purchasing pure badger or best badger hair.
The bristles come unbleached and uncoloured for an authentic appearance, and produce an incredibly thick lather. Each bristle is notably thicker and more rigid than any badger hair alternatives, which can aid in improved water retention.
However, this brush is not suitable for those with sensitive skin. Horsehair is better for those who prefer a scrubbing effect when applying shaving cream, and so if your skin is prone to irritation – you ought to consider a much softer material for your shaving brush
The solid built and barrel-shaped handle gives a comfortable grip, though some men have noted that they’d prefer more grooves to contour to the hand.
Overall, this brush is an excellent budget buy, and could be more suitable than expensive alternatives for men who would specifically prefer a product that is able to lift denser facial hair.
How To Buy The Best Shaving Brush
Whether you’re eager to jump into wet-shaving with your first ever shaving brush, or whether you’re looking to upgrade from your previous model, it’s important to evaluate the factors involved in selecting the right brush your your skin and shaving needs.
Boar bristles are harder and coarser than badger hairs, which isn’t ideal for those with sensitive skin which is prone to irritation and redness. With continued use, the breaking-in period will soften the tips of the bristles of the brush somewhat – but not to the softness of badger hairs. However, some users will prefer the boar bristles over badger bristles due to their ability to move beard hairs and provide a better exfoliation.
Horsehair is softer than boar brushes but again, still not as soft as badger. Some men prefer horsehair to badger hair as the bristles are softer but stiffer, which is ideal for users who prefer a vigorous shave.
Though synthetic was once synonymous with cheaper models, the quality of synthetic bristles has improved significantly in recent years. Some brands are producing synthetic hairs which mimic even the highest grades of badger hair to an incredibly impressive degree. Some swear that it’s impossible to tell a difference in the feel and effectiveness of these brushes. They’re also an excellent way for vegan shavers to enjoy the experience of a cut throat shave without using any animal products. Synthetic brushes now offer better water retention than some high-quality grades of badger hair, and even dry faster than natural hairs can. On top of this, high-quality synthetic fibres require a fraction of the shaving cream that natural hairs will absorb, making these options far more cost-effective for men who use expensive shaving creams and soaps. For men who are allergic to animal hairs, these advancements are essential to their shaving routines.
Badger brushes are arguably the most traditional. Badger hairs have been used in shaving brushes for over two centuries and are the go-to for many shaving connoisseurs. There are four grades of badger brushes, and though there is a clear hierarchy in price, the right brush for each individual person isn’t necessarily the most expensive. The grades vary in price due to their scarceness, so you should opt for the grade most suitable to your skin type and shaving needs as oppose to the highest priced.
This is the most common and least expensive grade of bristle.
The hairs are more flexible than horsehair and boar bristles but are notably softer. For shavers who enjoy the scratchy massaging feel of applying shaving cream, this grade of badger hair is ideal. While perhaps unsuitable for incredibly sensitive skin, this grade will most likely suit most skin types. These brushes will last approximately three years with regular use.
Best badger is the next grade up. It is significantly softer than pure badger and has greater water retention qualities – this will contribute to a thick and luxurious lather. A benefit of this grade is that it’ll last approximately double the amount of time as pure badger brushes, an impressive average of six years.
The super badger grade offers improved softness and water retention again and is suitable for even the most sensitive skin types. However, for those who are interested in a brush which moves the beard hairs and can lift them up during the shaving process, this grade might be unsuitable to you. However, this grade tends to last up to ten years – making it a great investment for those willing to fork out a little extra cash.
This grade is the highest quality of badger hair that you can get your hands on. It is also the most expensive. A good quality silvertip brush will last more than 10 years with proper upkeep, and it is easily distinguishable from other grades. Silvertip bristles have a distinctive bright white tip which looks incredible in a shaving kit and feels incredible on the face. If you’re serious about your shaving equipment, this grade is the most gentle and luxurious badger brush you’ll find.
Buying the best shaving brush doesn’t necessarily mean buying the most expensive. If you’re in the market for a genuine silvertip badger hair brush, you can expect a price tag of around $150 from most retailers. However, some retailers will offer similar products at a fraction of the cost, see our reviews above for some examples.
If you’re cautious about purchasing any genuine hairs, try finding a synthetic alternative to test whether or not it’s the right density and texture for you before splurging on a product that mightn’t suit your needs and style of shaving.
The handle of a shaving brush is often considered a purely aesthetic element, however most fail to consider how the handle will impact the way that they use the brush.
All handles vary in size, shape, and weight. When buying the best shaving brush for frequent or occasional use, make sure you choose the most appropriate size for your individual needs. While the size of your hands must be taken into consideration, the most important factor is a shape which you’ll find comfortable. Some men prefer an ergonomically designed brush which contours to the curve of their hands. If you’ve never had the opportunity to hold many shaving brushes before, consider the way your hand grips a pen.
It is also important to look for the right materials. Most handles are made with acrylic, metal or wood, and the base is almost always a heavy metal. A shaving brush shouldn’t be flimsy, a weighted feel will give you far more control over the motion of your hand, and ultimately, the lather and exfoliation you’ll be able to achieve.
All shaving brushes shed a few bristles during initial weeks, which is perfectly natural during the ‘breaking-in’ period. However, poorer-quality brushes might shed bristles after this period, resulting in a loss of density and functionality. You can speed up the breaking-in period by washing the brush with a gentle shampoo or combing it frequently, this will prevent fallout on the face when applying foams and soaps.
Benefits of Using a Shaving Brush
Finding the right brush for your skin type can often feel like an exercise of trial and error, but once you’ve found the ideal brush for your grooming kit, you’ll see the benefits of adding it to your regime. Here are a few of the significant benefits of purchasing the best shaving brush.
Though you may have been guilty of haphazardly applying shaving foam with bare fingers, hopefully you feel more able to introduce a shaving brush into your routine and enhance your overall experience without breaking the bank.
No matter what style and material you opt for in your brush, try to choose a trusted brand. Obscure imitation sellers might seem almost identical to more expensive counterparts, but fakes will degrade far quicker and cost you more in the long-run.
The beauty of the comeback of the classic shave is the realisation that paying a little more for quality products will save more money in the long run. The safety razor is gaining popularity among those who realise the continuous spending on faulty electric shavers and flimsy disposable razors amasses to much more cash. So don’t scrimp on your shaving brush with a low-quality drugstore product which is bound to result in further expenditure down the line.
Once you’ve invested in the perfect brush, remember to maintain it well. Always dry brushes hanging upside down to prevent compromising the knot of the hair and try to deep clean your brush every 6-8 months. There’s little use investing in a high-quality product if you damage its value through carelessness.
Most importantly, happy shaving! Go easy on the jugular.