The Shaving Brush Guide (2023)

Recently, I introduced ourguide to shaving creamsand shaving soaps,but there is another tool that is at least as important: theshaving brush.A few decades ago almost every man who shaved used one. Due to modernization, quick and easy disposable products like shaving foams gained in popularity while the shaving brush became somewhat obsolete. It is only with hindsight that men are finally beginning to realize the importance of shaving, of taking care of their skin, and thus of the brush. Once you use a shaving brush, you will never go back. It is much more efficient, employing a smaller amount of shaving cream for a rich and warm lather, and there are less waste and fewer cans making it a greener alternative. For those who want to use a shaving soap or cream, a brush is indispensable.

Table of Contents

  1. Brief History of Shaving Brushes
  2. Advantages of a Shaving Brush
  3. Types of Shaving Brushes
  4. Shedding
  5. Handles
  6. Manufacturers
  7. What Shaving Brush Should You Buy?
  8. Our Best Shaving Content

Brief History of Shaving Brushes

Before brushes, there were sea sponges: men used them to lather up soap to their faces. The shaving brushes with bristles as we know them today were invented by the French in the eighteenth century. Since then, different kinds of bristles have been used – both natural and synthetic.

The Shaving Brush Guide (1)

Advantages of a Shaving Brush

The purpose of the brush is fourfold:

  1. Generates a rich and warm lather by whipping air into shaving cream or soap
  2. Softens and lifts the facial hair off the face
  3. Adds heat to the skin during the shaving process which helps open pores and lubricate the skin
  4. Gently exfoliates the surface of the skin to rid it of dead cells

By virtue of its numerous bristles, a shaving brush is the best way to generate a warm and unctuous lather. Rich lather is important because it protects and lubricates the skin. Also, the gentle friction of the bristles on your face as you lather up arms the shaving cream and your skin, softening the beard and opening pores. The brush helps guide the direction of your whiskers as they loosen up in their pores, preparing them for the blade. The shaving brush is also ideal for ensuring adequate moisture to the face when shaving: it captures and transports the moisture from the sink, through the bristles to your skin and beard. This is a far more efficient method of wetting your skin than cupping water in your hands and bringing it to your face when shaving, which is what you have to do without a brush. Finally, the brush provides gentle exfoliation and removes dead surface cells, something that fingers alone cannot do. For a fullset of video tutorials, check out our comprehensive shaving guide.

The Shaving Brush Guide (2)

Types of Shaving Brushes

Shaving brushes are mostly made from the hair of badgers, boars, horses or synthetic fibers.

(Video) Learn About Shaving Brushes

Boar Brushes

The bristle taken from boars are harder than badger hair and are at first very coarse, which is not so comfortable on the skin. The courser texture of the bristles makes it very useful for lathering soaps well because of its ability to agitate the surface of the soap very easily. Over time, the tips of the bristles will soften and feel a bit more broken in, but will never be as soft on the face as badger hair. Colors range from yellow to white, often with a black imitation band as decoration. The price of a boar brush is hard to beat. You can get a decent boar shaving brush for less than $ 10. Interestingly, boar bristle brushes are particularly favored by Italian barbers. The Italian Omega brand makes a good variety of shaving brushes and, in particular, excellent boar shaving brushes. If you can’t find the Omega brand, you can also purchase the Proraso shaving brush which is produced by Omega.

Horsehair Brushes

Horsehair is finer and softer than boar, but slightly stiffer than badger hair. Horsehair brushes come in as many colors as do horses. They seem to be favored particularly in Spain and are compared to badger modestly priced (price range: $ 20 to $ 40). The Spanish company Vie-Long is a good source for horsehair brushes.

Synthetic Brushes

Synthetic bristles have been significantly improved in recent years. The cheapest brushes still use relatively thick nylon bristles and are not particularly comfortable. But you can also find amazing products made from high-quality synthetic fibers analogously to the best natural badger hair. In particular, the synthetic Silvertip Fibre v2.0 brushes made by the German brand Mühle are top notch. The first version of these brushes wasn’t as good but these new fibers are astonishingly soft and extremely long-lasting. In fact, the tips are softer than any animal hair brush, while also being less sensitive in everyday as they dry faster thannatural hair. This kind of synthetic bristle was designed and engineered specifically for shaving and some like them better than animal hair brushes. On top of that, these brushes are PETA-approved, vegan, and perfectly suited for men who are allergic to animal hair or badger hair. As if that wouldn’t be enough, you will also need about half of the amount of shaving cream or soap compared to an animal hair brush. The best synthetic bristle brushes retail between $ 40 and $ 140.

Badger Brushes

Badger hair has been used for more than two centuries to make the shaving brushes. There are essentially four different grades of badger hair: pure, best, super and silver tip though the meaning and the names of the categories may vary by manufacturer.

Pure badger hair is the least expensive of the four grades and ranges in color from brownish-grey to black. The hairs are more flexible than boar bristles and usually coarser in texture than higher grade badger hair. Their stable quality will perform well for wet shavers who like a massaging effect while preparing to shave. Pure graded brushes normally offer a good value in quality for the price (price range: $ 35 to $ 70). A pure badger lasts on average three years.

The Shaving Brush Guide (6)

Best Badger offers a significant improvement in feel and quality over pure badger. The hair ranges in color from lighter brown to gray and has better water absorbing capabilities than pure badger. On the face, best grade hair has a softer feel and is not as scratchy as pure. Best graded brushes are priced between $ 50 to $100 and last on average six years.

(Video) How To Use And Care For Your Shaving Brush | Kirby Allison

The super badger grade is even softer on the face and has little to no scratchiness on the skin. The hair has a color pattern with a black banded midsection and whiter tips than the other quality hair types. The density and water holding capacity of super badger brushes offer a noticeable difference in performance. Super badger is significantly more expensive than best badger (price range: $ 75 to $ 150) and can last up to ten years.

Silver tip is the best and the most expensive grade of hair. Like super badger hair, the silver tip has a very distinct color banding, but usually a more defined contrast in color between the black and white-silver color bands. Silver tip hair is gentle and luxurious, like a soft sponge that massages the lather on to the face. The price range for the silver tip category usually starts at $150. An average silver tip badger brush will last ten years or more.

The Shaving Brush Guide (7)

Knot & Loft Height

Now, all of these shaving qualities come in different knot sizes (the diameter of the knot base – usually measured in mm) and the loft height, which is the height from the base to the top. As you can imagine, longer hairs will feel softer, but it also depends on the thickness of the hair. Some people prefer a big loft while others prefer a small one. At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference, though the big diameter knot brushes with a high loft are generally softer and more expensive than the smaller brushes.


A new brush will always shed in the beginning, but after 10 – 15 shaves, a good brush will stop to shed. To accelerate the shedding process, some people wash their brush with shampoo or comb it. In my experience, you’ll be fine if you just use it until it stops. Brushes of lower quality will never stop shedding, and you will have hair even 6 months down the line. So, if you have a brush that sheds even after many uses, return it.

The Shaving Brush Guide (8)


The handles of shaving brushes are meant to be balanced, to fit comfortably in your hand, and have a solid grip. Brush manufacturers usually offer different sizes and weights, depending on the size of your hand.

A wide variety of materials is used for handles. The most common are metal, wood, horn and synthetic.

Metal handles are often made of brass and are subsequently plated with chrome or nickel to increase their durability. Chrome shines brightly while nickel appears somewhat darker and warmer. Aluminum, on the other hand, is anodized to harden the surface and to increase its resistance to water and scratching.

(Video) Beginners Guide to Synthetic Shaving Brushes!

The wooden handles can be made of all kind of wood types such as pine, sycamore, ash, beech and olive wood. Sometimes you can even find more exotic wood types like the bog oak. This wood is taken from tree trunks that have lain embedded in bogs and can be millennia old. African Blackwood handles are highly water resistant by nature. The Thuja wood handle surface is sealed in a unique process and therefore thoroughly water resistant. The briar burl also used frequently for pipe manufacturing, which is distinguished by its beautiful reddish-brown color and a vivid grain.

A good option for a horn handle is buffalo horn, which is distinguished by its beautiful structure and excellent durability.

Handles made from synthetic materials are highly durable, but not always possess a compelling haptic experience.

The Shaving Brush Guide (9)


The best brushes are those that are handcrafted, as they tend to keep their bristles, and thus last longer than machine-made ones. My favorite manufacturers of shaving brushes are Edwin Jagger, Omega, and Mühle.

Edwin Jagger is an English Company established 1988 in the Sheffield region, famous for its traditional crafts and legendary metal. The art of processing metals and materials to an excellent level can be seen in particular throughout the Edwin Jagger brush collection. For nearly 20 years, the brand has been pursuing a policy of meeting the highest quality standards and to produce outstanding badger hair brushes in all different grade qualities.

The aforementioned Omega brand is Italy‘s leading brush maker since 1946. The brand marks a complete range of quality shaving brushes, in boar bristle, pure badger or synthetic fibers. Omega brushes are produced in Bologna and diffused all over the World, even in those countries in which a well-established and qualified domestic production still exists. Particularly their boar brushes can be recommended.

Mühle (often spelled Muhle or Muehle) is a German company and probably one of the leaders in high-quality shaving brushes during the last decades. The traditional craftsmanship is often combined by pioneering design, for example by using carbon ($680) or Asian lacquer($612) for the handles. Although, they offer great synthetic brushers, the silver tip badger hair brush crafted by hand is regarded as their classic product(between $100-$200).

(Video) Choose the Right Shave Brush

Video Portrait of the Mühle company:

What Shaving Brush Should You Buy?

Now you might wonder which one to buy and sadly there is not a single best brush out there because it depends on what you like. Some men prefer coarser bristles over harder ones or vice versa. Others will never use synthetic while a vegan may swear by them. For example, Sven Raphael Schneider currently uses a more exotic brush from Sam & Son, which is made in Australia, I use Mühle, Edwin Jagger, and Omega…

The Shaving Brush Guide (12)

In order to break down the selection of several hundred brushes, we thought it might be helpful to show you some brushes we like. This is by no means a rating or the best brushes but a good starting point for your research. For an even more comprehensive list of shaving brushes and recommendations, check out our Shaving Guide.

Our Best Shaving Content

Shaving is a ritual that involves products, tools, technique and knowledge to create a smooth, closely shaven face. Each man has different needs, and even though we love a deep dive into one part of shaving, we know that the Big Picture is just as important. To answer the many shaving questions and concerns that we receive from men every day, we put together the most comprehensive Shaving Guide out there. Take look at the video below!

Want to learn more about Shaving and Grooming?

Click here

(Video) Cheap vs. Expensive Shaving Brushes: Tips for the Best Shave


Is Super badger better than Silvertip? ›

Super badger is the highest grade offered by many manufacturers and is significantly more expensive than best badger. Found only in the neck area of the badger, silvertip is the rarest and highest grade of hair.

How do you know what size shaving brush to get? ›

Knot size and loft height come down to a matter of personal preference. The larger the knot, the more water the brush retains and the firmer it feels against the skin. Similarly, brushes with a higher loft will retain more water, making it easier to lather up larger areas.

What are the different levels of badger hair? ›

There are essentially four different grades of badger hair: pure, best, super and silver tip though the meaning and the names of the categories may vary by manufacturer. Pure badger hair is the least expensive of the four grades and ranges in color from brownish-grey to black.

Which is better pure badger or best badger? ›

A best badger shaving brush is more densely filled with hair than a pure badger shaving brush and so will produce a richer and greater lather on the face.

Is badger the best shaving brush? ›

Silvertip Badger Hair

Their reputation as the best of the best is due to the fact silvertip brushes deliver the most cushiony type of shave and hold more water than fine brushes. Their cost is relative to the fact that a silvertip brush will last for years if it's cared for.

What is the difference between black badger and silvertip? ›

The difference between a silvertip and a black badger brush are night and day. The hair comes from the neck of the badger and is very fine. There is no scrubbiness to speak of, and applying hot lather to your face with a silvertip is one of the most luxurious experiences you can have in this world.

Are synthetic brushes better than badger? ›

As a bonus, synthetic brushes are usually slightly more affordable than a similar silver tip badger hair brush. Due to their synthetic nature, they are much less prone to mould and fraying over time and as such, boasts better long term use and cost-saving measures.

What is the alternative to badger hair shaving brush? ›

Thankfully, there is an alternative!

The alternative to badger hair is a synthetic shaving brush. The synthetic bristles are just as effective as animal hair, easy to look after and long-lasting.

How often should I replace badger brush? ›

Badger hair is often preferred for wet shaving because it absorbs water, is soft and durable, and it lathers well. Looking after badger brushes properly is important to ensure that they last a long time. Being a natural product, with loving care, a badger shaving brush should last ten to fifteen years.

What is the difference between a synthetic and badger hair shaving brush? ›

The quality of lather that a synthetic can produce is very fine and rich, giving that smooth and easy feel while shaving. They last longer. Synthetic brushes do very well in just about any environment with less care. A badger brush, meanwhile, will easily give way to damage especially the silver tip ones.

What is the difference between pure badger and black badger? ›

Many wet shavers prefer black badger brushes because of their stiffness. Others prefer the softer grades of badger, especially those with sensitive skin. Pure Badger Brushes are quite a bit softer than black badger. They cost a little more, but many prefer their softer texture.

Why is badger hair good for shaving? ›

The best shaving brushes are made of badger hair. Badger hair scrubs the skin, opens the pores and stimulates the hair follicles so that the hair stands straight. This allows you to have a closer shave.

Is Badger Brush worth it? ›

A badger hair brush will definitely improve your shave over a synthetic brush , that's for certain. Badger hair brushes are going to run you a bit more than synthetic, but that is worth the money–buying a silvertip vs. a pure badger hair is not. Also, remember that these brushes are tools and not heirlooms.

What is the softest badger shaving brush? ›

Silver tip hairs are the rarest and highest grade of badger hair. The hair comes from the neck and is renowned for being the softest hair available. It's famous bright, silver tips make it a beautiful brush to behold and it's incredibly soft and pliable bristles make it the most comfortable.

What is the best hair brush badger? ›

Best Badger Shaving Brushes
  • Edwin Jagger Imitation Ivory Shaving Brush (Best Badger) ...
  • Edwin Jagger Black Shaving Brush (Best Badger) ...
  • Edwin Jagger Imitation Light Horn Shaving Brush (Best Badger) ...
  • Edwin Jagger Imitation Light Horn Best Badger Shaving Brush with Stand.

Are expensive shaving brushes worth it? ›

In addition to having a good backbone, expensive shaving brushes will also feel softer on your skin, even when they're made with coarser hairs. This is achieved by using a higher density of longer hairs.

Do you need to soak a badger brush? ›

Always soak the bristles in warm water when using your brush before building your lather.

How long does it take to break in a badger brush? ›

And this it what will then translate into a more luxurious and thicker lather. It usually takes at least a couple of weeks to a month to really get a new shaving brush fully broken in, but this depends on a lot of factors.

Do badger brushes break in? ›

It should also be noted that; as the pure badger bristle brushes used, they will "break-in", soften and their coarseness on the skin will decrease over time.

What is a super badger shaving brush? ›

Handmade in England using the highest quality bristle. This imitation ivory brush with super badger bristle is the highest grade of hair available, offering a soft and luxurious shave.

What are the benefits of a badger brush? ›

The benefits of using a Badger hair shaving brush in general are that it works your preferred shaving cream or soap into a rich lather & holds moisture & heat superbly during the shave. Due to the slightly coarse nature of badger hair, badger shaving brushes can also act as a mild exfoliator.

What is the best shaving brush for sensitive skin? ›

Badger shaving brushes

Badger brushes are the most delicate ones and suitable for the most sensitive skins, as they also require soft soaps or creams to improve lather production.

Which type of brush is most effective? ›

Boar bristle brushes are popular because of their ability to redistribute the natural, healthy oils in the scalp, which enhances hair health and creates smooth, shiny locks.

When should I replace my shaving brush? ›

Keeping in mind that there are a considerable number of factors involved, even as a conservative estimate, 10 years is a pretty reasonable and typical lifespan of a quality shaving brush.

What is the best natural shaving brush? ›

Badger Hair Brushes

Wet shavers all over the world agree that badger hairs are the best nature has to offer for a great shave. There's simply nothing else that comes close. Brushes with boar bristles and horse hairs do work, but they're stiffer, coarser, and not as pleasant to the touch—and face—as badger hairs.

What do you soak your shaving brush in? ›

Mix solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Soak shaving brush. Allow the shaving brush to sit in a solution of water and vinegar for 30 secs to a few minutes. If you prefer, you can substitute borax for the vinegar.

Who makes the best Silvertip Badger shaving brush? ›

Parker Safety Razor has you covered if you are in the market for a premium shaving brush. This high-end brush boasts the highest grade 3-band silvertip badger hair and a faux-horn, chrome-plated handle that oozes style.

How do you disinfect a badger shaving brush? ›

Mix a solution made up of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water (if this is too strong this can be diluted) and then leave your shaving brush to soak for a further few minutes. Borax can also be used as a substitute to vinegar.

Why does my badger hair brush smell? ›

Shaving brush manufacturers sterilize the hair before they knot it into a handle, but sometimes this process fails to completely remove the animal odor from the hair. Usually, you can simply just lather and rinse the brush a few times using your regular shaving soap or cream, and that will wash out most of the smell.

How long does a badger shaving brush last? ›

Best badger hair shaving brushes range from light brown to gray in color. Best badger hair also has better water absorbing capabilities and a much softer feel than pure badger hair. They cost about $50 to $100 and last about 6 years.

Do synthetic shaving brushes last longer? ›

What About Synthetic Shaving Brushes? Fortunately, good quality synthetic shaving brushes are very longlasting. They are also much more durable than their less ethical animal hair-based counterparts.

Do you need to soak a synthetic shaving brush? ›


Unlike natural fibre, shaving brushes those made with synthetic fibre don't require soaking before use greatly speeding up your shave time.

What is the strongest badger? ›

The honey badger is notorious for its strength, ferocity and toughness. It is known to savagely and fearlessly attack almost any other species when escape is impossible, reportedly even repelling much larger predators such as lion and hyena.

Which is tougher wolverine or honey badger? ›

The wolverine's greater strength and powerful jaws and teeth would very likely enable it to overpower the honey badger. However, like the much more powerful leopards and lions it would very likely have a very hard time getting through the honey badger's hide. This would take it possibly hours to do.

What's the difference between honey badger and wolverine? ›

Key Differences Between a Wolverine and Honey Badger

Wolverines are larger than honey badgers, with longer snouts and shorter claws. Honey badgers are smaller than wolverines and they have longer claws. However, wolverines have longer legs and a longer snout compared to honey badgers, too.

What is the hardest part to shave? ›

Back. The back is the toughest area for hair removal when it comes to body grooming for men. It is difficult to see where you are shaving and to do it yourself you need a specific back shaver with a long handle.

What gives the cleanest shave? ›

The best way to get a clean shave is to shave it twice. You can go for a second round to make sure you have covered all the areas. In the first round, you can shave with the grain, and in the latter, you can opt for going against the grain.

What do drag queens use to shave? ›

“I use an electric razor first to get as close of a shave as possible,” he explained to me in an Instagram message. “I use a Wahl Electric Razor ($45). Use without a clipper to get as close to the skin as possible, but don't overdo it and stress your skin.” Wash thine face.

What kind of brush is least damaging? ›

A great hair brush to avoid breakage, a boar bristle brush is gentle on all hair types. One benefit of a boar brush is that it distributes your scalp oils to the rest of your hair, which protects and hydrates damaged strands.

How do I make my badger brush softer? ›

Soak your brush overnight in a bowl of water with about a tablespoon of salt. This will help soften the bristles and neutralize any "new brush smell" from the natural bristles. Make sure to rinse your brush thoroughly (this can take 3-4 minutes), then allow the excess water to drain.

What hair brush do the Kardashians use? ›

Are we overjoyed that Kim's secret weapon is super accessible? Absolutely! The Tangle Teezer brushes have thousands and thousands of perfect ratings thanks to their ability to gently untangle hair without causing any breakage.

What is Silvertip badger? ›

Silvertip Badger is the softest grade of badger. Many shaving enthusiasts will use nothing other than silvertip. Parker Silvertip brushes are extremely soft and are superior to many brands costing 4 to 5 times more money. The silvertips are best for those with sensitive skin because of their super soft bristles.

What is the best Silvertip badger brush? ›

Parker Safety Razor has you covered if you are in the market for a premium shaving brush. This high-end brush boasts the highest grade 3-band silvertip badger hair and a faux-horn, chrome-plated handle that oozes style.

What can I use instead of a badger shaving brush? ›

Thankfully, there is an alternative!

The alternative to badger hair is a synthetic shaving brush. The synthetic bristles are just as effective as animal hair, easy to look after and long-lasting.

Which are the best shaving brushes? ›

Badger hair shaving brushes are the best type you can buy, hands down. Soft and durable, badger hair is regarded by barbers around the world as the creme de la creme when it comes to performance and appearance. Badger hair brushes can last for years if cared for properly.


1. Why Every Man Should Use A Shave Brush! Shaving Brush Benefits For A Smooth Shaving Experience
(Pete & Pedro)
2. The Shaving Brush: How to Use, Store and Clean
3. Shaving Tips 101 - Using A Shave Brush
(Elliot Forbes)
4. How To Choose A Shaving Brush
5. How to Lather Shaving Soap - Wet Shaving Tips for Beginners
(Atlas Shaving)
6. 5 Good Reasons to Use Shaving Soap and Shaving Brush
(The Shaving Disciple)


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