A Primer On Choosing a Badger Brush

June 05, 2013

     Like all the tools in your wetshaving arsenal, the brush(or brushes- if you've got the fever) is a highly personal and customizable part of getting a smooth, comfortable shave. Most wetshavers use a badger hair brush, but there are also synthetic, boar bristle, and horse hair brushes to consider. In this post, I'm really just going to focus on the different grades of badger brushes and the attributes that set them apart from one another. 

      The place most new wetshavers start, is with the Pure Badger brush. The pure badger hair comes from a few different areas on the badger itself, and this grade is the least expensive. Our black badger brush is Pure Badger with the darkest hairs selected for the brush, giving it its signature look, and makes it a scrubbier, stiffer brush. The ends of the hairs are generally cut to shape on this type of brush, making the tips thicker and stiffer than the higher priced grades of badger. Some people upgrade from pure badger to a higher grade and never look back; personally, my black badger brush is my favorite brush to use with hard soaps and when lathering in a bowl. It does not hold as much water as my other brushes but the stiffness builds lather quickly and accumulates soap on the brush very easily. The scratchy texture of these brushes adds good exfoliating ability to the list of pros for such an inexpensive brush.

     The next grade to consider is Best Badger, these brushes are have a more distinct color change from knot to tip and they are considerably softer than Pure badger while still retaining some scrubbiness which makes them a great choice for soaps. The hair for these brushes is harvested mostly from the belly of the beast and they are a great choice for their price.

     Super Badger comes from the hair on the back of the badger and has a very soft feel because of how fine the tips are. You can judge the quality of the super badger knots by how distinct the banding of colors is and how white the top of the loft is. These brushes are more useful for creams and soft soaps, as they are very dense and hold a lot of water. 

     Silvertip Badger brushes are the softest, densest brushes available before you get into specialty grades reserved for custom brushes . 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. 

     Choosing the right brush for the job is part of the fun and variation of wetshaving, most people can't stop at just one brush as the experience with each type can be strikingly different. Also, as you use your brush, it will break in, bloom and become softer. Every brush is different and has it's own character. Next time, we will talk more about boar bristle, synthetic, and horse hair( and maybe camel hair) brushes. Enjoy your shave!




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