Discover The Alpha Men's shaving brushes. From classic shaving brushes with badger hair to modern brushes with synthetic hair.
What is a shaving brush?
A shaving brush is a brush that is used for "wet" shaving. Wet shaving is shaving with shaving soap and a razor (preferably a safety razor ). This is the opposite of "dry" shaving where one uses only a shaver. With a shaving brush you can create a creamy lather, making shaving easier and more comfortable. The foam that the brush produces moisturizes the beard hairs, making them softer and easier to shave. The foam also applies a protective layer to the skin, making it easier for the blade to glide over the skin and preventing shaving irritations.
History of the shaving brush
The history of the shaving brush as we know it today began in France, around 1750. The material and quality of the brushes varied enormously. For example, boar or horse hair was used for the cheap brushes and badger hair was already used for the more expensive brushes. Around 1800, the traditional shape of a shaving brush was created where you could easily hold it between your thumb and forefinger, which ensured that people could shave at home and no longer had to go to the hairdresser. Handles were made of ivory, crystal, porcelain, gold and silver. A shaving brush became a status symbol; an expensive brush was a way to show how wealthy you were.
What types of shaving brushes are there?
“Wet” shaving is very popular nowadays and the demand for shaving brushes is therefore very high. Due to the high demand, many types of brushes are offered. This can make it very difficult to choose a good shaving brush. To clarify the choice between the different shaving brushes, we have listed the different types of brushes for you.
Badger hair shaving brushes
Badger hair shaving brushes are generally the most popular type of shaving brushes out there. Badger bristles are very soft, absorb a lot of moisture and produce a rich lather, which ensures a comfortable shave and a perfect shave. Badger hairs are more difficult to obtain and are therefore a lot more expensive than pig and synthetic brush hairs. The badger hairs last a very long time and are divided into three categories:
Silvertip badger hair (Silvertip Badger)
The absolute top in badger hair. Silvertip is characterized by its shiny silver color and the black band that runs through the hair. Silvertip comes from the neck and back of the badger, the hairs are specially selected and checked before passing as silvertip brush hairs. The hair is very soft and has a high foaming capacity due to its enormous moisture retention. These characteristics make the bristles very popular for shaving brushes and can only be found on the highest quality shaving brushes.
Fine badger hair (Best Badger or Fine Badger)
The badger brushes are slightly stiffer than the silver tip. The hairs for these brushes come from the back and one at a time from the belly of the badger. Unlike the bristles of the silvertip, these brushes are assembled mechanically by Muhle. Although the bristles are the second choice, they remain the high quality fine badger hair brushes. The brushes have a very good moisture absorption so that they are able to produce a full foam.
Graudas badger hair (Pure Badger)
Grauda's hair comes from the belly of the badger. The graudas brushes are the third quality brushes made from badger hair. Nevertheless, these brushes are still of high quality, because the belly of the tie simply contains more hair, these brushes are cheaper in price than the fine tie and the silver tip. The hairs are a bit stiffer and absorb a little less moisture. They still have a nice skin feel and produce a rich lather.
Synthetic shaving brushes
For those who do not want to use animal products, there are synthetic hairs. The synthetic hairs are between badger and pig hair in terms of price. The synthetic hairs absorb enough moisture to produce a good foam and can no longer be distinguished from badger hair in terms of softness. An advantage of a synthetic shaving brush is that it dries very quickly and that the bristles are perfect for people with acne and sensitive skin.
Pig bristle shaving brushes
A boar hair shaving brush is a lot cheaper than a brush with badger hair. Pig hairs are thicker, stronger and stiffer than badger hairs and therefore feel a lot less comfortable than badger hairs. An advantage of these hairs is that they produce more foam faster. After you use the brush for a while, the bristles will wear out a bit and become softer, making them feel better. The bristles are naturally white to yellow in color but are sometimes dyed to give it the appearance of badger hair. Pig bristles are easy to obtain for a very affordable price.
What is the best shaving brush?
This is personal for everyone. We ourselves know a wide variety of enthusiasts who buy a badger hair shaving brush because it works best for them. But such a large fan base also warms up to both the pig and horsehair variant.
However, we now notice that the synthetic shaving brush is on the rise. The quality is now so good that the difference between a shaving brush with badger hair or the fiber is nil. So if you want the best for animals, you should go for the fiber variant.
What kind of hair on a shaving brush is best?
This is also very personal. What do you find most comfortable. Buying a shaving brush with synthetic hair is increasingly our preference. Synthetic shaving brushes are so good these days that they are almost indistinguishable from badger hair. The only major difference is that the synthetic hairs absorb less moisture than the badger hairs. An advantage of synthetic hairs absorbing less moisture is that they dry faster than badger hairs. Synthetic hairs are well suited for people with acne, sensitive skin and of course for people who do not use natural products.
How do you use a shaving brush?
Most shaving brushes, provided they are used and maintained properly, will last a very long time. Below you can see in steps how to use a shaving brush properly.
- Wet the bristles of the brush with lukewarm water.
- Tap the excess water from the brush, the brush should be damp but not soaking wet.
- Take a small shaving soap or shaving cream in your shaving bowl.
- Beat this with the brush to a good foam.
- Apply this to the areas to be shaved and let the foam work for a while.
- Start shaving.
- Rinse with lukewarm water and rinse the brush thoroughly and make sure that there are no soap residues left in the bristles.
How do you maintain a shaving brush?
If you want to enjoy your shaving brush for a long time, you must also properly maintain it in addition to using it properly. If you maintain your shaving brush properly, you will notice that it lasts a very long time and stays good. Below you can see a number of points that you should pay attention to when maintaining your brush.
- Always wet your shaving brush with lukewarm water, as hot water can damage the bristles of the brush.
- After use, rinse the shaving brush thoroughly to prevent soap residue between the hairs that can become moldy.
- Always knock the remaining water out of the brush, because when you squeeze and water out you damage the hair.
- After rinsing, hang the brush upside down in a holder, so that the remaining moisture can still flow out and you prevent mold and hair loss.
- When applying the foam, apply a little pressure, but do not press the bristles flat on your skin.
- Use a good quality shaving soap or cream, cheap soaps from the supermarket, for example, are very bad for your brush and cause hair loss.
- Store the brush upside down in one shaving brush holder in a dry place.
- Do not keep a brush loose in a toiletry bag.
How do you recognize poor maintenance?
Now that you know how to properly maintain your brush, you naturally also want to know whether you maintain your brush properly. And whether your brush needs to be replaced. Below you can see a number of characteristics that indicate that the brush has not been properly maintained or that it needs to be replaced:
- Brush bristles break or fall out spontaneously
- Mold develops in the brush
- The bristles feel greasy and/or sticky
- When you iron your hands over the dry hair, a dust cloud is created
How long does a shaving brush last?
If you observe the above maintenance, you can use a good shaving brush for a very long time. Ten to fifteen years are certainly no exceptions. Provided you go for a durable and good quality. The low-quality brushes from the local drugstore are of course a completely different story.
- Silvertip – 10 years or more
- Super badger – up to 10 years
- Best badger – 6 years
- Pure badger – 3 years
Is it normal for my brush bristles to come loose?
In principle, the bristles of a brush should not come loose. It can of course happen that a hair comes loose and some brushes let some hairs loose in the beginning. Is your brush releasing a lot of hair or are you not quite sure if it is right? Then you can contact us.
Where can I buy a shaving brush?
Look, you can buy shaving brushes at any drugstore, so to speak. However, if you want a wide choice of quality instruments, it is best to buy shaving brushes in a specialist shop. There you will find a wide choice of the best shaving brushes .
And if you have any questions about the functionality, you can always inquire first. Of course we welcome you!
In addition to purchasing a good shaving brush, we are also happy to advise you on the differences between shaving soap, cream, oil, gel & foam . Just as important!
What to look for when buying a shaving brush?
In any case, make sure that you also purchase a shaving brush holder in addition to a good shaving brush. With this instrument you can hang the brush upside down so that the bristles dry faster and the soap residues plus the water do not absorb into (the glue of) the holder.
Of course you can make it as crazy as you want. From porcelain holders to chic stainless steel. Choose a shaving brush that best suits your skin and your budget. Is your skin sensitive? Then we would not easily opt for the rough shaving brush with pig hair.
Considering buying a shaving brush? For the novice shaver up to and including the pros, the shaving brush is an indispensable attribute, in addition to a good shaving soap and the best razor . And then of course we mean the safety razor with the double edge blades on board. Or, for die-hard shaving fanatics who use a real shavette .
With the right shaving set you can take optimal care of yourself. And that's the point. Fortunately, there is a wide choice of fine shaving brushes. Also vegan versions with which you no longer have to worry about animal welfare.