Modern men have simply been missing out.

Back in the day men used to wear cool hats, drive big cars and give themselves wet shaves with shaving brushes and soap, whipped up in a cool looking shaving bowl.

We got so used to being busy that we don’t do the simple things like taking time to do a proper wet shave with a high quality shaving brush.

Believe me when I tell you that we need to reclaim our time to do a proper shave just like our Granddad used to.

The best one, along with a high quality shaving soap and safety razor, makes the world of difference in your shave. Not only will you slow your day down by taking on a minimalist shaving routine, but your face will come out the winner here.

In this article, I’ll get into all the reasons to use a shaving brush, how to use one and reviews of the best shaving brushes for the money.

If you just popped in to get a quick idea of what shaving brush you should buy, then check out the handy buying guide below. Everybody else that needs more information before committing can keep scrolling to read up on all the info you need to buy your first shaving brush.

Luxury
kent silvertip brush
  • Kent BLK12 Traditional Silver Tip Badger Shaving Brush
  • Bristles:
    Silvertip
  • Softness:
    ★★★★★
  • Best For:
    A luxurious shave and a brush that will last a long time to come
  • Price:
    $$$$
Gentle
parker silvertip brush
  • Parker 100% Silvertip Badger Bristle Shaving Brush
  • Bristles:
    Silvertip
  • Softness:
    ★★★★★
  • Best For:
    Gentle on sensitive skin but still makes an excellent lather
  • Price:
    $$$
Cheap
vikings blade shaving brush
  • VIKINGS BLADE Best Badger Hair Brush
  • Bristles:
    Best Badger
  • Softness:
    ★★★★
  • Best For:
    When you are on a budget but still want a high quality shaving
  • Price:
    $
Budget
edwin jagger shaving brush
  • Edwin Jagger Best Badger Shaving Brush
  • Bristles:
    Best Badger
  • Softness:
    ★★★★
  • Best For:
    When you are on a budget but don’t want the cheapest out there you can still get a high quality brush
  • Price:
    $$
Synthetic
parker synthetic shaving brush
  • Parker Safety Razor Synthetic Shaving Brush
  • Bristles:
    Synthetic
  • Softness:
    ★★★★
  • Best For:
    Great for any vegan, Halal or badger friendly shavers since it is animal cruelty free
  • Price:
    $
Boar
omega boar shaving brush
  • Omega Boar Bristle Shaving Brush aka the Pro
  • Bristles:
    Boars Hair
  • Softness:
    ★★★
  • Best For:
    Great for when you really want to exfoliate the skin
  • Price:
    $

Benefits of Using the Best Kind of Shaving Brushes

The key to a good shave, no, the best shave, is to do a wet shave. Using a gel or foam out of an aerosol can is only a good idea when you only have a few minutes to shave. If you want to get serious about shaving and see what a real shave feels like then you need to try wet shaving.

The most essential part of the wet shave is to get your skin and whiskers properly lathered up with a good soap that is soaked with hot water. The only way to do that is with the best shaving brush.

The best shaving brush can whip up a quality shave soap that will create a rich lather that will moisturize the skin, soak the beard and lubricate for a smooth shave with a safety razor.

Why is that important? It’s crucial for a close shave. When your skin is hydrated, the razor blade is able to do its job because it glides over the skin. With less drag, it is less dangerous and you are far less at risk of getting nicked.

When your stubble is properly hydrated it gets soft making it much easier for the blade to cut it cleanly. A cleanly cut hair follicle is less likely to get snagged on the skin as it grows out since the cut is smooth. This greatly reduces the risk of ingrown hairs.

The other huge benefit is that the beard hairs get lifted up away from the skin by using a brush. This gets the razor right down to the base of the follicle getting way closer than any cartridge or disposable razor possibly could.

Lastly the brush helps to gently exfoliate the skin to allow the oils from the shaving soap to penetrate and leave the skin healthier than before the shave. Many shaving creams have moisturizers and essential oils to help repair the skin so this exfoliation will get your skin back to its former glory very quickly. And, definitely, do not forget about your post shave routine by using an aftershave balm that will replenish your skin’s moisture as well as repair the damage to the outer layer of skin. Check out our guide to giving yourself a wet shave.

Types of Shaving Brushes

The first thing to understand about the different types of shaving brushes is that there are different materials used for the bristles. Badger hair, boars bristles, horse hair and synthetic. Which one is best is really up to personal preference but badger hair brushes are widely considered to be the most comfortable to use and do a great job at absorbing and retaining water as well as keeping it hot. There is a lot to know about badger hair brushes so I will go into detail about the different types last.

Boars Bristles

Brushes made out of boars bristles are either a love’em or hate’em type of deal. They are rigid and can be rough on the face. They definitely exfoliate, though! I am in the hate’em camp. I have sensitive skin and if you do too then you may want to steer well clear of them.

The people that love them actually like the rough feeling and the fact that they last for a very long time with little to no shedding.

It all boils down to personal preference and unfortunately, there is no way to know if you’re going to prefer a soft badger hair bristle or a rougher boar’s hair until you try one. If you are on a budget then luckily, these are very economical. You don’t have to spend much only to find out that you aren’t actually too crazy about boar bristle.

The downside to these brushes aside from the roughness of the bristle is that they absorb a lot of water and take a while to dry out. If your bathroom is very humid, then you may find it gets a little funky smelling after a while and will need to be shampooed.

Horse Hair

These are a little harder to find, and to be honest, I have never used one. So I will keep this section brief as I can’t say much about them due to lack of experience. Just know that they are available and can be quite soft.

The nice thing about horse hair compared to boar and badger bristle is that the horse isn’t killed for the hair. They need their mane’s trimmed occasionally anyway so the hair is put to good use as a shaving brush. If your issue is with the brush being ethically harvested, then this may be a good alternative since it is not cruel.

Synthetic

Made of nylon that has been treated to act and look like badger hair are the new generation of synthetic shaving brushes.

Though there are some good ones on the market, and I will include the best one in the review section, the not so good ones are pretty bad. They sometimes create what are called “doughnut holes” in the biz. When the bristles flay outward when applying the lather they leave an area right in the center of where it’s applied to be empty of lather, looking like doughnuts.

Synthetics are becoming more popular as vegans that want to get into wet shaving now have an option. They aren’t just for vegans, though as many people are seeking out animal cruelty free shaving brushes that don’t hurt or kill animals to get their fur.

Another benefit is that synthetic brushes dry out faster than hair brushes.

Badger Hair

The classic shaving brush is made out of badger hair. The reason badger hair is the go to material is that it has all the perfect qualities to do a wet shave. They absorb water very well, better than any other type of shave brush. They retain that water, so you can get a properly wet shaving lather that gets the skin and beard very soaked. And, it retains the heat of the water well so you can keep the lather from cooling down too quickly keeping the pores open.

Apart from the synthetic brushes, they also dry much faster than others so they are far simpler to maintain and resist that funky smell some animal hair brushes tend to have.

There are different grades of badger hair for shaving brushes. Pure, best, super and silvertip. What are the difference between them?

Pure

Pure is the lowest grade available. Generally made from the hair on the belly it is more coarse than the other types. Pure badger hair brushes are great for people on a budget as they are the least expensive. Don’t get too cheap though as a good quality pure badger brush can be very good. There is a difference.

When you go for the cheapest brush around then expect some shedding. Any natural brush is going to shed, but it shouldn’t be more than a few hairs per shave and after some use, then none at all. Cheap brushes are usually made by cutting corners so the knot may not have been as tightly packed as possible.

Since they exfoliate better than the other types of badger hair brushes, I think they work best for guys with oily skin. This brush will effectively clean out the pores better than a softer one would.

And it will still feel very soft if you get the right one.

Best

Best is good but not the best. We’ll get to what is actually the best in a second. Best badger shaving brush is the next grade up from Pure. In general, they can retain water better as the hair is more porous and softer than Pure. You will definitely feel how much softer if you ever try the two back to back. They can be much more expensive than Pure, but to many they are worth the extra dollars.

Now, the cheapest Best brush may end up being a great deal better than the cheapest Pure brush, but it may not be better then the most expensive Pure.

If I had a choice where my budget was limited between the most expensive Pure and the cheapest Best, I would go for the Pure in this case. If my budget allowed me to spend a little more freely then I would get the best Best brush I could over the best Pure.

The bristles have more backbone even though they are softer. The manufacturing is superior so there is less shedding. And the density is perfect for loading the brush with water without it being too wet.

Super

These are much harder to find than any of the other types so I will keep it brief once again. I have never tried a Super badger brush.

The odd thing is that Super are actually made out of the Pure bristles, but are the softest and highest quality that have been sorted from Pure badger hairs.

So, why are they more expensive than Pure brushes? This sorting. Not every hair is going to be the same, so tucked in among the Pure bristles will be some that are superior. Sorting them by hand to find the best of the bunch is time consuming and can’t be done by a machine.

These bristles are stiffer than the Best bristles so those looking for good backbone will be happy with that. Plus, they are ideal at loading just the right amount of water.

Silvertip

The Cadillac of badger hair brushes. These are made of the finest of the first cut hairs from the back of the badger. They are the softest and most porous of the hairs, so they are really top notch at retaining water. They feel luxurious on the face and are great at creating a perfect lather.

If you have sensitive skin then this is the ideal grade of shaving brush for you. Soft enough to not exfoliate too much but with enough structure to make an exquisite lather.

Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, these are so soft that you may just want to spoil yourself with one anyway. Here’s nothign wrong with adding some luxury in your life.

Are silvertip badger hair shave brushes worth it? To some they certainly are. That said, you can get a superior shave with any of the other grades so it depends on how much you want to pamper yourself when you shave and at what cost is it worth it for that extra bit of luxury. Check out a list of the Best Kind of Shaving Brush Sets here.

How to Choose a Shaving Brush

Besides the material used for the best shaving brush hairs, there are a few other things to know. Knot

Equally as important as the hair of the brush is the knot. The knot is the part where the bristles are loaded into the handle. How many can fit in there will determine how much it will cost just as much as what type of hair is used. If you see a very cheap brush, chances are it has a small knot and the hair is not densely packed. Measured in millimeters, knot sizes range from around 20mm to 30mm. A good rule of thumb is to pick something in the middle, unless you are ready to spend for the larger knot sizes.

The knot is important in a couple of ways. One, a nicely packed knot will reduce the amount of shedding. Shedding is not only annoying when you have to pick fibers off of your face while you shave, but also reduces the lifespan of your brush.

Second, the density of the knot has a lot to do with water retention. There is more surface tension in high density knots so you can get the right amount of water to form a great lather. There is such a thing as too much water in your lather, so a dense knot is good for more experienced wet shavers.

Loft

This is simply the height of the bristles. If you’ve ever spent any time in a wet shave online forum, you no doubt have seen how heated it can get over what the proper loft is. Suffice it to say it is really a matter of personal preference. I personally like something with a middle loft and one than fans out most when dry. I feel like I can cover more ground with one that fans out.

How to know what loft is best for you?

Here are a couple of considerations.

If you have a large face, then a higher loft is good for you. It splays out a lot so it will be faster at covering more ground more quickly. A high loft on a small face may be tricky to maneuver without being uncomfortable.

The size of your bowl also matters. A mug will be hard to use to make a good lather if your loft is too high. Likewise a really big bowl will have too much space for a small loft to get lost in.

A general rule of thumb is that small loft brushes work better with shaving soap discs whereas a higher loft is good with shaving creams out of a tube.

These are all generalities however and your mileage may vary. Again, this is a topic that gets a lot of traction on forums as everybody has an expert opinion but personal preference rules the day.

Bulb

This is the section of the handle that contours out. Again, there is no perfect bulb size. Larger hands will need larger bulbs and smaller hands small ones.

Guide to the Best Type of Shaving Brushes Reviewed and Compared

Best Luxury Shaving Brush

Kent BLK12 Traditional Silver Tip Badger Shaving Brush

 

Kent is well known and highly regarded for any of the grades of badger hair brushes they make.

If you are looking for top of the line then look no further as this Kent silvertip badger hair brush is as good as they come. Yes, it is quite expensive, but this will last you a decade. Without a doubt this is the best shaving brush for face lathering.

The loft of the brush is 64mm and the knot is an incredible 30mm. This is about as large a shaving brush as you can find.

Not only is the knot big to hold a lot of fine badger hair, it is also very well constructed. You will not be picking the shedding hairs from your face after lathering as you would with cheaper shave brushes.

The tips of the hair are very soft and feel luxurious on the face. There is just the right amount of backbone, or rigidity. It has just enough stiffness to whip up a very good lather quickly.

After lathering the face it springs right back into shape. There is no better brush to apply the lather and really control how it goes on than with this Kent best shaving brush. The wide knot makes it ideal at holding tons of shaving cream. This will get you a minimum of four passes without needing to reload.

The handle is resin and feels great in the hand. Very easy to handle.

Adding to the luxury is the red felt lined case that it comes in.

The only negative is that it doesn’t  come with a stand. A stand is essential to prolong the life of your best shaving brush. Luckily Kent makes a stand just for their brushes from Amazon.com.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Top of the line silvertip
  • Price
  • Huge size
  • Dense, large knot at 30mm
  • Nice backbone

Shaving Brush for Sensitive Skin

Parker 100% Silvertip Badger Bristle Shaving Brush

 

Guys with sensitive skin really love using silvertip badger best shaving brushes since the soft tips are so gentle on the skin. The typical cost of a fine silvertip brush puts it out of reach for most men.

Luckily, Parker makes a very affordable top of the line silvertip brush.

With a 20mm knot. It has just the right amount of hair density to grab a good amount of lather and let you work it into your face. The tips are very soft as I mentioned, but it still has some backbone to it. Not quite as rigid as a more expensive silvertip would have, but it does the job admirably.

Water retention is very high to make sure your face is well soaked making much faster work of getting the lather and prep done before you take blade to skin.

The handle is quite solid and a bit on the heavy side. It is well balanced and provides a nice grip for your best shaving brush.

Shedding is not an issue with this best shaving brush. Once in a while you may find a stray hair, and usually just in the initial few days of use. After that this should stand up to years of daily shaving.

As a bonus this comes with its own stand to properly store your best shaving brush.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Soft silvertip
  • Small knot
  • Great price
  • Gentle on the skin
  • Makes a great lather

Best Cheap Shaving Brush

VIKINGS BLADE Best Badger Hair Brush

 

Yes, there are cheaper shaving brushes out there. But none of them feature fine Best grade badger hair like this one. For less than $35 I don’t know what else you could ask for. This will easily last three to five years of daily use, which makes it the best value you can get from a shaving brush.

Though the early editions of this shaving brush were prone to shedding and tangling, they managed to sort out the problem and now their best badger brush barely sheds at all. Even in the beginning when you first get it and should expect some shedding, this one stays pretty tight.

Being made of Best grade badger hair means this retains a lot of water. It whips up a very nice thick lather in no time. It retains the heat from the water, so it goes on silky smooth and warm.

The knot is 28 mm so you get a nice, dense head of lather that will last at least two passes.

The handle is an elegant looking obsidian black resin with a base of Swedish aloy in a chrome like finish. Overall the bulb and weight of the brush are very good and balanced.

There is one downside to this best shaving brush, however.

It takes a wash before you use it to rid it of a bit of a funky badger smell. This is quite normal for a lot of best shaving brushes, so don’t think you got a defective one. It’s just the more expensive ones generally have the smell taken care of before you get it.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Great price
  • Needs initial washing
  • Best Grade Badger Hair
  • Doesn’t come with stand
  • Very soft
  • Dense knot of 28mm
  • Solid and elegant handle

Shaving Brush Under $50

Edwin Jagger Best Badger Shaving Brush

 

If you have been reading anything about wet shaving you surely have seen some Edwin Jagger products and already recognize it as a top brand in the traditional shaving game.

It’s hard to believe, then, that you can get a Best badger hair brush from a high end brand for under $50. That is a lot of value right there.

What I love about this best shaving brush is that you can be looking for a budget shaving brush and still end up with a high quality product.

Knot size is 22mm so at the bottom end of the spectrum and the reason they can charge less for this best shaving brush. This isn’t a bad thing, but you sacrifice some of the density of the lather for the quality of the badger hair. Just something to keep in mind.

There will be a bit of shedding of hair the first few shaves, but after that it will definitely hold up for a few years. Especially if you drip dry it on the included stand.

This best shaving brush stirs up a very nice lather that is not too thick and not too thin. There is some nice backbone to the bristles to get the lather going quickly. And it feels so soft on the face. You should be able to get 3 passes without reloading.

To nitpick just a bit, especially considering that you are still paying a few buck for this best shaving brush is that it is a bit on the light side. This comes down to personal preference, of course, but I like a bit more heft on a brush.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Great price
  • Lightweight handle
  • Best grade badger hair
  • Elegant aesthetics
  • Lathers very well

Best Synthetic Shaving Brush

Parker Safety Razor Synthetic Shaving Brush

 

If you’re a vegan or are just looking for a badger friendly way to shave without that guilty feeling then this a very good synthetic shaving brush.

It looks like an actual badger hair brush and in some ways even feels like one on the skin. The bristles are very soft, with some decent backbone.

It does take a little bit longer to get the lather to the right consistency and it doesn’t retain as much water as a badger hair brush. If you have never used a badger hair brush, then you really won’t feel like you are missing anything.

A good benefit to using synthetic is how much faster it dries compared to badger or boar. This is especially handy if you want to use this as a travel shaving brush. Another great side benefit is that these synthetic brushes don’t need any time to get rid of any funky animal smell.

The knot is 20mm and does feature some nice density to it. The handle is weighty, made out of a solid feeling resin and the bulb feels just right in just about any hand.

The price is more than right for this best shaving brush. For less than $30 to get a best shaving brush that doesn’t shed, makes a great lather, looks very attractive,is well balanced and, to top it all off, didn’t hurt an animal to make? That sounds pretty good to me.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Badger friendly
  • Doesn’t retain water well
  • Great price
  • Nice backbone
  • Quick drying
  • Includes brush stand

Best Boar Bristle Shaving Brush

Omega Boar Bristle Shaving Brush aka the Pro

.

As far as boar bristles go, the ones used for this brush are pretty soft. If you have sensitive skin, however, they will feel quite rough. But, there are rougher boar bristle brushes out there.

Cut from the finest and softest hair of the wild boar, Omega has made a decent brush that can compete with some of the Pure badger hair brushes on the market.

They have a nice backbone that does well whipping up a thick lather. Water retention is a bit of an issue, but, just as with a synthetic brush, if you have never used a good badger hair brush you won’t feel like this is a problem.

If you like extra exfoliation when you brush the lather on your face, then you will like the slightly rough texture of the hairs.

The handle has an ever so slight bulb so it will fit into just about any hand. The look is polished and has an old school barber feel to it.

All in all, a pretty solid boars hair shaving brush, especially considering the low price. One thing to note, is that if it feels a bit too rough and stiff at first, give it a few shaves as it needs some time to break in.

You'll love it for theseBut you won't like these
  • Made in Italy
  • Needs breaking in
  • Soft boar bristles
  • Great price
  • Nice backbone

How to Clean a Shaving Brush

Whether you spent a lot or a little for your shaving brush, you want to get many years out of it before needing to replace it. The best way to prolong the life of your shaving brush is to keep it clean. How to know when you need to wash your brush Actually as soon as you get the brush you should wash it. This is especially true if you have a badger hair or boars hair brush. They can smell a fit funny and need to be washed before use to get rid of the wild animal smell. If you have had your brush a while, then the tell-tale sign it is time to wash it is when you notice it is working harder than normal to get a good lather going. Another sign is that it doesn’t feel so soft on the face anymore. You probably have residue left on the bristles that is impacting the performance. Here are some tips on how to wash your shaving brush and keep it working great and smelling better. Give it a shampoo If you just got your brush or notice it needs a wash then give it a shampoo. If you have some pet shampoo then it makes sense to use it on an animal hair brush. Start by adding a small dab of shampoo onto the wet bristles. Work it into a lather all throughout the bristles working your way from the tips all the way down to the knot. Once it is washed, rinse it in warm water. Fill a bowl or mug with warm water and rest the bristles in there for about 5 minutes. Vinegar Dump the water in the mug and then refill with warm water again but this time add a teaspoon of vinegar. White distilled vinegar works best as it doesn’t leave a scent like cider or wine vinegar would. Add your brush and let it rest there for another five minutes. Brush it around the mug to make sure all the bristles are getting the vinegar solution. Let it dry Shake out the water and gently press between your fingers to squeeze the water out. Don’t use a towel here as it will tangle and damage the bristles. Hang it upside down on a stand and put it out somewhere where it can dry quickly to prevent mildew from forming. Hanging it upside down is essential as it needs to water to drip away from the base where it can damage the knot. FAQ about Best Shaving Brushes Q: Are badgers killed to make shaving brushes? A: The badgers are, indeed, killed. However, they are not just killed for the bristles. Most of the badgers used for shaving brushes are from China, where not only are they eaten, but they are culled since they do a lot of damage to crops there. Q: How long does a shaving brush last? A: It depends on a few factors, but a general rule of thumb is that a cheap badger hair brush will last 2 or 3 years. Stepping up in quality means adding years to how long it lasts. A top of the line brush can last 10 years or more if it is built well. How the knot is made and what grade of bristles matters. If the bristles are made of silvertip and the manufacturer makes the knot by hand with a high density of bristles, then the longer it will last. Make sure you wash your best shaving brush occasionally and keep it in a dry spot. Q: Do I need to have a shaving brush stand? A: It isn’t totally necessary, but if you want your brush to last a long time then you should have one. By drying your brush upside down it dries faster and it prevents the knot from getting water damage.

Final Thoughts on the Best Kind of Shaving Brushes

The length of this article might make it seem like there is a lot to understand about the best shaving brushes. While there are some wet shaving enthusiasts that can talk for hours about the intricacies of their favorite shaving brush, the reality is that for the first time wet shaver or somebody looking to upgrade their shaving brush, it is not that complicated. In fact the point of this article is to help you make an informed decision when you set out to buy a shaving brush to make sure you get the right one for your budget and needs. If there is anything else you need to know, don’t hesitate to ask by dropping a comment below. Do you have a best shaving brush that is not on the list? Let us know as we would love to know about it.

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