Choosing a Shaving Brush.  Badger, Boar, Horse or Synthetic?


Badger Hair

The traditional favourite


Boar Bristle

Affordable alternative with its own following


Horse Hair

Unusual alternative, unique characteristics and animal-friendly



The modern choice, now on a par with natural products

Are you looking to buy your first shaving brush and bamboozled by all the choices?  Or perhaps looking to upgrade from your first brush?  Read on, hopefully we can clarify things for you!


No longer just a tiny yard brush!

Not that many years ago synthetic shaving brushes were made from crude nylon fibres and were more suited to cleaning your car wheels than preparing your face for shaving.
These days things have changed completely and quality synthetic brushes rival badger hair for softness and water retention, whilst also being more resistant to the effects of damp (e.g. when thrown into a wash bag without being properly dried out).
Names to look out for are Kent's "Silvertex" and Muhle's "Black Fibre" and "Silvertip Fibre"

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Synthetic Shaving Brushes


The Traditional Favourite

Badger hair has been used for centuries in the manufacture of high-quality shaving brushes due to its unique properties. One of the main advantages of badger hair is its ability to hold water, which makes it ideal for creating a rich lather with shaving cream or soap. The soft and flexible bristles of badger hair brushes also help to exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells and leaving it feeling soft and smooth. Badger hair is also highly durable and can withstand frequent use without losing its shape or texture.
Overall, badger hair shaving brushes offer a luxurious and traditional way to achieve a close and comfortable shave.

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Traditional, affordable alternative to badger hair.

Boar bristle shaving brushes have been a popular choice for many years, and for good reason. A key feature of boar bristles is their stiffness, which makes them ideal for exfoliating the skin and lifting facial hair for a closer shave, not mention picking up soap from a hard puck. Boar bristles, once broken in, also have natural split ends that help to hold water and create a rich lather with shaving cream or soap. They are also highly durable and can withstand frequent use without losing their shape or texture.
Boar bristle shaving brushes are an affordable option for those looking for a quality shaving brush and have their own devoted following.

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The animal-friendly natural choice 

If you have religious or animal welfare objections to badger or boar brushes, but fancy a natural product all the same, horse hair might just be for you. The hair is harvested from the mane or tail of the horse, leaving it totally unharmed.
With performance characteristics somewhere between badger hair and boar bristle, horse hair is a compelling choice.

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What about the brush handle material?  Does it matter?

Frankly, no, it doesn't.  Handle material is more of a personal, aesthetic choice and will make little difference to performance.

Having said that, it should be noted that wooden handles require more care than other materials.  They should not be soaked in water for any length of time, nor dropped.  Furthermore, paint finishes inevitably have a limited lifespan - but they can look great and generally are not too expensive.


Whatever cream, soap or gel you use, you'll get better results with a shaving brush

That's our final message - if you don't have a brush, just get one!
By all means spend money on one with stunning handle material, a unique style or top of the line knot, but if you're on a budget, just get something cheap.
A brush will both improve your lather and help to lift the hairs of your beard before shaving.  Once you go brush you won't go back!

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