To truly master the art of the traditional wet shave and to ensure the smoothest and closest possible shave then you need more than just an excellent razor and a fantastic luxuriously lathering shaving soap. You also need an old-school brush, like the kind that your great-grandfather would have had on its own stand in his monochrome bathroom. There’s a reason why professional barbers still use them and why your great-grandfather loved his so much and it’s not just about the drama and theatre they deliver. They really are effective and have so many advantages that it would be sacrilege not to have one in your own grooming kit. Of course, there are hundreds out there to choose from including badger hair and synthetic versions. So we’re going to pick out our best shaving brush recommendations to present you with some fantastic options. Hopefully, there will be something on this list that meets your own exacting requirements and convinces you once and for all to ditch the electric groomer and to go back to those retro-style barber shop techniques that deliver such sensational results.
The Best Shaving Brushes
We’re kicking off our Best Shaving Brush review with a great recommendation from Vikings Blade that has been made with synthetic fibers but designed to emulate the look and feel of more expensive silvertip badger bristles. They’ve managed to pull it off pretty impressively as it goes and this is an elegant looking shaving brush at a fraction of the price you’d expect to pay for one featuring badger hair. It also features a heavy and stylish looking stainless steel base that gives it a good weight when operating. Great design aesthetics aside, those bristles really are exceptional at retaining water and creating a creamy textured lather plus it performs just as well in regions suffering from hard water too. The handle is acrylic, designed to look like tusk and can be purchased in either cream or black both of which look exceptional. Vikings Blade Luxury Shaving Brush is excellent at withstanding wear and tear and delivers a fantastic fuss-free shaving experience. A great cost-effective option and also a product that would make a superb grooming gift idea.
Parker are traditionalists when it comes to honoring the wet shave and this Silvertip bristle badger hair brush from their collection is among the finest you can own. Silvertip badger bristles do arguably make the most sensational material for a shaving brush being supremely soft and manageable and with the ability to hold a tremendous amount of water. All of that makes for a beautiful lather which will make the job of shaving closer that more enjoyable not to mention deliver your closest shave yet. The bristles in this Parker Best Shaving Brush are lighter in color at the top and also feature that distinct black band around the middle. Unlike many other rougher textured bristles, this means you have a minimum breaking in time and can experience a comfortable and close shave from day one. The softness of the bristles in no way takes away from their toughness though, and when it comes to longevity, you can expect to get many years or service from your Parker Silvertip brush.
Those softer style bristles do make this an excellent recommendation for more sensitive skin types too and the brush also has a very low shed rate so you won’t end up with bald patches of bristles. The brush handle itself is also very elegant, featuring handmade craftsmanship and perfectly fits into the palm of your hand for a comfortable and contoured hold. It’s also supplied with a drip stand to ensure proper drying, storage, and maintenance of your brush. Packaged in a presentation box, it really does make a fabulous and unique gift idea for any discerning and dapper gent in your life (or for a treat to yourself of course!) Make sure you also check our guide to the best safety razors.
We’re going to Sheffield in the North of England for our next shaving brush recommendation which comes from Edwin Jagger. Founded in 1988 the brand really knows how to honor and respect the gentlemanly mastery of the wet shave and has a whole range of truly exceptional accessories for the perfect wet shave including this incomparable badger hair shaving brush and drip stand. It surely must be one of the very best badger brushes that’s currently available on the market which is little surprise given the credentials of the company manufacturing it.
Let’s talk a little bit about that hair. All Edwin Jagger brushes are made from a sustainable European source of badger hair known as the Meles Meles badgers. This type of bristle has been used for hundreds of years by many brands because of it’s fantastic ability to absorb water. Combined with superior shave cream or soap, there is nothing that can work up a better or more luxurious lather than badger bristles. It’s not just the use of badger hair that makes this Edwin Jagger shaving brush such an excellent choice. It’s also the artistry and craftsmanship that has gone into this product which has been hand-made, combining the latest technology with the very best in skilled workmanship. The brush is a little shorter than some of the others on our review today, but we like that close grip feeling in the hand which it delivers. It’s comfortable and provides great control plus it’s the perfect size for traveling. Better still, it does come with its own drip stand which means that you can leave your Edwin Jagger Best Badger Brush on the side after using it and allow it to hang dry. Always make sure that you have thoroughly rinsed away any excess shaving cream or shaving soap first before you hang up your brush. All in all, a most excellent badger brush that you will love to use.
We’re taking a look next at one of the best shaving brushes made from synthetic fibers and which is firmly in the budget-friendly end of the market. If you are firmly against animal cruelty, then synthetic is the way to go for absolute peace of mind, and you’re not always compromising on quality either as so much has been done to improve the quality of synthetic brushes so that they have great performance when it comes to delivering a rich lather. With its uniquely designed, bold and ergonomic grip handle too, this Haircut and Shave Co brush really has a retro barbershop look about it. It certainly won’t slip out of your hand when you are using it and has a smooth finish which is a joy to hold and use. The bristles themselves hold plenty of water but are also fast drying and brush helps to exfoliate the skin further. For a clean and smooth wet shave, this is a great synthetic style shaving brush. Be sure to combine this with a cool shaving bowl from our list.
Our next Best Shaving Brush from Proraso is neither badger nor synthetic, instead, this one is made from another popular animal bristle, often found in beard brushes and that is all natural boar hair. Made in Bologna, Italy, using Proraso Professional Shaving Brush is like stepping into a traditional Italian barber shop and in many instances, this is exactly the brush that you will find them using. It delivers an incredible wet shaving experience yet is very inexpensive. You would be hard pressed to find such a superior brush even if you spent significantly more money. It’s complemented by a highly attractive and durable colored ABS handle which is lightweight and easy to operate. The use of boar hair gives this brush its characteristically longer and stiffer look and feel and with a bit of energy on your part, you can really create a fantastic soapy lather. A true staple of Italian culture and bound to take pride of place among your wet shaving accessories. For best results, use one of the shaving creams from our list.
This simple yet elegant synthetic shaving brush from the Body Shop collection has been specifically designed to create a good amount of creamy lather and to maximize the effects of your shaving cream. It’s super soft to the touch and is made from cruelty-free synthetic hair but without compromising on quality. It also features a beautiful and very classic looking dark wood handle with the logo printed on the side. Made from Community Trade Russian birch wood as well as those animal-free soft style bristles The Body Shop Men’s Wooden Shaving Brush is one for the animal and the grooming lovers among you, as well as those who love to shave with razors.
We’re back to badger hair again for our Best Shaving Brush review which comes from Maison Lambert. This brush makes a fantastic gift idea, and they even offer personalized engraving to make it truly even more unique. It’s a heavy and manly feeling brush of exceptional quality and should last you for many years to come. Made from the finest Silvertip badger bristles, look after it correctly and always ensure you thoroughly dry your brush after each shave and you can expect it to last you a lifetime. To assist you in maintain and caring correctly for your Maison Lambert brush it also comes with a stand. Presented in a beautiful gift box and with a faux horn handle with silver hardware detailing it really is an elegant and exquisite looking badger shaving brush.
Finally, from Baxter of California, we complete your round-up of the Best Shaving Brushes currently available with another fine example using badger hair. This brush works exceptionally well at locking in water, helping to create just the right consistency of lather plus improving the barrier between the straight razor and your skin. It looks pretty striking too with the Baxter name printed on the side. Made in Germany, it’s a superb addition to any discerning man’s grooming kit from a brand that has created a collection of signature grooming products all designed that deliver premium performance and top notch ingredients. This Baxter of California brush is both soft and durable, and we think it’s one of the best badger hair brushes available. Make it an essential pre-shaving tool in your grooming arsenal.
Shaving Brush FAQ
Q: Why is badger hair good for shaving?
A: While there are a number of different types of bristle brush you could go for including Boar, Horse or Synthetic, it’s generally accepted that Badger's hair makes for the best overall shaving experience because it’s soft yet sturdy and holds a significant amount of water which assists with creating the right creamy textured lather required. There are additionally three different key grades when it comes to defining badger hair, categorized as follows.
Usually, this will be a darker color and be relatively coarse and stiff. Be warned that sometimes manufacturers bleach pure bristles to make them appear as though they are a higher grade.
- Super (or Fine)
This is typified by being softer to the touch and lighter in color. These kind of brushes are great for retaining both heat and water to help create that rich lather.
The most sought-after badger bristle, Silvertip is usually cream colored at the top and may have darker bands of hair running through it. This gives these types of brushes softness and flexibility too. They retain more moisture and heat than Super brushes which makes them an incredibly popular albeit slightly more expensive choice.
Q: How long do badger shaving brushes last?
A: With proper maintenance and love and attention, your badger shaving brush should realistically last you around fifteen years. It’s a naturally derived product, so it does need to be well cared for in order to take advantage of this durability.
Q: How do you shave with a shaving brush?
A: Using a shaving brush is a technique that’s been around for centuries, and while it’s certainly not rocket science, there is a skill and artistry to it that once mastered, your face will love and your skin thank you for. It’s basically about creating the right kind of lather. We’ll take you quickly through the 5 main steps we recommend you follow to achieve a super up close and comfortable wet shave with your new shaving brush.
- First, you need to prepare your bowl and your brush
It’s best to use a proper shaving bowl to really achieve the best results plus there is something reassuringly old-fashioned and almost ceremonial about carrying out the full grooming routine with all your best-wet shaving accessories. Make sure that you fill your bowl with hot rather than boiling water and fully submerge your brush into the water for a few minutes to soften up those bristles which will make the process of lathering up far more efficient.
- Squeeze out some excess water from your brush head
You don’t want your brush head to be ringing wet and remember than badger bristles, in particular, retain a lot of water so apply some gentle pressure and squeeze out any excess water. You want your brush to be moist, not dripping wet.
- Start to build up your lather
Depending upon whether you are using a cream or a shaving soap and also according to the quality of the bristles in the brush you’ve purchased, you should be able to build up quite a good amount of lather. If you are using shaving cream, add some of it to your bowl along with a few drops of water until you’ve built up the texture and consistency that you prefer. You want it to be rich and creamy rather than foamy. If you prefer a shaving soap, then go ahead and place a small amount of your soap directly into your bowl and moisten by adding a few drops of water. Grab your brush and swirl it around in the soap until you’ve worked up a good amount of lather.
- Applying the lather to your face using the shaving brush
This is the fun part as you get to use your brush for what it’s intended; applying all that luxurious lather onto your face ready to start shaving. First of all, make sure that your face is thoroughly wet before you begin using your lather. A great time to carry out a wet shave is after you’ve had a shower or a bath as your facial hair will already be soft and pliable meaning the razor doesn’t have to work quite so hard. Apply the lather onto your face in swirling motions and make sure you cover the entire surface you intend to shave. Then use a further up and down painting motion that will smooth out and create a nice slick and even surface for shaving.
- Get to work with one full pass of your razor then go ahead and lather up again
By re-applying the lather and follow step 4 you can be guaranteed of that immaculate and close wet shave finish.