Best Badger Brush?
March 24, 2008 1:42 PM   Subscribe

The BEST silvertip badger brush?

I'm looking at getting a shaving brush for the boy. Research has shown that the best to get is silvertip badger hair. Of course i'd like to get him the best i can afford, but i would prefer to spend under $150.

I don't know much about which brands are the best. In fact, i don't know about ANY shaving brands. Art of Shaving was recommended to me but i'd like to do a bit more shopping around because i think they might be very expensive. If they really are the best-- its okay if they're expensive-- but is Art of Shaving really it? Their silvertip badger hair is $180-- a little more than i wanted to spend.

I did look at previous posts and nothing i saw really concentrated on just the best brush-- most of them dealt with how to get the best shave, or which razors were better. I know he's happy with his razor but he mentioned wanting a brush.

If it matters at all-- he grows facial hair very fast. He has to shave everyday, so a brush would hopefully help him get a closer shave that might last a little longer.

Any advice or suggestions would be very appreciated! This is a bit out of my league of expertise! Anonymous because i think he might browse this board and i'd like for this to be a surprise! Shhhhh.
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
I use this one fron Caswell Massey. It's really nice.
posted by muscat at 1:52 PM on March 24, 2008


I get mine from Taylor of Old Bond Street. Nice shaving creams, too.
posted by cgs06 at 1:54 PM on March 24, 2008


I have a Merkur Silvertip badger brush that was bought as a set with the Futur double edge razor and stand - its held up very well and still looks brand new after almost daily use for 2 years. I've done most of my online purchases from www.menessentials.com because of their great customer service and reasonable shipping charges (one of the few with a Canadian option)

Make sure you get a matching stand at the time of purchase as it can be difficult to find them after the fact - and if you don't dry them properly they will get ruined quickly.
posted by jeffmik at 1:57 PM on March 24, 2008


I know he's happy with his razor but he mentioned wanting a brush.

If he's never used one, I wouldn't go great guns on the brush. Really, I use a brush that I think cost $40 and have never felt there to be a quantum level of lather-brushing awesomeness that I'm missing out on. Now, if you want to lay down for the deluxe, that's all you, but since you say you prefer to spend less, I'm just saying you might instead look to trick him out with a shaving mug, good cake of soap, brush stand (it's important that they hang bristles-down) and fairly bog-standard brush, instead of one crazy awesome brush whose hairs have been plucked from virgin badger asses under a new moon.
posted by mumkin at 1:58 PM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I would spend a little less on the brush and set aside the money for a razor/brush stand. My wife got me a very nice badger brush from the art of shaving and the stand she bought elsewhere really helps keep it nice and allows it to dry easily.
posted by UMDirector at 2:16 PM on March 24, 2008


Seconding the Merkur recommendation by jeffmik-- their products laaaast for several years. Why not a matching razor as well? Guys dig "sets" of things!
I personally avoid Art of Shaving-- waaay overpriced, and the customer service is piddling.
(I think you are so cool to do this, btw!)
posted by Dizzy at 2:22 PM on March 24, 2008


This is a question you want to ask at badgerandblade.com or shavemyface.com
Then you can find in depth reviews of all kinds of badger, including the differences between the various grades of badger, whether or not silvertip is worth it, what kind of size is best, etc etc. Suffice it to say that bigger is not always better and more expensive is also not always better. (Silvertip lathers superbly but can tend towards floppiness, which doesn't work the lather into the bristles as well.) You'll also find recommended vendors that can give you a good deal.


Having more details about his beard texture and complexion can help narrow it down a lot.

I write this as a girl who got pages and pages of advice at both places when shopping for a shaving for her guy.

Here's a good guide covering some of the basics from leisureguy, who is a mefite and a very very prolific poster on both forums as well.
posted by hindmost at 3:44 PM on March 24, 2008


lather into the bristles of his beard, that is
posted by hindmost at 3:45 PM on March 24, 2008


The best brush for your son will depend on his personal tastes: stiffness, water retention, etc. I agree with the posters above about not spending a lot of money on a brush when you're not sure exactly what he'll like. I've gotten a Vulfix brush from classicshaving.com and an Edwin Jagger from Crabtree & Evelyn. The Edwin Jagger would make a good starting brush. It holds a good amount of water, which will make learning to create lather a little easier.

Here is a thought about silvertips: "Too often gents are caught up in this whole 'What is the best/most expensive' bit - when in reality..... the most expensive badger hair is NOT expensive because it is the best.... it is expensive because it is RARE and as a result, expensive." source

If you want more suggestions, the posters at Badger & Blade and Shave My Face have always impressed me with the depth of their shaving knowledge.

Good luck!
posted by Hermes32 at 4:20 PM on March 24, 2008


Seconding going cheap on the first go around. My first brush was a $30-40 one from the corner girlystuff store and a disc of soap. I have a Merkur Classic razor and it's been great, and about a year ago I got a $130 brush (3rd or so from "top of the line") that is much better than my first, but at the time I was using the old one I couldn't tell the difference. Just get him a beginner kit ( < $100 total for razor, blades, soap and brush). Go to Target for one of those "Friends" style big mugs and be done. It's a great way to shave, especially for us 5 O'Clock shadow people, but I imagine it's not for everybody. For instance, I've been trying to get my shaving-snob brother on the kick for a couple of years but it just won't take. He's more into the Quattro blades with fancy squeeze soaps and stuff, so there's a testament to other kinds of snobbery. Good luck, and props to you for going for an interesting present!
posted by rhizome at 4:43 PM on March 24, 2008


For an inexpensive yet worthwhile shaving brush, I recommend an Edwin Jagger Best Badger Medium. (Since shipments to the US don't pay VAT, the cost is not great.) If you want something better, let me tell you my favorities:

Rooney Style 2 or Style 3 Size 1 Super Silvertip: $76 at www.vintagebladesllc.com
G.B. Kent BK4
Simpsons: Persian Jar 2 Super, Emperor 3 or 2 Super

All of those are terrific with shaving soap or shaving cream.

Hope this helps.
posted by LeisureGuy at 7:05 PM on March 24, 2008


Oops. Good source for Simpsons brushes: www.emsplace.com
posted by LeisureGuy at 7:06 PM on March 24, 2008


cgs06 has it: Taylor of Old Bond Street makes some of the best badger hair brushes money can buy, and they're a gentleman's institution. Get a silvertip brush, as they're the best-quality - don't worry about getting the biggest, as bigger does not necessarily mean better (unless you have a six-inch upper lip). They seem to have two drop-down menus for silvertip brushes that have the same descriptions. It's not clear to me the difference between an S374 and an S2233 - same price, both small silvertip. You should probably drop them a line to ask about the difference. I'd say a medium-small or medium brush would do you fine, and it's within your price range, shipping included, I think.

This is also important: take the opportunity to order a range of their shaving cream bowls (7 pounds each). There's no point in getting a great brush without also getting great cream, which is what really makes the difference in the shave. I'd go in for the Sandalwood, St. James Collection, Eton Collection, and maybe the Mr. Taylor and Shaving Shop, too (haven't smelled those last two, but I suggest them because I think those five would cover your bases in terms of all the best, most traditional varieties. Lemon and lime? Give me a break.). It's a fair bit of money, but they'll last you six months each, you won't have to pay shipping from them again for a long time, and you can decide which variety you like best, then you're set for the rest of your life with a top-notch preference.

Incidentally, I found out about Taylor of Old Bond Street from someone who swore by their products, and would make a trip to the store every time he was in London to stock up, but who also said that he shaved with a plain old Mach 3. A lot of shaving aficionados swear by high-end blades for traditional safety razors, but I think that there's a lot to be said for a shave with a badger brush and Taylors cream, but with a more modern razor that bends to the face, as long as it's kept fresh. It is a lot cheaper (and frankly more authentic) to go with individual disposable blades, but YMMV, and FWIW Taylors sells high-end handles for modern shaving heads (and the obligatory razor stand).

Cheerio! Happy shaving!
posted by Dasein at 7:32 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry, just noticed that you're the recipient's girlfriend. Above advice still applies. By the way, fantastic gift. Can you drop my girlfriend a hint for me?
posted by Dasein at 7:36 PM on March 24, 2008


I have the exact Art of Shaving brush you refer to. I love it, but have nothing to compare it against as it's the only one I've ever owned. I got mine on sale from Holt Renfrew. (But it's Art of Shaving brand.)
posted by dobbs at 10:28 PM on March 24, 2008


On reconsidering, and since this is a gift, I recommend the G. B. Kent BK4. Reasons:

Excellent brush: it's said that it can get a good lather from a pot roast. :) In fact, it's terrific for lathering from soap and works with shaving creams as well.

Fantastic presentation: it comes in a cylindrical red box, very posh.

Good looking: just take a look at the link.

Modest price: $68 plus shipping (you don't pay the VAT for shipping to the US)

Skip the brush stand. After he uses the brush, he should rinse out all the lather under hot water tap, then rinse under cold water tap, shake brush well, and stand it on its base to dry.
posted by LeisureGuy at 2:53 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


LeisureGuy knows of what he speaks.

Quick note on AoS quality and customer service. Had an AoS $50 brush that lasted 2 years before the knot fell out of the handle one day last month whilst I was home in Canada on vacation. I emailed AoS, they offered to replace it free of charge. Shipped the broken brush to them and they shipped a new one back to me in Norway, all within 10 days and arrived the day I got home. Great customer service but YMMV.

If you want high tier, the shaving BBs seem to like Shavemac as well as the ones mentioned previously but you don't need to spend $150 for a first foray into brushes.

This is a great gift idea, would love it if my wife did this for me.
posted by arcticseal at 3:06 AM on March 25, 2008


I also think Art of Shaving is over-priced. And I agree with mumkin, don't go top of the line on a brush if you're new to it. I've got a "finest" badger brush, and like it fine (probably won't upgrade to silver tip).

I've only bought lotions/soaps at emsplace, but it's a great site - good prices, fast shipping, and Em will answer questions as needed.

I bought a set at Shavemac. I think they've got the best combination of price, sets available, and customization. My 3-piece customized set was about $170. Standard sets seem to start at $80, and go up. Also, their travel brush is good, but not as soft as I think it should be - it is a "finest", but might feel different due to the fact that the bristles are more compact.

(And the Shavemac link is borked - one too many http's. Try this.)

And you haven't asked, but regarding soap... Get one with clay. A brand called Williams" (available in CVS, Walgreens, etc.) is OK, and cheap at $1. Glycerin soaps are too "grippy". Clay allows for a smoother shave. A googling of "shave soap" might prove useful. But I found an ebay store with awesome shave soaps (I have to check at home for the links - if I forget to post, shoot me a mefi mail reminder).
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:48 AM on March 25, 2008


Link for emsplace.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:54 AM on March 25, 2008


Just found a video on cleaning a badger brush.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:01 AM on March 25, 2008


I'll add another vote that bigger does not equal better.
Also you should be aware there are a few ethical issues with badger bristles.
These days badgers are only available from China and I don't think the chinese idea of 'sustainable' or 'managed' farming quite reaches western standards just yet.
posted by Lanark at 2:07 PM on March 25, 2008


Jesus Christ, Lanark, you should give some warning about what's on that video. I had to stop watching. Are you sure that badger fur comes from China? And are badgers killed for their fur in brushes? Can't they just, you know, comb them?
posted by Dasein at 8:16 PM on March 25, 2008


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