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Why use a shaving brush? And what type?

vali shaving brush on blue water splash background

If you are having problems with razor bumps and irritation after shaving, it is important that you use a shaving brush when you shave. A shaving brush brushes away the outermost layer of dead skin cells and dirt where many ingrown hairs get stuck. At the same time, it also lifts the hair for a softer and closer shave, reducing the number of times you must pass over the same area with your razor. If you use a shaving brush, you also don’t need to use spray cans that contain chemical ingredients that can dry out your skin, instead use a high-quality shaving cream or shaving soap that you lather up with the shaving brush.

Shaving brushes come in many different models and are manufactured with different materials. The three most common are boar, badger, and synthetic shaving brushes. Each type has different advantages and disadvantages.

Boar brush

shavette and shaving brush

Boar brush is the stiffest of all three, but not necessarily the one with the softest hairs. What characterizes a boar brush is its hard “backbone”, i.e., how hard its hairs bend, but at the same time it has soft tops that massage the skin. These are generally available for a very inexpensive price. However, these types of brushes need to be soaked in water for at least 5 minutes to get them soft before you can lather up the shaving cream/soap.

Badger brush

shave brush and barberpole

A shaving brush made of badger hair has excellent water-absorbing properties, which makes it excellent to use as a shaving brush. Badger brushes come in different “standards”. Where the lowest is “Pure badger” and continues all the way up to “Silvertip badger”. The difference is which part of the badger hair has been taken from. A “pure badger” brush is stiffer and scratches the skin uncomfortably a lot. A shaving brush made of silvertip is very soft and smooth. Because badger hair absorbs a lot of water, and generally holds it very well, it can take a long time to build up a good lather.

While many badger brushes work well to use as shaving brushes, they do come with a hefty price tag. The lowest level “pure badger” usually costs between 30 and 40 USD in trade and a genuine silvertip badger can cost up to well above 100 USD.

Synthetic shaving brush

vali shaving brush
Vali shaving brush, made of synthetic fibers.

The development when it comes to synthetic brushes has progressed a lot in recent years. They are no longer compared to toothbrushes. Today, it’s possible to develop hairs that are as soft and have the same water-absorbing properties as a silvertip badger and as stiff as the best pig brushes. Other advantages over brushes from animal hair are that they do not give off a bad smell, they do not need to be soaked for a long time before shaving and no animal has had to suffer for your shaving experience, and it lathers fast and dries quickly after use… But best of all the cost of a synthetic shaving brush. A high-quality synthetic brush can retail for less than USD 30.

Other factors to keep in mind when it comes to shaving brushes:

Knot diameter: Entered in mm, is usually between 19mm and 26mm. Indicates how thick or wide the actual hair on the brush is.

Compactness: Usually not stated, but you should look and feel for yourself. A shaving brush should be tightly packed with hairs to give a softer and more luxurious experience. A weakly packed brush will feel “scratchy” and tear on the skin.

Handle material: Is not important for the quality of the shaving brush but is aesthetically important. Personal taste determines. Often made of different types of plastic or wood.

For the above reasons, Vali & Co. has chosen to market a synthetic shaving brush in its range. The quality and price are simply unbeatable.

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