Although badger hair is used for most of the shaving brushes on the market today, boar and synthetic brushes have many followers as well. I have found the boar brush to be very useful with hard triple-milled soaps. The stiff and scratchier tips of the boar hair do a great job at agitating the surface of the soap and quickly loading the brush with lather. Boar brushes also have a great scrubbing effect that is desired by men that like to build their lather directly on their faces and enjoy the exfoliating feel that a firmer brush provides. Boar hair is also much less expensive than badger hair grades so these brushes are an option for those seeking a cost-effective entry into traditional wet shaving.
Synthetic brushes offer an alternative for men who prefer not to use animal products. They are available in a wide range of variations from basic nylon to specialized synthetic hairs that are tapered and colorized to mimic the look and feel of a traditional badger brush. Although the synthetic bristles do not have the natural water absorbing capabilities that animal hair provides, many of the quality ones on the market do a fine job at creating a usable lather. I have one inexpensive nylon bristle brush by Omega that has a firm feel to it and does well with both soaps and creams. I find it especially useful because I can use it on morning that I am in a hurry without having to worry as much about shaving brush care as I would for the more delicate badger hairs. It is also useful in my travel kit because I don’t have to worry about it properly drying before putting it in my wet pack, and if it gets lost I’m only out $15.
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