Everything about Traditional Shaving Brushes


The history of shaving brushes.
Their history can be traced back to France in the 1750s, but there is no reference anywhere to sources for this information.

The Plisson company can be considered the oldest shaving brush manufacturer still making brushes to this day, dating back to 1808.

The Kent company has been in business since 1777, but started manufacturing shaving brushes around 1850.

In “One thousand beards: a cultural history of facial hair”, Allan Peterkin states that shaving brushes were invented in France in 1748. However, he does not seem to cite sources or provide additional details so it is not unlikely that shaving brushes appeared even earlier.

For example, the catalogue for the 2011 travelling exhibition ‘van Otterloo Collection’ lists a painting entitled Barber-Surgeon Tending a Peasant’s Foot, dated circa 1649-50, by Isaack Koedijck.

In one corner of the painting is an object with hairs that the curator describes as a shaving brush. This could be the shaving brush as early as 1649, not 1748.

According to an English source published in 1830, Before 1756 it was common practice to create shaving foam by hand, but French barbers at that time invented the shaving brush.

In “The furniture of our forefathers, Volume 2”, Esther Singleton and Russell Sturgis make a reference to shaving brushes dating from 1756 and 1761:

However, there is insufficient evidence to support this theory. The Hungarian Hussar 1756-1815 (David Hollins, Darko Pavlovi) mentions a shaving kit as part of the equipment of each Hussar (soldier horseman) , but includes a boot brush and a clothes brush without specifically including a shaving brush. This source is unclear, but perhaps shaving brushes were still a rare commodity of the time.

By 1843 Mechi was advertising badger-hair shaving brushes for sale in The Spectator. During the First World War, hostilities disrupted the established market for pig and badger hair in Germany.

By 1916, shaving brush manufacturers in the United States had turned to black hairs originating in China, a category known as “Rachto”. However, hog hair of any quality was in short supply in the US. During this period, some shaving brush manufacturers began using horse hair.

By 1921, many Americans were using widely available and inexpensive horsehair shaving brushes that again disappeared for nearly a century.

After World War II, shaving brushes began to be widely manufactured and demand was high as the need for grooming and restoring the health of suffering populations made facial shaving a necessity for men.

Parts and glossary of a shaving brush

The parts of a shaving brush have names and indeed every shaver, whether experienced or new to traditional shaving, should know the parts of a shaving brush so that he can always choose the shaving brush of his choice with the characteristics he wants.

If you want to know what the parts of a shaving brush are called, below is a detailed shaving brush guide.

  • Bristle: The hair that is made a shaving brush. A shaving brush is made with synthetic hair or with natural hair, usually from a pig, horse or badger.
  • Loft: The length of the hair of a shaving brush. The measurement starts from the tip to the beginning of the handle, i.e. where the hair ends.
  • Height: For the total height of a shaving brush the length of the hair and the end of the base of the shaving brush are taken into account.
  • Base: The back of the base of a shaving brush. The base is usually round or square while the back is flat, thus making it easier to reach the back of the brush. it is possible to place the brush on a flat surface and also to hang it upside down on a stand so that it can be dried after each use.
  • Knot: A thyssano is the point at which all the bristles of a shaving brush end up together up to the loft. The larger the thyrsus, the more noticeable the hairs feel on the face. It also means thicker hair and longer concentration and retention of water in the brush.
  • Lather: The lather created when working a traditional shaving soap or cream with a shaving brush. It is very important to prepare the right lather for a deep, providing proper hydration and slip for a comfortable and irritation-free shave.
  • Roughness: The hardness of the hair when working the foam on your face. Some shavers prefer harder hairs to exfoliate the face while lifting their beards. Other shavers prefer shaving brushes with soft bristles and soft tips due to preference or sensitive skin.
  • Water Retention: Absorbency has to do with the ability to absorb and retain water in the shaving brush. It is of crucial importance as the retention of a sufficient amount of water results in the creation of a rich lather.
  • Backbone: The backbone of a shaving brush is related to the elasticity of the brush, i.e. how much resistance the bristles of a shaving brush exert during lathering either in a bowl or on the face.

The denser the bristles of a shaving brush, the greater the backbone of the brush.


There are several varieties of shaving brushes with different properties , disadvantages and advantages for every lover of traditional shaving based on the bristles of the shaving brushes manufactured.

Below will be an extensive discussion of these as well as the categories of some shaving brushes, how they started, their properties, advantages and disadvantages.


Almost all traditional shaving enthusiasts have at least one pig shaving brush and one with badger hair respectively in their collection. However, when it comes to synthetic shaving brushes, there are varying opinions from traditional shaving enthusiasts.

Some believe that synthetic shaving brushes cannot offer the performance of shaving brushes with natural hairs, while others think that they have a strange feel on the face.

In fact, these prejudices were mostly justified until several years ago. The first synthetic shaving brushes didn’t really provide the feel and performance that people expected.

But technology advances and the latest generation of synthetic brushes comfortably rival, multi-cost brushes in texture, effectiveness and results.

History of synthetic shaving brushes
The attempt to produce synthetic hairs began in the 1920s. During the Second World War, when the trade in natural hair from Eastern countries stopped, the search began to replace natural hair in shaving brushes.

During this period, the Dupont company worked hard to replace natural materials with synthetic materials. They found some kind of synthetic polymer fiber made of flexible yarns, which was patented as “Nylon”.

This nylon fiber produced by Dupont began to be used in all kinds of shaving brushes and brushes. Thus, the first shaving brushes made of synthetic nylon bristles appeared at that time. The first generation of synthetic shaving brushes did not offer the softness of natural hairs due to their coarse bristles and were not very popular as their ability to retain water and heat was almost non-existent.

Dupont continued to develop its synthetic fibres with many patents under various names. The most notable is the polyester material called “Taklon”. The bristles of most synthetic shaving brushes are still produced from this material.

Various manufacturers from different countries have struggled to produce synthetic bristles that can retain water and heat to mimic natural bristles, creating and patenting various patents.

Synthetic shaving brushes slowly started to become more preferred from the 2000s.

In 2015, with the inclusion of badgers as a protected species in Europe, companies such as MenU, Mühle and Body Shop worked hard to create their own synthetic fibres and thus shaving brushes, and thus second-generation synthetic shaving brushes emerged. The bristles on these were again cylindrical but slightly finer.

Although shaving brushes made from these bristles were better, they were still not as effective at retaining water and retaining heat.

After 2015, companies like Kent, Omega, Mühle and Plisson made improvements to synthetic fibers. These softer third-generation hairs were now conical in shape instead of their previous cylindrical shape and were dyed to mimic real hair. Although they still couldn’t hold water like a quality badger shaving brush, they were close in quality to pig hair shaving brushes.

Since synthetic hairs were now finer than previous generations, it became possible to place a greater number of hairs into the shaving brushes, creating denser shaving brushes.

This enabled the shaving brushes to have a significantly better foaming and water retention performance than the previous generation synthetic shaving brushes, however there was still the issue of water retention. After hard work Mühle and Frank Shaving have created new, fourth generation shaving brushes for the general public.

Like the third generation bristles, these were also conical in shape, but in addition, the bristles were not made straight but slightly wavy. This mostly solved the issue of water retention, one of the main problems of previous synthetic shaving brushes.

In this way the new shaving brushes can retain their heat better and provide a more natural feel to the face. Thus, for the first time synthetic shaving brushes appeared with satisfactory performance and it was the moment when synthetic shaving brushes started to seriously enter our shave den.

Horse shaving brushes.

Horse hair has been used to make shaving brushes for several decades and these shaving brushes are quite unique in many ways. Horse hair is collected in a painless way, by shearing the horses the hair with which to make shaving brushes is also collected.

Horse hair has a good backbone like badger hair but is very fine and usually very soft at the ends.

Also, horsehair usually has a variety of colours, but most of the time it is dark brown or blonde.

So for those who are sensitive and against animal cruelty but want to get the benefits of a shaving brush with natural hair, look no further. Shaving brushes made with horse hair are the ideal solution.

Although still relatively hard to find compared to other types of shaving brushes, horse shaving brushes offer some unique qualities. The hair for horse shaving brushes is simply cut from the horse’s mane or tail: the animal is not harmed.

Many models of horse hair shaving brushes perform better than pig shaving brushes and are gentler on the skin than many badger shaving brushes. Although they don’t hold as much water as some “super” or “silvertip” badger shaving brushes, they are more than adequate for creating lather.

  • Horse hair shaving brushes prices: The price for horsehair shaving brushes is usually quite reasonable for their performance and build quality. The drawback here is availability: one cannot find them so easily on the market.
  • Few words: A horse shaving brush with a combination of hair ( mane & tail ) sets quickly, makes a rich lather, works well with soap and shaving cream and is quite gentle on the skin.
  • Note: The only downside of a horse shaving brush is the smell on some brushes as with any natural hair shaving brush.

Wash it thoroughly with a shampoo, then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water, repeat two and three times if you feel it necessary and let it dry before using it for the first time. Of course with use the smell will disappear.

Boar shaving brushes

Pig shaving brushes are widely available and the purchase cost is lower than the corresponding badger shaving brushes.

The bristles of pig shaving brushes are thicker and harder than those of badgers and not as flexible. Pig bristle shaving brushes absorb a sufficient amount of water however they can hold less water than their badger bristle counterparts.

This is due to the structure of the pig’s hair, as these hairs are thicker in diameter than badger hair.

In contrast to the different qualities of badger hair shaving brushes, pig shaving brushes are not categorised according to the area of the pig’s body from which they have been obtained.

  • You should also know:
  • the longer the hairs are, the thicker they feel, while shorter hairs are thinner to the touch.
  • the finer bristles can be piled up and a more dense brush can be made while being softer

One notable difference about pig shaving brushes, which is very different to the badger shaving brush, is that the pig hairs will split over time into 2 or 3 individual “hair tips” that are attached to the same coarse shaft of each hair.

This gives you the advantage of a finer and softer tip with the support of a thicker hair, creating a very good backbone to the whole. The bristles of pig shaving brushes are thicker and stronger, so they are naturally a better choice to work with harsh traditional shaving soaps.

The soft and much more pliable bristles of a badger shaving brush require more work and more time from you to get the same amount of soap.

  • ΤPig shaving brushes hold less water. But what good is that?

Too much water in the soap and water mixture is the number one problem associated with creating poor quality lather. You are less likely to have this problem using a pig hair shaving brush.

  • Face Lathering

Pig shaving brushes are ideal for creating a lather on the face or face lathering. The reason is simple: the thick bristles massage your pores and follicles and soften the beard more effectively, preparing the face better for shaving.

Also, contrary to popular opinion a pig shaving brush, when used several times and smoothed out is soft and suitable for use on sensitive skin and very easy to use.

In addition, a pig shaving brush absorbs water and needs soaking and if you let it soak in lukewarm water for 5 minutes while showering, you will get a very smooth shave. But if you don’t let the pig shaving brush soak, you will get a different result and the brush bristles will be stiff at the tip and may irritate your face.


For starters, go for a well-known and inexpensive shaving brush with a handle that will work for you and that you like.

There is a high chance that a pig shaving brush will lose some hairs at first. This is normal, but should stop after a week or two. If you want to achieve a rich and sufficient amount of lather from a load of soap or shaving cream, opt for a foam shaving brush with a large pocket so that you can get a large amount of lather with the least amount of effort.

If you use traditional shaving cream, be sure to have a shaving bowl or even a mug to create lather. Otherwise you can make foam in your hand.

  • First contact with the pig brush and care

Your new pig shaving brush may have a subtle smell, which is normal since the hair is natural and comes from a wild animal. Obviously there is no problem and this slight smell will disappear with time and use however if you can’t wait or it bothers you enough there is a way that

To get your new pig brush to smell off you will need to follow a simple procedure:

  • Rinse your brush under the tap with lukewarm water, as if you have to rinse it after the end of shaving.
  • Next, take a cup of lukewarm water and place your brush with the bristles down to the beginning of the shaving brush’s hair cluster.
  • Place the brush in the mug of lukewarm water and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • You will notice how the tip that was once tapered is now spreading out and this is a good sign for the next step.
  • Add about half a teaspoon of borax to the water. If you don’t have borax, you can use a few drops of hair shampoo.
  • Now place the brush handle between your palms like a stick with which you’re going to start a fire.
  • Rub your palms with the handle of the shaving brush between your hands under running water to clean and remove any soap or borax residue on top

You are ready. You can create lather with your new pig shaving brush or leave it in a shaving brush stand for tomorrow.

EXTRA TIP Layering Pig Brush.

  • Before each shave, for at least 20 shaves, place your brush in a cup of lukewarm water and let it soak while you shower.
  • After about a month, you’ll notice that the tips of the brush begin to separate at the top of the hair, causing your shaving brush to load more soap and lather than when it was brand new.
  • A badger shaving brush is ready to use immediately after purchase. The pig shaving brush is.
  • It behaves differently in a week of use differently in a month and differently in 3 months.
  • The pig shaving brush takes 3 months of use to reach 90% it will soften up immensely over time and will do you justice.
  • Your patience will be rewarded with great shaves and great satisfaction.
  • There are many companies in the world that manufacture excellent quality shaving brushes and in particular pig shaving brushes. You can try pig shaving brushes of


Pure badger type hairs are the most readily available quality hairs and usually come from the back of the badger. Due to their high availability, pure badger bristles are the cheapest of the bunch and are a good place for someone who wants to start with a traditional shave before moving on to a more specialized and higher quality brush.

  • Pure badger hairs usually range in color from dark tan to black and are usually rougher in texture than super badger hairs. This is because the bristles are not similar in size and the pure badger shaving brushes, after the bristle tips are made are sanded to give the bristles a uniform shape.

The trimming of course of the edge of the hairs results in the natural badger hairs not having a soft feeling but rough especially during the first few uses. The texture of a pure badger brush also makes it suitable for creating a rich lather due to its ability to load a quantity of shaving soap very easily.

Some manufacturers offer variations of the pure badger, such as black badger shaving brushes, which include only the darker hairs from the hair coat to create shaving brushes that have a longer hair length and greater stiffness.

Over time the hair tips of the pure badger shaving brush will soften and give you a softer feel on the skin, but they will never be as soft on the face as a best badger shaving brush.

  • The best badger shaving brushes offer a significant improvement in feel and quality compared to the pure badger shaving brushes.

Best Badger hairs are collected from various parts of the badger but mainly from the abdomen.

The colour of the hairs ranges from lighter brown to grey and has more colour separation along the length of the hairs.

Best badger shaving brushes have better water absorption abilities than pure badger shaving brushes, making it a more ideal choice for creating quality shaving lather, especially with shaving creams with a thicker consistency that require more water to create lather. On the face, best badger shaving brushes have a softer feel than pure badger shaving brushes.

However, they still have a slightly rough feel on the face and offer a good choice between pure badger and super badger and silvertip badger shaving brushes.

Many badger shaving brushes in this category range at very reasonable prices and provide excellent results without compromising on quality.


  • Super Badger shaving brush super badger have a finer hair and have a softer feel on the facial skin compared to the best badger shaving brushes. The bristles are not as readily available on the market while being collected from the back of the animal.

The hairs have a characteristic colour pattern with a black stripe in the middle and white at the ends. The bristles of the super badger shaving brushes have a softer feel on the face while they do not have a rough feel on the face like the best badger shaving brush category.

Super badger bristles are often colour treated by some shaving brush manufacturers to enhance the whiteness at the edges of the shaving brush bristles. However, the ends of the hairs have a natural roundness and are not trimmed to form a uniform shape for the shaving brush.

Because super badger shaving brushes are made exclusively with fine bristles, a greater number of bristles are required to fill the shaving brush pocket, making them extremely dense and at the same time very soft to the touch while having a very good backbone.

Proper care of the super badger shaving brush is becoming more and more important. These badger brushes are filled with more delicate hairs and are more prone to damage if the brush is abused or not dried properly after each use.

The finer gauge of the super badger gives it superior water absorption properties compared to lower grades of badger hair.

The density and water holding capacity of super badger brushes offer a noticeable difference in performance when lathering soaps and creams. These brushes can easily create one of the richest and creamiest foams, making them a popular choice for men who want the best quality shaving brushes. Super badger shaving brushes are among the best in quality while the purchase cost is significantly higher than equivalent best badger shaving brushes.

  • Silvertip Badger shaving brushes are made with bristles exclusively from the badger’s neck area and that is why the silvertip class of shaving brushes is the rarest and highest quality. There is often a little confusion about the difference between super badger and pure badger brushes.

The silvertip shaving brushes are classified and rated based on very specific softness and coloring characteristics.

Like super badger shaving brushes, silvertip shaving brushes have distinctive coloration, however silvertip shaving brushes have the softest and most luxurious natural bristles and usually the clearest color contrast between the black and white color bands along the length of the bristles.  It should be mentioned how the badger hairs of this particular grade are very delicate and proper care of the silvertip shaving brush is very important to avoid breaking or damaging the shaving brush hairs.

The tips of the hair are never stained and have their natural coloring, i.e. white color. The hair is fine and has the highest water absorbency of any of the categories of badger shaving brushes.

Although the bristles of silvertip badger shaving brushes have a more distinctive colour and feel than those of super badgers, both categories create a similar quality of foam from traditional shaving soaps or saving balm.

Both categories of badger shaving brushes are capable of producing a rich and dense lather due to their ability to easily absorb water, but the silvertip category has a distinctive feel to your skin. On the face, the hairs of the badger shaving brushes silvertip have a very soft feeling on the face, like a soft cushion that hugs your face.

The value for the increased price difference of silvertip badger shaving brushes versus super badger is often debatable.

However, many consider silvertip badger shaving brushes the best in the world. Due to their rarity, silvertip shaving brushes are rare and with the highest purchase price.

Why should I buy a shaving brush?

Shaving brushes have been around for a long time.

They have been a timeless and valuable tool for barbers for many decades who have been engaged in traditional shaving, and there is a good reason why many still use a shaving brush to lather their face before shaving.

Below we give you 7 reasons why you should start using a shaving

Facilitates the achievement of the ideal foam composition

Is it mandatory to use the shaving brush to create lather? No, if you settle for ready-made lather or brushless cream. But is it necessary to use a shaving brush to create a proper and quality shaving lather? Yes since it is practically impossible to create shaving foam with soap or shaving cream using your hands.

Using a shaving brush will allow you to get the right consistency of lather with the right consistency for maximum protection of your skin and optimal razor glide.

  • You can make rich foam
  • To get a great shave, you really need to get a nice thick lather. A rich and thick lather means more protection on your face and more slipperiness, resulting in the blade sliding over the hairs, cutting them much more easily.
  • If you want that nice thick lather to keep your face protected and well hydrated your only option is to use a shaving brush.
  • It gets foam into places your fingers just can’t reach

It’s impossible to fully and adequately cover your face with shaving foam with just your hands. But even if we did, it is by no means done in the same way and effectively as a shaving brush will do.

  • But why ?

Perhaps with the naked eye we have full coverage, but the hairs of the shaving brush can go into places inaccessible to human hands and fingers.

Also, the bristles of the shaving brush do a really great job of actually lifting the hairs from the face, helping to soften the beard and helping to distribute the oils of the soap or shaving cream all over the face. Don’t get confused: In no way can you get the same result by using a shaving brush to create lather and using your hands.

  • You will save money

Using a shaving brush will help you save money in the long run. How?

When you use your hands, you should use a larger amount of soap or shaving cream. Shaving brushes are much more effective at creating shaving lather with a significantly smaller amount of product. In short, we can get a small amount of shaving cream or soap to easily last 6 months or more!

  • Cleanses and exfoliates your face

When most men hear the word exfoliation they think that this is something that only women do, which is untrue. Like most men, you probably don’t include exfoliating your facial skin in your daily routine. And you can ignore it while you’re young, but time will catch up with you eventually.

Something you didn’t know is that shaving brushes exfoliate your skin without having to go through some terrible, time-consuming process. Exfoliation removes dirt from the skin and dead cells from your skin.

Your morning and evening routines are already long enough without adding exfoliation to your list of things to do. So make it easy on yourself and just do it while you shave.

  • Making shaving more pleasant

Try to do something you like instead of doing another chore. It has been found that using the shaving brush is one of the most enjoyable parts of your shaving routine. It will really calm you down and leave your face feeling fresh and refreshed!

  • Properly prepares your face for your daily shave

One of the most common shaving mistakes men make is before they even pick up the razor. How is it possible? Well, if you don’t properly prepare your face before shaving, it’s almost impossible to get a good shave.

Using a shaving brush would really help you to properly prepare your skin so that the blade glides, the skin is moisturized to enjoy the ultimate traditional shave.


Are shaving brushes stands a must have?

Your wonder if shaving brush stand is a must have? If you want to keep your shaving brush and use it for many decades – then yes.

Shaving brush stands are essential to keep shaving brushes in perfect condition over time. Apart from maintenance, a shaving brush stand tends to give a beautiful aesthetic touch with its simple, elegant and classy look to your bathroom countertop.

But if you need something more convincing, here are some good reasons why a shaving brush holder is essential for keeping your shaving brush in top condition.


Avoiding damage due to moisture

Shaving brush bases are designed to support and naturally remove water from the shaving brush. Also, the bathroom is a place where a lot of moisture lurks due to water vapour and frequent water use.

By placing the shaving brush on a stand, the risk of the shaving brush getting wet is avoided and it dries faster since they are placed with the hairs facing downwards.

Also, as the stand keeps the shaving brush hanging down, it allows the badger hairs – or whatever material your shaving brush is made of, to dry properly.

Although badger hair is quite durable, it absorbs water easily, similarly to human hair. You must therefore treat your shaving brush in the best possible way.

Take care of your investment

With the investment you made in your best shaving products, adding a shaving brush stand to place your products is a wise purchase. Keep them safely and neatly tucked away away from moisture and places where they can fall, break.

Aesthetics and practicality

Finally, there is no doubt how aesthetically beautiful the shaving brush stand looks in your bathroom. Whether it’s family, friends or guests it immediately shows that you respect quality materials and yourself and while it’s a beautiful addition to your bathroom that will delight any guest that happens to be in your home and bathroom.

Don’t delay the maintenance of your shaving tools. If you’ve invested in a quality and expensive shaving brush, then a stand is essential to keep it discreetly placed at one end of your bathroom, while ensuring it lasts and continues to give you an effective shave.


Do the badger hair shaving brushes smell? How can I get rid of them?

It’s safe to say that traditional shaving enthusiasts enjoy the feel of the badger hair shaving brush. First of all, it is important to remember that badger hair shaving brushes are made with animal hair.

Shaving brush manufacturers sterilize the bristles before placing them in a handle, but sometimes this process is not fully effective in removing the strange smell from the bristles resulting in the brush smelling a little strange.

Usually, you can just lather and rinse the brush a few times using regular soap and also your preferred soap or shaving cream and this will remove most of the smell. Also, with frequent use the smell will disappear from the shaving brush over time. But if the smell is not tolerated by you, we have another suggestion.

Below we list an inexpensive and easy way to clean badger hair shaving brushes or remove the smell from a brand new badger hair shaving brush.

What you will need ?

– a cup

– one teaspoon

– Borax or liquid soap

– New toothbrash

– Lukewarm water


  • Place some borax or liquid soap in your mug. Take a teaspoon and stir well until the borax or liquid soap is completely dissolved.
  • Attention! The water should be lukewarm and not hot as it will almost certainly cause a problem with the glue at the base of the shaving brush and cause it to start pulling.
  • Place your brush in the cup with the borax solution or liquid soap and let it soak for at least 5 minutes.
  • Shake your shaving brush in circular motions through the solution, dipping it into the solution regularly. Soak it for 5 minutes.
  • Repeat the process for about half an hour in total.
  • Remove from the water rinse the shaving brush very well with lukewarm water. Be careful in this step as you need to rinse the brush very well, especially at the base.
  • Shake and wipe your brush well on a towel and let it dry thoroughly on a shaving stand.
  • Always place the shaving brush in an airy spot i.e. somewhere with airflow that will allow it to dry naturally. Under no circumstances should you place the shaving brush in an enclosed area such as a cupboard, as this will simply defeat the purpose of all this cleaning..

This procedure should be repeated at regular intervals, every 3 to 6 months. You will be shocked at the soap or shaving cream residue that remains on your brush even with proper rinsing after shaving.

The above procedure is good enough to completely clean any shaving brush and it will be in shape to give you the ultimate shave. You may need to repeat this process several times before the smell starts to disappear, however it will also help to soften the bristles from a pig or horse brush between your shaves and make it easier to < shaving brush layering >.

Of course, there are several ways to clean and remove the smell of a shaving brush, but we’ve come up with an easy and relatively quick way to treat it.  We hope that you will find our article useful and that you will be able to keep your shaving brush for many decades!


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