How to Care for Your Shaving Brush

If you’ve ever had a relative pass down a vintage shaving brush, then you know that with proper care, a shaving brush can last a lifetime – if not longer. For a brush that gives you years of great shaves, regular cleaning and periodic deep cleaning are fundamental.

Here’s how to keep your shaving brush performing optimally:

Basic care and cleaning

Prior to a shave:

If you soak your brush in water before a shave, do so with warm water rather than boiling hot water, which can ruin your bristles.

During a shave:

Only apply light pressure, since using too much pressure (especially in a circular motion) can twist the bristles and cause them to break. Don’t push down so far that the handle is close to the skin. Lighter pressure will also allow you to use the entire brush loft rather than just the inner, longer bristles.

The ideal way to prolong the life of the brush is to use back and forth motions, but if you prefer lathering in circular motions, just remember to do so with a light touch.

After a shave:

Shaving cream and soap are slightly acidic, so be sure to rinse all product out of the brush. If some product is still left, the acidity will condense as the water evaporates. Over time, the acidity will eat away at the bristles. So make a habit of rinsing your brush thoroughly with warm water, followed by cold water. The warm water allows the bristles to absorb water more readily, while the cold water seals the bristles’ cuticles for strength.

Tip: Don’t use hot water, as hot water will open up the cuticles of the boar bristles, leaving them exposed and weak.

When you’re done rinsing, shake the brush dry and place it facing downward in a brush holder. Look for one that doesn’t grip the brush at the base of the bristles, as this damages the knot. Try MÜHLE brush stands, which typically grip the brush at a groove on the handle.

Storing your brush upside down not only removes the bristles of water, but also, more importantly, prevents water from loosening the glue that holds the bristles together. Place the brush in an area with good air flow, as confining a wet brush to a small space encourages mildew growth.

Deep cleaning

Even with a flawless technique, shaving brushes are subject to wear and tear from hard water, certain soaps and creams, and improper storage. You’ll know you need to deep clean when you notice crooked, stiff hairs or soap scum. Or you may find that your brush doesn’t produce lather as well as before.

It’s important to remember that shaving brushes are made of hair, similar to our own. And like our own hair, they need to be cleaned to stay soft and strong.

You should only need to deep clean your brushes once every couple of months. Select the method most convenient to you:

Method 1: Shampoo & conditioner

Start with a gentle, pH neutral shampoo, like Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. Avoid any shampoo with silicones, as silicones cover the hair with a thin, waterproof coating that builds up over time. This can reduce the bristles’ ability to absorb water. Dimethicone, in particular, is a silicone that is water insoluble and very hard to remove.

Work a small dab of shampoo into the brush, then rinse with warm water. To make your bristles feel extra soft, follow with a dab of gentle conditioner, allowing the conditioner to sit for a few minutes before rinsing out with warm water. Finish with a cold water rinse.

Method 2: Vinegar and water

Mix a solution of 9 parts warm water, 1 part vinegar. Soak the shaving brush in the solution for a few minutes, swirling it around every now and then. Rinse the brush with warm water, followed by cold water. The vinegar should dissolve any calcium deposits, removing the coating from bristles.

Method 3: Borax

Mix a tablespoon of borax in a cup of water. Soak the shaving brush in the solution for a few minutes and then rinse in warm water, followed by cold water.

Should You Use a Synthetic Fiber Brush?

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Muhle Silvertip Fibre Travel Shaving Brush

Synthetic brushes haven’t always gotten the best reputation. The older generation of synthetic brushes were stiff (or conversely, floppy) and didn’t retain water well, producing a dissatisfying experience overall. These synthetic brushes, made from thick white nylon, were no competition with badger hair brushes.

However, over the past few years manufacturing technology has done an exquisite job of refining the synthetic hair brush, creating thinner, softer, more durable bristles. The ends of these new synthetic brushes are treated for a fine, bushy finish.

Muhle helped lead the way with their silver fibre brushes, which are on par with some of the best shaving brushes out there. In fact, several wet shaving sites have claimed the tips on these silvertip fibre brushes are softer than any animal hair brush.

We will always cherish the luxurious beauty of a finely made badger hair brush, but there are some pretty good reasons to go the synthetic route.

Why use synthetic?

Saves Time

If you’ve got a busy schedule, synthetic brushes, also called artificial badger brushes, are as low-maintenance as you can get. They dry faster than badger bristle brushes (a few hours vs. up to a day for the natural fibers), and produce richer lather more readily. That’s because synthetic fibers are solid rather than porous, so they don’t absorb water like animal hairs.  This makes them less susceptible to mold and odors, as well as more hygienic.

Plus, higher-quality synthetic brushes don’t shed hair and don’t require a break-in period.

Saves Money

Synthetic brushes are quite economical. Since they are made of artificial bristles, they are more durable and have a long lifespan. They also tend to be more affordable than animal hair brushes.

And because they produce lather easily, you’ll save on shaving cream/soap too! You only need about half the amount of shaving cream or soap you’d usually use with an animal hair brush.

Hypoallergenic

Men who are allergic to badger hair or animal hair can confidently continue shaving by switching to a synthetic hair brush, which is hypoallergenic.

Environmentally Friendly

As traditional shaving grows in popularity, the demand for animal hairs will increase. However, due to various political and natural reasons, the supply may not grow and may even decrease. Synthetic bristle brushes are excellent alternatives, and are vegan and PETA approved.

You can purchase Muhle’s acclaimed silvertip fibre brushes at RoyalShave.

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Why use badger hair as a shaving brush material?

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The reason to use a badger hair shaving brush is that it offers the ideal balance between water retention, softness and durability when compared to the other options, something that is not found in other materials. Badger hairs are hollow, which is why they hold more water than boar or synthetic hairs. The hair quality of a badger brush is superior because of the inherent characteristic of the hair. The badger hair comes in 4 grades that are based on where on the badger’s body the hair is taken from. The main difference between them is the softness of the hair and the amount of hair available on a given badger.

The badger hair absorbs lots of water and this is beneficial to a good shave because water creates a foamy lather and the lather is essential for a good shave. The badger hair used exfoliates the skin well. The natural hair of a badger hair shaving brush stays firm and warm when shaving. A normal brush does not. e.g. When placing the badger brush into a warm bowl of water it stays firm, the hairs don’t go limp, whereas a normal hair shaving brush when dipped in a warm bowl of water looks heavy and limp with water pouring out of it. This will not give you the foam you need to shave.

The availability or amount of hair a badger has in each grade effects the price

Why choose a badger hair shaving brush? You will get the quality worth paying for.

Interested in a badger hair shaving brush?  http://bit.ly/1vhdKCV

 

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