A great shaving brush can really take your shave to the next level by helping create a rich lather, exfoliating your skin, and lifting your beard. Of course, not all shaving brushes are created equal, and the prices can range from hundreds of dollars to just a few bucks. Never buy a shaving brush on price alone — expensive brushes are not necessarily higher in quality. I have a wonderful pure badger brush I’ve had for the better part of a decade, and I paid about $50 for it. We’ll take help take away some of the guesswork by explaining the different types of shaving brushes.
The best brushes are made from badger hair which is hollow and holds more water, allowing it to become infused into the lather. It’s a good choice. There are less expensive boar or synthetic versions available as well.
1. Best – Silver Tip Badger
Silvertip badger brushes are made from the hair around the neck of the badger and are the softest type of badger brush available. Because the fur is limited in its availability, the silvertip brush is normally the most expensive. Many men prefer this type of brush because it really does produce a nice, rich lather. Personally, I enjoy a brush with a stiffer bristle as it feels nice and helps exfoliate the skin better, in my opinion.
Price Range: $150 and Up | Top Pick: Edwin Jagger Silver Tip Badger Shaving Brush.
2. Better – Super Badger
Whenever I hear the term ‘super badger,’ it’s hard for me to not picture a cute furry animal in a red cape swooping in to save the day (or, in this case, shave the day. Super badger (insert your own theme song here) is made from a high grade of fur which is slightly firmer than the silvertip fur. The bristles are characterized by a dark band capped in white. The Super Badger is a great option for those who like a stiffer bristle, but want a really rich lather.
Price Range: $75 to $150 | Top Pick: Edwin Jagger Super Badger Shaving Brush.
3. Good – Pure Badger
The pure badger brush is made from a lower grade of badger hair but is preferred by many because of its stiffer bristle. The hair is dark in appearance, making the pure badger easily identifiable. This brush is a great balance offering most of the best benefits of a badger hair brush in a more affordable offering. This is the type of brush I tend to prefer because of the stiffer bristle.
Price Range: $50 to $100 | Top Pick: The Art of Shaving Pure Badger Shaving Brush.
4. Entry Level – Boar Bristle
The boar bristle is the least expensive of the shaving brushes and is manufactured with boar bristles. While they don’t hold as much water as badger brushes, the very stiff nature of the bristle makes boar brushes a favorite among men who like a stiff brush. I have also found boar bristles to be a little smelly for the first few weeks of use, so don’t be alarmed. That slight odor usually goes away quickly.
Price Range: $5 to $20 | Top Pick: Vulfix Pure Bristle Shaving Brush.
5. Entry Level – Synthetic
Synthetic brushes are a good option for those who would like to avoid animal fur. These are typically made from nylon, and the bristles are medium stiff. While they don’t hold lather as well as a badger brush, they are a good option for those who may have allergies to animal hair.
Price Range: $5 to $20 | Top Pick: Omega 100% Synthetic Bristle Shaving Brush.
Boar Bristle or Synthetic Round Brushes?
I can’t stress enough the importance of owning good hairbrushes. Our equipment is an extension of our talent, so why waste great talent on crappy brushes?!
That being said, all professional brushes aren’t created equal. Plus with so many different types on the market, it can be hard to make sense of which ones will be right for you.
To start with the basics, we will be covering the differences between boar bristle and synthetic brushes.
Frankly, I think a great hairstylist should own a variation of both but each type achieves very different outcomes.
Boar Bristle: If you’re looking to achieve smooth and shiny hair, then this is the brush for you and your clients. A boar bristle brush is ideal for use on thick, wavy, or curly hair. The bristles are densely packed to achieve maximum tension resulting in a blowout that is also very shiny.
When buying a boar bristle brush make sure to note that you are purchasing one with natural bristles. Make sure to also purchase a variation in sizes. Smaller brushes are great for shorter hair, and larger brushes will make your job a lot easier with your long-haired clients.
Synthetic: These brushes are usually made up of nylon or plastic bristles and carry the benefits of drying hair faster, being lightweight, and being great for achieving a bouncy, wavy blowout. Synthetic brushes are suitable for clients of most hair types but are careful not to use them on hair that is too fine or delicate as they can easily get tangled or damage fine hair.
Boar and Nylon: A perfect marriage of both can be found in brushes that have boar and nylon bristles.
Though don’t think you can get away with only purchasing this type of brush. A variation in bristles and sizes is a must for the successful hairstylist.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.