Best Shaving Brush for a Thick and Rich Lather

by jacky chou
Updated on

Shaving is an art at some point, and you need to have the right accessories for it, like a good vacuum beard trimmer. However, if you swear by the blade, the one must-have in your shaving toolkit is the best brush you can use. A good shaving brush not only makes the process look fancy and masculine but has real advantages on your skin, like helping with exfoliation making your shaving process smooth, comfortable, and enjoyable.

During my search, I came across some amazing options. I decided to find the best brush for each type that exists. My first choice is the MÜHLE classic silvertip badger brush because of its luxurious status and performance. The brush is soft and lathers easily. My second choice is the silvertip badger shaving brush from Parker Safety Razor, which comes with a brush stand, tremendously adding to my convenience. My third choice is the Luxury Brush by Vikings Blade, which lasts longer than most brushes and has no funky smell after use.

Before I go into detail about my best options, what exactly is a shaving brush?

What is a Shaving Brush?

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You can use lather or shaving cream to make the blade more efficient. While you can apply shaving cream with your hands, it will not do a good job of retaining water, mixing the lather, exfoliating the skin, and evenly distributing shaving cream on your facial hair. Furthermore, using your hands gets messy, so you need a shaving brush.

There are different types of shaving brushes with different bristle types that we will look at later, plus how to choose the best shaving brush. But first, what are the best shaving brushes in different categories?

Best Shaving Brush

1) Best Badger Shaving Brush

a) MÜHLE CLASSIC Silvertip Badger

MÜHLE CLASSIC Silvertip Badger Luxury Natural Shaving Brush
  • HANDCRAFTED BRUSH HEAD: Made from silvertip badger, only the best, carefully selected badger hair is used. Soft and flexible, the brush produces a rich lather for a luxurious massaging effect to prep...
  • THE HANDLE: We design all of our products to be long-lasting, and this handle is no exception. The modern handle options include classic high-grade black resin, faux ivory, and olive wood. All colors...
  • USE: Wet the brush under warm water. Next, place shaving soap or cream into a bowl or cup and dab your desired amount onto the brush, proceeding to gently work it into a lather on the skin. Use a...
  • MÜHLE DIFFERENCE: Our actions are driven by an affinity with nature and a desire for the very highest quality. Expert know-how and pioneering spirit flow into every product, whether it be a...
  • SUSTAINABILITY: As a member of the Environmental Alliance of Saxony we are committed to sustainability and cooperate with suppliers who uphold the same high standards. Our products come completely...

MÜHLE is a luxury shaving brush with a handcrafted shaving head. I like this brush for its luxurious massaging effect when prepping my hair for shaving. The MÜHLE brush has a handle design made of faux ivory and olive wood, giving it a rich appearance and a good grip.

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MÜHLE is easy to use and rinse, making it a hygienic option. I can choose a large, medium, or small brush, with the small option being the one I use when traveling.

  • Pros
  • Soft bristles
  • Best badger bristles
  • Quality silvertip brush
  • Great for lathering shaving soap easily
  • Luxurious design
  • Long-lasting
  • Cons
  • Not cruelty-free in certain cases

b) Silvertip Badger Bristle from Parker Safety Razor

Parker Safety Razor 100% Silvertip Badger Bristle Faux Horn Handle Shaving Brush - Brush Stand...
  • PREMIUM “3 BAND” SILVERTIP BRISTLES: This silvertip badger brush is made of the highest grade 3-band silvertip that is both soft and dense, making it suitable for use with all skin types.
  • BLEND OF ELEGANCE AND FUNCTIONALITY: This silvertip badger hair shaving brush features a blend of quality, comfort, and superb performance. With super soft shaving bristles, elegant design, and hand...
  • FAUX HORN HANDLE WITH CHROME BASE: This silvertip shaving brush for men comes with a faux horn handle, is chrome-plated and has an ergonomic shape that makes lathering easy.
  • LONG LOFT BRUSH KNOT: The badger brush has a dense and large long loft 22-mm brush knot that produces a rich lather to give a barbershop shaving experience. The long loft brush knot can hold a large...
  • BRUSH STAND INCLUDED: This silvertip badger brush comes with a resin shaving brush stand that holds the brush for proper drying and storage. Hanging the brush to dry with the bristles facing down, not...

Parker Safety Razor has, for 50 years in a row, given us the best razors and shaving accessories, and one of the best products in their arsenal is the silvertip badger bristle. The brush has an ergonomic handle for easy lathering and use on the face. The handle is made of faux horn for a luxurious and presentable look.

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The silvertip badger shaving brush from Parker Safety Razor comes with a brush stand, solving most of my handling problems when using other brushes.

  • Pros
  • Easy to handle with a brush-stand included
  • Great ergonomics
  • Relatively affordable silvertip badger hair brush
  • Durable brush
  • Luxurious badger hair bristles
  • Cons
  • Quite costly for a first-timer.

2) Best Synthetic Shaving Brush-Luxury Shaving Brush for Men by VIKINGS BLADE

Luxury Shaving Brush for Men by VIKINGS BLADE, Ultra Heavy Acrylic & 316L Steel Handle, Super Strong...
  • PERFECT Compliment for any shaving soap, cream and any double edge safety razor, straight razor, shaving razor or cartridge razor
  • SMOOTH, PLUSH & Long Lasting: a unique man made badger style hair rivaling top-of-the range Silvertip badger hair. Particularly, this knot has a strong backbone, feels ultra smooth & plush on your...
  • HEFTY, HEAVY Steel Base: Heaviest brush on Amazon. Most other shave brushes are made from lightweight black-painted pinewood, whereas this handle is made from ultra heavy and durable acrylic and...
  • STIMULATES and Exfoliates your skin just the right amount to simulate that luxury hotel barbershop experience
  • FAST & RICH Lather: Engineered specifically to quickly work up a Thick, Rich and Foamy Lather

VIKINGS BLADE not only makes some of the best shaving blades but also has a range of shaving brushes. This brush from VIKINGS BLADE has one of the strongest knot backbones I have used on any brush, making it my go-to when exfoliating. The brush further lathers fast and smooths my face with minimal irritation.

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The luxury brush by VIKINGS BLADE has a heavy steel base that keeps it from toppling whenever I use it, making it a neat brush for countertops.

  • Pros
  • Heavy base for stability
  • Strong knot and backbone
  • Great for exfoliation
  • Creamy lathering
  • Smooth on the skin
  • Durable
  • Cruelty-free
  • Cons
  • Relatively bulky to carry around

3) Best Horsehair Brush-Fendrihan Horse Hair Shaving Brush

Fendrihan Horse Hair Shaving Brush, Faux Ivory Handle 21 mm Knot
  • Add variety to your daily shave with a Horse Hair Shaving Brush by Fendrihan
  • With soft badger like bristles, this horse hair brush retains a strong backbone to generate a rich lather
  • Its dark bristles contrast its light handle, making a statement on your countertop
  • Animal-friendly, the bristles are taken from a horse’s tail or mane
  • Knot diameter: 21 mm Overall height: 100 mm

Fendrihan has a strong backbone, which produces a soft and creamy lather, according to my liking. The brush has a badger-like softness and gives me most of the advantages of a premium brush. The brush has a light handle with a flat bottom that rests easily on countertops for neatness when shaving.

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Fendrihan might not have the best water retention compared to badger brushes but is cruelty-free, which is a huge plus for the brand.

  • Pros
  • Flat bottom for resting on the counter during use
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Premium softness
  • Long loft
  • Cons
  • Poor water retention

4) Best Boar Shaving Brush-Semogue Superior Boar Bristle Shaving Brush

Semogue 1305 Superior Boar Bristle Shaving Brush
  • Handle height: 53 mm
  • Bristle loft: 55 mm
  • Knot diameter: 22 mm
  • Hand-made in Portugal
  • Incredible Value and Quality at an Affordable price!

Semogue is a luxury shaving brush with a handle made of Portuguese oak wood. The brush has a standard loft and knot, making it easy to transition to when I move from other brushes. Semogue is made of natural boar bristles, which are stiff and great for exfoliating and going for a smooth outcome. With a metal ring to keep the bristles in place, Semogue is a long-lasting option that won't buckle at any inconvenience.

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The one thing I do not like about boar brushes, in general, is how quickly they lose their scrubbiness, and Semogue is not an exception.

  • Pros
  • Scrubby for exfoliation
  • Affordable
  • Standard dimensions for easy handling
  • Hand made
  • Cons
  • Softens over time

Shaving Brush Buying Guide

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a) Cruelty-Free

Getting hairs from badgers and boars is considered unsustainable and unethical. According to this report, badgers are kept in unpleasant conditions and are treated badly. Furthermore, the most sought-after shaving brush is gotten from the belly side of the badger, where the animal probably needs the hair most.

Horsehair and synthetic brush options are considered cruelty-free as horse hair is gotten when grooming the animal. Furthermore, the brushes do as good a job as badger hair brushes.

b) Construction

When considering a shaving brush construction, you need to pay attention to the following;

i) Backbone

The backbone of the shaving brush is how stiff the brush feels at the knot. Also known as the flex, the backbone is scrubbier when it is stiff, and softer when the knot is a bit loose.

ii) Knot

The knot is the point where the brush is glued onto the base of the brush. You can choose the knot based on its thickness. A larger and thicker know will give you better firmness and water retention.

iii) The Loft

The loft is the height of the bristles rubbing against your face. Most shaving brushes have a loft of about 55 mm.

iv) Base

While the base of the brush does not come into direct contact with your face, it will affect the handling of the brush. If the base is rounded, it might feel good on the hands, but placing the face up on the counter in between shaves will be harder. I do not prefer laying the bristles on the counter surface as it is unhygienic. For that reason, a flat base is a priority for me.

c) Handle Quality and Type

A brush handle will directly influence its comfort and efficiency. Since I interact with water as I am shaving, I like a brush with a good grip on it. Furthermore, the handle material will affect the weight of the brush and its performance.

I am a stylish gentleman and like a fancy handle, as shaving is a lifestyle I enjoy unapologetically. Here are all the handle materials I have experimented with before;

  • Horn
  • Wood
  • Steel
  • Synthetic

d) Scrubbiness

The scrubbier the brush head, the better it is at exfoliating the skin and removing dead cells and dirt. A softer brush will lather the shave cream better and add more air. I use soft and scrubby brushes interchangeably, depending on whether I want to exfoliate or not.

If you like a bald-on-top look, then a soft brush is one to get.

e) Water Retention

Shaving cream, soap, or medium is carried by water. Therefore, the better water retention a brush has, the better it will be at forming lather and getting water in between the hairs.

f) Height

The height of the brush is never the biggest deal when choosing a brush. However, I look for a brush with enough loft to make the brush soft enough but with the appropriate stiffness. As mentioned earlier, I go for a loft of an average of 55 mm.

g) Brush Life

A good brush is costly, and for that reason, it should serve me for long enough. I keep off horse and boar bristles as they do not last as long.

h) Portability

Whenever I move around, I like bringing my brushes along with me. Since I have a decent haircut, I have to match it up with a neat jaw and that means having my shaving kit with me everywhere I go.

Shaving Bristle Brush Types

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When choosing a shaving brush, there are four types of brushes. However, these four brushes have lately been divided into two general groups; one is cruelty-free, and the other is not. Here are the types of shaving brushes you should expect to find in the market today.

1) Synthetic Shaving Brushes

Synthetic brushes are made of nylon bristles and are a great choice for anyone who prefers vegan or cruelty-free products. Synthetic brushes have gotten so good of late and are a top competitor against traditional brushes.

Synthetic brushes feel gentler on the skin and do not have the "fun," which is a foul smell associated with animal hair brushes. Synthetic shaving brushes are less abrasive, which is an advantage to anyone new to shaving, or someone with sensitive skin. With a lifespan of up to 10 years, a synthetic shaving brush is one to invest in for long-term use.

2) Horsehair Shaving Brushes

Horsehair brushes are also considered cruelty-free as they can be harmlessly extracted from horses. Horse hairs make a softer brush than what you would get out of a badger or boar hair brush.

Horsehair might be soft, but it does a bad job of retaining water when shaving. Furthermore, horse hair sometimes leaves a rather unpleasant smell after the first use. The smell can be gotten rid of using a shampoo but that is just extra work. The horsehair brush tends to lose some bristles if not well taken care of.

3) Boar Bristle Shaving Brushes

Boar shaving is my pick when I want a stronger brush that will make the hair on my face stand better. The brush further exfoliates and removes dead skin cells from my face more easily than other brushes. While the brush eventually softens over time, it is still less expensive than, say, badger hair brushes, and there is no harm in having a soft brush anyway.

The badger brush sheds its bristles compared to the other brushes, as boar hair is brittle. Furthermore, boar hair retains less water than badger hair, probably explaining why boar brushes are relatively cheaper. Boar brushes are not cruelty-free.

4) Badger Hair Brushes

Badger hair brushes are considered the best brushes by many. The brushes are durable and have soft bristles, and badger hair is considered premium hair by barbers around the world. Badger hair absorbs water better than all the other animal brushes and synthetic shaving brush options. The brush is dense, leading to a high-quality lather and easy shaving.

Badger hair might be perfect, but its downsides include the fact that it is not cruelty-free, making it lose a huge chunk of potential buyers. Badger hair brushes are expensive and hard to come by. Consequently, there are a lot of knockoffs in the market today.

Badger hair brush is not a straightforward pick as it has different variations to it, including;

a) Pure Badger Hair

A pure badger hair brush is made of hair that covers most of the badger's body. The hair is from the neck, abdomen, shoulder, or back. These hairs are coarse and are great for exfoliation. Pure badger shaving brushes are seen as entry-level and are relatively affordable as a result.

You can notice pure badger hair shave brush by its dark tan to jet black color.

b) Best Badger Hair

Best badger hair is taken from the belly of the badger and is considered a step up from pure badger hair. The hairs from the belly region are longer and softer than those from the back or shoulder, making the best brush more effective than a pure badger shaving brush. Best badger hair retains more water, making it good for a smooth shave.

The best badger shaving brush option is great for beginners or first-time shavers.

c) Fine/Super Badger Hair

Fine badger hair comes from the back region of the badger and is rarer than pure and best badger hair brushes. The brush is difficult to maintain and comes at a slightly lower cost than the silvertip badger hair.

The color of the fine badger hair is white to light grey, with white tips.

d) Silvertip Badger Brush

Of all the badger hair grades, the silvertip badger shaving brush is the most expensive and is found in the neck area of the badger. These brushes are considered the most luxurious in the world. Silvertip brushes are soft and cushiony, hold more water, and last for years when well tended.

Why Should I Use a Shaving Brush?

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A good quality brush makes your shaving comfortable and efficient in the following ways;

i) Hydration

When using cream shaving soap or foam, it is water that carries these mediums to prepare the skin for shaving. A shaving brush does a good job of mixing water and shaving cream or foam. Furthermore, the brush will get the mixture between the hairs better than using bare hands, which would smear the mixture over the hairs.

ii) Rich Lather

A brush creates a rich lather by whipping air into the water and shaving soap. The lather softens the skin and helps the razor glide easily when shaving, reducing irritation or the risk of developing shaving bumps.

iii) Exfoliation

A good brush gets in between the hairs to remove dead skin cells and any dirt, leaving your skin clean and soft. Furthermore, you reduce the risk of getting blackheads that are a result of dirt and dead skin cells accumulating on the skin.

iv) Cost Effective

When using a brush, you end up mixing less but enough amounts of shaving cream compared to using your bare hands and may not be able to whip enough air into the cream for a smooth shave.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shaving Brushes

1) Are shaving brushes worth it?

Shaving brushes not only make shaving enjoyable, but they add to the quality of shaving one gets. A shaving brush ensures the lather and water are properly mixed and get in between the hairs when shaving. A shaving brush further exfoliates the skin and removes dead cells for smoother results. A shaving brush is worth the cost.

2) What kind of shaving brush is the best?

A badger brush is the most sought-after and the best in terms of water retention, smoothness, and lathering. However, one would argue that how the brush is attained is not the most ethical way, potentially reducing the badger brush score by some points. The next contender would be the synthetic brush because it lasts a long time, no animals are harmed in manufacturing, and they are quite affordable.

3) What size shaving brush is the best?

A shaving brush has different dimensions. For the loft, 55 mm bristles are standard. Brushes are graded into medium, small, and large, and I have each depending on when I would need the brush. I use the small brush for traveling and the large brush for when I need a proper shave.

4) What is the best natural shaving brush?

A badger brush is the best because it retains water, lathers easily, and is durable. Furthermore, the brush is soft and feels good on the skin. A horse brush does not retain water properly while a boar brush loses its structure fast and is brittle.

Final Thoughts

A good shave requires a robust shaving kit with items like a good beard trimmer or wax; a good brush must be part of that. The main things to look for in a brush include good water retention, a good loft, fast lathering, zero foul smells, proper knot, medium weight, and a brush stand accompanying the brush. If you want cruelty-free options, then a synthetic hair brush is your pick.

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jacky chou


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