Are Synthetics Really Best?

Discussion in 'The Brush' started by Steve C, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. Steve C

    Steve C Active Member

    I know everyone has a different opinion, but I would just like to know.
  2. dustmite

    dustmite Well-Known Member

    They are for me. But I've never used a high end badger, so take it for what it's worth... The nice part about synthetic brushes is you can get a good quality brush for very little money. Stirling and Maggard both sell highly regarded synthetics for under $20, so even if you don't like it, you're not out much.
  3. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    I prefer badger. But that's me.
  4. Steve C

    Steve C Active Member

    More expensive (Badger) to be sure!
    Douglas Carey likes this.
  5. stingraysrock

    stingraysrock PIF'd away his custom title

    Once I acquired my Shavemac two-band silvertip flat top from Rudy Vey, I have used no other brush for at least a year and a half.
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  6. Straight razor dandy

    Straight razor dandy Stuck cleaning the house himself PERMANENTLY

    I think synthetics are the best.

    I started out by getting badgers, however. I had some that are very high-end. I bought a couple of boars and horse hair brushes as well...all the ones with the best reviews. It turned out that my synthetic outperformed them all.
    BamaT, Tdmsu and Douglas Carey like this.
  7. Steve C

    Steve C Active Member

    Do synthetics hold together longer?
    Douglas Carey likes this.
  8. jar

    jar Well-Known Member

    I have seen no evidence of that.

    When I started shaving the most common brush material was Nylon, a synthetic. I have some nylon brushes that are well over a half century old and also boar and badger brushes of similar ages. The new synthetics seem slightly softer than those old ones and we have learned how to color them to make them prettier.

    Yesterday I shaved with an old EverReady Nylon brush that was made before 1958 and it lathered as well as my new RazoRock Plissoft and also showed the same weaknesses such as splattering and dripping.
  9. Eeyore

    Eeyore Well-Known Member

    Well, you answered the question already ... everyone has a different opinion

    Where they are definitely "best" is for a travel brush, because they dry so quickly.
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  10. Nate.H01

    Nate.H01 Member

    I prefer synthetics but you have to get the water ratio right as with any brush. Otherwise you get the splattering and dripping of water.

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
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  11. '65 G-Slim

    '65 G-Slim Well-Known Member

    I don't care for synthetic. Feels like trying to work up a lather with a piece of foam rubber. I'm torn between badger & boar as far as my favorite. I have a Strong Set boar which is great, but my Ever-Ready K40 badger is its equal.
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  12. Zykris

    Zykris Well-Known Member

    I have one synthetic brush. A black/white knot from Whipped Dog. I do like it. It makes a very nice lather. Just when it comes to splaying it a bit is when my skin doesn't really like it. I have tried a Whipped Dog High Mountain Badger brush. It's good but I'm more a boar fan myself.
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  13. Jayaruh

    Jayaruh The Cackalacky House Pet

    Supporting Vendor
    I did hot like my first synthetic. It was a PurTech which was just too stiff. I have since replaced it with a two-band badger which I really like. I also like the new generations of synthetics. The Tuxedo knot and the Maggard knots are great knots. Once you learn to use less water with them, they are great latherers.
    Tdmsu, RyX and Douglas Carey like this.
  14. Spyder

    Spyder Well-Known Member

    Boar is my favorite. I just got a nice synthetic from @Jayaruh , which is really nice. I am learning to use the synthetic as it behaves quite differently.
    I would recommend making that design for yourself, as everyone's opinions differ. Different strokes and all that:)
    Zykris and Douglas Carey like this.
  15. PickledNorthern

    PickledNorthern Fabulous, the unicorn

    As several people have said, everyone has a differing opinion. I think synthetics are best for affordability, easy lather building, ease of cleaning, no soak necessary, etc... They are easily my least favorite aesthetically. I prefer a more natural look overall. I also prefer a little more scrub than most synthetics seem to provide, the exception being the Simpson line.

    Boars are just as economical, but are definitely more work to break in and use.

    Horse can also be just as cheap, but I have found them to be very hit and miss in knot build/quality/enjoyment. I have probably owned eight or so of them to find two or three that I really like. I keep a few in the rotation though, just for the fun of using something different.

    Badgers are my favorite overall. I like the look of them, I like the bit of scrub I can get from a two band, or the synth softness of a good three band.
  16. Badgerstate

    Badgerstate Well-Known Member

    I certainly think they are. Most badger brushes are shedders for me, even expensive ones. Ive never had a synthetic that sheds. For anyone who says that nothing compares to the face feel of a silvertip badger, try a Muhle Silvertip Fibre. Your days of badger brushes will be over.
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  17. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    Best? Too many variables for a tight answer. Depends on factors like;
    Hard soap, soft soap, or cream?
    Face or bowl lather?
    Tender skin or Leather face?

    I started with inexpensive Omega boar brushes. A new natural boar bristle is stiff and a little scratchy. Some manufacturers (Semogue) may send the brush out presoftened. I like the scitchy stiffness of a new boar brush.

    I've also tried several low end to mid grade badgers. These I use for creams and softer soaps because the brushes I own are not as stiff of bristle as a boar. They do make a lather, but loading soap is more difficult.

    Synthetics have gone through several generations of change. Different materials and manufacturing techniques have made the current types very soft. They do not absorb or hold water like a natural bristle. This property makes them a good travel brush. Learning to make a lather with a synth is no big deal - moisten the brush, shake out most of the water, load the soap, agitate.

    I use a vintage boar that's doing quite well, but I really like the feel of a new one. My badgers aren't old enough to really judge. Synthetics seem to hold up so far - haven't seen one drop a bristle yet.
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  18. Enrico

    Enrico Popcorn

    A fellow member ask me why I install synthetic knots in my brush restores; this was my response.

    Synthetic has a great feel (super soft bristle ends) and great back bone. It dries very quick, so very little chance for bad growth and less chance since it is synthetic. Since it dries quickly its great for traveling. Lastly a natural brush should dry thoroughly between uses so as to last longer; synthetic can be used daily and will be dry with in a couple hours. Using a synthetic in conjunction with a natural bristle brush (every other day) will actually aid the natural brush lasting longer due to letting it dry.

    The other reason I restore with synthetic is that I've seen that natural bristles in soaking up water have been known to swell and split some handles especially if they've been bored to accept a larger diameter knot. This won't happen with synthetic knots.

    In addition some times getting a good badger knot can be a crap shoot in quality, very expensive and a very long wait, but synthetic knot quality is consistently great very affordable and I can receive a order with in a week.

    Just my thoughts on the matter.
  19. Steve C

    Steve C Active Member

    What is the right way to break in a boar brush??
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  20. PanChango

    PanChango Not Cute

    Just use it. It doesn't take long.
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