Becoming sensitized to synthetic brush?

Discussion in 'The Brush' started by LaneP, Dec 21, 2019.

  1. LaneP

    LaneP Well-Known Member

    Normally I rotate between a couple of different brushes and soaps/creams. For the past few months I've primarily used either a synthetic (Razorock) brush with TOBS Sandalwood cream or a boar brush with various Stirling soaps. Most of my shaves up to this point have been with the boar brush and Stirling soap.

    Beginning sometime last week I was loading up TOBS with the Razorock synthetic. The lather went on and as I was beginning the first stroke of the razor, I began noticing a very mild, almost what I would describe as a "burning" sensation all around the lathered area. Not enough to be uncomfortable, but definitely noticeable. I completed the shave and chalked it up to something in the TOBS that disagreed with me. Following that shave I decided because "I must be sensitive to the TOBS", I returned to using the Stirling soap with the boar brush. No problems, no discomfort from that mild burning sensation.

    Thursday morning I decided to continue using my Stirling lather but this time I lathered it up with the Razorock synthetic. The mild burning sensation returned. Now I was really confused. I would have never thought a synthetic brush could have anything to do with something like that. Yet there was that mild burning sensation. There was no post-shave residual redness or other after-effects past the feel of the mild burning while lathering.

    So this morning I used the exact same soap as Thursday...Stirling sandalwood, only this time I used my Razorock best badger instead. There was no burning sensation or discomfort. Just a normal, comfortable lather.

    Maybe this is already something known in the community but I was always under the impression synthetic brushes were least likely to create issues with skin compatibility. I've used synthetic brushes many times before and never noticed anything like this, it's only recently this is happening. Two different soaps/creams from two different makers (though I suppose similar ingredients could be in both) leads me to believe the issue is solely with the synthetic brush, but does not happen with two different types of natural hair brushes.

    Anyone else have this experience?
    RyX, brit and Keithmax like this.
  2. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    Unusual situation you have there. For months you used the synth brush and same soap with no problems? Assuming all things being the same I can't imagine why your outcome could differ. Couple shots in the dark guesses; Environmental - you don't list your location but could the weather affect your skin? Cold and dry rather than hot and humid? "Others" in your household used your brush for other than intended purpose? I've seen folks joke about using the wife's toothbrush to clean vintage razors just acquired from the wild.
    brit and LaneP like this.
  3. LaneP

    LaneP Well-Known Member

    Years actually, with no problem. It sits in a medicine cabinet in a bathroom that is also used by several other adult family members. I hadn't thought about the possibility it may have gotten some other product on it from the medicine cabinet when that other product (i.e., eye drops) may have been used by another family member. I'll clean the brush thoroughly today with soap and water and retest it next week. Thanks!
    brit likes this.
  4. Enrico

    Enrico Popcorn

    I would suggest that it's a good idea to clean all your brushes periodically and between shaves to have them located other than the common bathroom. Due to high use (showers and such) the humidity could be letting them stay damp longer (mildew is very aggravating to the skin). I remove my brushes from the bathroom after use, to a bedroom shelf for a day to fully dry. I also (after rinsing) swish my razor with the blade in it, in a jar of isopropyl alcohol; not for germs but to help keep the soap scum off. Lastly you may have become sensitive to the soap itself for multiple reasons 1) the scent 2) the ingredients (I personally can't use anything with EDTA in it) 3) if you bloom you must let your soaps fully dry (open to the air) between uses or you could promote nasty growth.

    Please remember this ..... all that I've said is not to infer that you're not a clean person, but only to keep you healthy.

    Have a great shave!

    Last edited: Dec 22, 2019
    LaneP likes this.
  5. LaneP

    LaneP Well-Known Member

    All great and valid concerns I need to pay more attention to. Thanks!
    Enrico likes this.
  6. godek

    godek New Member

    Could it be possible that living in the cabinet it never dries out? If so, you probably have been breeding something nasty.

  7. LaneP

    LaneP Well-Known Member

    Valid question. I never have problems with my natural hair brushes that are stored in the same cabinet, or anything that indicates there are moisture related problems. I've just gone ahead and now use only natural hair brushes all the time, split between a RR badger and boar brush. No issues with those ever.
  8. Spyder

    Spyder Well-Known Member

    Synthetic typically dry much faster than hair. It also doesn’t absorb water like bait, which would indicate that it would be less likely to grow gremlins. According to my thinking, one could say that synthetic would be more hypoallergenic than natural. IDK.

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