Boar versus Badger versus Horse Hair versus Synthetic

Discussion in 'The Brush' started by Michael_W, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. Michael_W

    Michael_W Well-Known Member

    I've used a variety of shave brushes now: badger, boar, horse, and synthetic. For whipping up a good voluminous lather, I've had better results with my Omega boar and my Stirling synthetic brushes. I had poorer results with badger and horse, but the slickness—the true gauge of effectiveness, in my opinion—is what counts. I've gotten the same slickness of lather regardless of the bristle type, because ultimately it's the soap or cream that determines how slick the lather is.

    So what, then, is the point of debating the merits of bristle type? I think it comes down to which one prefers as it pertains to the feel of the bristles on the face. What are your thoughts?
  2. RyX

    RyX DoH!

    Influenced by my early experience, I like the lather building ability and face feel of a new Omega boar knot. Once they get broken in they're as soft as anything else short of an latest generation synthetic like the Tuxedo & Cashmere knots sold by APShaveCo (that might be sourced from Yaqi ?). So soft I almost can't feel the bristles. The couple of badgers I own seem to fall between the two extremes.
    I prefer a boar or synthetic when loading hard soaps. My badger brushes are generally only used when I lather a cream.
    brit, Redrock, Primotenore and 7 others like this.
  3. Michael_W

    Michael_W Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I've noticed that different soaps seem to work better with different bristle types. My Oleo, Van Der Hagen, and Tabac all seem to work well with my Omega boar, less so with my Vie-Long. My Stirling synthetic soaks up water like I never imagined previously, and whips up a wet yet slick lather every time.
  4. Zykris

    Zykris Well-Known Member

    Mostly for me, it's the feel of the bristled and whether or not I feel like bowl or face/head lathering. I can get the same lather almost from all of the bristle types but I have a strong preference for boar mainly followed by synthetic, horse and lastly badger in that order.
  5. Vlasta

    Vlasta Well-Known Member

    Supporting Vendor
    This with a blonde 24m horse knot - creamy yeah? it is my current favorite.

  6. MntnMan62

    MntnMan62 Well-Known Member

    I have not tried a horse hair brush so I can't comment on those. But I have several boar, badger and synthetics. I have to say that there is a fair amount of difference between brushes made from the same type of hair.

    For instance, I have 5 badger brushes. One is a small AOS pure badger. I find that to be a little too small, too floppy and too scritchy for my liking and as a result doesn't see much use. In fact it's stored away now in a bin. I also have an EJ of similar size to the AOS but in Best badger. I actually find this brush to be scritchier than the AOS brush. It too is stored away in a bin. The other three are out and I use regularly. One is a Parker King Size Pure Badger. It has some scritch to it but I like it's large size. I have two silver tips. One is a Golden Nib and the other is a Envy Shave Luxury. And these two are quite different from one another. The Golden Nib is soft but can still feel a little bit of scritch while the Envy Shave is denser resulting in more backbone and the tips are super soft. Easily my softest brush. As a result, the backbone and the softness makes it one of my favorite of all my brushes.

    I also have 4 boar brushes. One is a Schone brush. It is nicely broken in so the tips are nice and soft but I find the loft to be too high resulting in it being a bit too floppy. But I still use it on occasion. I have 3 Omegas. A Pro 49, 10066 and a Connaught faux jade handle. I like the Pro 49 because of it's large size. I like the 10066 because it is smaller and sometimes like to change it up with brush sizes. Both of those feel similar, providing a little more scritch than the Schone. And the Connaught has a shorter loft, more backbone and is much softer even though it is much newer than the other three. It has quickly jumped to my favorite boar.

    And I have 6 synthetic brushes. All but one are Razorock. The one that isn't is a Schone and doesn't see much use due to it being higher loft and too floppy for my liking. The RR brushes are Original Plissoft, Bruce (regular size), Monster, Beehive and 400 with the noir knot. They are all pretty similar in feel. Very soft. The Monster is stored away because it falls in between the Bruce and Beehive in size. Plus I'm not thrilled with the handle and how it feels in my hand. But my use of them depends upon the bowl I am using. Bigger brush for bigger bowl, etc. But I think think the 400 noir knot has become my favorite. I just like how it feels in my hand and the size seems just right for my face. But I also turn to the Beehive when I really want to build an obscene amount of lather and go crazy with it.

    And I tend to use my boar brushes for soaps and alternate between badger and synthetic for creams.

    I'd post pics but I'm having a little trouble making that happen. I'll figure it out soon enough and will post pics from my den when I do.
  7. Michael_W

    Michael_W Well-Known Member

    That reminds me; I need to get an updated pic of my gear posted. I'll do that this evening after work.
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  8. Badgerstate

    Badgerstate Well-Known Member

    Everyone likes different things, thats the spice of life. Personally, I prefer synthetics for humane reasons but I certainly understand why people like badger, boar or horse hair.
    Redrock, Keithmax and RyX like this.
  9. david of central florida

    david of central florida Rhubarb Rubber

    Rat, pig, plastic, or the kinda hair(kinda hair the grows on a horses but)? All have merits and idiosyncrasies.
    But I feel the rat to be king. I didn't determine the rat to be good for shave brushes, they figured it out years ago in a lost era, where men shaved with blades and wash basins. Tradition, the wealthy and sophisticated used the rat, poorer more meager masses used the cheaper pig. Plastic was not developed enough to be a legitimate alternative. And lastly horses tangled.
    So the classy option is the rat. Any other option is a comparison to king rat, so many times it's said, "just as soft as a badger", lathers as well as a badger. All the others qualities are determined on their comparison to badger. So I say, as far as shave brushes go, badger is king. Long live king badger, you lucky rat. Lol
    Redrock and Keithmax like this.
  10. 178-bplatoon

    178-bplatoon Well-Known Member

    My favorite is still the #6 horse. It is inexpensive, has great back bone, soft tips and lathers all my soaps well.
    The badgers I've used have all felt to floppy. :)
    Redrock and Keithmax like this.
  11. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    There are good boars, and bad boars. Good badgers and bad badgers. I have some of each. Each has its specific purpose, the good ones that is. To me, horse hair is very floppy, and has been relegated to bowl lathering only.
    Redrock and Keithmax like this.
  12. jar

    jar Well-Known Member

    My basic feeling about brush knot materials echos the sheeps bleat: "Four legs good, two legs bad." Now should I find a synthetic brush from a four leg source I may change my mind.

    Seriously though I have boar, horse, badger and synthetic brushes, new ones and old ones, experienced ones and inexperienced ones and all work.
    Keithmax likes this.
  13. Vlasta

    Vlasta Well-Known Member

    Supporting Vendor
    Anyone ever had a bear hair brush ?
  14. MntnMan62

    MntnMan62 Well-Known Member

    Thought about it but decided badgers were easier to deal with.

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  15. john zeiger

    john zeiger Well-Known Member

    I still prefer the synthetics. I feel that they are more efficient than the animal hair brushes (probably because I'm not as experienced with the animal hair bruahes) in that the synthetics seem to release more lather with less soap than the animal hair brushes I've used. Just my experience - and as I mentioned earlier I am not as experienced with the animal hair brushes.
    Keithmax likes this.
  16. Vlasta

    Vlasta Well-Known Member

    Supporting Vendor
    john zeiger likes this.
  17. MntnMan62

    MntnMan62 Well-Known Member

    Sad thing is, apparently that picture was taken just before that bear killed the photographer.
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  18. jar

    jar Well-Known Member

    Kinda sorta not.

    There was a photographer who created an image of being mauled by a bear and was later killed by a bear while in his tent but that photo is from a context for hoax photos; "the last photo you ever took".
  19. MntnMan62

    MntnMan62 Well-Known Member

    You see that? You learn something new every day. And now I am properly informed thanks to jar. I’m skeptical by nature but I didn’t think to question this one. Clearly I should have.
  20. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    I use my synthetic, boar, badger, no horse for face lathering, bowl lathering and palm lathering. Each brush is completely interchangeable with the other. I have no favorite; it's whatever is next in line, or what I feel like using.
    brit, PickledNorthern and Redrock like this.

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