Breaking in a NEW Boar brush a little quicker!

Discussion in 'The Brush' started by Ron R, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    Thought I would do the proper method of breaking in a new 2nd boar brush. My first boar brush attempt of breaking in (4 years ago approx) I read a few articles and tried to remove the funk smell out of the brush because I have a keen sense of smell and did not like it. I used all the wrong methods to remove the smell of natural hair and I was a bit ruthless trying it and I was going to throw it out but before tossing it I would put it through a gauntlet of torture.( I laugh [​IMG] what I recall )
    These are some of the drastic things I did , took the brush after a few brushings of lather and then rinsed and left by the window sill for about 24 hrs and then re-lathered and this time left the lather on the brush by the window sill in the open air and then next morning rinsed it off and tried to use it but the funk scent was still there.
    New drastic untried tactic's going to MrClean lemon fresh industrial cleaner in a bowl and with brush over the sink immersed it and lathered in the solution and rinsed off the solution about 6-8 times(4 years ago trying to recall) with not much luck, so more drastic measures were needed before tossing my $12 dollar wooden handle boar brush.
    Then I boiled some water and immersed the wooden handled brush in the water holding it down with a long cooking utensil for about 1 minute and then scooping it out cooling it under cold water and doing a smell test, still not happy with results, did this about another 2 or three times with not much better results.
    Last hope and this was clincher I took the brush and placed it in the glass jar and then with MrClean solution with water just up to the top of the boar whiskers and let the micro wave rip, I let the microwave work until it started boiling and removed brush and man was the handle hot not realizing the rubber glued knot heated up also kind of split the wood a little, seemed like better results. Tried this about 3 more times and was sort of happier with the results. I was also thinking if this brush survives this torture it will be used and not tossed as a reminder.
    After drying that brush for a day and then started using it I realized it was well built and the hairs starting splitting nicely and the brush is still used to this day because it works well. (if you read this far I hope you had a laugh or smile at least.)[​IMG]
    NEW SIMPLER Better method, recently bought a another new boar brush and there was not much funk smell and used a kinder more better advice method from some Youtube advice from a old Italian barber (Mantic 59 interviewed).
    Just took some Hair shampoo in my shaving bowl and cleaned the brush with lathering with shampoo and rinsing with water 5 times and then towel dry for 3-5 minutes and it removed any loose hairs. Then filled clear glass cup with cold water up 3/4 of the way up the whiskers of brush and placed in refrigerator for 18 hrs and removed and re-lathered with shampoo in the lathering bowl another 4 times and then towel dried 3-5 minutes once more and the towel will remove broken hairs or loose ones. Back into the fridge for another 18 hrs and then this time after removing from fridge I bowl lathered with hair conditioner 2 times and rinsed and then towel dried for about 3-5 minutes by swirling and going back and forth.
    Looking at the results seemed really, really good IMO and did not spend a lot of time with the brush, a good broken in boar brush will give a nice different lathering to the face and I still enjoy a boar brush. So now I have 2 broken in boar brushes that will last a very long time!
    Not sure how a wooden handle brush would work using this method of breaking in the Brush.(don't immerse handle in the water for 18> hrs!)
    A nicely broken in boar brush will have those split hairs that give the softness and the main hair will give the back bone for hard soaps or croaps.
    I'm sure there are also different method's of breaking in a boar brush.

    (L)New boar brush..........................(R,top)2 day broke in boar brush.......... (below)there are nicely split hairs with double, triple & quad splits.
    Yaqi boar brush broke in after 2 days after 2 days in fridge 2.6.jpg
    Have some great shaves! Stay & think safe in these times.
    Another Boar brush I broke in with this method a few months later, great results. I have a large brush collection and it would take to long to use as a daily driver to enjoy it quicker so I used the 3 day fridge method.
    Yaqi #1 Viper 24mm boar brush (3).jpg
    Have some great shaves!
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2021
    awk-m4, ischiapp, brit and 1 other person like this.
  2. Smudge

    Smudge Member

    Wow! Without wishing to sound disparaging, I just use mine and they break themselves in.
    huck1680, brit, Eeyore and 5 others like this.
  3. John Beeman

    John Beeman Little chicken in hot water

    I’ve only had a couple that were extra stinky. Usually they’re fine after a few shaves.

    I seem to recall using Arko repeatedly with one of the stinkier ones.
    Lancre, brit, Douglas Carey and 3 others like this.
  4. swarden43

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

  5. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    I'm a little spoiled and have mainly used synthetics for over 3 yrs and once in a while I take my Omega Boar out for a couple of lathering's. The new boar has nicer feel already and is more enjoyable but not totally broke in(85%:happy108:) but well into it and makes the this boar more enjoyable than the 1st one.
    brit and John Beeman like this.
  6. Tedolph

    Tedolph Well-Known Member

    Buy a Semogue. They have little to no stink and whatever they do have is gone by the third shave. They break in quickly too.
    CarlfromMO likes this.
  7. Douglas Carey

    Douglas Carey Wildman

    brit likes this.
  8. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    I'm at it again, bought another Yaqi Orbital ring 24mm Boar bristle brush around Black Friday sale time and well I seem to have a lot of brushes now and to daily break this brush it would take a lot of time, I resorted to the cold water in the fridge treatment and towel dry every 12 hrs approx again so I can enjoy the brush more. Lots of split end bristles that give the brush softness.
    This time I added one drop only of dish soap to the cup of water that is filled 3/4 way up the length of the bristle to help in cleaning also. At the end of the 3 days I squeezed most of the water out & did a hair conditioner treatment and then used it. Good results and about 70-80% broke in boar brush I figure and with my large brush collection I will enjoy it more when it comes up in the rotation turn!
    I used it today and the brush performed well for its 1st time.
    Yaqi #1 Orbital ring 24mm boar bristle brush collage..jpg

    Brush collage, Dec 23, 2021 .jpg
    Have some great shaves!
    brit and Ijustmissedthe50s like this.
  9. Eeyore

    Eeyore Well-Known Member

    Oh, I hated hated hated those Semogues lol! Waste of money for me!

    I don't discount your experience (they are popular for a reason) but the two I tried were not for me. When I still used boars, I preferred the Omega knots.
    Ron R and brit like this.
  10. brit

    brit in a box

    love omega knots,but with semogue quality handles..;):eatdrink047:
    Lancre and Ron R like this.
  11. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    This is going to be my last boar bristle brush to break in for a long time because I have 5 now and that works well for my brush rotation for many years of good lathering service.
    I'm on another forum also a member of, the fellows have been really talkative on the same subject thread and so I compiled a short reference for future information on breaking in boar brushes for some Newbies & seasoned shavers who want a boar brush for what ever reason.
    I enjoy a good broke in boar brush for lathering and that was my goal to speed it up because of my large brush rotation. I would never enjoy my boar brushes fully because of frequency of use in a large rotation to break one in by daily use properly.
    There are Different methods of breaking in a boar brush.
    The boar brush in the glass of water with water level 3/4 of the way up the knot break-in 2-3 day period for the split hairs to multiply is the method I like to use, my thoughts behind it is to soften the boar bristle fiber and then by towel drying the tips it does a few things after some thought & experience is it gets rid of any lose & broken hairs and then the towel drying starts to fracture the hair ends from the soakings but gives the lower part of the bristles flexibility from breaking further down the whisker towards the glue plug.
    So it looks like there are 5 methods or more methods of breaking in a boar brush.......
    - Manufactures pre-break in the tips with certain chemicals and also sterilizing by bleaching of hairs prier to packaging for retail sales gives a quicker bristle split end.
    2/- Just use the brush and overtime it will naturally break in. (months of use from what I recall on my 1st boar brush)
    3/- place boar brush in the glass filled 3/4 of the way up the knot with cold water and soak for 3 days and removed every 12- 24 hrs to towel dry the tips for 4-5 minutes to start the hair split ends process & back in the water until 3rd day of towel drying intervals gives about 70-80% break in and just use it and enjoy it . (I used this method on 4 brushes and works well). (Brushes did not have wooden handles, with wooden handles you have to be 3/4 or lower with water level so not to split the handle possibly or reduce time in the water to prevent this happening possibly IMO)
    4/- Wet the brush well for a few hrs and just use the hair dryer on max on just the hair tip areas to help speed up split ends and leave for 24hr intervals to air dry brush . (need some skill level not to dry the whole length of bristle to glued plug of the knot, I could see this working also).
    5/-I heard of a procedure where a fellow buys a new boar brush and in the morning soaks the new boar brush with his other old brush while prepping his shave, does a palm or bowl lathering with the new brush rinses it out and hangs it up to dry until the next day and proceeds with his shave with his old brush. Then he does this same procedure daily with his new boar brush for a couple of weeks or more until he is happy with results and then the brush is ready for his brush rotation is another method of breaking in a boar brush slightly quicker with out giving your face brush prickly feel or discomfort.( also might be a good method for brushes with wooden handles from splitting? I not sure if this is a problem at all?)

    Results of my latest boar brush break in using the 3 day cold water treatment and towel drying it every 12 hrs for 5> minutes. I would suggest it is about 70-80% broke in now.
    Yaqi "Robin" 24mm boar bristle brush in the picture below.
    Yaqi #1 Robin 24mm boar bristle brush collage.jpg

    Brush collage Jan 18 2022.jpg
    Have some great shaves!
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
    awk-m4, ChrisB and brit like this.
  12. ChrisB

    ChrisB Well-Known Member

    Hi there Ron, a bit late to this thread but only joined up lately, so taking some time getting through 10 years of posts!

    My own Boar brush from the local shaver shop/proraso brand I think, never stank, and I just started using it from day one.

    But the ends of the bristles, even after a year of use don't look nearly broken in like yours.

    Whenever I use it I just rinse it well, towel dry and hang it up on the stand bristles down.

    Today I washed it thinking it was time to do so and used 1:3 vinegar to water, and then dishwashing liquid, followed by a good rinse. (I was expecting to see a whole lot of old soap/much come out, but no nothing, so maybe my lathering technique needs working on.)

    Shook it dry. Dried it on a towel, and then thought, heck I will use the hair dryer on cold, why not? If it's good enough for my own hair, why not boar hair or any other brush hair for that matter? As I type this it is standing by the open window upstairs in a cheap brush stand I stuck next to the window frame.

    A few questions come to mind regarding your very informative post:

    How much better does it lather with those wonderfully broken in bristles? Should I purse that?

    Why don't they just do this before they sell them? No, wait, clearly too time consuming for them, and will add cost to us.

    Would you do the same with a more expensive Super Badger (Xmas coming soon.....! (hopeful))

    I don't understand the fridge bit you mentioned, I would be interested to know how that helps to get the bristles looking like yours?

    Nice pikkies by the way!
    Ron R likes this.
  13. swarden43

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

    Why feel the need to wash a brush that's getting cleaned every time you use it?

    Expecting a lot of old soap to come out and you get nothing just means you're rinsing it well. Good job.

    Keep using it and don't overthink it.
    You'll find a boar does lather up a bit different than a badger.

    As to why you may not be getting the same lather results as Ron, it may be:
    Different size brush
    different soap
    different water hardness
    different amount of water used
    different amount of pressure on the puck
    different amount of time spent on the puck

    You gotta find what works for you.

    And super badger is not the same as boar. I lather it up one time, then rinse to get out on factory dust or loose hairs. Done.
    brit likes this.
  14. ChrisB

    ChrisB Well-Known Member

    Thanks Steve, being ocd I may be too much of a clean-freak!

    Why did I wash the brush? just thought I needed to! maybe some YouTube misinformation? Anyway, happy that it's clean and dry.

    I never realised there were this many variables at play, but love seeing and learning what others are doing, like all newcomers I have to get over the "better equipment" phase and hone the basics. So little time!
    brit and swarden43 like this.
  15. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    The brush will have a softer face feel. It doesn't affect the lather as much as people think it does.

    Semogue does do this, kind of. They released a list of the composition of the various knots they use. "% tops" refers to the percentage of uncut ends they use in the knot. These naturally flagged (it's the proper term for the naturally split ends of the bristle) bristles are included with cut bristles. It's what gives brand new Semogue brushes their rather unkempt appearance compared to Omega or other manufacturers.

    Badger doesn't need or benefit from a break in period. Shavemac D01 brushes being the notable exception, due to the extreme stiffness of the hairs, and only normal use fixes that issue.
  16. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    Wow, those are some interesting questions to try and answer
    How much better does it lather with those wonderfully broken in bristles? Should I purse that? The more split ends the brush has the softer it will feel and will lather any soap better IMO.
    Why don't they just do this before they sell them? No, wait, clearly too time consuming for them, and will add cost to us. Manufactures of brushes do sell them sort pre-started split ends at least these Yaqi brushes where. When they sterilize the bristles before making the knot they sort of get the hairs to start to split and maybe they use chemical also to promote the splitting of the bristle hairs tips. If you want a softer bore that has a nice face feel the Semogue bleached bristles will give you a nicer face feel. The Omega brush (Proraso) you own is a good one but it might not feel as nice as some other brands and it depends on the face feel a fellow is looking for, some fellows like the splay scrub more than the lather painting part most like. Make sure to soak any boar at least 2 minutes minimum before use it recommended and that will soften it up slightly.
    Would you do the same with a more expensive Super Badger (Xmas coming soon.....! (hopeful))
    I would just soak your super badger in some warm water under the tap or in a cup before each use and it will be just fine, the warm water just makes the bristles more pliable and badger is just more forgiving or less fuss IMO. Silver tip badgers have a finer hair from the face or cheek area of the badger and they are nice and soft but more of them. You will lose a few hairs on initial cleaning no doubt like my badgers did.
    I don't understand the fridge bit you mentioned, I would be interested to know how that helps to get the bristles looking like yours? It was asked by a well known barber in Italy how he broke in new boar brushes and he said he just soaked the brush in cold water for about 3 days and that started the split ends better and faster is my best understanding. The boar bristle is hollow and it absorbs water it expands slightly and ends seem to take the brunt of this so they split + drying the ends and rubbing them promotes this also. If you want them to look like my brushes I use the Yaqi boar brushes and they might promote the splitting at the factory before hand?
    Good luck with your boar brush.
    ChrisB and brit like this.
  17. Daywalker

    Daywalker Active Member

    Ron, in your B&B thread Atlantic59 explained to you that the fridge part was the result of a translation mistake.... the Italian barber apparently said "cold water" ("acqua fredda") but nothing about "refrigerating"... just saying.

    This is how Internet myths start.. lol.. and I see specifically this one repeated over and over again in English and German speaking shaving forums.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2022
    Ron R likes this.
  18. SterFry

    SterFry Active Member

    If you're trying to further accelerate break in, use a hair dryer to dry the brush after use, rather than letting it air dry. Dry it quite thoroughly so the bristles are crispy again before soaking again.

    I accidentally purchased an extra Semogue 1470 last year and took the opportunity to compare break in when all other variables were as close to uniform as I could get them. For both brushes I'd soak for 4 min, palm lather for 3 minutes then towel the tips for 1 minute. Brush A I'd let air dry 24 hours and brush B would get the hair dryer. The difference was pretty extreme. I guess it's the same mechanism that causes human hair to get all fizzy when it's blown dry.

    It's been my go to for breaking in boars ever since. Even got my Omega ProPro usable within a single hour of receiving it by soaking, lathering drying and repeating about 6 times. Try it.
    ChrisB likes this.
  19. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    I find that suggestion irrelevant because they mentioned cold water, fridge is a cold place and what's the difference in fridge or on the countertop both methods work. You make it sound like it something terrible is a about to happen leaving it in the fridge.:rolleyes: I just used a glass with water level 3/4 way up the brush knot how hard is that to figure out.
    You know I have not seen Atlantic59 for some time on B&B forum and if I recall he was adamant about breaking in a boar brush by just using it, been there and done that method but not my preferred method!
  20. ChrisB

    ChrisB Well-Known Member

    Thanks @SterFry, as I said in #12 I already used the hair drier once! Guess I can do this more often. If the brush gets fried, I have Vulfix Super badger as my backup option.
    I won't take the hairbrush to that though!

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