Intro: Three more Yaqi badger brushes arrived in my den from a recent order via aliexpress. The order arrived in 15 days, fully tracked. Which is a great relief living where I am!! The three brushes are: - Mysterious Space handle with a 24mm fan shape two band finest - Red Ruby handle with a 24mm bulb shape two band finest - Long blue handle with a 24mm bulb shape silvertip Pics: Here are some pics of the brushes… Shedding and Smell: None of the brushes had or have any shedding issues. Not just these three brushes but none of the brushes I’ve ordered from Yaqi. The silvertip had no smell that I could pick up. The two bands had a very faint smell which dissipated after about 4 lathers. Pre-bloom softness: As expected, the silvertip was fairly soft even before touching any water. The two bands do have a noticeable scritch when brand new. Break-in: The silvertip was hand lathered just once and was ready for use!! It blooms out beautifully and with the long blue handle, it’s really a very sophisticated brush overall! My wife commented that it’s the “super model” of all my brushes The two bands do require several uses before they open up and break-in. All two bands have a scritch for the first several uses. I hand lathered both the two bands about 3 times before using them. Softness: The silvertip is very soft on the face. Very luxurious indeed! I absolutely love the feeling of a soft silvertip, especially in the winter times when I use warm water to soak my brushes. The two bands lose their scritch after at least 6 uses. Then they become soft but not a silvertip soft. They retain a scrub that is not at all scratchy. It’s very comfortable, no skin irritation but the scrub is what makes two bands special for me! For this reason, I would say the two bands are my favourite type of badger knot. Splay: I love the splay on all my Yaqi badger brushes, not just these three. The silvertip has an excellent splay without any flop! I am able to push down on the brush while face lathering and the brush doesn’t “flop” at all. The two bands have an excellent splay but since the hair is a bit more resilient than the silvertip, it takes a bit more pushing to splay it out more, but I generally don’t find I need to splay it out that much in any case. The fan shape two band does have more coverage and therefore, lesser need to be splayed out. The bulb I push down just a tad more and it complies very easily. Backbone/Density: I am so impressed with Yaqi badger brush density. The knots are so well packed that there’s never any feeling of floppiness, even when pushed down to splay the knot. The backbone is what I classify as goldilocks since it’s dense enough not to be at all floppy but not so dense that it hogs my lather (which I find very irritating). The silvertip and the two bands have the perfect amount of backbone and density. The two bands of course do have some more backbone than the silvertip but not necessarily more density, it’s just due to the thicker hair. Drying time: The two bands generally dry within about 18 hours where as the silvertip takes 24-30 hours to fully dry. This is consistent with all the other two band and silvertip brushes I’ve used. This is not a characteristic I regard as good or bad…I’m totally indifferent about how long it takes for my brushes to dry but I would point out that in humid periods, badger brushes do take a LOT longer to dry out. My silvertip in the monsoon season took more than 2 days to dry out. I’d stick with synthetics for travel but at home, it really doesn’t bother me if my brushes are drying out quickly or not. Handle: The handles on Yaqi brushes are just awesome! I love each and every one of them! You can see the design and quality in the photos. The quality and heft can definitely be felt in the hand. I regard Yaqi as having by far the best handles of all the non-custom brush makers!!