Intro: Two more Yaqi badger brushes arrived a few days ago from a recent order via aliexpress. The brushes are: - Moka express handle with a 26mm bulb shape two band finest - Ebony and metal base handle with a 21mm bulb shape silvertip Pics: Here are a couple of my SOTD pics with the newest 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 Moka 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 Moka did 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 looks very classy with the ebony/metal handle. The Moka does require several uses before it opens up and breaks in. All two bands have a scritch for the first several uses but for whatever reason, the Moka didn’t have that scritch and it felt fantastic from the first use! I absolutely loved it!! 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, in general, 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. As I mentioned previously, the Moka two band didn’t have that scritch even on the first use. It was luxurious, and this is probably the best two band experience I have ever had! Splay: I love the splay on all my Yaqi badger brushes, not just these ones. The silvertip has an excellent splay with a little bit of flop. The reason would obviously be due to the smaller 21mm knot so not as much “meat” holding up the loft. But the splay is not floppy in that it does retain its shape but has a tendency to splay out if pushed down. The heavy handle is also conducive to splay do I don’t exert additional pressure on this brush and it works just fine. The Moka has 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. Backbone/Density: The knots are so well packed that there’s never any feeling of floppiness on the two band, 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 Moka has the perfect amount of backbone and density. The silvertip is dense but again, being 21mm, it does have relatively less density compared to 24mm+ silvertip knots. This is not a negative but just a reality that comes when comparing larger knots with smaller knots. Drying time: The Moka is generally dry within about 8 hours where as the silvertip takes 12-14 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 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!! A special mention for the Moka handle. It’s probably the most ergonomic handle I’ve ever used. It looks big but fits the hand like a glove! Its looks are mind-blowing and so unique! I mean, who would have thought to make a handle in the shape of a Moka pot? It’s just brilliant!!