About new boar brushes - I started with three brands, all new in the box. An Annie brand that was available locally. Been so long I'm not sure who I gave it to and have very vague memories of the break in process. Next was a VDH boar from the Deluxe set I think, might still have the box. Those are know to be shedders. Otherwise the Surrey/VDH boars are serviceable brushes. When I found a nearby shop that stocked Omega brushes I bought a #10098, and a #20248. These were what I saw others using in their SOTD photos. I liked the scrubby, scritchy, stiff bristles. Much more backbone than the first two brushes I'd owned. Eventually the @20248 softened up, gave me less of what I likes, and was traded. I still have the #10098 and use it often. Bought a second one and pulled the knot for use in a Rubberset 400 replica. In my mind and on my face, a new boar brush just feels right. Sort of a game changer was figuring out my beard direction. Rather than all over North to South, I do WTG. The difference is N to S on my cheeks, S to N neck. Second pass ATG and opposite directions. Third pass starts at ears headed toward chin and ends up being clean ups. Less irritation is a good thing.