Used a badger brush for the first time tonight (Whipped Dog 20mm silver tip set at about 49mm) and thought I would give my impressions compared to the omega boars I have been using for a few years. Especially since I was one of the many wanting to know the difference
Well, the biggest problem is that they are so different that it is difficult to compare. As with so many things this is not about performance but about preference. I almost feel like comparing them is liking trying to compare DE's vs Straights.
Firstly the density of hair is vastly superior on the badger i.e. number of hairs per sq inch, and the hair is a lot finer. I now understand the oft used "wall of hair" phrase.
As soon as the badger goes near water you know it is a different beast - it swells and absorbs water, it doesn't just get wet. It is like comparing a face cloth to a super soft sea sponge. A broken boar may swell a bit and hold water but the badger is like an anenome that swallows a whole mouthful. For those of you that have been near animal pelts/skins the badger is like the fine soft hair near the skin while the boar is like the longer protective hair and their reaction to water is similar.
I usually bowl lather and use Tabac or MWF. So tonight it was Tabac and I was expecting a bit of difficulty with the softer badger but had no such problems. Just swirled the tips around and everything start frothing. It loads quite differently, the boar picks up the soap as a thick cream around the points with minimal frothing - the badger, in part due to better water retention, absorbs and creates proto lather.
Now I tried bowl lathering but the badger behaves quite differently to what I am used to. It seemed to absorb most of the lather and just swell into a vast matrix of hair and lather. I am used to the boar creating most of the lather in the bowl.
So I gave face lathering a go - WOW! what a revelation - I found it a lot easier and more comfortable face lathering with the badger than the boar. The analogy of face cloth vs soft sea sponge seems most appropriate.
I did find that the badger clung to the soap more than the boar and now understand the whole process of squeezing out a cup of lather from a brush
I find my 24mm/58mm loft boar just right for me i.t.o. size and would say this 20mm hits the same spot. The badger just spreads out so much more. I wouldn't say one is scratchier/softer than the other - it is more of a pressure/texture thing for me.
After one shave I couldn't say which I prefer but what has become clear to me is that they are completely different and require completely different routines/approaches. For now both have a place in my den and which I use will be dictated by the routine and experience I land up preferring. Plan on experimenting a bit more with face lathering.
I still plan to try one of the golden nib 2 band extra stuffed knots as soon as I find a suitable restore candidate. At this point I can't see myself getting into the high end badger as much as I appreciate looking at them and drooling. There are just too many other things like straights and soaps I would enjoy more ...... for now.