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Thread: How to soften a shaving brush?

  1. #1
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    Question How to soften a shaving brush?

    I like my boar bristle brush, and would like to know if anyone knows how to soften the bristles. I have been using it for a while and it's great for lathering but would like the tips a little softer as it feels a little rough on my face still. Does anyone know any tricks? (other than using it, it's broken in)

  2. #2

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    If its broken in then that's about it. Sounds like time to badger shop
    D.J.

  3. #3
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    That's what I figured, but badgers are so darn expensive. Too bad there are no shops in my town in Michigan that have badger brushes, because I would really like to pick one that I could feel before hand. I let my boar soak in some thick uberlather for a couple hours then rinsed and slathered it in hair conditioner, rinsed and it's feeling softer. Just thought some of you guys might know some tricks.

  4. #4

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    Closest places to me that really carry anything are one hour one way. I know how ya feel.
    D.J.

  5. #5
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    I have recently gotten an Omega boar brush. Still feels a bit rough on my face still. I tried the Ambrose Method of breaking in a shaving brush in the Shave Wiki. Brush isn't as soft as I like but I can't tell if the ends have split or not yet.

    I am having a great experience with a Parker black badger brush I got on amazon back in July for $25.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I favor the K.I.S.S. Method.

  6. #6
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    How long is a while and what kind of brush is it (make/model)?
    Steve B

  7. #7
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    I found my boar brushes to really soften up after a 5 minute soak in a 1:5 vinegar solution. Not only did they soften up, they also pick up water more easily. After it's vinegar bath rinse and let dry.

  8. #8
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    I have four boars, 3 Semogues and 1 Omega and they all took some time to really break in.

    Like Badger hair, Boar bristles vary in thickness, stiffness, softness etc. etc. Unlike Badgers, Boars can take a number of lathers to really start coming into their own as the lather machines that they are. The above posted "Ambrose Method" helps, but like all good things in life, breaking a boar takes some time. I can imagine how the 1:5 vinegar bath would help. I have had one round of using that method preceded with a shampoo with dish soaps and followed by borax/water bath.

    Not always being known for my patience, I found it helpful to simply make trial lathers at night on the theory that there are "X" number of lathers until the brush was broken. Some brushes take longer than others, but if you latehr daily with the brush, you should notice some improvement each week with some real gains coming after the second week, luxury coming after the third week portending the lather nirvana to come.
    Bob:

    Good Lather = More product + More Water + More Time lathering

  9. #9
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    Mine is just a Burma Shave Boar brush. Last night I looked up ways to soften our hair figuring if it's good to soften our hair why not any other hair. I read that soaking olive oil, caster oil, and hair conditioner were all great ways to soften our hair. So I mixed Olive oil, Caster oil, and hair conditioner. Worked into a bowl as I would making lather. Then took a piece of plastic and wrapped it around the brush soaking it in all those oils/conditioners over night. Just washed it with hot water, and it feels a lot softer against my face. I'm thinking treating boar bristle and rinsing in between shaves with conditioner will soften it even more as it does with our hair.

  10. #10
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    I have found that letting the boar brush dry completely between uses helps the tips to split, which is what leads to a soft boar brusk. For me, this requires only using it every other day with two days drying time. My SOC boar took two to three months to break in.
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  11. #11
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    While watching a movie I put a good amount of hair conditioner into a bowl/tub and heated my brush with hot water so it was damp and worked the conditioner into the brush really good while I watched the movie. Then dipped it in hot water then back to the conditioner. I would let it just soak but every 10-20 minutes I would do it again. After the movie was done I rinsed all of the conditioner out with just hot water. Let it dry, and now it is 10 times softer on my face. I almost want to post it in a how to section somewhere it worked so well.

  12. #12
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    Just keep using it. Part of the fun for me was knowing the more I used my boar, then it would only get better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdevine View Post
    I have found that letting the boar brush dry completely between uses helps the tips to split, which is what leads to a soft boar brusk. For me, this requires only using it every other day with two days drying time. My SOC boar took two to three months to break in.
    This is the most important step to a proper Boar break-in
    Tabacaholic since 1976

  14. #14
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    The "Ambrose method" of breaking in a badger brush works but it won't turn a pure into a silvertip. It will slightly soften the tips of the brush and it will rid of the new/animal scent.
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  15. #15
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    What is the Ambrose method? Anyone want to tell me this recipe/procedure?

  16. #16
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    If the brush has clipped bristles, it will never feel any better on your face. If they are not, hand lather with the brush...rinse well, remove the excess water, shake it in the shower. Then give it a gentle dry with a hair dryer. It will speed up the proccess of the bristles flagging.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by xMackx View Post
    What is the Ambrose method? Anyone want to tell me this recipe/procedure?
    Check post # 5 for a link.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by noahpictures View Post
    Check post # 5 for a link.
    Oh... thank you. I have a question to anyone to answer.

    1. Wash it with dish soap
    2. Soak it in dish soap soapy water for a few hours
    3. Build a lather and leave it to sit and dry over night - this is were most of the magic happens

    My question is in step 3, rinse the dish soap out? Then make a lather with your shaving soap? Or keep the dish soap in with the shaving soap both in the brush when letting it dry out over night?
    Last edited by xMackx; 11-07-2011 at 04:42 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by xMackx View Post
    Oh... thank you. I have a question to anyone to answer.

    1. Wash it with dish soap
    2. Soak it in dish soap soapy water for a few hours
    3. Build a lather and leave it to sit and dry over night - this is were most of the magic happens

    My question is in step 3, rinse the dish soap out? Then make a lather with your shaving soap? Or keep the dish soap in with the shaving soap both in the brush when letting it dry out over night?
    Rinse the dish soap out, then lather with shaving soap or cream and leave it overnight to dry.
    ShaveReady.Net
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  20. #20
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    I've had a Burma Shave brush. It was clipped boar, inexpensive and never did soften up. Here's what ya do- go the full elitist route and drop $10 on something like this:

    http://www.italianbarber.com/product...products_id=57

    Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

    Jeff

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