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Thread: Synthetic shave brushes, what are the advantages / disadvantages ?

  1. #1
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    Question Synthetic shave brushes, what are the advantages / disadvantages ?

    I wonder ...

    Ω What you WATCH is what you see Ω

  2. #2
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    I'm curious, too. I'm new to wetshaving.

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    While new to wetshaving, I have already used:

    Simpsons Chubby 1 Super
    VanDerHagen's Boar
    Muhle 'new' synthetic

    The Muhle synthetic is SIGNIFICANTLY different than any other synthetic. Search these forum for a shootout.

    And, frankly, they all work well fro me. I bowl lather, with soap that I have a tablespoon of hot water in while I shower. Tabac, Proraso (my favorite), and have also used Kiehl's cream and Sir Irisch Moos

    They all lather well, but the Chubby seems to be best at holding enough for 3+ passes, with the synthetic a close second.

    I like that nothing died directly for my Muhle, but I really like the Chubby (Thanks, Ron!).

    The Muhlle dries FAST.
    The Muhle and Chubby are both like buttah on the cheeks..

    That's all my opinion. YMMV. Also, the VDH is dirt cheap, you can get the Muhle from Connaughts for very reasonable, and a Simpson, while worth every penny, is the most 'dear'.

    Have fun, welcome to the 'sport', and let me know your thoughts as well!
    Last edited by PhiGam; 03-23-2012 at 08:19 PM.

  4. #4

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    I have an Omega synthetic brush and it's a great lather maker. It works equally well for both soaps (hard and soft) and cream. But the best part is, it's very low maintenance. It dries quickly and don't have to worry about a mold or bacteria growin on it.

  5. #5
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    The possible pro's - Not an animal product, soft, dry faster, durability, affordability
    The possible con's - Poor water retention, poor heat retention, can be floppy, not many different makers/options
    We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately - Benjamin Franklin

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    huge!!!! if you're a badger!

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    Definitely check out the other synth threads. I've been using synths almost exclusively for almost 3 years. Vintage and the version prior to the new Muhle. All the vintage make lather like crazy, but only a few are pleasurable to use. The Muhle has been my daily brush since I got it.

    Quick pros/cons. Pro: Synth makes the lather and gives up the lather, unlike badger which tends to hold on to a lot in the brush. This does require some "lather management" while face lathering. Con: Poor heat retention, but not a big deal if you don't care about heat retention or use a scuttle.

    Steve
    Anachronistic Shaving Equipment Guy

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    Good post. Thanks for asking the question.

    I'm interested in this topic myself. I recently reviewed a new-generation Mühle Black Fiber synthetic, and found it as good as any natural brush I own. I now have a Mühle Silvertip Fiber brush that I feel is better than any brush I've ever tried. My brush experience is limited to about 15 boars and badgers including a silvertip. Mind you, none fit into the top-end premium category. I am wondering why synthetics are not more widely used.
    Jim S.
    "You can always tell who the pioneers are. They're the ones with arrows in their backs." --Silicon Valley saying

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    Quote Originally Posted by Codfish View Post
    Good post. Thanks for asking the question.

    I'm interested in this topic myself. I recently reviewed a new-generation Mühle Black Fiber synthetic, and found it as good as any natural brush I own. I now have a Mühle Silvertip Fiber brush that I feel is better than any brush I've ever tried. My brush experience is limited to about 15 boars and badgers including a silvertip. Mind you, none fit into the top-end premium category. I am wondering why synthetics are not more widely used.
    Thank's for your advice. I'm surpriced how greedy (swallowing the lather) my badger is :-) I saw a video on YouTube showing a synthetic brush challenging a badger and the effectivity of the synthetic was amazing. Now I'm waiting an Omega 90081 (nylon bristle) from UK and look forward for the experience. If successfull, I'll get a Mühle Silvertip to.

  10. #10

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    I tried one from the Body Shop a while ago. There is an excellent thread that explains in detail how you can make that work.
    For me however it felt like barbed wire ripping my face. That brush now rests in a cupboard where it will grow old very lonely and very unused. If I need to break the outer layer of a particular hard soap, I will welcome it back in action. But of course YMMV.
    "He who has lost freedom has nothing left to lose." -- Unknown.

  11. #11

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    How long ago did you buy your body shop brush? The current one is very soft indeed, with no sensation you could think of as face ripping ;-)

    It is way too springy in my opinion (well my wife's actually as she keeps complaining that it sprays lather around the room) but the bristles themselves are velvety soft.

    Edited to add: Codfish, could I ask you if there was a significant difference between the Blackfibre and the Silvertip Muhle synthetics?
    Last edited by stevesteve; 03-24-2012 at 01:33 PM.

  12. #12
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    There's a big difference in synths, just as in boars and badgers.
    Some synthetic knots are really plasticcy, others are softer or even soft to the face.
    Some look like nylon, some look like badger.

    Common advantages are (as mentioned) the lightweight, easy drying hairs.
    Also, synthetics create lather easily and efficiently.

    Water flow and retention in the modern synths seems to be good.
    Heat retention is less than with badgers.

    Omega and Muhle make synths that look as good as their natural counterparts.
    Still, those new synths lack the tradition found in the famous models.

    All in all, they are worth investigating.
    I really enjoy my silvertip fibers and also the artificial badgers.

    To quote Kevan, serious contenders and I like them to add some high quality variety to the rotation!
    Have a nice day! - Wim

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    I have the black handled Muhle silvertip fibre in a 21mm knot.
    Prior to this I only owned one other brush- an HJM pure badger, so I don't have experience with anything else.
    I found this prickly- no good to use when face lathering.
    The Muhle though has lovely soft tips and what surprised me the most is the very strong backbone.
    You really have to push down hard to get the bristles to splay.
    At first I didn't like this as I thought it would irritate my face, but it doesn't- the synthetic bristles are soft and smooth.
    Its great for face lathering and creates lather easily.
    It collects in the knot well without hogging it, and holds easily enough for three passes.
    Heat retention doesn't bother me as I only shave with luke warm water.
    One thing I did notice is when pressing the brush into my face when face lathering, some water tends to drop out as the bristles are splayed.
    Is this peculiar to synthetics, or does this happen to every brush when face lathering?
    I like the fact I'm not rubbing animal hair into my face and it dries within a few hours.
    It has not shed a hair since using it, although there was one loose hair when I first unpackaged it.
    Hope this helps.
    -Michael.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesteve View Post
    How long ago did you buy your body shop brush? The current one is very soft indeed, with no sensation you could think of as face ripping ;-)
    I bought it on 3 April 2011. I know you might think what an enthusiast for keeping detailed records. Fortunately I am not addicted at all to shaving....
    It might also be that I had one of an old stock, who knows?
    Last edited by vertelselaar; 03-25-2012 at 03:03 AM.
    "He who has lost freedom has nothing left to lose." -- Unknown.

  15. #15

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    You sound perfectly sane and not at all addicted; I received mine on 19th June 2011 (AM) :-D

    There seem to be a few different images for Body Shop shaving brush, I have this one:
    http://www.thebodyshop.com.my/products/pid399.jpg
    It has very soft fibre tips.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesteve;

    There seem to be a few different images for Body Shop shaving brush, I have this one:
    [URL
    http://www.thebodyshop.com.my/products/pid399.jpg[/URL]
    It has very soft fibre tips.
    Yep, mine looks the same. I didn't dare write down that I saw the brush by accident on a sunny Saturday afternoon when I searched the town-centre for shops with shaving equipment. I bought it in a flash and out of curiosity, not knowing what to expect. Now I know.... or do I?
    "He who has lost freedom has nothing left to lose." -- Unknown.

  17. #17
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    Is that body shop brush available in The Netherlands?
    Have a nice day! - Wim

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  19. #19
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    The biggest benefit to me is flow thorough. The synth brush will give up it's lather easier than a badger brush will.

    Biggest con for me is the backbone. I haven't used a synthetic brush that excelled at face lathering yet because of a lack of backbone.
    However, I hear the Muhle synthetics have more backbone than other synthetics.
    - Lucas

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by wimbouman View Post
    Is that body shop brush available in The Netherlands?
    I bought it off the shelf in Maastricht last year, there quite a lot then. I didn't check since, so I don't know the situation at this moment.
    "He who has lost freedom has nothing left to lose." -- Unknown.

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