Originally Posted by imomri
This is a very long journey figuring these things out. I've been using a brush for years, but only became serious about this as a hobby about 6 months ago and only now am even beginning to understand the brush side of things. First razors, then soaps and now looking at figuring out brushes. The best thing to do is try as many as you can. We have a diverse membership with an equally diverse view of what they require in a brush some of which may be of no interest to you. For instance, some of the members here love the synthetics and horsehairs not because of performance, but because they don't require that an animal die. Others would never use anything but a badger and the thought of using a synthetic fills them with end of the world dready.
Monitor the BST and buy some of the stuff that the others have already cycled through. Get it cheap if you can so that you can get rid of it without much of a loss if you don't like it. Try everything. Badger, boar, horse, synthetic (though not me...never in MY house). Experiment with the subcategories: Badger divides into (roughly) pure, best, finest, Silvertip and then brand specific versions. There are boars, boar/badger blends and then gradations within boar. Horsehair, also a traditional brush hair which disappeared because of an anthrax scare, also has different grades and proportions of mane/tail (and is my favorite non-badger material).
The journey never ends, but at some point it slows down because you learn what suits you. Don't agonize too much at this phase over what to buy. You can't make a mistake. If you see something you think you'll like and you can afford it, then get it. It's part of your education and the only way you can learn is by shelling out the bucks and making the mistakes. The beauty of this site, however, is that your mistake is someone else's dream.
The Definition of a Gentleman: Someone who is never rude, except on purpose.