While shaving brushes have been a mainstay of well-groomed European men for over a century, they have only recently been re-discovered by us here in the States. With men’s grooming arts making a comeback, we thought we would assemble some basic information to introduce you to this fantastic tool.
The shaving brush can improve the quality of your shave in three main ways:
1) Softening skin and elevating whiskers
The brush pushes shaving products under your beard, ensuring good penetration and making the hair tenderer, for an easier cut by the razorblade. The act of using the brush also gently exfoliates your face, helping to ward off ingrown hairs. The overall effect is the opposite of hand-applying shaving cream or soap, which pushes and mats down facial hair.
2) Creating a barrier for your skin
The main purpose of shaving cream or shaving soap is to create a slick barrier between your sensitive facial skin and a sharp, dangerous blade. Using a shaving brush to get a proper lather and thorough application maximizes the effectiveness of this purpose, allowing you the control and precision for a close, clean shave.
3) Elevating the experience
As if helping perfect your shave wasn’t enough, a beautiful and quality shaving brush can turn this everyday activity from a chore that you rush into an experience that you savor. You can enjoy creating a warm, pleasant lather, and take in the ritual that men have been repeating for centuries. Some things should be done slowly, with intention, and relished as a moment of solitary satisfaction.
Basic Steps of Use
- Start with a clean, warm, moist face.
- If using shaving cream, place a small amount on the center tip of the brush. If using shaving soap or cream in a shaving mug, rotate the brush in the mug to build up a frothy cream.
- Lather the shaving cream or soap onto the face in repeated circular motions. Adding more water to the brush will make a richer lather, but be careful not to add so much that the mixture becomes slimy and watery.
- Shave, re-lathering with the brush as necessary.
- Finish your shaving experience by rinsing the face with cold water to close your pores.
Choosing The Right Brush
As classic shaving tools have come back into the American market, there are plenty of cheap options available both online and in big box stores. As with anything that seems too good to be true, beware of cheap shaving brushes as you often get what you pay for. Some brushes have synthetic bristles, which may feel soft to the touch but could cause irritation to the skin as they degrade. Other bristle types are simply not long lasting or as effective for shaving as they would be for a paintbrush. Badger hair is truly the only material with a track record of providing an excellent shave, and lasting for years when treated with care. After you find your ideal shaving brush, take time to savor the ritual and enjoy a tradition that’s provided the best shaves for hundreds of years!