The shaving brush is a key, yet underrated component of any morning shave. The right brush will retain the perfect amount of moisture to coax the lather you need from any soap or cream. Shaving brushes are made from four types of hair: badger, horse, boar/hog, and synthetic. Badger hair shaving brushes offer the best moisture retention and the hair tips will gently exfoliate your skin as you lather. A badger shaving brush can cost between $20 and $1,000, so there is too large of a price and quality range for you to try buying blindly. To help arm you with some essential knowledge, we have compiled a few pointers about the grades of softness you will find with badger hair and a list of the five best badger shaving brushes on the market today.
Badger Hair Softness Grades
Badger hair shaving brushes are produced in varying sizes and have different styles of handles. Price is determined by the badger hair grade, size of the brush, and the material and style of the handle. There are no formal definitions within the industry, but most manufacturers use a similar grading system for badger hair. These are the major grades:
Silvertip: this is the rarest, softest and most desirable grade and will provide ultimate water retention. Silvertip brushes have natural, untrimmed silver color tips with a distinctive black band of coloring. This is the top level of quality.
Super Badger: this is the second quality tier, but will provide excellent water retention. The hair is long, soft, and untrimmed. The color is a black band capped with untrimmed white tips.
Best Badger: this the most common grade sold. It offers good water retention, but the hairs are more coarse and scratchy than the top two grades. This grade could be irritating if you have sensitive skin.
Pure Badger: very coarse and stiff hair. The water retention falls off significantly and the hair color is quite dark.
Best Badger Shaving Brushes Reviews
Semogue 2015 Silvertip
The Semogue 2015 Silvertip is a great brush to start with. It offers the best water retention imaginable combined with soft as velvet silvertip badger hair to reduce skin irritation and provide the ultimate lather for every shave. The metal retention ring will prevent the hairs from falling out of the brush.
There are no real downsides to this brush. You must keep in mind that any product that uses real animal hair will smell musty if you do not allow it to dry properly each day.
Parker Safety Razor 100% Silvertip Badger Bristle Shaving Brush
Parker is a well known and trusted name within the wet shaving industry. Their silvertip brush is an excellent product that can be used by a novice or veteran wet shaver. The superior quality of the hair will offer a luxurious lather without irritating your skin. Parker includes a brush stand for proper storage and drying to prevent the brush from developing an odor.
The only downside to this Parker product is the quality of the stand. It is a bit flimsy given the weight of the brush and may need to be attached to a wall or shelf to stand upright.
Edwin Jagger Best Badger Shaving Brush with Drip Stand
Edwin Jagger offers a wide variety of shaving brushes, but their Best Badger Shaving Brush may be the one you prefer if you enjoy a slightly stiffer brush, work with a shaving soap that does not lather easily, or have coarse facial hair. This model rises above others because of the drip stand, short knot, and hair retention with use.
This is a top quality brush, but you need to keep in mind that the hair is fairly short as is the handle. Men with larger hands or who prefer a long brush may want to look to another Edwin Jagger model or to the Semogue 2015 reviewed earlier.
Tweezerman Men’s Shaving Brush
Tweezerman Men’s Shaving Brush offers a wide knot, but the hairs are of medium length. The combination should offer a comfortable lather to most shavers. Hair retention and handle quality of above average for the industry, so this may be the only shaving brush you ever buy.
The major drawback to the Tweezerman is that it does not include a stand for the brush. A stand is essential for the care of any shaving brush. Separate stands are not expensive, so this issue is easily remedied.
Omega 63171 Stripey Shaving Brush
All Omega shaving products are made in Italy and known for their superior quality. The Omega 63171 Stripey Shaving Brush offers a great knot and length for easy shaving, yet is stiff enough to whip any soap into the lather you need. The 63171 is known for its outstanding hair retention and longevity.
The only drawback to the Omega 63171 Stripey Shaving Brush stems from the grade of badger hair used. This brush is made using pure grade badger hair, so it is stiff and coarse. This brush is not to be used by people with sensitive skin.
As you can see, there is a wide range of badger shaving brushes on the market today. This list is designed to help you narrow your choices considerably. Two brushes stand out from the other, though.
The Semogue 2015 Silvertip offers the best hair retention of the group. The metal ring at the end of the handle insures that. It also offers the best water retention due to the silvertip hair it is manufactured with. You will want to buy a stand for the brush to make sure it lasts as long as possible.
On the other hand, gentlemen who have coarse or dense facial hair may prefer the Omega 63171 Stripey Shaving Brush for its stiffer hairs. The pure badger hairs are a great match to tough facial hair, allowing you to lather properly before each shave.