The humble shaving brush, once a feature of every barber up and down the country, can trace its roots back to the era of 1750 and mainland France. The French call the brush “blaireau” which is the common French term for the humble badger and badger hair is recognized by many wet shavers as the finest and most luxurious material to use for a high-end brush. In recent years, boar hair and nylon have made an appearance on the brush market, but most accept that Badger hair will always be the hallmark of a good brush.
Badger hair has incredible water retention, provides a exfoliating effect when used on hair, making it softer and lifting from the skin making a comfortable shave and preventing nicking and cuts, and is highly durable and long-lasting. While synthetic shave brushes have been developed in recent years to an acceptable standard, most would agree that Badger is best, and certainly the badger hair brush, once only available to the best barber’s salons, is now part of the shaving experience at home.
Badger hair is normally graded dependent on its quality. “Pure” badger (Hair from the underbelly) is considered to be the entry level hair, as seen in the Bluebeards Revenge Shaving Brush. This hair can vary in softness, color, and water retention. Normally the bristles are trimmed to provide stiffer ends which some shavers prefer.
The next level is normally “Best” badger. This hair come from around a quarter of the badger’s body, and tend to be longer and lighter than “Pure”. The brush is normally more densely filled, providing a richer lather but most people would struggle to tell the difference between the two levels.
The next level is “Super”, much more expensive than the previous two levels as the quality makes a massive jump. Super is graded and sorted by hand to provide a superior lather and feel, it is extremely hard wearing but still very soft and flexible.
The top grade is recognized around the world as “Silvertip” however. Silvertip brushes are exquisitely made with the distinctive off-white ends, with the top grade of lather and “feel” which surpasses all others. Top grade brushes, with high quality handles, such as the Thiers-Issard range can retail for over £150. However most people “in the know” would agree this is a small price to pay for the incredible skin experience these brushes provide.
You can find a range of fine quality shaving brushes from Jacks Male Grooming: JacksMaleGrooming.com.