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Thread: The Unofficial Shaving Brush Thread + Acquisition Disorder

  1. #1

    The Unofficial Shaving Brush Thread + Acquisition Disorder


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    Hello all,

    I have recently begun shaving DE style, and have really been enjoying learning about and inevitably acquiring the gear.

    I began with the Omega 11047 - Might Midget which is a Boar/Badger mix with some mighty small dimensions (not the smallest brush-but still very small). This brush is a steal, though. I paid $13 and it's a great brush to travel with due to it's inexpensiveness and small size. It also has great backbone and fairly soft tips. This brush does require a bit of break in due to the boar present, but even out of the box is a solid performer. If size is no issue but cost and performance are, this is a top performer. I will still use mine, and it will be my exclusive travel brush.

    Total Height: 73mm
    Loft: 43mm
    Knot: 20mm



    Well, a new brush has been on my mind due to the size of the Mighty Midget, not the performance. It's so small that I get the handle covered in slippery lather very quickly, but it does make for a great face lathering brush if you can get past the tiny handle.

    So, I got these guys on they way via USPS:

    Omega 6214 Silvertip Badger

    Height: 105 mm
    Loft: 55 mm
    Knot: 22 mm
    The handle is a veined faux jade.



    And finally, I ordered a Semogue 830 to go along with my new Omega Silvertip.

    This one is supposed to be their premium 90% Boar hair (second grade from their top hand selected Owners Club bristle). These brushes like all Boar brushes need a bit of a break in as evidenced by my Omega 11047. Most people are saying at least 15 shaves or so before the tips soften up like a Silvertip badger tip would be. These brushes are getting rave reviews and at $24 was too cheap for me not to try. I plan on making this my harder soap brush and my new Omega Silvertip my go to brush for face lathering and creams.

    Handle: Two-tone acrylic
    Total Height: 100mm
    Loft: 55mm
    Knot Diameter: 23mm
    Hair: Boar Bristle



    Hopefully I can let you guys know how my 2 new brushes perform by the end of the week.

    What are you guys using/buying?

  2. #2
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    If I can ever get caught up from my spending on vintage Gillettes, I am going to try out the Semogue brushes. I haven't heard a complaint about them yet.

    Right now I am using VDH badger, a VDH boar that came with the luxury shaving set, and a Tweezerman badger. I haven't had anything but good results with those and they will "do" for now. They all shed a hair or two at the beginning but all three have settled down to be good brushes.

    Before the end of the year I'll get a Semogue or two. I'm stocked up on razors, creams, soaps and other product.

    And I could always use more Feather blades.

  3. #3
    I have the VDH Boar brush that came with the deluxe kit. It's IMHO the only thing in the kit that is worthless, even to a newbie. From day one my brush shed like crazy. At least 8-10 bristles per shave. After a 12-15 shaves it is significantly less full. I would say it is down about 20% or maybe more than what it started with. I was not rough with it, didn't drown it in scalding hot water, but did soften it in hot water before I used it. It hates me.

    I would highly recommend the Omega 11047 Mighty Midget. It is pretty small handle-wise, but the badger/boar combo is about perfect. I would say mine is like 70% badger and 30% boar. Not sure if that's the actual ratio but mine looks and feels like that. For $13 I am not sure there is a softer, more versatile brush on the market. I can tell the boar bristle in mine has softened quite a lot since I got it and I am only maybe 12 shaves in with it. I have made "practice lathers" though, bringing my total lathers using it to about 22-24. It is great. It has also developed a nice full bloom. The thing that I love about it is that it has a good amount of backbone even after being broken in. The nice thing about it having some backbone is that it makes the brush not completely useless. If it had no backbone, my fingers would be the lather constantly due to the very short handle.

    If I had to buy a starter brush all over again, I would easily choose the Omega Mighty Midget again (not including my faulty VDH Deluxe Boar). Plus, my Omega which was the brush I really learned on took some tougher use than my VDH and has lost maybe 4 hairs so far, oddly all of them being boar bristle. My first few face lathers were using a lot more pressure than I should have and it took it like a champ.

    Also, the jade handle on my Omega Mighty Midget is truly stunning for the price. The build quality in general gives the impression of a brush that costs twice as much or more. My Omega 6214 Silvertip brush was $68 so I will be curious to compare the two. I will say that I plan on giving away a couple starter DE kits to friends and family for the holidays, and depending on how the Semogue 830 performs, one of the two will be in the starter kits I plan on gifting. But, the Semogue is nearly 2x the price so it will have some serious competition.

    Also, I will post for Gollnick: I have a Merkur Futur brush that matches my razor in silvertip badger. I only need the one brush as I feel that I have that part of my routine down. Also, I am not a hobbyist, just an enthusiast. Yes, there is marked difference.
    Last edited by TriviaMonster; 07-09-2012 at 09:53 AM. Reason: Because I post-proofread

  4. #4
    I was also going to note that, while I myself and lwt are the only one's interested in this topic, I will now have 4 brushes total after my two new ones arrive. That's probably at least 1 or 2 too many. So, I may end up doing a giveaway, or at least PIF'ing it to someone in need here on the forum. I can't wait to try out my new brushes. But, since I only shave maybe 3 times a week, I won't need more than 2 brushes. We will see.

    And while I do have that junk VDH Boar brush, I can't really imagine it's worth giving away really. It is a piece of junk. But, if someone wants it and will actually use it, feel free to contact me and I will send it to you for free, of course. But, like I said before, it sheds like a mother and most would be better spending the $13 on the Omega 11047 Mighty Midget as opposed to getting this brush for free.

    Here is a picture of the VDH Deluxe Boar Brush that comes in the kit except that mine is green...and horrible



    I hope some other forumites chime in as there is not really a ton of talk about shaving brushes in this subforum and I think that they are a huge part of one's shave. In fact, since they are responsible for helping to create a good lather and work it into one's skin, I could even say that they are the most important part. I mean who wants to shave with an inadequate lather? Not me. I have sensitive skin and bumps sometimes so I need a smooth, slick lather with a lot of cushion. Mmm, more cushion for the pushin'. And shavin'.

    Now that's not to say that any old brush won't do, one doesn't need a $450 Plisson (OMG what?!). But, it's important to have a brush that can perform and meet your expectations.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TriviaMonster View Post


    .
    That is the one that comes in the 9 dollar deluxe kit. I am talking about the one that comes in the Luxury set that Target sells. It looks very similar to the badger brush with the black handle, silver colored ring near the knot, and the little windmill on the side of the handle.

    I have found that drying them with a gentle paintbrush like strokes on a dry towel prior to hanging them up is a shed free way to handle them. I figured by now they would both be done but they keep on handling all the lather and face whiskers I can throw at them.

    I'm still going to get a Semogue or three one day. Actually, I will have a small amount of birthday money before the end of the year and I plan on getting a silvertip badger, a synthetic, and maybe a boar by Semogue as well.

    Folks rave about them. Must be a reason for that.

  6. #6
    Vulfix 2234. Only brush I've ever owned, been using it for about a year now (as long as I've been wet shaving). I did a lot of research before making my first wet shaving buy, spent a lot of time here and on B&B, and carefully considered all the suggestions and reviews. The Vulfix 2234 was a consensus fantastic brush. It was said that it's big, great for making lather with creams (and I use creams), and on the floppy side (i.e., not stiff). Check, check, check. I'm happy and have no plans of buying anything else.

  7. #7
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    I think I am done buying brushes because I am very happy with what I have. None of them are anything special, but two of them are originals that I doubt anyone else has



    • Back right is a Fendrihan supper badger, under $50 soft as a cloud and makes great lather with cream, really good lather with hard soap.
    • Back left is my Omega 005 that I put a TGN silver tip badger knot in, it is stiffer than the Fendrihan, but at the same time softer. Kills it on all soaps and creams, total cost, with the shipping for the knot, about $40
    • In the front is a one off custom that cost less than $10. Its my travel brush, the knot is a cheap best badger from Lee Valley Tools, and the handle was turned to my specs by a very generous member on Badger and Blade. He wouldn't accept any money for it not even shipping. Its a stiff little brush, and fits into a large pill bottle that I drilled some vent holes in for ventilation. Small and stiff but still makes great lather on all my soaps and creams.


    With these three my brush wants and needs were met and I haven't found myself wanting anything else. Now if I could only do the same thing with razors and soaps
    If you are playing life on easy, you are never going to win when it counts
    Knife making is hazardous to my bank account

  8. #8
    lwt- I know you have the different one. I have the cheap, junk model. The luxury one like you have looks quite nice actually. I have never seen one in stores around here so I haven't ever gotten one. Btw, the VDH Deluxe I have is a boar hair model also.

    Mag-I looked into that brush a little and didn't really see a ton of info on it, but that one is on my short list if the two I just picked up don't cut it. Glad to hear it's big and loves creams because I have been using a lot of creams lately.

    Unki- I was this close [ ] to doing a custom brush build with a Super Silvertip 22mm knot and a handle from The Golden Nib but decided against it at the last minute. I will do one of these eventually but maybe with a Super Badger or Finest Badger knot sometime. I really like that Omega 005. I am very excited to see how my new 6214 Silvertip performs. I have heard that Omega's silvertip knots are actually quite dense for the money so I am excited. I got the Semogue Boar as kind of a polar opposite "see what I like thing". I have heard good things about these boars.

    Also Unki, 3 brushes? THREE BRUSHES?!?!?!?! You have twenty-something razors but limit yourself to three brushes? I plan on getting a Futur or something adjustable or maybe a Weber DLC, but I only want 2 razors. My 89BA11 Chrome Barely shaves extremely well and I am not sure if I would change anything other than maybe a grippier handle. I just want another razor to dabble and to have 2 so I have a backup razor. I may be wrong, but I would think brushes would look and act more differently than one another more so than razors if that makes sense. I know every razor isn't the same, but how different could they be compared to brushes? I am a brush man I guess. For now.

  9. #9
    Interesting thread as brushes don't get so much discussion.

    I've only got 4 or so, 2 Badgers, a Boar and a Synthetic. They all work very well( the Boar does moult/shed a bit still after 9 months..) But, because they seem to work well, I suppose I neglect buying others. There is a lot of noise and chatter about Badger brushes on other forums, some seem outlandishly expensive and huge! I could be wrong though....

    Thanks, Will

  10. #10
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    The Omega 005 was originally a boar brush, and it worked quite well, but after getting the Fendrihan badger brush there was no going back to the boar The 005 is just the last 3 digits in the style number, mine just happened to be the Beech handled one. Most of the 005 series I see are plastic handled
    If you are playing life on easy, you are never going to win when it counts
    Knife making is hazardous to my bank account

  11. #11
    That's good to hear Unki. I have heard good things about super badger being perfect from a ton of different readings. Super soft tips but still plenty of backbone. I know they treat the tips to make them that light color and softer, what badger grade does super badger start out as before the treatments?

    I have also read good things about the sub $30 H.I.S. shaving brush. Its a synthetic that is supposed to be absolutely spectacular. In fact, I have read comparisons of it shaming $100+ Shavemacs and Simpsons according to some people. I think I will buy one in a few weeks which would bring my brush number to 4, at least ones that I use anyways.

  12. #12
    Well, I have had a chance to try them out.

    First, the long-awaited (for me at least) Omega 6214.

    See first post for pictures. It's got good density and I wasn't expecting that. It's got some backbone, a bit more than I would expect at 55mm loft with a 22mm knot. It's not floppy and hasn't shed a single hair after 4 lathers and 2 shaves. It's very well made and the handle has a good weight to it. Nothing about this budget Silvertip feels budget-grade. The handle is nicely made and has good depth to the colors and pattern in the acrylic that the stock pictures do not really pick up so I will take some with my phone (takes an okay picture-Samsung Galaxy Nexus). It absorbs a ton of water like most Silvertips and also absorbs a ton of soap. Leaning slightly toward the denser side of Silvertip brushes that I have tried it will use a bit more soap than say a Boar or a "lesser" grade of badger.

    But this thing is a lather monster. It is a bit on the large side for face lathering, but I gave it a go and it worked well as expected. It can get a bit sloppy at times but that isn't due to anything other than size. It lathered everything from cheap-o Williams and VDH Deluxe soap to RazoRock Artisan Chianti Lavender to Taylor of Old Bond St. Eton College cream. I don't have any triple-milled hard soaps to try it on so I can't say there, but I don't think it would be a problem if you just increased your loading times.

    The tips are very soft and there is zero scritch in my example. The Silvertip badger feels of good quality in this brush. At $68 it isn't dirt cheap but it isn't unreasonable for what you get. On a value scale I would give this brush a 9/10 which is pretty great. It rates so highly for me because I am not sure there is much that could be better at this price point. I do believe this brush will hold enough lather for a 4 pass shave if it's loaded with enough soap. However, I am a 1 pass shaver 90% of the time with a little touching up after that. I have done a 2 pass with it and find it to be almost too much brush unless used for at least 2 passes. Larger badger brushes like these can be a bit of a soap/cream hog. I have found to get a good lather I need to use enough cream for probably 3 passes or the brush won't give any up to my face. But, it's pure luxury and a great value which is not commonplace anymore.

    Overall I would give this guy a 9/10. It's a bit big for people like me who only need 1-2 passes, but otherwise it's one heck of a deal. Bottom line is that it works great, represents superb value and craftsmanship, has very soft, good quality Silvertip badger and will make just about anyone happy.

    Next up is the Semogue 830 Boar Bristle Brush.

    This brush is complicated. It was $24 and has a very nice clear acrylic handle with a red piece near the top that the bottom of the knot hides in. It is well made and well-packed. It shed about 7-8 hairs initially and I have only used it for lathering practice (I just now realized how much of a nerd I am) and to break it in. What's confusing then? The tips are very scritchy at this point and the brush has too much backbone. It has softened up a bit with the 4-5 lathers I have done with it, but it's not broken in yet so I can't really say too much about it's use. It is, however, a lathering MACHINE. I don't care what badger brush you use, I will whip up enough lather for a 3-4 pass shave in 15 seconds with RazoRock Artisan shave soap or my C.O. Bigelow Cream (rebranded Proraso) and you can't stop me. It easily out lathers my Omega 6214 Silvertip on my harder soaps and my creams. It's just fantastic to see even my Williams cheap soap or VDH soap get pounded by this Boar.

    It has gotten softer and better at lathering with each lather. I am told doing a couple of wet/dry cycles will help speed up the process so I may try those. A wet/dry cycle involves doing up a big lather, letting it sit from anywhere to a couple of hours to overnight, rinsing it completely, then blow drying it on a low heat setting. From what I have read on another forum, some people may do this everyday for 2-3 to 4 weeks to even 2 months and the brush will be fantastically soft. I don't plan on doing it more than 3-4 times and just plan on breaking it in by lathering it once a day for a couple weeks then using it.

    Unlike Silvertip Badger, this 90% Premium grade Boar Bristle (according to Semogue-no real unofficial grading system for Boar) does not hold a ton of water. It does hold some water and may hold more when broken in, but for now it's no a chamois like Silvertip or even "lesser" grades of Badger. One will need to adjust his/her lathering process to make up for this so a bit of practice may be needed if you have never owned a boar brush before.

    But, Semogue Boars are supposed to be King of the Castle as Boar Brushes go and this one looks to be representing the norm for Semogue fans. It is very well made and I have even been a bit rough on it while lathering which is one benefit of boar as they take a beating better than most soft Badger brushes. I really think this is going to be a match made is shaven (I tell jokes). One last note: mine stunk pretty badly. Or not so badly if you like that dirty, wild pig musk. In fact it smelled enough that my dog got ahold of the package while I was out and tried to eat it. The brush wasn't in the plastic box so it wasn't damaged, don't worry. A good bath with Pert Plus w/ conditioner did the trick after washing it thoroughly and letting it sit for a couple hours in warm shampoo in my lather bowl. I think it's good practice to clean them well before using them and this was a good example. The water was pretty brown/dirty when I dumped it out and it took all of the smell with it.

    Semogue 830 gets a good number/10. Why? Haven't used it like I said. But so far: Lathering machine, needs to soften up a lot and I think it will as it has already begun to, easy on the wallet ($24), a well made, pretty handle, the boar is dyed to look like badger which IMO looks nice, comes with a nice funky, dirty pig smell that does go away, and feels good in the hand. Also, this brush is easier to read the right amount of lather that I am making and releases it on my face easily. I feel like my Silvertip hogs a bit of lather and I need to use a bit more cream/soap than with the Semogue 830. I use about 3/4 the amount of cream/soap with the Semogue compared to the Omega Silvertip. Like the Omega Silvertip, this brush may be just a bit big for face lathering for me but it's less floppy. Both are good all around in a bowl or face or palm techniques.

    But, then there is my old, trusty Omega 11047 aka Mighty Midget Boar/Badger mix. It's small, and I realize now how much more comfortable a larger brush is for my hand, especially in extended usage. It's not so tiny that it hurts or anything but it does get lather on the handle too easily which my other 2 brushes do not.

    However, I have still used it since I have gotten my other 2 brushes. Why? It's broken in nicely and isn't scratchy, but does have a good scrubby feel that I enjoy. It stands up my longer whiskers easily, not that my Silvertip and Semogue don't FYI. But this brush works well for me in that I am used to it. I can effortlessly conjure up almost exactly the right amount of lather no matter the technique I am using. This brush excels in face lathering more so due to it's size and backbone. You can lather this in a bowl but you will make a mess of slippery lather on the handle if you aren't careful. At $13 I would still buy this brush as it represents the best value of all 3 brushes, but size is a factor for many so YMMV.

    The other 2 brushes are superb and I feel I have a good variety with the super soft and luxurious Omega 6214 Silvertip Badger, the cheaper and more durable Lather King Semogue 830, and the scrubby pocket-rocket Omega 11047 Might Midget. I don't know that another brush is in my future for a pretty long time. I don't want to collect a bunch of shaving stuff I only use once a month just to use it. I like to have back ups, enough supply to last awhile, and good quality gear and I think I have achieved this.

    Thank you for reading this absurdly long, poorly constructed wall of text that's about something you may never own nor even care to own. I just wanted to put this out there to tell new wet shavers or those on a budget about 3 very good, very different brushes to look into. My one last note is that while these are on the cheaper end (at least 2 out of 3 if not all 3) of very high quality brushes, each of these is a do-it-all kind of brush. Each is fine for bowl lathering with the midget being a bit too small, but still very capable. Each is great for face lathering. All will lather harder soaps, softer soaps, creams and magic potions. And I genuinely feel that after having done a ton of research about these brushes that they are a safe bet to those who want to try something new without breaking the bank.

    I will try and add pictures later if I have time.

  13. #13
    The best way to break in your 830 is to use it. Make sure it dries out fully between uses. If you have a soap with lanolin like Mitchell's Wool Fat use that and let the lather dry on the brush. Boars seem to love the fat!

    I was using a C&E best badger and planning to buy a silvertip when I thought I'd give Semogue a try. I ordered a 1305 and it was the best $15 I've spent on shaving to date. Loved it so much I ordered a 830 as well. The 830 is taking longer to break in, but is still excellent for face lathering.

  14. #14
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    Only ever had two shaving brushes; the cheapo synthetic I was bought as a boy and the Taylor's synthetic brush I was bought for my 51st birthday six months ago. I really wish I'd upgraded before! I'm really enjoying the Taylor's brush, it wasn't cheap, as dear as the equivalent size Super Badger, but I wanted a good synthetic. The only thing I don't like it is that it's a little small for my large hands, I'd prefer it in a larger size.

  15. #15
    I have my 830 pretty well broken in as of lately. It has lost a lot of the backbone it had when new. But, it still has plenty of backbone. The tips have begun to split quite a lot making them very soft. Its nearly as soft as my Omega silver tip. Neither have any scritch so I can't say for sure, but the 830 doesn't feel quite as soft.

    I really like my 830, and knowing its all of $22 is icing on the cake. I plan on trying another Semogue down the road.

    Thanks for your input.

  16. #16
    This thread is a corrupting influence....decided to get another Badger.

    Chose a Silvertip Omega 620Y. This is a large brush and I'm really pleased with it, superb quality and creates a LOT of lather from a small dab. Unlike Boars, it seems to need no running in process and doesn't moult/shed at all.

    Word on synthetic brushes. I've been very satisfied with the Men-U brush, not so cheap but it has lasted 7 years without losing bristles, it delivers very well and I use it as a traveller as it seems to cope better with crushing or confinement than Boar or Badger. Well worth getting.

  17. #17
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    Good to see some brushes getting mentioned. I am currently in the market for a new brush and think I have settled on two. I will likely buy both, but not at the same time. I bowl lather with creams and the H.I.S. synthetic came highly recommended, and is under $40 to boot! On the more luxury side I have been lusting over natural handle brushes and silvertip badger, well I stumbled on to KimSon brushes. Natural horn handle, 24mm knot, silvertip badger and under $80! Yep straight from Hochiminh City, excellent quality with prices not inflated by perceived value. All reviews I have found say these brushes are just killer bang for the buck.


    -Xander

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