There is an art to the perfect shave. When you have the right tools, shaving can go from an irritating experience to a refined skill. But what tools does one need? Not all men use a shaving brush in their daily routine, but many are switching due to the close, comfortable shave it provides.
Picking the Right Shaving Brush
Brushes come in many price ranges from $5 to $100 and up. But, there are two main things to look for; the bristles & the handle.
Picking the best handle for a shaving brush is about how it feels in your hand but mostly, preference. The most popular handle today is synthetic or made of plastic and holds up nicely to moisture. Wood handles are also a popular choice. You can also find chrome, silver or porcelain handle brushes. All brushes should dry in a brush holder to prevent bristle breakage and to pull the moisture away from the handle while it dries.
The most important part of the brush is the bristles. Some “hypo-allergenic” brushes are made with nylon bristles and tend to be the least expensive brushes. Generally they are worth what you pay for them. They absorb the least amount of water, and are thus the least effective.
Boar Bristles Brushes are preferred over the synthetic brush. Water loading is much better and the bristles are a bit more flexible. This helps to develop a better lather. One major drawback of boar bristles is that they are quite brittle and prone to breaking.
The Natural Badger Bristle Brush is known as the best tool for the job. A Badger Brush has a lot more bristles than the others and therefore produces a richer, thicker lather. Best and better-quality brushes are almost never trimmed to shape, but instead, bristles are arranged to create the shape desired.
Like most natural furs, the Badger Brush is available in varying grades with similarly varying prices. The different grades are determined primarily from what area of the animal’s body the hair comes from. The top of the line are the Silvertip Badger Brushes which are the most expensive brush made. These brushes are flared and thick, resulting in a wonderful rich lather and amazing shaving experience.
Using Your Shaving Brush
A shaving brush helps to prepare your whiskers, and your skin, for a good close shave. Most men say, using a shaving brush just feels fantastic on the skin.
A shaving brush absorbs a little bit of hot water and mixes that water with the shaving soap. When applying the brush to the face, you are also lifting the whiskers and standing them up on end so that your razor can cut most of them off. The more whisker you remove, the closer your shave.
Your brush also does a wonderful job of exfoliating your skin. That means it removes dead skin cells which helps prevent ingrown hairs.
Loading the brush is the process of applying enough shaving soap or cream to coat the tips of the brush. Before loading, wet the brush thoroughly in hot water. Then grab the brush by the handle and give it a couple good shakes to get rid of excess water. If you’re using a block of soap or a tub of cream, place the tips of the brush on top of the open container, press down slightly, and swirl the brush on the product until the tips of the brush are well coated.
Now you’re ready to make a lot of foamy bubbles. This process could take a couple minutes depending on the variables. Adjust the amount of water and pressure, until you have the right combination. Now you’re ready to shave!
Tips for the Best Shave
Here are some tips from the experts to help make shaving a smooth experience.
First, begin with clean skin. Then, shave during or after the shower. The steam will help prepare the skin for shaving and helps make the beard hair a little easier to cut.
When choosing a shaving soap use a glycerine-based soap or cream. They provide the richest and most lubricating “cushion” for the skin. These are the least drying to the skin and are especially good if you have particularly tough stubble.
Next, pay attention to the direction in which the hair grows and shave in that direction. If a closer shave is desired, re-lather and then shave lightly against or across the direction of hair growth. Make sure your blade is not dull. Change your blade out after about 5 uses. A dull blade can create razor burn.
After your shave, rinse with cool water, and apply a good moisturizing aftershave lotion. This will help hydrate the skin. Now you’re ready for the closeness that a smooth shave demands!