What Is The Best Synthetic Shaving Brush? – A Newbies Search

Like many of you, before I plunged into the world of classic wet shaving, I knew what a shaving brush looked like & what it was meant to do. What I didn’t know, was that they were made from a variety of sources; Badger, Boar, Horse & Synthetic. I wanted to try and keep as “traditional” as I could when I first began wet shaving & after hours of deliberation, I decided on buying a pure badger hair shaving brush.

Now time has passed & my experience is heightened, I’m keen to find out more about the increasing popularity of synthetic shaving brushes & how they’ll compare to natural animal hair.

There are hundreds of brushes available & no one has tried them all! No matter what people recommend to you, there will always be a brush out there that’s “better”. And the truth is, you may never find it. I guess however, the aim of research & reading reviews, is to find a handful of products that will suit what you want out of your shaving experience.

This search is just as much for me as it is for you, so I’ve scoured the internet to try & find not just the well recommended synthetic shaving brushes, but also the ones that might give you the best bang for your buck!

images (12)

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

All shaving brushes have attributes that can differ greatly from brush to brush. It’s fair to say that synthetic shaving brushes didn’t have a great reputation when they were first manufactured. The fibre quality didn’t even come within a bulls roar of natural hair. But now with advancements in technology, a few generations of synthetic brushes have passed, the workmanship & quality have improved immensely. So much so, that many blokes prefer the feel & performance of synthetic, as opposed to brushes made with animal hair.

So right before diving in and lathering up, lets take a look at some well documented pros & cons with synthetic brushes.

Pros

Cost Effective

Compared to similar animal hair products, synthetic shaving brushes are relatively inexpensive. Yes some good quality ones will cost a little more, but even these can be up to a third of the price as their animal hair cousins.

Good Lather

Gents that have used both natural & synthetic brushes more often than not maintain that lather is released quicker & easier than natural brushes.

Less Hair Loss

Although I really like my badger brushes, the lesser quality (and even some more expensive) ones lose more hair than I do! 😉 Now I’m not saying that all animal brushes will lose a tonne of hair, but in general, synthetic brushes tend to better retain their bristles.

Non-Allergenic

Sadly, some people have an allergic reaction to animal hair. Some of these can be severe. Although you can have an allergy to synthetic fibre, it’s less likely.

No Animal Smell

A common complaint about animal hair shaving brushes is the odour. When they’re new, the smell can be strong, and take some time to go. There are techniques however that can thankfully help remove the odour a little quicker.

Long Life Span

If well maintained, a good animal hair shaving brush can last a long long time. However, like all natural material, they will break down after a while after a period of time. Synthetic fibre is extremely resilient to wear & tear & will have a tendency to last longer than its animal counterpart.

No Animal Cruelty

No, manufacturers don’t calmly wait around for badgers to gently shed their hair. Mainly sourced from China, they are caught & killed so their fur can be harvested. Before you ask, no I’m not a greenie, but if you have strong concerns about animal welfare, synthetic brushes are the way to go.

Consistency

You know what you’ll get. Not that many people buy brush after brush; but if you were to purchase 2 of the same synthetic shaving brush, they will feel identical. In saying that, part of the mystique & attraction of animal brushes is that unknown variation of texture & performance.

More Hygienic

Generally speaking, microbes have a far easier time attaching themselves to organic material. Whereas synthetic fibres are less hospitable to nasties.

Faster Preparation

Synthetic brushes don’t retain moisture like natural fibre, therefore don’t require soaking prior to use.

Faster Drying

For much the same reason as the above point, because animal hair brushes hold water better, they take a lot longer to dry out than synthetic brushes.

Low Maintenance

Badger & other animal hair brushes need a bit of TLC from time to time so they stay fresh & smelling pretty (mine sure do). Due to the nature of synthetic brushes, their bristles can in most part get away with a quick rinse to keep in top condition.

Cons

Poor Heat Retention

Now I guess I’m one of those crazy few that prefer to shave with cold water. So this con doesn’t really apply to me, but most gents do use warm water and natural fibres are far superior in retaining heat.

Poor Water Retention

For the very same reason that synthetic brushes dry more quickly, they simply don’t hold water as well as natural hair brushes. Over time this is improving, however they still fall short of the water retaining capabilities of animal hair.

Less Give

Once again, technology is improving in this area & not all synthetic brushes can be tarred with the same…well brush. But in general, those blokes that use both often suggest that natural hair brushes seem to splay with less pressure than synthetic brushes.

So my fellow wet shavers, without further delay, here are some synthetic shaving brushes that are recommended for those of us just getting to know this wonderful world of classic shaving. All of these brushes are well regarded & will cater for every budget.

Frank Shaving Pur-Tech Synthetic

Established in 2000 & located in Shenyang, Frank Shaving prides itself on high attention to detail & using cutting edge technology to further advance their product development. These high quality & cost effective brushes, receive quite a few recommendations from a number of forums. Many users being “surprised” at just how soft they are & how well they lather.

Frank Shaving

  • Knot Size: 20mm
  • Handle: Faux Ebony
  • Handle Height: 45mm
  • Loft: 50mm
  • Price: Approx $30. Click for Today’s Price at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
  • User Rating: 4.5 out of 5

User Feedback

Positive

“This brush is surprisingly sturdy and gets me a very good lather. This works with shaving soaps because they typically require more water to get a nice smooth and creamy lather.”

“I was a bit skeptical in buying a synthetic brush, but decided to give it a try solely based on its reviews. When it arrived, I couldn’t be happier with it. The brush is soft, yet has nice backbone for face lathering and getting a nice lather. I only use creams, so I cant speak on its performance with a puck. I love it and for the price, you just cant go wrong. I own a badger, boar, and a synthetic (being this one) and to be honest, I will be using this one exclusively.”

“I love this brush. Extremely soft and lathers very well. I’ve been mostly a badger hair brush kind of guy over the years and I have to tell you, this brush is fantastic! No need to soak in water for 10 minutes before shaving. Just wet it down squeeze out and start whipping up your shave cream. Dries very fast. I would definitely recommend this to a friend!!”

“I’ve been using this brush for two years now and it’s been great from day one. It’s super soft on the face, splays nicely, with just enough stiffness to load off of a hard puck as long as you wet the bristles first. It has yet to lose a single bristle.”

Negative

“Heat retention- so so as well- good for about one pass before settling towards room temperature. Seems the nylon is not a good insulator, but not bad either- again, not nearly as good as badger.”

“After reading online about the synthetic bristles that Frank uses (same as the Muhle) I purchased this brush. In all honesty it lathered and applied the cream well. The issue that I had was that the bristles just after 2 shaves were all bent and stayed that way when they dried. I have been using silvertip brushes for years and I have never seen this on a silvertip. I returned this brush and was charged the shipping to return it. I ordered a new silvertip!”

Kent Infinity Silvertex

With Royal endorsement & manufactured in England, Kent is a long established name in shaving brushes. Kent “super soft” Silvertex is said to be a specially developed fully synthetic material that will provide a rich lather quickly for a comfortable shave. Users of the Kent Infinity broadly commend the softness & lathering ability of this brush.

41-rjrX4JfL

User Feedback

Positive

“This is a great little brush. I wanted a synthetic brush for travelling but find myself reaching for the Kent even when I am at home. Hits the sweet spot for me with just the right amount of backbone and a smooth soft face feel.”

“The reviews already posted really say it all. I do not have a large collection of shaving brushes, but this is my favorite among the few that I own. It is soft, feels very pleasant on the face, with no scratchiness or “scrubby” feeling, and I find it works very well for face-lathering. The handle in which the knot is mounted is very handsome, with a faux-marble look and including the British-style ‘By Appointment’ logo, very classy. The knot itself is nicely colored to resemble a fine badger brush. Well worth its price.”

“Wonderful brush with silky softness and just a hint of backbone. Very similar to the Plisson brush made for Le occitane.”

“Gives a great lather and rinses well without losing bristles the way my badger hair brushes have done. The price is unbeatable and I will get another when this one wears out, it it ever does!”

Negative

“I’ve been using this brush for three months now and I still see 1-2 bristles falling out each shave. And other than the fallout I can see that some of the bristles are bent and broken. I really like the size, the feel of the handle and the length of the knot but because of these problems I doubt that it will serve me well in the future.”

Parker Safety Razor Synthetic

Parker have been around since 1973. They are extremely proud of the high standards & commitment to excellence they set for all of their products. Wet shavers who have owned this brush for years still attest to it’s lathering performance & quality construction.

41G6Q6mmpfL

  • Knot Size: 20mm
  • Handle: Faux Ivory
  • Handle Height: Not Supplied
  • Loft: Not Supplied
  • Price: Approx $29. Click for Today’s Price at Amazon.com
  • User Rating: 4 out of 5

User Feedback

Positive

“I own a Muhle black fibre synthetic brush, which costs twice as much, and I find this to be a softer and better brush. The brush has got some heft to it, as the handle is sturdy and well built. The synthetic fibres on this brush are better than any grade of badger with the exception of possibly silver-tip badger brushes.”

“At first I thought the bristles were a bit too soft, but now find that they lather up the soap really well. The synthetic feature means that my shower does not smell like a wet animal. I’d buy another if I needed one.”

“I really love this brush and would recommend it to anyone. I bought mine four years ago this month and so far it has not lost one hair and still looks unused. It is easy to clean”

“I’ve shaved with a DE for over ten years. I’ve been using this brush for about four years straight as the only brush. Coming from a badger hair brush, I find this one to be superior. It’s been holding up great with no signs of slowing down. Very good quality and makes a great lather. This is better than my Semogue 1850 Boar and Omega Boar.”

Negative

“I’ve used this brush for a couple weeks, and have to say I don’t like it. I face lather and the bristles are quite stiff and springy, meaning they very easily fling soap and water around while lathering.”

“This brush is a mediocre performer. It has a smallish knot, wide flare, and a fairly domed shape which result in a low density. It does not load harder soaps well at all. It’s therefore difficult to get a good lather from such a soap.”

RazoRock Plissoft Synthetic

There is no escaping it. Made in Italy, Razorock Plissoft is making its mark in the world of synthetic shaving brushes. It is often compared to the Plisson, the well renowned darling of the wet shaving community. Users maintain it consistently provides the richest of lathers & a soft feel to the face.

DSC_1179_large

  • Knot Size: 24mm
  • Handle: Faux Ebony
  • Height: 110mm
  • Loft: Not Supplied
  • Price: Approx $18. Click for Today’s Price at Amazon.com
  • User Rating: 4.5 out of 5

User Feedback

Positive

“Soft face feel without being floppy. Good backbone without being scritchy. Holds water well but dries off quickly once shaken out. This is a very impressive brush.”

“This brush is a solid performer and an excellent value. It outperforms many brushes that are far more expensive. It provides a superb lather for me in both bowl lathering and face lathering. Highly recommended.”

“I was extremely impressed with this shaving brush. It is very soft with the perfect backbone. It had absolutely no problems whipping up a lather with my Italian Barber Amici soap. The brush also holds the lather nicely, I just need to get used to how much water isn’t needed for this brush. I’m glad that I bought two of these.”

“I really fell in love with this brush. It is amazingly soft yet it has enough backbone to apply lather without being floppy. It creates a beautiful thick lather easily. It holds water better than any other synthetic I have used. “

Negative

“The handle isn’t comfortable. The ridge is too tall and either it should have been lather down or the valley mare about 1/4″ wider. Spend the extra for the barber handle.”

Edwin Jagger Synthetic Silver Tip

Handmade in Sheffield England by Edwin Jagger, it is claimed the feel & quality of these brushes are comparable to their their badger counterparts. A claim backed up by the many users of these brushes.  Owners of the Edwin Jagger Synthetic Silver Tip brush seem to be very pleased with it. Consistently reproducing an exceptionally creamy lather & an outstanding performance.

EJ_White__91322.1415154574.1280.1280

  • Knot Size: 23mm
  • Handle: Faux Ivory
  • Handle Height: 51mm
  • Loft: 54mm
  • Price: Approx $65. Click for Today’s Price at Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk
  • User Rating: 5 out of 5

User Feedback

Positive

“I have read and watched reviews on this brush and was looking for a synthetic that functioned like a badger brush. but without the $$$ associated with high-end badger brushes. Edwin Jagger has done a fantastic job with this brush. I have an EJ best badger, Semogue 1305 and The Grooming Co. synthetic. I really like TGC synthetic, but sometimes want more backbone in it for soaps. This brush lives up to the reviews. I don’t want to say hype since that is usually reserved for something that doesn’t live up to expectations. I can’t compare this to a high-end badger brush, since I do not own one, but I love this brush and am happy I don’t have to spend $200 on up for a badger. I would describe it as a “badger like” synthetic that is densely packed and has more backbone than TGC synthetic. It doesn’t even compare to the Plisson. That is a make-up brush with a shaving brush handle. Highly recommended.”

Conclusion

There are many other fantastic synthetic shaving brushes out in the market & readily available to traditional shavers. GBS, The Body Shop, Plisson, Omega, Muhle, Whipped Dog, just to name a few. My focus here is helping newcomers to wet shaving; to recommend a range of good quality products at fantastic prices.

Now I’m not saying for a second, that these are the very best synthetic brushes on the market. What I am saying, is to know what to expect & be mindful of the pluses & minuses of synthetic fibres. On balance, what you pay compared to the results you’d get is a no brainer.

I have no doubt in my mind, that for whatever reason you decide to grace your handsome face with a synthetic shaving brush, any of the above recommendations will serve you well.

What have your experiences been like with synthetic brushes? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Time to get your shave on! 😉

4 thoughts on “What Is The Best Synthetic Shaving Brush? – A Newbies Search

  1. Dan

    I’ve been thinking of going old school and buying a safety razor for some time but didn’t know where to start. It looks like you’ve got all the answers here. A great site and a great post, I didn’t even realize you could get synthetic brushes. Plenty of food for thought here. Thanks for the advice.

    Reply
    1. Andrew Post author

      If you want a superior shaving experience, “Old School” is the way to go Dan.

      Thanks for your comments mate.

      Cheers
      Andrew

      Reply
  2. sarah

    Need to get a brush for my son – I was going to go for one from the local chemist, but I like the look of the Frank Shaving Pur-Tech syntheitc one and will go for that instead. Thanks for the advice.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*