There can be so many variables in making shaving lather that sometimes it’s difficult to determine if the particular type of shaving brush you’re using is really making a difference. Let’s cut down the variables and look at how long it takes to lather with certain brushes, and the quality of lather each makes.
For these tests I used the same set up each time. I even measured out the shaving cream to make sure I used the same amount for each brush. The only difference will be the type of brush used.
This first brush was an inexpensive, widely available brush you can find in grocery stores and mega-marts in the US. You know, the from the orange box. I’ve let the brush soak for a minute or so then added a measured amount of shaving cream. After about 90 seconds of lathering with my hard water this inexpensive boar hair brush made an acceptable lather. It may not be luxurious but it was reasonably soft and gets the job done.
Next up was another inexpensive boar hair brush, this one popular from internet sources, and considered by many to be a better-built, better-performing alternative to smaller boar hair brushes. This brush also took about 90 seconds to lather, and the result was about the same as the previous brush. This brush’s longer, untreated hair is a little rougher on the skin though, which may not necessarily be a bad thing.
Next up is a cheap–in every sense of the word–entry level badger brush. This brush seems to be very popular with a commerce website that initially just sold books but now offers just about anything under the sun. This brush also took about 90 seconds to make a lather, but I had to add more water than previous brushes. Even though this brush uses badger hair the quality is low and it did not retain water like it should have. It was soft on the skin but because the hair was not packed well the lather didn’t cover well.
Here is another inexpensive badger brush, but one of much better quality. This brush took a little longer to give up a good lather, but that is partly because it is a physically larger brush compared to those before it. But here I was rewarded with a brush that was soft on the skin, and a better quality lather that covered well.
Next up is a brush with higher quality badger hair. This is another popular brush that is available under several brands. This brush took a little longer to make a lather and the lather wasn’t much better than the previous brush. But this grade of hair retains more heat, making it a more pleasurable experience, at least for me.
Finally, a large silvertip-grade brush (this specific model no longer produced but HERE is something close). This brush is fairly typical of the upper-end, luxury shaving brushes. This brush is ready after only about 30 seconds. Draw your own conclusions…
So what have we learned from this process? I think it’s that no matter what shaving brush you use it takes about the same amount of time to make a lather, at least until you get to the high-end products. Yes, I know I didn’t compare horse hair or synthetic brushes…but that’s another video.
By the way, the shaving cream I’m using for these lathers comes from the luxury barber box that was recently sent to me. Subscription programs are becoming more common in the men’s shaving and grooming world but Luxury Barber is taking a slightly different approach. Instead of concentrating on a single grooming line, the luxury barber website offers a subscription program where every month they send at least ten samples and full-size items from about 20 different categories, like shaving products, mustache and beard products, hand creams, pomades, moisturizers, and shampoos. If you like what you try, the subscription includes a discount from the luxury barber website so you can get a better deal on what you like. The longer you subscribe, the lower the monthly cost and the higher the discount will be. The luxury barber box gives you a way of not wasting money on products you don’t like. Take a look at box.luxurybarber.com.