Synthetic shave brushes continue to make strides in performance and value. Here are 4 synthetic shave brushes I have tried recently.
[Note: Amazon, Smallflower, and PAA links are affiliate.]
Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements (PAA) “The Doppler” 26mm Perihelion Hybrid Synthetic Brush
From the PAA website:
“…So once more, in an attempt to build more awareness around vintage Erskine brushes, I decided to reboot the Model A-500 this time. Much like in the case of the Solar Flare, I have also always been a fan of the shape of this handle! And again, nothing screams “Vintage” like the color butterscotch…
The 26mm Perihelion Hybrid Synth Knot
..Fans (pun intended), of our recent synthetic knots are going to love our latest Fan/Bulb Hybrid, Perihelion Knot! Not only is it as visually stunning as our other knots, but mounted in that creamy, dreamy butterscotch handle, the performance too is exceptional.
..The Doppler features super soft tips and a killer fiber density, providing you with some great backbone and more wispy than scritchy lathers. … If you enjoyed the 24mm Solar Flare, you will love it’s 26mm cousin!..
- Complete Length: 5 inches (127 mm)
- Width at widest point: 40mm
- Width at narrowest point: 44mm
- Weight: 3.70oz (105 grams)
- Knot: 26mm
- Loft Ht: 55mm
- Handle Material: Acrylic
- BPA-free, phthalate-free, PVC-free and lead-free”
My Experience With The PAA Doppler Shave Brush
This is one big brush, the biggest of the four profiled in this article, and for under US $20, I think it’s a fantastic value. It’s about the same size as my PAA Peregrino shave brush. The butterscotch color scheme gives it a vintage “vibe” but the synthetic “Perihelion” fibers look unlike any other fiber (synthetic or natural) color I have seen.
I think the size of the brush would be great for efficiently lathering large sections of skin–think legs, torso, scalp, etc. For myself, lathering just my face, I prefer a slightly smaller brush (like PAA’s Amber Aerolite).
Performance-wise I think the Doppler compares well with the latest generation of synthetic shave brush fibers: every bit as good as a mid-to-upper tier of badger hair. It will whip up a huge glob of great-quality lather in no time.
On the skin it’s quite soft. As the PAA webpage says it is “more wispy than scritchy.”
Q Brothers Synthetic Shave Brush
From the Q Brothers website:
“Developed in-house over the course of one year, the Q Brothers Shave Brush was created to bring a high-quality shave tool to market for a great value. The synthetic bristles allow for a luxurious application and dry quickly for easy maintenance. The weighted matte handle offers a secure grip for easy handling.
Housed in a reusable tube, the shave brush is an excellent choice for travel and will easily fit in most dopp kits. Pair the Shave Brush with the new Q Brothers Shave Brush Stand for a stylish and functional shaving duo.”
- Knot – 22mm
- Loft – 55mm
- Handle – 50mm
- Overall Height – 105mm
- Base Width – 38mm
My Experience With The Q Brothers Synthetic Shave Brush
I think this brush definitely has a, monochromatic, minimalistic, almost industrial look to it–black fibers in a matte black handle. While some other brush designs want to be “the center of attention” I think this brush is content just doing its job.
And I think it does the job quite well, though a shaver might not think so on its first use. I find that the built lather likes to “hide” inside this brush’s synthetic fibers. When I use it there is not a whole lot of lather outside the brush initially but as I use it lather is released and there is plenty of lather for a three pass shave.
This brush is less soft than the PAA brush above but I still find it quite nice on the skin–there’s a bit more backbone without getting “scritchy.” Pretty darn good for US $22.
Edwin Jagger Synthetic Shave Brushes
Edwin Jagger (EJ) now has brushes with two synthetic fiber types available, “black,” and “synthetic silver tip.”
EJ Black Fiber Shave Brush
From the Edwin Jagger website:
“Edwin Jagger imitation ebony shaving brush. Presented in Edwin Jagger branded packaging and filled with black synthetic fibre hair, it features a lightweight moulded plastic handle…”
- Overall height 105mm
- Handle height 53mm
- Handle diameter 38mm
- Knot size 21mm
- Weight 48g
My Experience With The Edwin Jagger Imitation Ebony Shave Brush
The look of the EJ Ebony shave brush is similar to the Q Brothers brush above, but with a glossy finish, chrome knot ring, and the synthetic fibers have a mix of (mostly) black (and a few) white colors, giving it more of a “natural” hair look.
Performance is similar to the Q Brothers brush as well, though it does not “hide” lather as much as the Q.
The brush is US $27 on Amazon but includes a stand. The Ebony version is out of stock but the Ivory version is available.
EJ Chatsworth Synthetic Silver Tip Shave Brush
From the Edwin Jagger website:
- Edwin Jagger Chatsworth Imitation Ivory Shaving Brush (Synthetic Silver Tip)
- Handmade in Sheffield
- Sleek white design
- Highest-quality synthetic fill
- Medium-sized 21mm (0.8″) knot
- Part of the best-selling Chatsworth range
- Matching razor options available
- Fits in small shaving stands
…This Chatsworth Imitation Ivory Shaving Brush (Synthetic Silver Tip) is a premium silver tip shaving brush made of synthetic fibres designed for a top-quality lathering experience.
Manufactured using the best-quality materials, this shaving brush has classic design with a sleek white finish. Moulded to fit neatly in your hand, the handle has a curvaceous design with a flared base. The traditional design is finished with the Edwin Jagger logo proudly displayed as a mark of the manufacturing quality.
With a knot size of 21mm (0.8”), this is classed as a medium-sized brush, making it ideal for most shavers. Whether you favour a larger or smaller shaving brush is down to personal preference but as a happy medium, this brush effectively holds a good amount of water and soap while still offering plenty of control and precision. The handle measures 50mm (2.1”) tall and 33mm (1.3”) in diameter, fitting conveniently in virtually any hand and offering a firm grip even when lathering with wet or soapy hands.
Synthetic Silver Tip is an incredibly high-quality fill designed to rival the elite performance of Silver Tip badger hair without any animal products. Each synthetic shaving brush bundle contains a mixture of straight fibres and waved or crimped fibres of varying lengths. This delicate arrangement of untrimmed tips creates a structure that allows the bundle to conserve moisture and trap hot water within the knot, as well as create the bloomed shape of the bundle. Despite this, the fibres do not actually absorb the water, so the brush dries much faster than animal alternatives. The mixture of untrimmed tips also makes the bundle particularly flexible and creates an immensely satisfying lathering experience, feeling delicate on the skin while still digging into your beard to exfoliate the skin. Synthetic Silver Tip is also designed to be more forgiving than animal hair and will not snap or shed in the way badger hair does….
My Experience With The Edwin Jagger Chatsworth Shave Brush
Using the EJ Chatsworth shave brush is an interesting experience for me. The 21mm knot, while adequate, does not appear to be as densely-packed to me as the other brushes here and didn’t give quite the luxurious coverage experience I get with other brushes. And, while there was enough lather for three passes, there wasn’t much lather left on the brush afterward. If I had to do it over again I would have gotten something in EJ’s “large” knot range instead of the “medium” knot range.
However, from the “performance” standpoint I think it works quite well. Lather-building is quick and easy, and I think the skin feel is quite “badger-like” with both an easy splay and a soft-but-not-too-soft backbone. It’s available on Amazon as well.
While badger hair still might be the preferred hair for shaving brushes for a lot of people, synthetic brushes are gaining in popularity and, in my opinion, parity in performance.