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Thinking Of An Escali Brush? Try This Instead

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escali shave brush
The Escali badger hair shaving brush is consistently one of the most popular products of new wet shavers considering upgrading their routine.  I see it on Sharpologist’s own “Popular Products” list and on Amazon’s “Frequently Bought Together” lists.  I get it.  I really do: you hear the praises of shaving with a badger hair brush but you don’t want to spend the kind of money most of them go for without a “proof of concept.”  However are you really getting a true representation of the performance of a badger hair shaving brush?

My First Badger Brush

My first badger hair brush was a Tweezerman, at about US $10 the low-end leader of the time (about 10 years ago now).  And I admit, it was an epiphany: it held more water and made a better lather and stayed warmer and felt better on the skin than the other inexpensive boar hair brushes I had at the time.  I knew it was not going to hold up for a long time (it smelled terrible at first and shed hairs) but it was the entre’ into the luxurious-feeling experience that traditional wet shaving could be.

A lot of other people have gone down that same road over the years.

But Tweezerman has since “upped their game” with their new G.E.A.R. line badger brush and the original has been discontinued.  So, naturally, shoppers look for equivalently-priced alternatives and see the Escali (along with their clones, possibly all made in the same facility).  But do you get the same experience?

I used to think so, but not anymore.

It looks like over the past year even more corners have been cut in the manufacturing process.  I bought a recent example of the Escali brush off Amazon and while it does look similar to the previous low-end generation, it differs in one important aspect: the hair knot is very loosely “packed,” resulting in poor water retention and therefore poor lather creation and release.

Escali Alternatives?

You will often see the Perfecto and the Simply Beautiful badger brushes together with the Escali on Amazon searches, at a similar price point.  I have tried both and they are slightly better than the Escali in my opinion, but not by much.  Wouldn’t you rather want something that performs reasonably well and holds up better?  That way in the meantime you can save up for a brush that truly gives you that luxurious experience.  Here are a few suggestions:

The Omega PRO 48 (or PRO 49): yes it’s boar hair but with higher lofts for better water retention and an acrylic handle that will hold up with use.  Boar brushes like these take a while to break in but after they do they’re very pleasingly soft and perform well, almost like a badger hair brush.  And they’re less expensive to boot.

The Omega 11047 “Mixed Mighty Midget” is a small brush that used both boar and badger hair.  Don’t let the small size fool you though, it performs very well and can give somewhat of a luxurious experience.  And although it is small and slightly more expensive than the Escali and it’s ilk, this one is worth it in my opinion.

Do you have an Escali?  Is it your only brush or have you upgraded?  What do you think?  Leave a comment below!


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

8 thoughts on “Thinking Of An Escali Brush? Try This Instead”

  1. I do own the Escali Pure Badger hair brush from Amazon. It is the first shave brush I have ever owned and I’ve only been wet shaving for about 7 months. I have since recently upgraded to the Omega Pro 48 and love that thing, it is huge compared to the other brush. The Escali is a very good brush in my humble opinion, does what it’s supposed to at a very decent price for those who are just starting. Although I purchased the Pro 48 for less than what I paid for the Escali. The Escali feels soft to the touch, hardly looses any hairs, and creates a thick, great lather quit quickly. It took a short time for the animal funk to go away, but it was there, so I do recommend a short break in period. The Pro 48 on the other hand took forever to get rid of the funk. The bristles on the Escali are soft and feel great when you face lather and works up a great lather when using a bowl. Well that’s my two cents.

  2. I have never owned or tried an Escali ( it was on a bad gear list). I went from the cheap VDH boar, to a EJ best badger as my second brush. Since then I have used and favored horse, boar, and synthetic over my badger brush, and have no plans to get a Silvertip. I’m good.

  3. I love the omega 11047 mixed midget! I included it in my top shelf subscription boxes this month!
    Great article, I also started with the Van Der Hagan Boar Brush then the Tweezerman badger before upgrading to a nice Edwin Jagger best badger.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly, no bigger turn off than poorly made equipment. I’m convinced that a great badger brush is a better newb investment than a poor badger.

  5. I agree on the Omega Boars, they are a way better choice then these cheaply made badgers. However I suggest for Badger shaving brushes you just get them straight from the source, for example Virginiasheng offers good Finest Badger Shaving Brushes for less then $ 20 including worldwide shipping.

    1. I’d agree with that for the most part. But, while I can’t vouch for the exact brush I linked to, I doubt the ebay brush I liked to is “cheaply made”. I bought a $10 finest brush from that seller in the past and it is remarkable quality. The brush I bought was a Frank Shaving Finest Badger brush re-labeled. Since this label looks exactly like Frank Shaving, from the same seller, I suspect it is similar. But what’s the worst that could happen here? You’re out $10. Well, not even that, since he refunds your money if you aren’t satisfied. I felt the same way when I bought the Van Der Hagen and the Tweezerman.
      I will say, if it is a similar brush to what I bought, it has remained one of my top two brushes and is in my regular rotation. Don’t judge a brush because it is inexpensive or because you aren’t familiar with the brand name.

  6. Like you, my first brush was a very cheap, and substandard one: a basic Van Der Hagen. I bought it because it was available locally, and I wanted to give a brush a try ASAP. I was fortunate it didn’t stink too bad and I can’t complain about my experience with it. It was only used for about 6 weeks before I had replaced it with a quality finest badger brush. I say “I can’t complain” because even though the brush didn’t stick around for long, it got me started on using a shaving brush. I knew right off the bat, the brush improved my shaving experience.
    Somewhere down the road I bought a Tweezerman (old style) just for the hell of it. Had I bought that brush first, I’m not sure I would have adopted a shaving brush. That thing actually hurts my face.

    I might also buy an inexpensive mid-quality boar brush, to compare. Some people really like the boar brushes, while others (like me) prefer finest badger. Then you can start to zero in on what you like in a brush so that when you buy a brush that isn’t $10-$20 you can be relatively sure you will like if for the long haul.

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