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Grabbing The Brush

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In one of your videos, you say that we should hold badger brushes by the base of the bristles, and not by the handle while we lather up. Why? Thank you for your answer. –Louis

Hi Louis. There are two reasons why it can be a good idea to hold the brush by the base of the bristles. First, it helps retain water. The real business of mixing water and cream or soap for lather takes place deep inside the center of the brush, sometimes called the “breech”. The wetter the breech, the more likely you are to get a good lather more quickly. Second, it can give you more control over where you’re lathering, avoiding lather in an ear on up the nose.

Do you have to hold it by the base? No. If you have a relatively small brush with high quality hair, you may not notice any difference. But its one of those little tricks that can help a new shaver with getting a handle on their new pleasure.


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


4 thoughts on “Grabbing The Brush”

  1. When I first started wet shaving I thought that an accomplished shaver would be able to keep his fingers and hands clean of lather. Failure to do so was a sign that I had more learning to do. I now realize that grabbing the base of the bristles helps generate lather but that extracting some of the lather out of the brush by squeezing it out from the base confirms whether the lather is where I want it or that I have more work to do. The lather may look OK but be to thin, thick or just not worked up enoungh. Don’t worry about getting your fingers and hands full of lather. Test the lather between the thumb and forefinger. Put the excess back in the cup/bowl/container and rinse off. Pretty easy. You will be rewarded with less lather surprises.

  2. Anonymous- Think of your own hair when its wet: it becomes more limp. Due to the shape of the knot in a badger hair shaving brush, an open area inside the “tuft” of hair is created, sort of like a bowl. Holding the base simply gives some additional support to the sides, helping to avoid the loss of water from the bowl.

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