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Video – A Quicker Way To Break In A Boar Brush

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Do you have a new boar hair shave brush?  Boar hair shaving brushes actually work pretty well…after they’re broken in.  But some of them take forever to break in!  Here’s a short cut.

Badger hair shaving brushes have been the preferred material for the past few years, especially for the shaving enthusiast.  And interest in synthetic shaving brushes are on the rise now that the latest generation perform so well.

But don’t overlook the humble boar hair shaving brush.  Although there are some terrible examples there are also some well-built brushes that become just as soft as other hair types after a break-in period and are inexpensive to boot.  The problem is that break-in period–some find it can take many months of constant use for the brush to start performing properly.  Semogue* brushes in particular seem to have extremely long break-in periods–some have reported up to a year.

Barbers have also used boar hair brushes, and one old Italian barber discovered a way to speed up the process: a cold water soak.  After an initial washing to get the funky animal smell out of it the brush is soaked in cold water for two days.

Then some smart shaver of Reddit came up with a way of accelerating the process further by adding a vigorous towel rub to the equation: let the brush soak in cold water for 24 hours, then rub the bristles on a clean, dry towel for ten minutes.  Return the brush to the water and continue soaking for another 24 hours, then rub again.  Some people have even gone a third day, followed by another vigorous rubbing.

Those who have tried it have gotten excellent results from this procedure.  The brush may not be completely broken-in but the process has been sped up considerably!

Give this idea a try the next time you happen to get a boar hair brush that’s too stiff and poorly-performing!


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

6 thoughts on “Video – A Quicker Way To Break In A Boar Brush”

  1. Kypros Christodoulides

    It does really work.
    My Semogue now is a dream to touch. I went through the procedure, only the third time which I got the best results, I soaked in a white vinegar solution. The tops are split now and the face feel is second to none. I’ll buy some more boars.
    Thank you, Mark for the brilliant tip.

  2. I stumbled on this technique on my own (without the refrigerator) and it does work. I have a Semogue Owners Club boar which I thought would never break in until I subjected it to several prolonged soakings and vigorous wiping on a towel. By-the-way, it’s a fantastic brush once it’s broken in. I also have the Omega with the ialian flag handle which broke in fairly quickly with normal use. Also a fantastic brush, but I don’t understand why the SOC was so much harder to break in.

  3. Soak the end of the brush in perming solution, to accelerate the creation of split ends. After about an hour of soaking, use the neutraliser. Then thoroughly wash and condition it. I did this with exactly the same type of brush he was holding up, with great results. I’ve mentioned this in the past in YouTube comments on shaving channels.

  4. Kypros Christodoulides

    I bought a Semogue boar a couple of years ago and it’s still not broken in.
    I’m doing this right now and I hope it works, as it’s been driving me crazy to the point of wanting to bin it.

  5. Although incredibly affordable, I’ve been reluctant to give boar brushes a try because of the performance issues related to break in period.
    Burning a few days vs a few months to beak in a brush is totally doable. I’m going to give this a try. Many thanks for this post.

  6. Love my Omega boar but I’ve shied away from trying a Semogue for that break in reason. Maybe I will give one a go now.

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