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Wet Shaving 101 – 10 Budget-Friendly Shaving Brushes For Beginners

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different types of brushes

In this blog post, I’ll guide you through ten budget-friendly shaving brushes under US $20 that are good for beginners, helping you start your wet shaving adventure without compromising on performance or quality. They are the RazoRock Snowman, Viking Revolution, Omega Boar, Yaqi Black Marble, Yaqi Sagrada Familia, RazoRock Hive 24 Mokasoft, Stirling Soap Synthetic, Maggard Razors Black Resin Handle Black and White Synthetic, Proraso, and PAA Amber Aerolite.

Embarking on the journey of traditional wet shaving can be a rewarding experience, offering a closer shave and a touch of nostalgic elegance. However, deciding on the tools and accessories required can often seem daunting, especially for those on a budget. Among the essentials, a good shaving brush is pivotal for creating the perfect lather and enhancing the overall shaving experience. Fortunately, finding a quality shaving brush doesn’t have to break the bank.

While I have not personally used all these specific brushes they do use fibers that I know well so it’s not tough to interpolate the data along with rules-of-thumb on things like knot and loft sizes, handle material, brand reputation, and overall construction.

The brushes below are listed in ascending price. Prices are approximate (don’t forget to factor in shipping).

[Note: APShaveCo, Amazon, PAA, and West Coast Shaving links are affiliate. links may be affiliate.]

using shave brush

RazoRock Snowman Shaving Brush – With Tuxedo Plissoft Synthetic Knot ($9)

From the Italian Barber website:

You may be wondering what makes the Tuxedo Plissoft different? The RazoRock Tuxedo knot combines the backbone of our Noir Plissoft knots with the soft tips from our Silvertip Plissoft knots. If you are looking for a brush with excellent backbone but you still want a luxurious soft face feel then this is definitely the brush for you!

I have never been a big fan of the Plisson-style fibers–they are an older generation of synthetic fiber that, while a lot of people like, just don’t seem to apply lather to the skin as well as other fibers. On the other hand, the Tuxedo fiber applies well but some think it is too soft on the skin and does not exfoliate as well as other materials. Here the combination of the two seeks to strike a balance between the two and–given its price!–seems to have succeeded.

Viking Revolution (Amazon) ($10)

The Viking Revolution brush‘s strong point is its price and availability on Amazon. It uses badger hair, which usually performs better than other animal hair at this price point. However don’t be surprised if this brush smells “funky” for the first week or so, and do not put a lot of faith in its long-term construction quality. Fine for the beginner though.

shaving brush on soap

Omega Boar ($10)

Omega is a long-established shave brush manufacturer, particularly known for their boar hair brushes. While boar hair brushes are not the best performers initially, after break-in and extended use Omega boar hair brushes have a reputation of working really well.

Yaqi Black Marble ($10.50)

From the West Coast Shaving website:

The traditional lathering shaving brush from this Chinese brand features a handle made of black marble and is loaded with either synthetic hair in tuxedo or natural color. Their high quality, rock bottom price, and exceptional design have been gaining attention, making it a great addition to any daily shave routine. Each brush is unique due to the varied marbling on the black marble handle, giving it a personalized touch.

Yaqi produced brushes for other for years but then started selling them under their own name, passing the savings on to the consumer (though some people have issues with the practices of Chinese businesses in general). Ethics aside the Yaqi Black Marble brush is reasonably well-made, while a bit large for some, performs well at a very value-oriented price point.

Yaqi R1730 Sagrada Familia Tuxedo Synthetic (WSC) ($10.50)

The Yaqi R1730 is essentially a smaller version of the Black Marble brush above.

shave brush on face

RazoRock Hive 24 Mokasoft HD Synthetic Shaving Brush ($12)

From the Italian Barber website:

The RazoRock MOKASOFT knot is made with brown to cream color fibers that are very soft on your face but still have decent backbone for that perfect gentle exfoliation that all traditional wet shavers desire.  The knot is the first time we have decided to go with an High Density (HD) knot which has approximately 10% more fiber packed in there to make it even easier to lather.  This brush is an absolutely joy to lather with, the weight and quality of the handle is going to blow you away, especially at this price-point! 

The RazoRock Mokasoft knot has a very good reputation among those looking for a brush that performs well at an exceptional value. The higher density fiber pack gives this brush a little more firmness when building a lather yet it releases lather onto the skin easily.

Stirling Soap Synthetic 2-Band Brush – 24mm x 56mm ($14)

This is a ‘Tuxedo’ fiber style brush available in two different handle colors. A very well-thought-of brush for the money.

Maggard Razors Black Resin Handle Black and White Synthetic Shaving Brush, 22/24mm ($14/16)

Again, another ‘Tuxedo’ style brush but it is available in two different sizes.

PAA Amber Aerolite ($20)

PAA amber aerolite brush

The Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements (PAA) Amber Aerolite shave brush is my personal favorite low-cost brush. Even though it is the highest cost brush on this list I think it is an outstanding performer and “punches above its weight” in all respects. PAA offers a number of similar brushes at the same price point, too. This has been one two of my go-to brushes for several years (the other being one from APShaveCo at a considerably higher price) and it has held up like a champ.

A (Very Brief) Primer On Shave Brushes

Shaving brushes generally come in one of four types of bristle: boar hair, badger hair, horse hair, and synthetic material.

A brush with boar bristles–sometimes called a “natural bristle” shaving brush–are the most commonly seen in mass market outlets such as drug stores and “mega-marts.” Most of these brushes are not very well constructed and tend to require more work to get a good lather from.

However that is not to say that all of these types of shaving brushes are substandard. On the contrary, a well-made brush of this kind may provide years of service and can work quite well after a break-in period.

Badger hair brushes have been historically regarded as the preferred material for shaving brushes and can generally make a better lather, more quickly. They also can retain more heat and water than brushes of other types. However there are several different grades of hair (taken from different areas of the animal), and unfortunately there is no standardized grading process.

Badgers and boars are killed to harvest their meat and hair so if that is a concern you may want to select a brush with synthetic or horse hair (see below). Virtually all badger hair used in shaving brushes come from China where the badger is considered a pest and controlled under license but there is some controversy over how humane the “harvesting” process is.

Horse hair shave brushes returned to the market after being out of favor after an anthrax scare around World War 1. They are generally made from the grooming castoffs of a horse’s mane or tail (or a mix of both) and the animal is not harmed.

Synthetic shaving brushes can range from brushes with simple nylon bristles to those with more specialized synthetic material. In the past their price and performance usually fell between those of boar and “pure” badger brushes. However significant improvements have taken place over the past few of years and the latest generations of synthetic materials are now equal in performance to quality mid-tier and even “silvertip” badger brushes!

Brush dimensions are typically expressed in millimeters and are often divided into three sections: loft, knot, and over-all height.

shave brush loft and knot
  • The loft is the length of the actual hair from the top of the handle to the tip of the hair.
  • The knot is an indication of the amount of hair packed into the handle. The knot dimension can be a little ambiguous because hair can be packed tightly or loosely (the best shaving brushes generally have relatively tight knots, regardless of hair type).
  • Finally the length of the handle is factored in to determine the over-all height of the brush.

For much more detail on shave brush construction (and ‘best of’ recommendations) click/tap to read What Is The Best Shaving Brush For You [Full Updated Guide]?

Summing Up

The days of having to pay high prices for good wet shaving hardware are, happily, largely gone.


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

3 thoughts on “Wet Shaving 101 – 10 Budget-Friendly Shaving Brushes For Beginners”

  1. Brian Fiofi (AKA The Dean)

    While I still prefer a quality badger brush, I’ve really taken a shine to my RazoRock Snowman brush. I find I use it more and more often. And it is perfect for travel as it dries relatively quickly.

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