04-01-2012, 10:40 AM
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I was the lucky recipient of Yohanns New Forest Brushes and accompaniments not too long ago, and as promised I wanted to take the time to give a good review of the brushes for everyone. First, I will start out by saying that I LOVE huge brushes; bog lofts, lots of backbone, big handles, and scritchyness! Think Omega pro series 98 and 48, Vie-Long horse, and the big 50mm lofts found on a lot of other manufacturers. Neither of these brushes have all of those qualities, but I enjoyed using them both.

I started the testing with hard soaps, Crabtree and Evelyn Nomad and Sienna. I started with bowl lathering, which is my preferred means of lathering. The larger of the two brushes, whose model I am unsure of (the manufacturer has no identifying marks) was up first. The handle felt good, even though smaller than what I am accustomed to. Bowl lather was no issues, no clanking or problems. I was surprised by the good feel the handle had just gripping it from the end and around the collar. The shape of the handle lends itself well to holding from the end without slipping and the badger was more than sturdy enough to give a good load and produce lots of great foam. Applying the lather on my face, I noticed that while the brush was soft, it did not lack the ability to really exfoliate my skin and get exactly where I was aiming it. This brush passed the Sienna test with no issues. The smaller of the two was most surprising! It had the same great backbone and comfort that I found with the larger model, but in a nice compact size that I wanted to dislike. It ate through the nomad with no issues and the flow through on both brushes was great. Not a whole lot of fussing with cleaning them after use. The smaller model was fierce at getting in those tough to reach places I find so often with my caveman sized brushes, like the upper lip, and was stiff enough to really get the open areas as well. I give both these brushes top marks for hard soaps.

Next up, soft soaps. Vitos Extra coconut and P.160 were up to the challenge, but were the brushes? I find that badger brushes sometimes create wet lather lacking cushion with these two powerhouse soaps, so I was a bit pessimistic when I began this part of the test! I soaked the brushes in my lather bowl during my shower, and it was off to the races. Shaking out most of the water and getting right into the soap, I noticed neither of these brushes had a hard time loading product, which had been a problem with some of my vintage badger knots like my Made Rite 205. Lather was thick and rich and very much consistent with the results I find with the Omega 98. A+ results again. Wow, these brushes are really getting my attention at this point, as they are not something I would have bought myself.

The third test was creams and face lathering. As I was running out of time and really wanted to give a proper review, the next two days were dedicated to AOS Lemon. The large brush face lathered effortlessly, ate up the right amount of product to produce 3 passes plus touch ups, and was comfortable to use. Backbone was great for lathering on the face, and I didn't get my usual over lathering in my hair and down my chest. Imagine, painting outside the lines with a giant brush? Nonsense! This brush was well suited for this application, and I never felt like I was potentially damaging the knot. The smaller of the two also did a great job, but I kind of felt the handle to be a bit too small for my liking during the face lather test. Lather was great, loading the brush was plentiful, but the handle never quite got my attention.

Overall, these brushes were top notch. So much so that I would certainly consider adding one to my collection when my SBAD flares up again. The larger of the two brushes is actually a size more than small enough to pack into a Dopp Kit and take on the road, while the smaller of the two even more so. Thanks to Yohann for the opportunity to try these out and really change my mind on the classic English brushes.

The brushes are now on their way to the Peach State to greet Java. I hope that everyone else in this pass around really enjoys these brushes and I look forward to seeing their thoughts.

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 04-01-2012, 11:15 PM
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nice review. I have two NF brushes, the 2211 and the 2201 and love them both.

40 5,830
 04-02-2012, 07:14 AM
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Thumbup Thank you for the detailed review, I'm looking forward to trying those couple of brushes when they get to me Thumbup

23 1,872
 04-02-2012, 07:54 AM
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I have a 24mm 2-band, faux horn, UK assembled with the current logo sticker. Excellent value for money and the performance compares well with much more expensive brushes I have. The only knock are the lathe marks on the handle but I don't really care about that.

0 189
 04-17-2012, 08:26 AM
  • Java
  • Active Member
  • Warner Robins, Georgia, USA
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Well morganjg gave such a complete review, I don't know what to say. I wanted to add my two cents, though, before the next one in line adds his! I am coming from a much different place than morganjg, as I haven't been back to wet shaving for very long. My only experience with badger brushes has been with very cheap ones, and up until now I've prefered the extra backbone of boars, and horsehairs. I saw this as an opportunity to try quality badger brushes without breaking the bank. I must say, I was impressed. I also tried each brush with a cream, a soft soap, and a hard soap. I tried the larger of the two first, and first up was a cream (Erasmic). It created a great lather, much easier than a boar would, definitly score one for the badger. I was impressed with the backbone it had while creating the lather, and it did a wonderful of of applying the lather to my face, but I didn't get near the "massage" that a boar would give my face. This brush has a wide, dense knot and I began to worry about the smaller knot in the other brush. There was a little learning curve here, because a quality badger like this one gives up the lather a little differently than what I was used to, but I figured it out pretty quickly. The next day was the larger brush again, this time with a soft soap (Proraso green). The amount of water the badger holds again surprised me, so I had to go back to the tub for more soap, but that was my fault, not the brush's. Once the lather was ready, it was pretty much a repeat of the day before; plenty of backbone for the job, just not quite as much as I am used to. The third and last day for the larger brush I wanted to try it with a hard soap, and not having and really hard triple milled soaps I went with the VdH Luxury soap. With a boar or a horse I wouldn't bother to soak the soap, so I didn't do so here, and there was no need. Again, as I was loading the brush I wished it had more backbone, but not caring what I wished for, it did a great job anyway. Next up was the smaller of the two brushes. I generally prefer smaller brushes (I have a Van Dyck beard and smaller brushes just seem to work around it better.) Originally I had used the other brush first, thinking I was "saving the best for last", but now I was worried about this one's smaller knot. First up I tried a cream (Bigelow) and wow! It was a little harder to hold on to it's smaller handle, but it lathered great! It held enough lather for three passes, a forth on my neck, and could have gone for more. A little less backbone than the larger knot, but it got the job done! It was indeed much easier to use around my beard. I really liked it. Next day was some Cella soap, and again, to me, it felt like it needed more backbone, but while I was thinking that, it just did the job. Again I was impressed by how much lather it held. Finally, I tried the smaller brush with some VdH Deluxe soap. Again, I never bother to soak the soap before I use it, and I did consider it this time, but I thought I'd try it without first. Just like last time, I needn't have worried. That little guy just did a great job of loading up from the puck, and created a fine lather.

I learned a couple of things here;
While these two quality badgers didn't completely convert me, the smaller brush really impressed me. I had been concerned about mailing off enough money for several decent boars to try one nicer badger. Now one like the smaller one is definitly on my list.
A brush doesn't need nearly as much backbone as I think it does to get the job done.
I still love my boars (I had been afraid I'd get spoiled this week) but I found that there is room in my cabinet for a nice badger or three.

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