Poll: How many times do you need to use a brush to know if you like it or not?
 02-14-2013, 09:58 PM
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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...to know if you are going to like/love it or not ?

This maybe is not a question for newbies , but for the ones who have tried quiet several shaving brushes : how many uses do you need to know if you are going to like the shaving brush or not ?

I just know during the first or second shave how much Im going to like or love a brush , or , on the other hand , how much Im not going to like it or If I ever going to use it again.

That I like or not a brush depends on many factors : knot shape , hair density , soft tips , the right amount of flow and backbone , how the handle fits on my hand (more or less comfortable to hold) etc , so on my first shave with it , I have a very good idea about how its going to suit me and If I like it or dislike it.However , there are some exceptions , like two band badger hair from some brush makers , like Vie Long , which I know I have to be patient until the brush could deliver all its "goodness" , and the same with some boar hair brushes.

What about you , gentlemen ? How many times do you need to shave with a brush to know if you are going to keep it or let it go to B/S/T or put it on the very back of your bathroom cabinet ?

89 7,215
 02-14-2013, 10:11 PM
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I have to give each brush at least 2 or 3 tries. I want to make sure I break it in and also make sure I'm not just having a bad day. But after 3 uses max I know if a brush will be used, sold or just admired on a shelf due to it's exquisite beauty.

I did have one brush that I found from the first use it was not for me. It's a synthetic that is way to BIG, soft and has no backbone! I just can't use it at all for face lathering with soaps. And I rarely if ever bowl lather with creams...

0 74
 02-14-2013, 10:17 PM
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It depends on the brush. Badgers and synthetics, immediately, boars can take quite awhile.

Just the other day I realized that a boar brush I'd considered reknotting countless times has turned into piggy excellence (Vulfix 2234 boar). It took a very long time for it to assume that. Today I'm happy that I was patient with it. The seller never got to like it, and I absolutely understand why.

32 6,491
 02-14-2013, 10:46 PM
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Very very interesting subject, T !

As you know I just used my Thäter once and was really disappointed in its performance. Floppy as a soft mop, when I face lathered, the hair knot looked like a boar brush after a shave, while still wet - but while most boars have backbone and solid feel, this Thäter just was cloud soft, but I could just not get a solid face feel from it. The hairs waved, bent and bowed in all kinds of directions, I honestly got a bit mad while face lathering with it in disappointment over it, so I tried to use force to get it to face lather my Penhaligon Opus 1870 and TF&H Rose shaving cream mix, and I did end up with a great lather - bit frankly not thanks to the brush, but thanks to the 8-10 minutes it took me to build it, while a better face-lather brush wil do this in 2-3 minutes with my hard water.

I honestly feel that I have now tested more than 50+ badger hair brushes and that i now have the experience to know from the first shave if this brush will be a keeper or a dumper Smile

I admit that the more stiff haired 2-Band badger brushes like Shavemac D01 2-Band and even D01 3-Band need some time to break in - so I typically give these harder stiffer brushes 6-8 shaves before I know how they will perform. Boar brushes also needs 6-8 shaves, sometimes maybe more, to perform at their max.

But with my softer badger hair brushes, that as far as I know will not get harder or more backbone with more usage, I pretty much know from first shave if they will perform or not. I realize that some brushes will improve flow through and will not perform to their maximum potential before after maybe 5-6 shaves, I still feel that I already after the first shave know if a brush is too floppy or not.

As always YMMV Cool

25 6,226
 02-15-2013, 03:17 AM
  • Snuff
  • Senior Member
  • Belgium
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For me it takes at least 4-5 times, I want to try face and bowl lathering a few times. I have decided to fast in the past until I discovered that the same brush used in exactly the same way can feel different just because I have a off day myself.

29 1,495
 02-15-2013, 06:17 AM
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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2-5 times... Then put it away for a month and try one more time in case things look different then...

43 2,020
 02-15-2013, 06:29 AM
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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I voted 5-10 as 99% of my brushes are boar and I like to give them a fare shot.

Badger brushes only take me 2-5 tries to know if I keep it.

180 24,733
 02-15-2013, 06:52 AM
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(02-15-2013, 06:29 AM)Johnny Wrote: I voted 5-10 as 99% of my brushes are boar and I like to give them a fare shot.

Badger brushes only take me 2-5 tries to know if I keep it.

Floppy moppy soft badgers: 1 try Biggrin Tongue

25 6,226
 02-15-2013, 06:57 AM
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For most badger brushes, I will generally use them 3 to 5 times before I decide to keep them or not. There are variables however that will affect that timeline. If the ergonomics are not right or the appearance of the brush is not to my liking, I may make a decision to not keep it even before I actually shave with the brush.

I tend to give boar brushes a longer trial period...from 5 to 8 uses, before I decide if they are keepers.

0 3,341
 02-15-2013, 07:05 AM
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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Personally after the second use of a brush I can determine whether I will like the brush or not. Luckily I have been fortune that the brushes I have were instant likes.

1 3,507
 02-15-2013, 08:06 AM
  • Kavik79
  • Active Member
  • Albany, NY - USA
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I voted 2-5 times, assuming it's a badger brush, since I use those more often

For boar, when I have a new one I usually test it once just for the heck of it, after that I break it in over a couple weeks by palm lathering every 2-3 days. I wait till it looks like most of the hairs are split before really casting any judgement, then probably 2-5 uses for those too from that point

10 411
 02-15-2013, 10:17 AM
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Hi Teiste

For various reasons I only use shaving brushes fitted with badger hair.

I voted "5 to 10 times", though I could have easily gone with "2 to 5 times".

Personally I believe badger hair has a "break in" period, nothing like boar hair, but nevertheless badge hair goes through a "break in" period and depending on the type of badger hair that "break in" period can vary a little bit...

On average for brand new badger hair brushes I say it takes between 4 to 8 uses before I start to develop a proper sense on how that particular brush is going to perform.

Whereas second hand, loaners, etc badger hair brushes only take 2 or 3 uses before I can make an informed opinion on how that particular brush performs.

Take care, Mike

23 1,872
 02-15-2013, 10:54 AM
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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I voted for more than 20. A couple months ago I would have voted 5-10 but that was before my Shavemac D01 2 Band. I Love everything about it other than it does not release lather like it should. It's slowly getting better with every use though. I think it's going to take around 40 shaves for me to figure our weather that problem will go away though. This is the first badger brush I've used that required major break in. Even more than my boars.

45 3,955
 02-15-2013, 11:35 AM
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My recent brush acquisitions have been mostly restores, and I have maybe 6 or 8 in the rotation. I typically give a new brush a week, then put it into the rotation. If after a while in the rotation, if it's consistently at the back of the line, it's shelved.

7 138
 02-15-2013, 11:47 AM
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It depends on the following factors:

Badger or boar

Very dense badger brushes can take a bit to break in and loosen up. The face feel won't change other than the hairs will have more flex to them.

Boar deserves a shot at splitting before I pass judgment.

9 3,046
 02-15-2013, 12:42 PM
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I voted 2 to 5. However I let you guys do all the heavy lifting! I have a fairly good idea about what a knot is going to be like from certain of you folks's reviews. A select number of you appear to like similar feel in a face lathering brush to my own preferences.

I guess that makes me a pretty darn unoriginal freeloader! As well as a cheap bastard Smile

6 1,224
 02-15-2013, 07:41 PM
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Like others have mentioned, badgers only take a couple shaves, but boars require 5-10 shaves for me to really know.

5 938
 02-15-2013, 08:20 PM
  • ben74
  • Senior Member
  • Perth, Australia
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I generally know after a single use if a brush is suited to my tastes.

Some brushes however, require multiple uses before you can truly understand and appreciate them. That said, I stand by my first assertion, as I'm unlikely to persist with a brush it doesn't immediately appeal to me.

My point of view is primarily from badger (although I have a few badger/boar mix). IMO there is very little break in period and the characteristics are unlikely to change dramatically overtime. I also have the benefit of knowing what I want from a brush and can readily predict how a brush will develop with further use. Even with the badger/boar mix I had an instant impression from a single use. Of course these brushes have "improved" with use, but I knew from the outset that I liked them...

101 18,029
 02-15-2013, 08:40 PM
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Not much time for me! A few shaves and i know right away.

89 21,190
 02-15-2013, 08:58 PM
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I've only owned 2 boars so far. But they both showed me in a handful of lathers that they had potential and I should keep them.

Badgers are even faster. I didn't put 1 just because my lather technique isn't good enough yet that I am ready to assume that a bad first outing isn't *my* fault.

10 1,858
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