11-08-2013, 04:34 PM
#1
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For some time now a team of testers have been testing synthetic brushes. The results of these tests have been displayed throughout the traditional shaving community on various forums and blogs for some time. The discussions of these tests, threads and blogs were basically three fold in nature. The first was individual evaluations of various brushes to see if synthetics were truly a viable player in the shaving brush market. This required the testers to obtain a large number of brushes to test and review. The testing team noted that in the past three years especially there has been enough advancements in this area that Synthetic brushes are a viable player, and a growing sector in the shaving brush market, for various reasons that this discussed elsewhere. The second was to research and explore the history of synthetic brushes and what areas of fiber development in other areas, such as the toothbrush, paintbrush and cosmetic brush industries supported and allowed fibers to be developed, which eventually allow for fibers to exist to be used in today's synthetic shaving brushes. The third area was to try to find common ground between groups of brushes that used the same fiber or very similar fibers, along with how the brushes felt at the tip, backbone, etc. Based on all the testing information I developed the "Synthetic Generations" concept to help users compare brushes and to understand the differences within synthetic brushes. In addition to data that the Synthetic testing team produced, discussions from various forums and blogs were also taken into account when refining the generations listings as displayed in the following threads and the threads that are linked within.

http://shavenook.com/thread-synthetic-br...ns-updated

http://shavenook.com/thread-synthetics-o...nformation

http://shavenook.com/thread-new-brush-ar...arpologist

http://shavenook.com/thread-new-brush-ar...arpologist

http://shavenook.com/thread-have-synthet...ome-of-age

http://sharpologist.com/2013/12/syntheti...arket.html

The reason behind this was unlike badger, boar, and horse hair brushes, which have long histories and documented data, the Synthetic brush was far less mature in the market place with far less data for users and potential users to discuss and compare. So the Generational System was meant to provide that framework of discussion with commonly available benchmarks to compare and contrast various synthetic offerings.

All that is about to change. The Synthetic Generations listing concept is rapidly becoming obsolete! The earlier era of only few viable brush makers involved in manufacturing synthetics has changed. Users are now seeing Synthetic brushes as a viable stand alone class of brushes and many have switched totally to synthetics based on both the merits of the products being produced and how these products satisfy their desires in a shaving brush. So now the market has changed with a user base that has sufficient critical mass to drive more producers into the market. As more brush makers enter the market, there will be more demand for fiber manufacturers that have developed these classes of fibers for the cosmetic industry, such as DuPont, Toray Industries, and others, will be further pressed into service to alter, change and develop fiber types at a much more rapid pace for the shaving brush industry. The differences between fibers will become harder and harder to differentiate because of the sheer number of closely grouped fiber types.

In addition the brush makers themselves will become a major factor in this obsolescence. This will come from two areas. One will be from producers who will constantly adjust their products with very little fanfare or no discussion of changes at all. The second will be from producers who will utilize marketing techniques to blur the distinctions further. Already a couple of sellers of brushes have begun to lay claim to having fiber technology that is Generation 5. Remember that the Synthetic testing team is primarily a group of end users (consumers) and not brush making companies, so there is no Generation 5 fiber yet. The brush makers had nothing to do in developing the testing or the Generational class system. They will be more than happy to use minor fiber alterations to make claims and create a blizzard of "Generation Classes" for marketing purposes just like badger brushes which seem to have hundreds of different nomenclatures meant to market hair types from an animal with only 8 distinct species and limited different hair types [1]. Call it hype or marketing, but the combination of lack of clear information caused by the brush makers secret minor adjustments and overblown marketing will come about due to the maturing of the market.

The "Synthetic Generations" concept was intended to allow a set of common benchmarks in an emerging market. It provided a common language for those entering into the market or transitioning from natural hair brushes to using synthetic brushes. However, "Synthetic Generations" concept is a temporary thing and soon it will fade away as the offerings will become too varied and nuanced to continue to have a team or even a groups maintain configuration control of the "common language." You simply cannot have a control group procure, test and enforce a "common language" because it will grow to unwieldy to maintain.

The Synthetic Shaving Brush market is growing up. Are these changes good or bad for the consumer? Mostly it will be good for the consumer because more products and choices is a good thing. Will there be the same problems that exist with individual consumers trying to determine what the differences are between the different makers, grades and names of badger hair brushes? I see that answer as yes, but that is what forums and blogs are for, to discuss these items in detail.

I hope in a way, I have contributed by providing the "Synthetic Generations" concept to help the user navigate in the less mature market that is coming to an end. All things must change and I see the end of one era and the beginning of a new era.





[1] http://animals.pawnation.com/eight-types...-4685.html

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 11-08-2013, 05:27 PM
#2
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Brilliant my friend ! Yes , the new synthetic brushes are very good indeed.Ask Johnny about it ! Biggrin

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 11-08-2013, 05:29 PM
#3
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It's great to have all this information drawn together at one place. Thanks for going to all the trouble and for sharing your findings.

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 11-08-2013, 05:39 PM
#4
  • Agravic
  • Emeritus
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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As always, Gary, thank you sharing the wealth of knowledge you've accumulated regarding synthetics.

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 11-08-2013, 06:07 PM
#5
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Gary, you have done a wonderful job of enlightening folks on the merits of synthetics and they are definitely worth having and using. Thank you again for all of your hard work! Biggrin

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 11-08-2013, 06:48 PM
#6
  • taco8slo
  • Shavenookian Newbie
  • California
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All I have are synthetics now, thanks for all the informative insights you have shared, I would still be using stinky badger brushes otherwise, lol. I actually prefer them for their ease of lathering in harder water and quick drying.

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 11-08-2013, 06:58 PM
#7
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Thanks Gary & all the others for putting the time into not only testing this subset of brushes but also writing about then so we can glean from you're collective experiences.

I look forward to seeing where the subset goes in the next several years.

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 11-08-2013, 07:07 PM
#8
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There are explorers and there are educators. Gary, you've done brilliantly at both roles. I (not by any means an earlier adopter), regularly use two fine synthetic brushes soley because of the fine reporting from folks like Gary.

In short my lathering experience is better because of modern synths.

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 11-08-2013, 09:17 PM
#9
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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I would expect nothing less from a man from Roanoke, TX. Job well done Gary.

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 11-09-2013, 03:01 AM
#10
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Thanks to the articles posted on this site by yourself and others i've discovered synthetics. Keep up the good work, I look forward to your review of the simpsons synthetic. Well done.Smile

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 11-09-2013, 05:02 AM
#11
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Gary, you've been a great source of information on synthetics. Thank you for your efforts and invaluable contributions to the body of knowledge regarding synthetics.

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 11-09-2013, 07:09 AM
#12
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Where and when can consumers shop the full variety of synthetic knots for use in their own handles, do you think?

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 11-09-2013, 07:57 AM
#13
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(11-09-2013, 07:09 AM)Aimsport Wrote: Where and when can consumers shop the full variety of synthetic knots for use in their own handles, do you think?

That is where another problem will exist and as I see it I don't think it will clear up. I don't think my discussion on this will be short or completely provide a direct where or when answer.

I don't think it will come any time soon.

Manufacturers will be more than happy to use minor fiber alterations to make claims and create a blizzard of "Generation Classes" for marketing purposes or certain manufacturers will hide their incremental improvements within their own product lines. It would impact their profit margins negatively to sell just the knot. They want to sell the whole brush and make the whole level of profit from manufacturing.

The other side of the issue is that other producers (primarily in Asia) who will be producing in volume will more than likely also go to the fiber producers to get the varying classes of fibers for their brushes. Where they will be lower margin producers, the additional volume of selling knots helps their bottom line.

The problem is going to be, whose fiber is really the best fiber, in a sea of fibers, and a sea of claims of goodness or a lack of claims about the fibers at all? I know that is not optimistic, but I see this as a real issue.





To all who have read and commented, thank you for the kind words and complements.

If you have thoughts on the direction of the synthetic market, post them. There might be avenues I have not thought about on this yet.

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 11-09-2013, 09:55 AM
#14
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Although is a difficult task for a non-english member my congratulations GDC !

Wink

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 11-09-2013, 05:18 PM
#15
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To all of you. Thanks for the kind words and complements on the article.

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 11-09-2013, 09:34 PM
#16
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(11-09-2013, 03:01 AM)stanthony Wrote: Thanks to the articles posted on this site by yourself and others i've discovered synthetics. Keep up the good work, I look forward to your review of the simpsons synthetic. Well done.Smile

Dittos! I never would have even contemplated using one if not for the discussion and reviews. But it got to the point where I couldn't ignore them any longer. Now I like them. In fact, they're so good, that if it's all I had I wouldn't feel deprived. I never thought I'd ever write that either. Things change; even for an old curmudgeon.

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 11-09-2013, 09:45 PM
#17
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(11-09-2013, 09:34 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Dittos! I never would have even contemplated using one if not for the discussion and reviews. Now I like them. In fact, they're so good, that if it's all I had I wouldn't feel deprived.

+1 However, good thing I don't have to! Blush

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 11-10-2013, 04:46 AM
#18
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(11-09-2013, 09:34 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote:
(11-09-2013, 03:01 AM)stanthony Wrote: Thanks to the articles posted on this site by yourself and others i've discovered synthetics. Keep up the good work, I look forward to your review of the simpsons synthetic. Well done.Smile

Dittos! I never would have even contemplated using one if not for the discussion and reviews. But it got to the point where I couldn't ignore them any longer. Now I like them. In fact, they're so good, that if it's all I had I wouldn't feel deprived. I never thought I'd ever write that either. Things change; even for an old curmudgeon.
My beloved boars sit unused, in fact the only brush I use anymore that isn't a synthetic is a simpsons wee scot. I too thought that I'd never use synthetics but at the moment I have no plans to buy any brushes that aren't synthetic, and that is a direct result of reading posts on this site. my dream christmas present would be a simpsons synthetic chubby 2Smile

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 11-10-2013, 05:47 AM
#19
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(11-10-2013, 04:46 AM)stanthony Wrote:
(11-09-2013, 09:34 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote:
(11-09-2013, 03:01 AM)stanthony Wrote: Thanks to the articles posted on this site by yourself and others i've discovered synthetics. Keep up the good work, I look forward to your review of the simpsons synthetic. Well done.Smile

Dittos! I never would have even contemplated using one if not for the discussion and reviews. But it got to the point where I couldn't ignore them any longer. Now I like them. In fact, they're so good, that if it's all I had I wouldn't feel deprived. I never thought I'd ever write that either. Things change; even for an old curmudgeon.
My beloved boars sit unused, in fact the only brush I use anymore that isn't a synthetic is a simpsons wee scot. I too thought that I'd never use synthetics but at the moment I have no plans to buy any brushes that aren't synthetic, and that is a direct result of reading posts on this site. my dream christmas present would be a simpsons synthetic chubby 2Smile

I still use a mix of brushes since I like some of the differences they offer me so I have not gone over to synthetics completely although I am a big proponent of them.

One of the reasons why the original synthetic team did a large amount of study, trials, and historical research was to determine were synthetic brushes worthy of constant use as a viable class on its own. The answer came back yes they are. Over the last year and a half especially the market is maturing which will contain both good and not so good things, but the good in my opinion far outweighs the negatives of marketing hoopla and / or hidden updates and unidentified fiber usage.

I can see a point where new users will be going directly to synthetics due to the performance, longevity, and other factors.

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 11-10-2013, 07:58 AM
#20
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I also think synthetics are a great option for new brush/soap users as the learning curve is very low. Custom handle options that are now becoming available will also help to propel this genre forward.

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