02-04-2014, 09:17 AM
#1
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Edit: I should have stated the following when I first wrote this, but with this edit I will. I haven't read any other reviews of this brush; deliberately. I haven't even looked for reviews of it and haven't followed any threads regarding it. I wanted to test it "for the first time", at least in my mind. I couldn't escape a bit of prejudicial knowledge that was sent to me, but I wrote it off as YMMV and I determined to test it without prejudice. Now back to my unedited, except for typos and such, impressions/review.

I wish I was a well known (experienced) brush reviewer so that you all could get a review with more descriptive words regarding the brush, but I'm just a user with varied brushes.

For those who don't have time or the inclination to read the entire review, in a nutshell, I love this brush (so far) and I did have misgivings since it wasn't quite what my other synthetics feel like.

OK, back on to the observations/review...

This is what I wrote yesterday after receiving it:
The Chubby2 Synthetic arrived in my hot little hands this afternoon.

It's unlike any of my other synthetics. I just did a hand lathering with it; of a hand soap that in a pinch could be used as shave soap, but for whatever reason after cleaning a brush it's the first soap I test a brush with. I can't remember any brush of any fiber ever lathering this soap as easily as this Simpsons synthetic just did. I actually expected problems loading the brush and there were absolutely none. It actually loaded incredibly easily.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrows shave. But my initial impression is that it's the most badger like synthetic I've ever had in my hand. As I wrote, I'm really looking forward to tomorrows shave. I will be extremely surprised if it doesn't perform nicely.

Back to today.

One thing I will add to the above. If you're looking for scritch, this brush won't be for you.

VdH (Van der Hagen) was up for todays shave since it was it's turn in the rotation. That's OK, because I have just a few days with the brush and I want to deliberately use it with high priced products and the low priced products.

But allow me to digress. I mentioned earlier that it doesn't feel the same as my other synthetics. One of the things I noticed was that most synthetics once wet, act like a sponge to pull up water, then when put under pressure they dump the load. This brush did not appear to be as critical in that respect. Understand that synthetics, even if made to appear as badger are not badger brushes and typically don't act like natural fiber. But back to today. I decided I'd test that by dipping the brush into the basin of water then loading from the tub of VdH; I normally don't do that with a synthetic. Instead I put the water into the tub to be in control. I did not immerse the brush, not was I extremely careful in not dipping it in too far. In going to the tub I didn't have the huge load of water that I expected. I actually had to return to the basin to pick more water up 2 (or was it 3?) times for more water. The brush loaded incredibly easily, and it was clear to see that I had PLENTY of soap loaded to build my ultralather.

On the face, this brush is incredibly soft, but one can feel the softness even when it's dry. As with many synthetics, it also has backbone, though not as much backbone as other synthetic fibers. I thought that might be a problem with splay. This is a huge brush and if it has too much splay it would be a deal breaker for me since I face lather and don't appreciate fibers and lather up my nostrils. The knot has some interesting qualities in use. Here's where I wish I had better words. It's soft and also flexible, the knot wants to sort of "cling together" to form a knot mass when wet (capillary action). If that happens, and you allow it to go on, I doubt you'll get lather. Instead put a bit of pressure on the knot. The brush is quite soft so you won't rub your skin raw. But a bit of pressure must be used to get the knot to splay just a bit and open up for lather making. I'm not suggesting brush mashing, but a bit of pressure to allow the fibers to separate to do their job.

This brush is far and away the best lather maker in my cabinet. Almost too good. I like to lather for 3 minutes for whisker prep'. With this brush one actually needs to extend the lather process artificially to get that. IMO the speedy lather production was quite noticeable. The lather produced, remember this was VdH which doesn't have a really good reputation, was as good as any lather from any other product in my cabinet regardless of price. It was like iridescent satin with absolutely no bubbles. There was no work or extraordinary means employed to make that lather either. Just be sure to use a bit of pressure on the knot to get the fibers to splay a bit. Other synthetics don't require that because their knots are in a slightly permanent splay and they fight any repositioning of the fibers. That's the best I can describe that.

I've only used this brush for shaving this one time (4 more to go) but when they're available for purchase I plan to have one, and a Case synthetic when they're available. IMO, based on this one shave, Simpsons has raised the bar with this brush. It has everything; softness, backbone, incredible lather making, a relatively low price if the early MSRP is held to. If I didn't force myself to use every brush in the cabinet I could very easily find myself using this brush to the exclusion of the others.

Another shave tomorrow.

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 02-04-2014, 09:29 AM
#2
  • TheMonk
  • Super Moderator
  • Porto, Portugal
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Very good review, Brian! Wink
I must say I am getting more and more curious with this brush.

BTW, Have you had a chance to try the Plisson synthetic?

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 02-04-2014, 09:30 AM
#3
  • Johnny
  • MODERATOR EMERITUS
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Thanks Brian. Looking forward to the next 4 shaves with this brush. If you can, please post some pictures.

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 02-04-2014, 09:31 AM
#4
  • Agravic
  • Super Moderator
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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Brian, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this much anticipated brush.

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 02-04-2014, 10:04 AM
#5
  • Rufus
  • Senior Member
  • Greater Toronto Area
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Can you comment on how it compares with the much vaunted Plisson l'Occitiane synthetic brush? Also, in terms of density and backbone how does it compare with a Chubby 2 badger? I am on the verge of purchasing the Plisson, but if the Simpson's is superior and not as dense or backbony as the regular Chubby 2 I may just wait.

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 02-04-2014, 10:07 AM
#6
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This is the bad boy I'm waiting on...

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 02-04-2014, 10:10 AM
#7
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Brian, excellent review, thanks for taking the time to share it with us Biggrin

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 02-04-2014, 10:19 AM
#8
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(02-04-2014, 09:29 AM)TheMonk Wrote: Very good review, Brian! Wink
I must say I am getting more and more curious with this brush.

BTW, Have you had a chance to try the Plisson synthetic?

+1 Great job, Brian, and I look forward to hearing your final thoughts after you finish with it! Smile

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 02-04-2014, 11:46 AM
#9
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Thanks for the review, Brian. You've touched on all the salient points for me. I'm waiting for the third brush in this series, the one that fits between the Chubby and Case. Fingers crossed it's a Duke 3. If not, well, Mark, I have a suggestion. Biggrin

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 02-04-2014, 12:14 PM
#10
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(02-04-2014, 10:04 AM)Rufus Wrote: Can you comment on how it compares with the much vaunted Plisson l'Occitiane synthetic brush? Also, in terms of density and backbone how does it compare with a Chubby 2 badger? I am on the verge of purchasing the Plisson, but if the Simpson's is superior and not as dense or backbony as the regular Chubby 2 I may just wait.

Not having those brushes to compare this one to, I can't.

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 02-04-2014, 02:13 PM
#11
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Pictures I can do.

It's a large brush and I don't do really big natural fiber brushes well at all. But synthetic brushes don't act like natural fiber and I find I can do, what to me are HUGE brushes, in synthetic fiber, and get away with it. The same brush in natural hair would be far too large IMO. The largest natural fiber brush that I want and own is the P8 pictured below.

[Image: Prot_SimpsonsSynBrush3_zpsc36f972f.jpg]
A comparison shot to show comparitive scale. I tried to pick brushes other folks would have.
Left to right:
Simpsons TSN LE P8 Phyl Best Badger, 24x48
Frank Shaving Pur-Tech 28 x 54mm Gen 4 V2 STF black handle syn’
The Prototype Simpsons Chubby2 Syn' badger
Muhle 20mm V2 synthetic w/ faux ivory handle
Simpsons Case Best badger 19x42mm

[Image: Prot_SimpsonsSynBrush1_zpsba85ff63.jpg]
The brush in my palm, again another comparative shot for scale. I don't have huge hands, but I don't wear womens gloves either.

[Image: Prot_SimpsonsSynBrush2_zps39641689.jpg]
Compared to the Simpsons Case Best Badger as seen previously. I figured this was appropriate since Mark commented that the brush might be made in a Case. No doubt (IMO) the synthetic Case won't have the same knot dimensions.

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 02-04-2014, 02:50 PM
#12
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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Seems I have to get one of these...Angel

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 02-04-2014, 03:15 PM
#13
  • TheMonk
  • Super Moderator
  • Porto, Portugal
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(02-04-2014, 02:50 PM)German Wrote: Seems I have to get one of these...Angel


Indeed!

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 02-04-2014, 03:48 PM
#14
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Nice review Krampert; I could follow your thoughts just fine! Looks like a great brush.

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 02-04-2014, 04:01 PM
#15
  • Elendil
  • Raggedy man, good night
  • The snow's back.
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Very nice review, Brian. Thank you.

(02-04-2014, 02:50 PM)German Wrote: Seems I have to get one of these...Angel

But will Mark deliver a two-band synthetic?

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 02-04-2014, 04:05 PM
#16
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"As with many synthetics, it also has backbone, though not as much backbone as other synthetic fibers. I thought that might be a problem with splay. This is a huge brush and if it has too much splay it would be a deal breaker for me since I face lather and don't appreciate fibers and lather up my nostrils. The knot has some interesting qualities in use. Here's where I wish I had better words. It's soft and also flexible, the knot wants to sort of "cling together" to form a knot mass when wet (capillary action). If that happens, and you allow it to go on, I doubt you'll get lather. Instead put a bit of pressure on the knot. The brush is quite soft so you won't rub your skin raw. But a bit of pressure must be used to get the knot to splay just a bit and open up for lather making. I'm not suggesting brush mashing, but a bit of pressure to allow the fibers to separate to do their job."

The above would make or break the deal for me...if I have to use too much pressure it's out. Sounds like it might be okay and in the ballpark for me since it does not have quite the backbone.
Thanks for the review!

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 02-04-2014, 04:22 PM
#17
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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He just might, if one asks nicely... Cool
Quote:But will Mark deliver a two-band synthetic?

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 02-04-2014, 05:52 PM
#18
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Brian that is an excellent review, well done.

(02-04-2014, 04:01 PM)Elendil Wrote: Very nice review, Brian. Thank you.

(02-04-2014, 02:50 PM)German Wrote: Seems I have to get one of these...Angel

But will Mark deliver a two-band synthetic?

If this one is a success then Mark may very well be inclined with enough volume to entice the fiber manufacturer to provide the same fibers in two band. Hopefully one that uses white tips black stalk, but that is my preference. The coloration of synthetics is not a major issue, you just need to have enough volume for the fiber manufacturer to make a special run of the same fiber (recolored with no other changes).

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 02-05-2014, 11:21 AM
#19
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Todays shave with the brush was no different than yesterdays. The brush is a keeper. That's the short story.

Just a little more about the splaying of the brush that I touched on yesterday. In typical synthetic fashion, the fibers have a springiness to them. In this brush it's not as noticeable as other synthetics. With some badgers, even though they have backbone it requires little to no force to get them to splay, I think that leads to brush mashing. I find the "push back" from this brush to be quite pleasant. It also gives a nice feel that other natural fiber brushes lack. I have one badger brush that is so cloud soft with zero backbone that unless I watch what I do with it in the mirror I might not even feel it on my skin. In no way is this brush like that. It's also firmer than my Rooney Super Silvertip.

I sort of wish I had the Case Syn' to test alongside this brush. The smaller knot will feel different again. Fewer fibers = less push back.

Too, today after seeing yesterday that the brush isn't a huge sponge for water I decided to try something I ALWAYS suggest that no one should do with a synthetic brush. I dipped the entire knot in water and shook it out before loading it as one would do with a badger. With most synthetics that yields a brush so loaded with water that I don't even try to use a brush like that anymore. I just dry it off and put it back into the cabinet until the next day and use another. This brush after that treatment was quite useable and not objectionably loaded with water. It may have retained a bit more water than a natural fiber brush, but not wildly more as most of my other synthetics would have been.

I face lather exclusively, and it holds more than enough lather for my 2 1/3 pass shave. While I don't suggest this, by seeing the amount of lather I waste every day with this brush one could easily have a 6 pass shave with the lather I build, or more if one built the lather more than I do. I want my ultralather ever morning; which is a creamy yogurt like consistency, but not dry. It produces ultralather with no effort, and ultralather just happens if one loads the brush.

I think I'm beginning to understand why the brush is labled "synthetic badger". It's not just because of the color of the fibers. It's because it's trying to do a better job of mimicking badger. Of all of the synthetic brushes I've used so far, and I have the latest synthetic fibers to date as far as I know, this comes the closest to real badger.

If I gave anyone the impression yesterday that I might be on the fence with this brush, today I decided that I REALLY like this brush... A LOT! It's like no other synthetic brush I've ever used, and it's a game changer IMO. If synthetic brushes get no better than this, well, they really don't need to. This is a superb synthetic.

Understand, it's not a badger, it operates differently, and in many respects better. If one has extremely sensitive skin maybe the push back required to get the fibers to work might annoy. But I simply can't imagine that being a problem since it isn't a great deal of force needed, nothing like other synthetics. One would need to have extremely sensitive skin for that to be an issue. This brush is very soft, but still with excellent backbone.

2 more shaves with it then I get it washed up and dried off to get it shipped out on Monday. I'd like to have 3 shaves with it, but I want to give it 2 days to fully dry. I've seen what I need to about the brush. The other 2 shaves are just for kicks and to see if I missed anything. I also wish I had more time with it to directly compare it to some of my other brushes, head to head.

I've mentioned this most every time I've discussed synthetic brushes and I'm about to again. If anyone had told me just a few years ago that I would ever have anything nice to write about synthetic brushes I'd have told them they were insane. Here I am doing that very thing.

I wish I could pass this brush around for most everyone to experience, but I already have the next name I send it to. Maybe Simpsons will put it into production and release it soon for everyone to try. The first synthetic they tried failed and Mark wouldn't build it, this brush was worth waiting for.

OK, now that I've gone way out on a limb with this review, and gushed over the brush, could someone link to other reviews of this brush for me? I want to see If I'm even close to what others have written.

TIA.

2 more shaves, if I notice anything more I'll update this. Otherwise, I'm just going to enjoy it.

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