02-23-2014, 10:19 AM
#1
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I've been thinking about this for a while, and I want to see if my observations are real or if they're tainted by my own point of view.

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I think everyone can agree that synthetic brushes have come a long way. I bought one several years ago that was the floppiest bit of uselessness that I have ever had the misfortune to try.

Recently however, Muehle, HIS, FS etc have all started offering pretty excellent synthetic knots - that seem to work every bit as well as the badger and boar knots we all know and love.

What I've observed is that several people on the forums (here at the Nook and elsewhere) have made the decision to abandon natural fibre brushes entirely and move to synthetics.............but a lot of them don't stick with the synthetics long-term. They return to natural fibre brushes after a while.

Is this just my imagination? Or is it a trend?

In my case, I've kept a couple of synthetics in the den - for variation and for travel (where they excel). I like using them, but there's a certain je ne sais quoi that the natural brushes offer that the synthetics don't.

They lather well, they feel nice on the face, they are well-made and look good, but there's something I can quite put my finger on that the synthetics don't provide.

Has anyone else had the same experience with them?

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 02-23-2014, 10:29 AM
#2
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That hasn't been the case with me. I can't speak for others and haven't observed what you have. Not observing something means nothing; an absence of data doesn't mean it doesn't exist. So you could be correct.

But for myself I use badger, boar, 1 horse, and synthetic brushes, and I like them all for the unique qualities they bring to the shave.

I have no intention of getting rid of any of my brushes, just the opposite. When the Simpson Chubby2 synthetic is released I intend to buy one.

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 02-23-2014, 10:53 AM
#3
  • Arcadies
  • Senior Member
  • Greeneville, TN
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I went completely synthetic about a year ago and have no plans on going back. I did however, recently acquire a Shavemac finest brush that was calling to me in B/S/T, but after 4-5 uses it only drove home the fact that I do not enjoy natural brushes any longer, it will be back on the B/S/T forum soon.

I just love everything about modern synthetics. I not only enjoy their feel, but it's also the efficiency and amazingly rich lather they provide.
I'd hazard a guess that over time a synthetic would pay for itself by extending the life on yours soaps/creams. I've gone from 30 seconds of load time to 10-15 seconds..which adds up with pricey soaps like MdC or AdP.

Another thing I like about synthetics is their robustness, I like to use vigorous circular motions to build my lather..there is less chance of damaging a synthetic doing this. Come to think of it, with over a year of abusing them, none of my synths have shed so much as a single hair.
The quick drying is nice as well!

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 02-23-2014, 11:59 AM
#4
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Byron -

Actually, since Synthetics are generally cheaper than mid- to high-end badger brushes, they are already a very economical option for wetshavers.

Conservation of shaving soaps or creams are not an issue for me, so that property of a synthetic is lost on me.

I'm like Brian - I like them all......to different extents certainly, but I do like something about each of the brushes I've retained. Synthetics and horsehair brushes don't get included in my rotation much, but I do like them for variation.

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 02-23-2014, 11:59 AM
#5
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I have to concur with you, Yohann. I really enjoy synthetics and they can be used as a daily brush if you really wanted to. However, for me, they just don't compare to a very good badger knot. The 'springiness' is a consistent, but minor issue for me. I haven't found any synthetic to match my badgers, really. The Plisson synthetic is the closest I have seen to almost mimic badger hair, but the loft is really quite high and it is a bit floppy. Having said this, synthetics are incredible for travel as they dry incredibly quickly and they produce copious amounts of lather with minimal product and I highly recommend try one at least.

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 02-23-2014, 01:11 PM
#6
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(02-23-2014, 10:19 AM)yohannrjm Wrote: I've been thinking about this for a while, and I want to see if my observations are real or if they're tainted by my own point of view.

-------------------

I think everyone can agree that synthetic brushes have come a long way. I bought one several years ago that was the floppiest bit of uselessness that I have ever had the misfortune to try.

Recently however, Muehle, HIS, FS etc have all started offering pretty excellent synthetic knots - that seem to work every bit as well as the badger and boar knots we all know and love.

What I've observed is that several people on the forums (here at the Nook and elsewhere) have made the decision to abandon natural fibre brushes entirely and move to synthetics.............but a lot of them don't stick with the synthetics long-term. They return to natural fibre brushes after a while.

Is this just my imagination? Or is it a trend?

In my case, I've kept a couple of synthetics in the den - for variation and for travel (where they excel). I like using them, but there's a certain je ne sais quoi that the natural brushes offer that the synthetics don't.

They lather well, they feel nice on the face, they are well-made and look good, but there's something I can quite put my finger on that the synthetics don't provide.

Has anyone else had the same experience with them?

For me it depends upon the handle type and mood that I am in. For example, the brush I am using for the past few weeks (Zen Shave) I wanted badger in it for the cache value, but I love and use my refurbished EverReady C40 with the TGN 3 band Gen 3 synthetic a lot. So really for me it is usually what mood I am in as to brush selection. I use two band badger about 40% of the time, synthetics about 40% of the time and the remainder generally is boar usage. Each type of fiber (natural or synthetics) have strengths and weaknesses and I use each to my advantage.

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 02-23-2014, 03:13 PM
#7
  • BobH
  • Senior Member
  • Thunder Bay Canada
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I have a small rotation of shave brushes that includes a Simpsons Manchurian, an SOC 2 band badger, a Muhle Retro silver tip, a Semogue 1350, an Omega 10066 and 2 Muhle synthetic silver tip fibers. All of them will do the job with soaps and creams and I use them all. Some more than others. I could live quite easily with a synthetic as my sole shave brush. That would be no fun though.

I enjoy a synthetic for what it is, not as substitute for a boar or badger or horse hair.

Bob

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 02-23-2014, 03:23 PM
#8
  • Giorgio
  • Senior Member
  • Pennsylvania, US
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It is really hard for me to fault current synthetics. It seems like they do everything well. On paper, they are the perfect brush. However, as much as I do enjoy them, the best way I can describe the way I think of them is they lack "soul." They're just there...on my shelf. I don't ever feel like one of them calls out to me for a certain shave. My badgers do on the other hand. I have to actually remember that I have a synthetic and consciously make the decision to use it. I know how weird it sounds, but that's just my view Biggrin

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 02-23-2014, 04:25 PM
#9
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I usually see people break their "I'll only use one type" rules after time passes for any type of item. Our tastes change and we learn new things that may appeal to us. That said, I'm a synthetic fan, and imagine I'll always have at least one in my brush collection (but will likely always have a natural hair as well).

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 02-23-2014, 04:37 PM
#10
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While I enjoy the looks of my badger brushes much more I can't stop using my Plisson synthetic for all the reasons that Byron mentioned above. In my very hard water no natural hair brush can even compete with my synthetics when it comes to quality of lather and the ease with which said lather is created. Add in the sublime feel of the Plisson and I have a brush that I have yet to stop using for a solid month now. Also as Byron mentioned, I love that I don't have to baby a synthetic brush. It is super soft and yet I can splay the fibres and use the circular motions that I prefer with no concern. With the cost and fragility of my badgers I never seem to enjoy them as much due to my conscious effort not to "hurt" them.

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 02-23-2014, 04:39 PM
#11
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(02-23-2014, 04:25 PM)BreakItYourself Wrote: I usually see people break their "I'll only use one type" rules after time passes for any type of item. Our tastes change and we learn new things that may appeal to us. That said, I'm a synthetic fan, and imagine I'll always have at least one in my brush collection (but will likely always have a natural hair as well).

I think you may have hit on it!

I know from my own experience that I've never been able to stick with the 'one type only' promise.

Many years ago, I tried to do that with SE razors, as the shaves I was getting from them were excellent. I sold all my DE razors. That lasted a few months and then I was off buying DE's again and straights too.

DE razors don't shave me any better than SE razors, but I just like having some variety in the den.

I'm sure that happens to most people who try to limit themselves to one type of item.........eventually, something else catches their interest and they break their 'fast'.

Hobbies are great! Biggrin

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 02-23-2014, 04:46 PM
#12
  • W.S.O.
  • Banned
  • Philadelphia, Pa
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Its funny. If I had to pick just one brush to use forever (yeah right) It would be my 26mm FS PureTech knot I have set in a wooden handle I turned myself.
Here is the thing. There are other brushes/knots that do certain things better, ie Face lather, Bowl lather etc....but my 26mm Pure Tech does everything very well. It would afford me good performance in every application. No other brush I have is as versatile.

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 02-23-2014, 05:07 PM
#13
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(02-23-2014, 04:39 PM)yohannrjm Wrote:
(02-23-2014, 04:25 PM)BreakItYourself Wrote: I usually see people break their "I'll only use one type" rules after time passes for any type of item. Our tastes change and we learn new things that may appeal to us. That said, I'm a synthetic fan, and imagine I'll always have at least one in my brush collection (but will likely always have a natural hair as well).

I think you may have hit on it!

I know from my own experience that I've never been able to stick with the 'one type only' promise.

Many years ago, I tried to do that with SE razors, as the shaves I was getting from them were excellent. I sold all my DE razors. That lasted a few months and then I was off buying DE's again and straights too.

DE razors don't shave me any better than SE razors, but I just like having some variety in the den.

I'm sure that happens to most people who try to limit themselves to one type of item.........eventually, something else catches their interest and they break their 'fast'.

Hobbies are great! Biggrin

Yohann, I think I've been SE only since your blind blade test experiment. How long ago was that?

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 02-23-2014, 05:21 PM
#14
  • tsimmns
  • Senior Member
  • Mississippi
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Brian where can one purchase one of this type brushes you are using. I am one of the ones with hard water here at my apartment. And while I don't feel the need to baby my brushes, I would love to try a quality synthetic to see what it can do for me. Heck, as cheap as they sound I might as well try them out right?

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 02-23-2014, 05:45 PM
#15
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(02-23-2014, 05:21 PM)tsimmns Wrote: Brian where can one purchase one of this type brushes you are using. I am one of the ones with hard water here at my apartment. And while I don't feel the need to baby my brushes, I would love to try a quality synthetic to see what it can do for me. Heck, as cheap as they sound I might as well try them out right?

Straight from L'Occitane...

http://usa.loccitane.com/cade-shaving-br...388683.htm

$55 plus tax and free shipping.

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 02-23-2014, 05:53 PM
#16
  • tsimmns
  • Senior Member
  • Mississippi
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Thanks for the link Brian. I will place an order and hope to have it here by FridaySmile

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

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 02-23-2014, 05:56 PM
#17
  • MaxP
  • Senior Member
  • Madison, WI
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Isn't great that we have so many options?
Me, I'm firmly in the natural badger camp. And have no plans to change.

I've tried a number of synthetics. They just don't provide the satisfaction I get from a natural hair knot.

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 02-24-2014, 07:12 AM
#18
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i favor natural above synthetic in all things. my dreams becomes more interesting Sleepy

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 02-24-2014, 03:13 PM
#19
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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I would second that.

I did try a few synthetics and only kept the Plisson because I enjoy its very unique feel on the skin. For me it is more a variety thing, if the skin feel is good. Boars I tried and I never liked the feel.

Synthetics are the future though as badger hair inevitably will become too scarce to remain a viable economic option for the broader market.

Thus, I would expect Synthetics to become better and better over time.

(02-23-2014, 05:56 PM)MaxP Wrote: Isn't great that we have so many options?
Me, I'm firmly in the natural badger camp. And have no plans to change.

I've tried a number of synthetics. They just don't provide the satisfaction I get from a natural hair knot.

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 02-24-2014, 03:34 PM
#20
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it's like robots: even if they become better and better they cannot replace real skin.

[Image: nUvmnPa.jpg]

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