Poll: Boar hair brushes or badger hair brushes: Which do you prefer?
Note: This is a public poll, other users will be able to see what you voted for.
 05-09-2012, 01:15 AM
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Anyone here prefer boar brushes to badger brushes? If so, what is it about boar brushes that you prefer to badger brushes?

When I first got into wet shaving I figured that badger hair brushes were superior to boar hair brushes and that you should only purchase a boar brush if you have a rather tight budget. But I've since come across lots of posts on various shaving forums where people actually claim they prefer boar brushes to badger brushes. Also, I've learned that in some countries, such as Italy and Turkey, there is a strong preference for boar brushes; and it's all wet shavers use.

This came as a surprise as boar brushes tend to be much cheaper than badger brushes and, as is the case when it comes to most things, cheaper tends to = inferior quality.

Since I'm in need of a new brush I've added a couple boar brushes -- a Semogoe and an Omega -- to my "To get" list but I'm not quite ready to go through with purchasing them. I'll probably be getting at least one of them soon though as I'm really curious to see how boar brushes will work out for me.

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 05-09-2012, 01:30 AM
  • Leon
  • Active Member
  • Porto, Portugal
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(05-09-2012, 01:15 AM)Pnume Wrote: cheaper tends to = inferior quality.


This is not quite true. Boar hairs are cheaper than badger hairs because, well, there are much more pigs than badgers in the planet.
Boar hairs are not "worst" than badger hairs, they just "function" in a different way.

Personally, I sometimes go several weeks with boars, then I switch and get my badgers. I can't really decide what's best.

4 313
 05-09-2012, 02:19 AM
  • Obie
  • Senior Member
  • Glendale, Wisconsin
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I take each type of brush, badger or boar, for what it is and, therefore, do not prefer one over the other. Each type serves a distinct purpose. The boars are used almost exclusively for soaps. Some of the badgers are used for soaps, as well, but I do reserve the softer silver tips for creams.
Nor do I feel the price necessarily indicates quality in both badger and boar brushes. Through the years I have had several inexpensive brushes that worked wonders, whereas several high-price brushes deserved a big shrug.

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 05-09-2012, 03:17 AM
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I have no preference. They both have a place in my rotation.

That being said, there's a lot less variation in boar brushes than in badger. I have several badger brushes, and they're all significantly different from each other. Most of my boar brushes were pretty interchangeable with each other.

Still, if I was to drop my collection.....I'd go all the way down to one badger and one boar........and then I'd really not be able to choose which one would be the last.

37 1,731
 05-09-2012, 03:37 AM
  • 4711
  • Member
  • England
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I have always been a boar lover, " meat and potato" kit that does the job with no pretensions of grandeur. Well that is slowly changing and I am being seduced by the lure of badger. For me I am now looking for kit that will have a long user life and it does appear from anecdotal evidence that a quality Badger will last a long time if properly cared for.

Of course this is pure folly on my behalf because I have enough brushes to last my life time and probably my two sons as well.

But there is something satisfying in owning and using top notch kit , for me it's not the 'name game' but having kit that has been produced from the finest material and designed to last that really satisfies me.

But yes, for the moment Boars still rule the roost.

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 05-09-2012, 04:45 AM
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I have six, or seven, brushes that I use regularly. I started with badger and had five in use at one time. But now I am using two horse, two boar, and three badger. I would not keep a brush in my rotation that did not perform well. You have to buy what is best for you. The forum is a good place to read and collect information before making a purshase. My first brush was recommended by Phil at Bullgoose. It was a Simpson Commodore X2. It works well with both soap and cream. It is still in regular use. It is a modest hard working brush.

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 05-09-2012, 05:43 AM
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I like both boar and badger, but I find myself reaching for my boar most of the time. I face lather and find, for me, boar works better, the combination of great backbone and feathery soft tips is perfect for me.

0 59
 05-09-2012, 05:52 AM
  • Johnny
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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I started with boar many years ago then a few yes back I started to experiment with different badger brushes, mostly high end brands. On the recommendation of another member I tried an Omega 10005 and really liked the way it performed. Then about a year or so ago I saw a post my Emanuel over on B&B where he had posted a picture of his Semogue brushes so I thought I would try one. Well, I've never looked back since then. I've sold all my badger brushes except for one, my Wee Scot, and am slowly building my collection of Semogue boars.

I tend to use the smaller ones for strictly face lathering with hard soaps, but I use my larger ones for both face lathering hard soaps or for making lather in the scuttle with creams.

173 23,286
 05-09-2012, 06:01 AM
  • Brent
  • Active Member
  • Columbus, OH
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Pnume - I was in the exact same place as you were up until a few months ago where I always assumed boar was inferior to badger. It was less expensive and on the forums when I first started I got the impression that most people didn't like them, etc.

Recently (actually due to reading posts on this board - specifically from members like Johnny, wknicholas, Oversaturn, Teiste and the myriad others) - I realized that maybe I was wrong and to give them a try. I picked up a Semogue Owners Club boar from Vintage Scent at a very, very nice price (I still can't believe how a top of the line boar can be so affordable). I absolutely love the brush.

Though I don't prefer boar to badger, answering the poll was difficult in having to chose one over the other. I would say that maybe I don't prefer one or the other at this time, they are different experiences I can't quite compare. I picked badger since I use that the most but if I only had a boar for the rest of my life I'd be happy.

Long story short, give it a try. They're inexpensive (Leon brings up a great point as to why) and if you have the patience to break it in you'll find that you'll probably like them. You may not go off and sell all your badgers, or maybe you will, but in the least you'll enjoy a different experience.

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 05-09-2012, 06:56 AM
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My first shaving brush was from the Fuller Brush Co., and had natural boar bristles. I used it for several years, but never took care of it properly. I'd leave the brush wet with lather in an old coffee mug between shaves.

Much like Johnny, several years ago I acquired five different badger hair brushes, and have since given three of them away to family members new to wet shaving.

I now have three Omega and three Semogue boar bristle brushes, which I prefer for lathering hard, tallow-based soaps.

0 1,377
 05-09-2012, 07:26 AM
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I prefer boar because of price and more because my hair needs a stiffer bristle. My badgers haven't been used in a while. Also, and this is just a personal preference, boar feels better to me--I like to feel the bristles working.

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 05-09-2012, 07:29 AM
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I also choose boar, but will say I also really like badger and even really really like the new-gen synthetic. Johnny very kindly helped get me initiated with quality Semogue boars and my Semogue family has grown nicely since then. I find that I enjoy the break in process with a new boar so much that I'd prefer to buy new than used. The price point also makes this feasible for most too.

31 7,892
 05-09-2012, 07:44 AM
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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(05-09-2012, 01:15 AM)Pnume Wrote: Anyone here prefer boar brushes to badger brushes? If so, what is it about boar brushes that you prefer to badger brushes?


No Boar hair for me, as I'm mildly allergic to Boar hair (only discovered that after trying a Boar hair shaving brush).

Therefore it's Badger hair or Horse hair for me...

Take care, Mike

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 05-09-2012, 01:51 PM
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That wasn't an easy poll to answer since I like both.

I voted "boar" for a number of reasons. And as always there are no strings attached to my appendages, so you know these are my opinions. And heck, I'm a curmudgeon and everyone knows I'm too crotchety to write someone elses opinion and claim it as my own. Biggrin

All of my brushes are inexpensive to mid-priced. My most expensive brush is a Rooney 3/1 SS that I really enjoy. I also face lather exclusively. I just want to put into perspective what I'm about to write.

From my experience it's easier and less expensive to get a really good boar than it is to get a really good badger. The boars will perform well with virtually anything, well, so will the badgers, but I read of so many folks who have "cream brushes" and "soap brushes" and IMO it's all crap. Just get a good brush and learn how to use it. Even an inexpensive boar will handle it all with aplomb. Awhile back for another forum I bought 130 $.50 Chinese boars for dissemination, but before anyone received their brushes I used one and danged if it didn't do a credible job. My $.50 test brush is in my rotation today and it performs far above it's pay grade. (I still look for more of those brushes, but no luck so far)

If I didn't use my brushes more or less in the order as they appear on my shelf the majority of my badgers would go unused. That's just the way it is. They work fine, but the boars just have more backbone, are still soft and never scritchy, and do it all. It's just my preference to gravitate to the boars. Even the badgers do the job admirably. If I didn't use the brushes each in their turn (except when experimenting) I have no doubt that the boars would see the most use.

I have no doubt that the idea that boars are inferior goes to the root that "expensive is better", and that isn't always the case. One must be discerning of quality regardless of price.

Lean back and get comfortable there's a story coming...

Many years ago I had a coworker who liked to make schoolhouse clocks out of solid black walnut. They were absolutely gorgeous! And he was a real craftsman. He harvested the trees himself, made the lumber and dried it, bought the best movements he could find and built the clocks. All he wanted was enough $ to build more clocks and priced them that way. He couldn't sell them. A relative told him to start making clocks and she'd sell all that he could make. She jacked the price up to more than 3x what he was charging and couldn't keep them in stock. He used some foul language when telling me the story and told me that he'd never make another clock. In his exact words, "If people can't recognize quality then I never want to make another clock.". He was quite agitated and to my knowledge he never made another.

Anyway, we were discussing boar vs badger and the discernment of the qualities of a brush.

BTW, there are also horsehair brushes. I understand they also work fine and are a sort of hybrid of the qualities of boar and badger. But I can't write from experience there.

32 6,301
 05-09-2012, 02:08 PM
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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I think it is a personal choice. Personally I think newbies should start out with a boar brush. I say this because I wish I had. I believed in the beginning that badgers were the best choice.

Last August I bought my first quality boar an Omega 48. It has changed my prospective on brushes. Recently I added the Cadillac of the boar brush family a Semogue, also a Vulfix.
The Semogue,has proven to be an outstanding brush even as it breaks in.

Further brush purchases will be boar brushes from the Semogue line. I would also like to add a Vie Long horse hair brush.

The two badgers I own remain in my rotation and are used when they are up in the line-up. The piggies have captured the badgers spot for preference.

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 05-09-2012, 02:11 PM
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Wow. I can't believe that boars are winning!

I think it's time for someone to create a shaving forum called Boar & Blade.

0 214
 05-09-2012, 02:13 PM
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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I like good brushes,and good brushes could be made of boar,badger hair,synthetic,horse hair or made from a mixture of different hairs.A good brush could be cheap (less expensive) or very expensive,depending on the maker (marketing) and "oddity" of hair used (Im talking about some kinds of badger hair).
Your personal preferences are the rest.
What I dont like is when I read : badger is better or boar is better and no other information is given,but the personal preference since a brush holds more water or has a stiffer backbone.

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 05-09-2012, 02:28 PM
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When it comes to best, personal preference is so subjective. I'm a loser. I've never tried a boar brush but not so set in my ways that I would not. My gut tells me that the shavers who prefer boar are much more vocal about their liking. I'm one of those people who deep down feels like it's a step up to move into a badger. I'm not spoiling for an argument here and mean no offense with this post, actually just the opposite. I would like to try a boar if for no other reason that to say that I have done so.

I do however have an aversion to wooden handles. Don't get me wrong, they are beautiful but I'm a product of my early shaving years and getting the hand me down split wooden handled brushes. No amount of convincing will make me change my mind on this point. That said, I would like to try a boar brush with something other than a wooden handle. I'm completely open to suggestions. At the present time I've got another window open looking at a Semogue 830. I would appreciate any and all opinions. Your direction is appreciated.

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 05-09-2012, 02:39 PM
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(05-09-2012, 03:17 AM)yohannrjm Wrote: I have no preference. They both have a place in my rotation.

That being said, there's a lot less variation in boar brushes than in badger. I have several badger brushes, and they're all significantly different from each other. Most of my boar brushes were pretty interchangeable with each other.

Still, if I was to drop my collection.....I'd go all the way down to one badger and one boar........and then I'd really not be able to choose which one would be the last.

Right. It's a bit like choosing between ice cream and birthday cake. They are both yummy.

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 05-09-2012, 03:37 PM
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Oh yeah! I'm happy to have, use and enjoy both of them Smile

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