01-16-2015, 05:26 PM
#1
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Over the past 3 years of tremendous research, i have yet to actually determine if the brushes costing way up of $100 is truly worth the cost.

If a great lather or even an ultra lather is obtained with synthetics, boars or badgers that are a lot cheaper, is there really a significant difference in spending that much money for an actual shaving brush?

Now, i have taken into consideration, the significance of the handle types, the craftsmanship and labor that go into these fine pieces of manly treasures, however, i would like to know the justification, if any, on this topic.


an early appreciation gentlemen,
- Bryan

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 01-16-2015, 05:38 PM
#2
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If all I'm out to do is make lather, then the answer to your question is very obvious. I can make lather with almost every single brush I've gotten my hands on.

If I want a luxurious experience that works well for my face, then I'd be willing to pay a little more.

The good news is there is no definitive answer to this question. It's up to each man to answer for himself.

The brushes that I enjoy most happen to be in the $150-$200 range, but I can easily make do with my $70 EJ STF XL on any day of the week.

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 01-16-2015, 05:42 PM
#3
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You're going to get a plethora of responses, my friend! Biggrin

Personally, if you have an inexpensive brush that you enjoy and it works for you, then the higher-end brushes are not worth the money. However, if you are looking for very specific attributes in a brush, you want to see what these higher-end brushes have to offer and you have the money, then I would suggest trying them out to see what would work for you.

Good luck on your journey and if you are planning on going this route, I would suggest you try to find used, higher-end brushes if you can to help minimize the cost. Smile

By the way, for me, some of those higher-end ones weren't worth the money, but some were, especially, my custom-assembled ones! Biggrin

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 01-16-2015, 06:07 PM
#4
  • kav
  • Banned
  • east of the sun,west of the moon
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I had a rare dinner at a local Provencal restaurant about 7 months ago. We were the only guests at that early hour save another small party at the adjoining table. A man produced a bottle of Chateau Nuef Du Pape; my favourite wine.I just caught the appellation and complimented his choice as it was taken to be decanted ( at a $20 fee).
The sommelier returned and I was gifted two servings. My benefactor and I saluted and almost in sync spat the wine out. My palate is just beyond rudimentary. But I somehow knew this was not what came in. The correct wine was RECANTED,after inspection and both of our parties walked out.
The restaurant shortly thereafter closed; self victimized by trying to cheat a French wine dealerBlush
So, I can buy a very nice wine for $10-$20 and a mechanical watch over $200 is just so much bling. I could even simply grab a tube of model cement and look at my cellphone for the time.
But, there is a realm of 'value' not measured by utility or effect. My watch; a 1956 Bulova 23 jewel automatic and the wine discussed: The Vei Long beehive waiting for a high end
Simpson on my consumer bucket list.
Value can be measured and manipulated; market demand,hype, reputation,fad and folly.
I truly can't answer beyond that; I'm getting double vision from a bottle of single malt scotch I cannot afford either.

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 01-16-2015, 06:09 PM
#5
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I look at two factors:

Brush feel, how does it feel on my and how well does it lather? For me Thater, Shavemac silvertip (not D01) and Simpsons super knots are worth the extra money for that silk soft feel.

Beauty, how much do you place a value on how the brush looks? How do you but a value on a Picasso versus and unknown artist? One of life's great mysteries.

If your looking for functional and still great face feel then Whipped Dog is a great choice and if you're a fan of backbone with soft tips alla a Shavemac D0 1 then buy an Omega boar and break it in.

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 01-16-2015, 06:39 PM
#6
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You know both a Volkswagen and Mercedes can get you to your destination. Just depends how you want to travel. I'm just sayin'...Rolleyes I just realized this is my 666th post...Firedevil

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 01-16-2015, 06:42 PM
#7
  • Giorgio
  • Senior Member
  • Pennsylvania, US
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This is frankly a tough question to answer, as it truly is a matter of perspective. Without giving a long drawn out answer, overanalyzing the topic like I tend to do, I will say in my own experience some brushes have proved worth the extra cost, and others were an overhyped disappointment.

Its the same with cars...those that use them to get from point A to B and don't care about anything else, and then those that will buy luxury cars for the improved ride quality and air conditioned seats Tongue

While there are exceptions, typically when jumping from a "standard" product to a premium/luxury version of it, the price increase is quite substantial...and you'll always have people on both sides of the argument. My honest answer is, if you can afford it and don't mind spending the money, then why not try it to decide for yourself...otherwise, there's absolutely no need...TGN knots are pretty darn great Biggrin

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 01-16-2015, 06:52 PM
#8
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I have learned that hype has cost me. There are many items I may like to try, but don't get on the bandwagon. I may miss out, but I have many pretty good performing items that I don't need to jump at every new product/scent.

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 01-16-2015, 07:52 PM
#9
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While I would love one of those expensive brushes, I've set a limit of $100 for any brush. I only have one that was around that price, my Duke 2. While I love that brush, I find myself reaching for my two <$25 Semogue boars.

For me, there are so many great brushes under $60. (and if my wife found out I spent more than $100 on a brush, I'd be homeless. a $200 brush just doesn't seem so hot when I'm living under a bridge) While I do understand the lust people have for expensive brushes, they just aren't for everyone (especially us with mean wives) Biggrin

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 01-16-2015, 08:30 PM
#10
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(01-16-2015, 06:07 PM)kav Wrote: I had a rare dinner at a local Provencal restaurant about 7 months ago. We were the only guests at that early hour save another small party at the adjoining table. A man produced a bottle of Chateau Nuef Du Pape; my favourite wine.I just caught the appellation and complimented his choice as it was taken to be decanted ( at a $20 fee).
The sommelier returned and I was gifted two servings. My benefactor and I saluted and almost in sync spat the wine out. My palate is just beyond rudimentary. But I somehow knew this was not what came in. The correct wine was RECANTED,after inspection and both of our parties walked out.
The restaurant shortly thereafter closed; self victimized by trying to cheat a French wine dealerBlush
So, I can buy a very nice wine for $10-$20 and a mechanical watch over $200 is just so much bling. I could even simply grab a tube of model cement and look at my cellphone for the time.
But, there is a realm of 'value' not measured by utility or effect. My watch; a 1956 Bulova 23 jewel automatic and the wine discussed: The Vei Long beehive waiting for a high end
Simpson on my consumer bucket list.
Value can be measured and manipulated; market demand,hype, reputation,fad and folly.
I truly can't answer beyond that; I'm getting double vision from a bottle of single malt scotch I cannot afford either.
wow Kav, I had my only bottle of French Chauteau neuf de pape back in 1973 at a restaurant I managed in Redding, California called Docs Hilltop Skyroom. I to this very day say it is the best wine I have ever tasted. thanks for the memory

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 01-16-2015, 09:07 PM
#11
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A few nice items that never need to be replaced is a true luxury. I would be happy with a Simpson M7 in Manchurian, Chubby 2 in Two Band and an Emperor 3 in Super.

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 01-16-2015, 09:46 PM
#12
  • Crag
  • Senior Member
  • Menifee, Ca 92586
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Price is subjective. My dad would say that you get what you pay for, and I tend to agree. I've had high end and low end brushes and for the more part prefer the high end brushes.

I could get along with a Frank Shaving brush if I had to, but much prefer my Simpson X2 Super to any Frank Shaving brush I have ever tried. Frank has great hair, but Simpson makes better brushes, IMO.

So, yeah for me the investment is worth it.

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 01-16-2015, 09:49 PM
#13
  • Hanzo
  • Senior Member
  • Oakland, California
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What worked for me was a good friend loaning me a very high end brush. Although the build was wonderful, quality all the way , the brush was not comfortable to me. I never wanted a expensive brush after that.Smile

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 01-16-2015, 10:04 PM
#14
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While I would love a high end brush but I can't afford it. I have always used my $12 Escali brush.

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 01-16-2015, 10:21 PM
#15
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Yes, no, maybe? This is definitely one of those YMMV questions.

Personally, I have not tried any of the really expensive* brushes - nor do I have a particular desire to do so. If all you want to is to make lather, even the cheapest Turkish "horse"** does a wonderful job. If you want to pamper yourself and get that luxurious feeling, then a more expensive brush will help with that. When all is said and done it comes down to personal preference; a high end badger may be like rubbing a warm, fussy, soft pillow over your face - but I like a bit of scritch. If you don't like scritch, a badger may or may not be the way to go.

For some it may come down to finding the sweetspot between cost and feel. Luckily for me, the brushes I like was within what I could afford Smile

*) Exactly what "expensive" means is another YMMV thing... 100USD and above, as Bryan asks about in the OP, is definitely really expensive to my wallet.
**) The Turkish No6 and No7 I own was/is advertised as horsehair. They sure smelled a bit of horse when I got them, but they don't behave like my Vie Long horses, and the tips are splitting... but for a brush that cost me about the same as a cup of coffee, they are great.

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 01-16-2015, 11:11 PM
#16
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(01-16-2015, 05:38 PM)NSmalls Wrote: If all I'm out to do is make lather, then the answer to your question is very obvious. I can make lather with almost every single brush I've gotten my hands on.

If I want a luxurious experience that works well for my face, then I'd be willing to pay a little more.

The good news is there is no definitive answer to this question. It's up to each man to answer for himself.

The brushes that I enjoy most happen to be in the $150-$200 range, but I can easily make do with my $70 EJ STF XL on any day of the week.

This exactly mirrors my own feelings about high end brushes. I can make great lather with a cheap boar. I enjoy my mid-priced SOC brushes for their great handle shape. My M&F and Rooney 2-bands are mostly about the luxurious face feel for me.

However, just because a brush is "high end" doesn't mean I'm going to love it. It's not about status or snob appeal for me, and I think that's true for most of us who have expensive brushes. For example, I had a rare Simpsons brush that I quickly traded because I just didn't like it. The reputation of Simpson or the idea of owning a rare brush meant nothing because I didn't enjoy using it.

Everyone has to choose the luxuries that are important to them. To me, my favorite expensive brushes deliver enough enjoyment that they were well worth the price. However, whether you shave with an M&F blonde badger or a $400 Plisson with the real horn handle or a $9 Omega boar, if you're getting great shaves then you're winning the game.

Nick

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 01-17-2015, 07:07 AM
#17
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Definitely a YMMV question; so with that qualification (and hoping my thoughts might be of use to someone), let me add my personal "quality brush" criteria:
  1. First of all, a quality brush must be attractive--aesthetically pleasing to the eye;
  2. It must have the feel, "heft" if you will, of a high-quality, precision piece of equipment.
  3. Moving on to the practical side, I consider how well the brush feels in the hand while working up a lather. I've had my hand cramp-up while lathering because the handle didn't fit my hand. A real bummer!
  4. The brush must lather well. A quality brush generates rich lather quickly and easily with whatever soap/cream I'm using either in a bowl or on the face.
  5. The brush fibers must "feel right" on my face. This might be the largest YMMV observation, as I prefer good backbone with a slight amount of scritch. And finally,
  6. How well the brush holds up over the long run. I try to take--and for the most part succeed in taking--proper care of my brushes; so I expect a quality brush to last at least 10+ years.

Notice that I've not mentioned price. I'll take it on faith that quality brushes are probably available across the price spectrum. So while I have what I consider a "quality brush" which I purchased for maybe $5.00-$6.00 15 years ago at a drugstore, price is certainly a consideration. (I'm certainly not going to miss a mortgage payment because I blew the money on a shaving brush!) But with all that said: I've found (to paraphrase Sir Henry Royce) that quality is remembered long after price is forgotten. Likewise Ben Franklin's corollary, "the bitterness of poor quality remains long after low pricing is forgotten."

As mentioned at the outset, I hope these thoughts are of some use.

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 01-17-2015, 07:25 AM
#18
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my friend, i don't have extensive experience with brushes at all, but my first brushes were "high end" silvertips, priced above 150 usd. for now i have settled for a smaller knot and a more comfortable handle imo - simpson 58. it is not the bestest shaving brush in the world, but it's good enough Biggrin

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 01-17-2015, 07:29 AM
#19
  • MarkW
  • Senior Member
  • Isle of Man
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Do you think you may feel better for owning an expensive brush?

If the answer is no, you have cracked SBAD.

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 01-17-2015, 07:30 AM
#20
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My brushes range from a $10 Omega Boar to a $100 Mühle XL Synthetic. Both brushes are great for different reasons. I definitely don't regret the Mühle, it is becoming my favorite brush.

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