02-08-2015, 07:18 PM
#1
  • Steelman
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I have never used a synthetic, but all the positive feedback from the new EJ XL synth has me thinking.

Do synthes behave like badger?  Do they bloom?  What are the main similarities & differences?

Thanks in advance.

-Ron

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 02-08-2015, 07:39 PM
#2
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My experience is:

Synthetics Pro's: no need to soak, dry fast, use less product, easier to travel with (drying time / feel more robust to me), tend to be amazingly soft, less expensive

Synthetic Con's: not much variety in face feel, no scritch (if you want that), no real bloom, might not last as long.

I am switching back to badger after using synthetics almost exclusively the past several months.

My EJ XL will continued to be used in my rotation, and might just be my favorite brush.  I'm adding badger back as I just like more variety and getting to know each brush.

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 02-08-2015, 07:44 PM
#3
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I have never heard of a bloom with synthetics, due to the fibers of the material hair it contains.

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 02-08-2015, 08:47 PM
#4
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(02-08-2015, 07:18 PM)Steelman Wrote: Do synthes behave like badger?  Do they bloom?  What are the main similarities & differences?

I am in no position to pontificate on all synthetics.  

I have used both a Mühle 33K252 Silvertip Fibre v2 brush and a L'Occitaine Plisson synthetic brush for nine months and six months, respectively.

The Mühle did bloom.  The Plisson did not bloom.

The face feel of the two brushes were different when new; the face feel of the two brushes differ now.

Further deponent sayeth not.

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 02-08-2015, 10:06 PM
#5
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(02-08-2015, 07:39 PM)waveflow Wrote: My experience is:

Synthetics Pro's: no need to soak, dry fast, use less product, easier to travel with (drying time / feel more robust to me), tend to be amazingly soft, less expensive

Synthetic Con's: not much variety in face feel, no scritch (if you want that), no real bloom, might not last as long.

+1  This sums things up, quite well. The only thing I can add to the cons is that all synthetic have the ubiquitous 'spring' to them, some much more so than others, which is their weakest attribute, for me. 

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 02-09-2015, 12:32 AM
#6
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The syn' brushes I have, water doesn't affect at all.

Here's the list:

Oscar11 handle (purple) w/ 20 MM TGN syn’ gen’3 knot, faux badger, Mighty Midget knockoff in synthetic
TGN Faux ivory handle 20mm TGN 20mm syn’ gen’3, faux badger
Oscar11 gold/black handle 22mm TGN syn’ 22mm gen’3 knot, faux badger
TGN Faux Ivory w/ 24mm TGN syn’ gen’3 knot, faux badger
Muhle 20mm STF w/ faux ivory handle
Frank Shaving Pur-Tech 28 x 54mm Gen 4 V2 STF black handle syn’
Simpsons Chubby2 Synthetic Production, 28 x 54mm, faux ivory
Simpsons Classic1 Synthetic Prototype, 22 x 42mm, faux ivory
Simpsons Classic1 Synthetic Production, 22 x 45/46mm, faux ivory
Plisson Synthetic, Grey Pearl handle


They DO NOT work like badgers, and IMO shouldn't be compared to badger, but I understand that comparing is a starting point for understanding the brushes.  It's a completely different fiber. Todays synthetics are soft at the tips, yet have backbone. One exception to that; the Plisson. It's soft at the tips and has little backbone as compared to other synthetics. When I first got mine my thought was, "You have got to be kidding me!". It's not better or worse for me, but it is different and I thrive on variety in my shaving. It has a place in the cabinet and I enjoy using it when it comes up in the rotation.

Waveflow mentioned the total lack of scritch... Others have described them as having no "soul". There is no variation in the hair, so the feel with some of them is a "gel like" experience.

They're good, they're different, and they're their own fiber; just like badger, boar, or horse are different and their own fiber. But to make selection a bit more difficult there are "generations" and each manufacturers fiber is different. The best thing you can do is read the various reviews and get to know the brushes that way. Then take a shot. If you don't like it you can always sell it on the b/s/t. You might also find what you want on the b/s/t and save a few $ on the purchase.

Good luck!

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 02-09-2015, 08:17 AM
#7
  • Steelman
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Thanks for the info gents. 

Gonna take a chance with the new EJ V2 synth and see if I enjoy it for what it is. No expectations of badger performance...

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 02-09-2015, 08:42 AM
#8
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(02-09-2015, 08:17 AM)Steelman Wrote: Thanks for the info gents. 

Gonna take a chance with the new EJ V2 synth and see if I enjoy it for what it is. No expectations of badger performance...


Sounds great - I don't think you will be disappointed.

There has been a lot written, but the biggest change I had to make with synthetics is to shake the brush pretty good before loading.  Because the fibers don't absorb water, any excess will roll down your face / dilute lather.

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 02-09-2015, 09:28 AM
#9
  • v4257
  • Always chasing the perfect shave
  • Boston, USA
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I'm often in the minority in that I prefer boars above all. I tried a few synths early on (including Plisson) and retained 1 HIS 28mm brush as the synth rep in my den. 
(Btw - if you like large brushes and haven't tried HIS - you should. HIS knots easily compete with the best and the offer more variety than most at an excellent price)

Back to synth performance: opinions above captured most of it. One thing I'd like to add is that synth fibers don't absorb and/or retain water like natural fibers. This requires you to change your technique while lathering; I'm not a fan of this. Infact its the only reason synths haven't displaced all other brushes for me. In all other aspects - synths win.

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 02-09-2015, 09:46 AM
#10
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(02-09-2015, 08:42 AM)waveflow Wrote: There has been a lot written, but the biggest change I had to make with synthetics is to shake the brush pretty good before loading.  Because the fibers don't absorb water, any excess will roll down your face / dilute lather.

+1 on this.  I tried to use my Plisson like my EJ badger and ended up with lather that was waaaayy too watery.  I need to do some weekend experimentation before inserting it into my regular rotation.

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 02-09-2015, 09:50 AM
#11
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I have never met a synthetic that bloomed. I tend to prefer the larger face feel of a bloomed badger, but the darn little synthetics just work.

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 02-09-2015, 10:59 AM
#12
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Last thought regarding synthetics and variety.  At one point last year I was comparing my Plisson HMW with the Plisson synthetic.  It was hard for me to say that one was "better" as I enjoyed using both.  Since I enjoyed them, just different (despite different price points) became a sticking point to me.  

This led to the thought that with all shaving brushes I really enjoy there isn't really better and worse, just different.

Now, seeking more variety, I have gone back to more badger and am enjoying the differences within each brush. 

In short, +1 for variety ... and I wish I still had my HMW  Smile

  

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 02-09-2015, 05:44 PM
#13
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My Plisson looks the same now as the day I bought it. While I like it, it does feel fake and nothing like badger.
The big plus is that its great for travel...dries crazy fast

http://www.CanuckShaver.WordPress.com

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 02-09-2015, 08:45 PM
#14
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(02-09-2015, 08:17 AM)Steelman Wrote: Thanks for the info gents. 

Gonna take a chance with the new EJ V2 synth and see if I enjoy it for what it is. No expectations of badger performance...

Just be sure that you are in control of the water as already stated. I just wanted to say it again since it's so important. If it's a soap in a tub I add the water to the tub and keep the brush dry. If it's a cream I smear the snurdle on my face and very lightly dip the tips of the brush into a pool of water. Once the brush gets loaded with lather it becomes less of an issue.

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 02-09-2015, 09:29 PM
#15
  • jamesrobson5
  • Chubby Chaser... Big Brush is Best!
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I have a synthetic or two, I have yet to see a bloom. 
(02-08-2015, 10:06 PM)celestino Wrote:
(02-08-2015, 07:39 PM)waveflow Wrote: My experience is:

Synthetics Pro's: no need to soak, dry fast, use less product, easier to travel with (drying time / feel more robust to me), tend to be amazingly soft, less expensive

Synthetic Con's: not much variety in face feel, no scritch (if you want that), no real bloom, might not last as long.

+1  This sums things up, quite well. The only thing I can add to the cons is that all synthetic have the ubiquitous 'spring' to them, some much more so than others, which is their weakest attribute, for me. 

+2


My current synthetics:
Simpson CH2 production synthetic 
Simpson CH2 prototype synthetic
Simpson Classic 1 prototype synthetic
Plisson synthetic
The Grooming Company synthetic (Plisson synthetic)
Romera synthetic (Plisson synthetic) Unused 
The Body Shop synthetic ( exactly what you would expect from a $10 brush)

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 02-14-2015, 05:39 AM
#16
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I think the Muhle Black fibre is a great entry brush into the synthetic market. It can be had for under$30 and makes a mean lather. It has less spring in it than the STF for me. Once I started face lathering, the STF feel from favor. I also like the Poisson but some don't like the lack of backbone.

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 02-14-2015, 08:22 AM
#17
  • Steelman
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OK so I have used my EJ XL for the first time.  No doubt it is something a badger user will have to adjust too.  Tips are VERY soft and I can make a nice lather (thanks to your suggestions) but I am not digging the "springiness" of the hair.  Because the fibers don't splay, they "bounce".  Seems like the synth fibers are more suited to "painting" strokes rather than "circular" strokes. I'll keep trying.

I must add the quality of the brush is very much apparent.  I have the faux horn and it is beautiful with a nice weight...nicer than some of my genuine horn handles.

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