06-25-2012, 03:58 PM
#1
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We've all seen the reviews of the Muhle Silvertip Fibres and Black Fibres brushes....for good reason: these brushes are much, much better than previous generations of synthetic fibre brushes.

I've been one of the few people who didn't take to the Muhle Silvertip Fibres brush when I got it. It was nice, but I found my Frank Shave synthetic to be better, and then when I got a H.I.S. synthetic, the Muhle just couldn't compare, so I got rid of it. However, when pressed for a reason why I didn't like the brush, I wasn't really able to put my finger on it, and I put it down to variable mileage.

I just received a Muhle Black Fibres brush on loan from Dave, one of our generous members. When I was shampooing and test lathering the brush, I think I hit on why I don't like the brush.

Let's start off with what the Muhle's get right:

1) Like people have mentioned, they're really easy to lather with, and seem to use less product per shave.
2) The tips are really soft.
3) They have nice backbone
4) They are pretty

All the newer synthetic fibres have very soft tips, and nice backbone, but the issue is that the interface between where the softness of the tips gives way to the strong backbone is very sudden. This is a big difference from natural hairs, where the backbone gradually asserts itself. This is what gives rise to the flingy nature of the synthetic fibres.

Now, I'm not one of the people who want the synthetic brushes to be exactly like a badger brush, so I don't mind that the Muhles are not exactly like badger in look (though they're very close) or feel. In fact, the Frank Shave and H.I.S. brushes use fibres that are more obviously synthetic, and I like them better.

So what is it that makes me like the H.I.S., and not the Muhle?

Let's see if a lathering sequence shows this. Please note that my aim in these pics is to show the 'issues' with the brushes, so I'm not trying to make mounds of lather here.

Here's the Muhle black fibres with some lather on it:

[Image: IMG_20120625_170829.jpg]

Here's a H.I.S.

[Image: IMG_20120625_171209.jpg]

And here's a cheap natural fibre brush - the Vie-Long Peleon (horsehair):

[Image: IMG_20120625_171831-1.jpg]

You can see that the Muhle clumps, probably because it is the least dense - a real no-no for me (even in natural brushes), the H.I.S. is denser and doesn't clump as much, and the Peleon doesn't clump at all, even though I don't think it is denser than the H.I.S.

When the brushes are rinsed and then shaken dry, the same behaviour is observed.

Here's the Muhle:

[Image: IMG_20120625_170942.jpg]

The H.I.S.

[Image: IMG_20120625_171402.jpg]

and the Peleon:

[Image: IMG_20120625_171909.jpg]

I really can't stand the clumping of the fibres. I can feel that on my face, and it's not a pleasant feeling.

The H.I.S. suits my tastes better because it's denser than the Muhle. The natural horsehair brushes (and other natural fibre brushes) are even better suited for me because of the density and the gradual change from the softness of the tips to the appearance of the backbone.

The H.I.S. doesn't feel or look like a natural brush, but I like it better than the Muhles (both the Silvertip Fibre and the Black FIbre shown here) because it is a better brush all-round - dense enough, soft at the tips, a good latherer etc. It only falls behind the natural brushes because the fibres have that sudden transition to the strong backbone of the fibres. The Muhle has the same issue, and it is not dense (not floppy, though).

So, I like these brushes somewhat - the H.I.S. more than the Muhle, but I'll take the $18 Peleon over both these any day.

EDIT: What I'm trying to get at is that while I don't really see this as a requirement, this new generation is certainly closer to the look and feel of real badger than previous synthetic hair, however they are still not close to the look and feel of badger hair. They're better than they used to be, but they have a ways to go.

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 06-25-2012, 04:20 PM
#2
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Good points and you do highlight a pertinent point about the transition in backbone on the synthetic brushes by Muhle. I like them a lot but usually only use them for travel now. I think part of the reason is what you highlighted. The clumping has never been an issue for me and I do not see it in the silvertip fibers to the degree you describe, if at all. They resemble the HIS more when lathered and post shave.

Nice observations. Maybe Muhle will take it as feed back and change the tapering on their fibers next gen.

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 06-25-2012, 04:54 PM
#3
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Excellent points. As I have discussed elsewhere, every brush, whether it is synthetic or natural, has strengths and weaknesses and it is up to the user to decide what strengths and weaknesses have a greater impact on their experience.

One thing I cannot do to a natural brush is subject it to the level of hot water that I can with my H.I.S. or my Muhle synthetics. When I want real hot lather, not burning just extremely warm, I don't pick up one of my naturals for fear of damage to the hairs.

Now you have discussed something that I continue to remind people is that the denser the fibers are in the bundle, the better the lather due to the rubbing of the fibers while working the brush, and the more uniform backbone the brush will have.

Are synthetics perfect? No. Are naturals perfect? No.
Why, because each one has limitations. However, that does not mean that the brush makers, both synthetic and natural should not continue to improve their products over time. We all look forward to better products in the future.

Thanks for the dissenting viewpoint.

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 06-25-2012, 05:08 PM
#4
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I agree. It is great that the manufacturers are working on improving the look and feel of these synthetic fibres. I certainly like them much better than previous brushes of this type.

They offer a change from natural brushes. That's why I tried boar after using badger brushes for a long time - because boar is different (not better, not worse, just different). That's also why I tried horsehair after using badger and boar brushes for a long time - they offer something different.

These synthetics offer yet another variation in feel and look. I like them up to a point. If the Muhle was denser, I'd like it more than I do. As it is, the H.I.S. is excellent and the Muhle is nice.

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 06-25-2012, 06:35 PM
#5
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Yohann,these are the post I really love to read.Thanks a lot for taking your time to write it.

Well,as Gary have wrote,every brush has its strong points and weak points,as you have clearly proved here.

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 06-25-2012, 07:54 PM
#6
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Very interesting read Yohann. Thank you Smile

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 06-25-2012, 08:17 PM
#7
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(06-25-2012, 07:54 PM)WegianWarrior Wrote: Very interesting read Yohann. Thank you Smile

+1. I'm not ready for a synthetic yet, but it all gets packed away into the cranium somewhere very very safe. When it's time to call on it I hope I find that safe spot, most times it eludes me though. Biggrin

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 06-25-2012, 08:29 PM
#8
  • greyhawk
  • Senior Member
  • Southern California
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I have yet to try a synthetic, but I'm getting intrigued.
Very interesting stuff...thanks for the post!

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 06-25-2012, 09:18 PM
#9
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Yohann, that sudden transition from soft tips to backbone is what I've been thinking of as the springiness of the synthetic fibres. They don't want to bloom and instead want to rebound back to their non-bloomed state. It almost gives it an elastic kind of feel to me. It is certainly different and won't be liked by everyone.

While I agree with you about the clumping of the Black Fibres while wet, I don't seem to notice this while lathering. I don't notice the clumping at all with my Silvertip Fibre. I can't purchase one of these H.I.S. brushes at the moment so I may have to look at doing a trade for one. I'm not sure SWMBO will allow another brush in without seeing one go.

Thanks for a well thought out and concisely presented opinion on these brushes.

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 06-26-2012, 03:59 AM
#10
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Brian -

The clumped feeling when lathering is more like the 'parting of the Red Sea'. When lathering my jawline for example, it splits the knot and it stays that way. I don't like it.

However, it could also be something I pay attention to just because I noticed it. It's like someone asking you not to think of the word 'elephant' - I know it happens, so I 'notice' it.

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 12-07-2012, 11:39 AM
#11
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The Muhle Black Fibre remains my favorite of all the synthetics.

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 12-07-2012, 05:27 PM
#12
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(12-07-2012, 10:32 AM)jmsodpc Wrote: I have a HiS brush. Too large for me. Handle is huge. I was thinking of getting the muele.

Now I don't know what to do.

My HIS is on BST section with little interest.
Decisions decisions.

With your current stand you were able to find a way to satisfy the size factor. I am glad you were able to keep your brush.

Enjoy!

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 12-21-2012, 03:33 PM
#13
  • matloffm
  • Senior Member
  • Culver City, CA
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I am a fan of both the silvertip fiber and the black fiber. I would recommend them to any wet shaver. While I do not use animal fiber brushes I do read posts of shavers that use them. It strikes me that there is a lot more variety of experience with these brushes. The same model badger brush is often experienced as having different properties by two different users. This seems true for other animal fibers also. The synthetics have a consistency that makes selecting one easy, just pick a brand and that's it. Just an observation. Shy

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