08-28-2012, 07:46 AM
#1
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When I decided that I would try my hand at this game, I was in the school of thought that I would try to find everything locally, in brick-and-mortar stores (strike one).

My first brush was a Marvy Eterna, which I picked up at a Sally's in town for around US$4. This thing is small. And harsh. I understand that boar brushes break-in after a short time, but this thing felt like scrubbing soap into my face with steel wool. It held enough lather for one pass, so I had to reload between uses. The handle seemed to be several plastic pieces glued together. I do not recommend this brush to anyone, ever.

After a couple of weeks, I figured enough was enough, and went to trusty Amazon. Money is usually fairly constricted for me, so I needed something cheap, but I wanted something better than what I had. Two brushes stand out to me: the Tweezerman badger, and the Escali badger. I quickly jumped on the Tweezerman because it seemed that more people used it than the other. I consider this my first real brush, and many people like it. This brush I have used for the majority of the time I've been wet shaving.

The hair loss was a bit of a concern, as every time I lathered I would find at least 2 hairs had fallen out. I also noticed after a few uses that water had begun to seep into the wood at the point that the knot was attached. The one true deal breaker for this brush was the amount of scritch to it. Being pure badger, I assume the bristles were trimmed into shape, meaning that the hairs never split and soften. After the first pass, it would start to irritate when I lathered. A cheap brush, not too well made, but overall, not a bad starter if your skin isn't too sensitive.

My next brush was received through a PIF: the Vulfix Grosvenor, which is a mix of boar bristle and pure badger. The handle is a gorgeous, lathe-turned cream piece that you would expect to see on a brush several times its retail price. At this point, the brush has been used for over a year, so the boar bristle is well broken-in. The knot on this brush has a very nice feel to it, so much better than my Tweezerman. The only downfall I can see is the size of the knot. It's relatively small, and doesn't hold water so well. It will only hold enough lather for about two passes before I have to reload. This could make a decent starter, but I would recommend it more than anything as a candidate for reknotting. A silvertip knot would make this brush a beautiful, luxurious piece for a fraction of the cost.

Now, I still wanted a brush that I could call my go-to. By this point, I realized I shouldn't just be jumping into random brushes on sight, so I ventured deep within the shaving forums for insight. My latest, and so far favorite, acquisition is the much-praised Omega 10049 (Pro 49). The first thing that hit me about this brush: this thing is big. It is a monster, and when I soaked it for the first time, it kind of smelled like one. I took some time the first day to soak, lather, rinse, and let it dry before actually using it. This took care of much of the initial smell, and broke in some of the bristles.

I have been using it exclusively since then, and just as I've read, the brush improves with each successive use. By this point, many of the hairs have split once or twice, and some of those splits have split themselves. This makes for a very nice face lathering experience, as the tips are extremely soft; yet, the brush has more than enough backbone to load hard soaps like it's nobody's business. It holds plenty of water, and I usually end up leaving the water in the brush rather than shaking it out, which provides enough that I don't need to add any water when lathering, which leads to my next point: the brush holds a lot of lather, enough for well above three passes, and doesn't seem to "eat lather" as some boars may do. At just less than US$10, this brush is a steal, and is definitely my favorite (I try to avoid use of the term "best") brush so far. I would recommend this brush to anyone starting wet shaving, as well as anyone wanting to make the jump from badger to boar (or people who have tried a bunch of other brushes and didn't care for any of them).

In summary, don't buy cheap just to buy cheap, because you just might get what you pay for; conversely, you don't have to pay a terrible amount of money for quality; never trust reviews on Amazon, but do your research on fine forums such as this one; pure badger is not the worst grade of badger, but should be avoided if you have sensitive skin; and if you're looking for a great starter or want to try out a decent boar, you can't go wrong with one of the Omega Pro brushes.

Thanks for enduring my blathering, and enjoy the rest of your day.

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 08-28-2012, 07:54 AM
#2
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Blathering enjoyed. Thanks! Thumbup

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 08-28-2012, 08:13 AM
#3
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Nice thoughts,my friend!

Im in agreement with you : don't buy cheap unless you know what you're buying and avoid pure badger hair,if you want to face lather with circular movements.

Omega boar brushes are usually cheap but the bristles are very good and would be much better than many pure and best badger brushes.

I will also recommend you to clean your 404 ,since It seem to me that contains to much soapy residue inside , and that makes harder for the brush to "retain" the lather that you make.

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 08-28-2012, 08:26 AM
#4
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(08-28-2012, 08:13 AM)Teiste Wrote: I will also recommend you to clean your 404 ,since It seem to me that contains to much soapy residue inside , and that makes harder for the brush to "retain" the lather that you make.

I did clean that brush eventually (I think you were in the previous thread I had made), and that along with a wet loading method helped, but since then my son has taken it upon himself to take a pair of scissors to part of the brush, so it's a definite reknot now. Sad

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 08-28-2012, 08:29 AM
#5
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Great read. Another lesson in "you get what you pay for" I suppose.

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 08-28-2012, 08:30 AM
#6
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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(08-28-2012, 08:26 AM)sethleupagus Wrote:
(08-28-2012, 08:13 AM)Teiste Wrote: I will also recommend you to clean your 404 ,since It seem to me that contains to much soapy residue inside , and that makes harder for the brush to "retain" the lather that you make.

I did clean that brush eventually (I think you were in the previous thread I had made), and that along with a wet loading method helped, but since then my son has taken it upon himself to take a pair of scissors to part of the brush, so it's a definite reknot now. Sad
The steam method would be very useful to get rid of that knot! Biggrin

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 08-28-2012, 08:37 AM
#7
  • beartrap
  • Resident Цирюльник
  • Southern California
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Very enjoyable, thanks for sharing.

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 08-28-2012, 10:40 AM
#8
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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Great thoughts and advice for newbies.

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 08-28-2012, 11:45 AM
#9
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Thinking about a good first brush, a Semogue 1460 comes to mind.

Nice read.

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 08-28-2012, 11:49 AM
#10
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(08-28-2012, 11:45 AM)Johnny Wrote: Thinking about a good first brush, a Semogue 1460 comes to mind.

Nice read.

Hmm, a lot of people jump on the 1305. Biggrin

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 08-28-2012, 11:50 AM
#11
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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(08-28-2012, 11:49 AM)sethleupagus Wrote:
(08-28-2012, 11:45 AM)Johnny Wrote: Thinking about a good first brush, a Semogue 1460 comes to mind.

Nice read.

Hmm, a lot of people jump on the 1305. Biggrin

For me is the 1800 Biggrin ( waiting to try the 1250....)

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 08-28-2012, 01:10 PM
#12
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Blathering indeed! Nice read is more like it! Well done.

(08-28-2012, 11:45 AM)Johnny Wrote: Thinking about a good first brush, a Semogue 1460 comes to mind.

Nice read.

IMO the Semogue 1438, but then I have an Omega 10019 and while it's not an expensive brush the bristle is very good all for $8 from Italian Barber. Really good boar brushes needn't be expensive to get a good one. Just stick with a name you recognize from the forums.

That being written I have a $.50 chinese boar brush in my rotation and as inexpensive as it was at a liquidation outlet (surplus/damaged goods) it's one very nice brush. It's far better than it's miniscule price would lead one to believe.

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 08-28-2012, 03:57 PM
#13
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Thanks for taking us along on your journey. I am sure your reflections will be helpful to many.

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 08-28-2012, 04:57 PM
#14
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A good read. Thanks for sharing.

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 08-28-2012, 05:23 PM
#15
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Hi Seth

That was a very! worthwhile read Thumbsup

Take care, Mike

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 08-28-2012, 08:21 PM
#16
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Seth, no worries, that is what we are here for. Thanks for sharing.

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 08-29-2012, 08:06 AM
#17
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Thanks for sharing!

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 08-29-2012, 09:21 AM
#18
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The thing with Amazon is that the reviews are generally written by people with no experience and don't know any better.

Also, people are much more likely to give 4 stars to a product just for being so incredibly cheap. As long as it works.

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 08-29-2012, 09:25 AM
#19
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(08-29-2012, 09:21 AM)asharperrazor Wrote: The thing with Amazon is that the reviews are generally written by people with no experience and don't know any better.

Instantly proven by the fact that there are any positive reviews at all under the Caswell-Massey shave soaps...

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 08-29-2012, 10:29 AM
#20
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(08-29-2012, 09:21 AM)asharperrazor Wrote: The thing with Amazon is that the reviews are generally written by people with no experience and don't know any better.

Also, people are much more likely to give 4 stars to a product just for being so incredibly cheap. As long as it works.

And some people feel the need to justify a purchase or their consumer intuition with a positive review.

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