10-22-2012, 09:22 AM
  • Codfish
  • Product Tester
  • Connecticut Shoreline
User Info
[Image: ChristianMller.jpg]
Christian Müller

When I took up wet shaving seriously several years ago, I was astonished at the number of razors, blades, soaps/creams and brushes that were available. I spent weeks reading and learning about them before making any purchases. My research into brushes was the most confusing for me. I knew nothing about brush knots or lofts, or whether badgers were better than boars. What I did know was that I did not want a synthetic brush. The reviews I read about them at the time were not encouraging.

A short time later, I began to see references to new synthetic brushes from Mühle. The claims seemed contrary to what I had been reading. Then I acquired a Mühle Black Fibre brush, and shortly afterwards, a Silvertip Fibre model. I was very impressed with both, and eventually built my entire brush collection around them.

I felt there had been a paradigm shift with synthetic brushes, and worked with a team of brush experts to examine the new generation of synthetic shaving brushes that has appeared since 2010. Mühle led the way in developing this new generation, in my opinion, and continues to be at the forefront of new fiber and brush development.

I recently had an opportunity to conduct an interview Christian Müller, General Manager of MÜHLE/ Hans-Jürgen Müller GmbH & Co. KG, who along with his brother Andreas (co-General Manager), has been responsible for remarkable advancements in synthetic shave brushes:

Q: Mühle has been involved in developing synthetic shaving brushes for some time now. What can you tell us about general developments over the years?

A: “Synthetic shaving brushes have been around for a number of years, however with less attention to the public compared to traditional badger and boar shaving brushes. We always looked at synthetics differently and saw great potential developing them further, which we did over the past four years.”

Q: What would you consider to be the most significant developments during that time?

A: “The major step was to create a fibre that mimics the properties of natural hair (flex of the fibres and water retention). Another aspect was the modification of the appearance to make it look more natural. An additional goal was to add density to the bundles, which was achieved by reducing the diameter of the single fibers."

Q: Synthetic brushes, especially the new generation that has recently become available, have created considerable interest in the shaving community. Are you seeing any changes in the market response for synthetic brushes?

A: “Due to the increasing demand for shaving brushes and the limited availability of natural hair, I believe there is significant potential for synthetic shave brushes. We already note a very positive market response without any prejudice against these new fibres.”

Q: In what ways do synthetic fibers differ from natural badger and boar hair? Do they offer any advantages or challenges for brush manufacturers?

A: “As mentioned earlier, the main challenge was to take out the flex and make them to retain water. The advantage is the homogeny of the material. I cannot discuss in detail how we accomplish this."

Q: My first synthetic brush was a Mühle HJM Black Fiber brush, and I currently have several Mühle Classic Silvertip Fiber brushes. Readers often ask the differences between them. How would you characterize the differences?

A: “The STF was made as an alternative to super badger, in terms of appearance and characteristics. All bundles are tied by hand, the process is exactly the same as for the more exclusive badger hair brushes, with focus to detail. The STF bundles are made of various length fibres which adds density and backbone to the brush. Black Fibre is a machine-made grade, more price sensitive, the fibres are of one length and slightly thinner which allows us to have more control when processing it through the machine.”

[Image: Knotbundles2.jpg]

Q: In talking with you, I’ve been struck by your knowledge of discussions among members of the shaving community. Do you or others at Mühle monitor online discussion forums or other media? 

A: “Always, it meanwhile belongs to our daily business to browse the forums. This input tremendously helps to improve the products. There seems to be a lot of knowledge amongst the members of the various forums and we are sometime struck on how much people get into detail about the products. I will be attending the Great Shave Seminar event by Merz Apothecary in Chicago this month and looking forward to get to know some of the forum members.

Q: Are you personally involved in the conception, design and production aspects of shaving brushes?

A: “Mainly my brother Andreas and I work closely together on all aspects of production."

Q: What is approximate length of time between initial concept and actual distribution of a new brush design?

A: “This really depends on the product and the complexity of developing it. The fibres took quite a long time--four years in total before we felt it is ready for the market.”

Q: What will the future offer? Can we look forward to any new developments?

A: “There have been a good number of new products this year already, just to mention the new Mühle Organic Skincare line as well as the new stands for our DE series. Furthermore, we have worked on product refinements such as for the fibres and various shaving sets and razors. There will be a lot more in the next three months and in 2013."

Author's Note: I'd like to thank Christian Müller for participating in this interview, and remind readers that he will be appearing at the Great Shave Seminar event in Chicago on October 24th.

[Image: SilvertipFibreline-up2.jpg]

0 254
 10-22-2012, 09:31 AM
  • Harvey
  • Senior Member
  • North Hills CA
User Info
Very interesting ...these brushes are very good..smooth and dry fast...quite a good value and probably happily received by Vegans and PETA people. I like them because of how they work. Let,s see what new developments arrive for 2013....my cave awaits !!!!CoolSmile

6 1,902
 10-22-2012, 09:45 AM
  • JaDo
  • Member
  • Dallas, TX
User Info
He didn't mention the new Retro Series brushes to be released next month?

There is a press release posted on the website, but no pictures (at least not when I last checked).

6 235
 10-22-2012, 09:46 AM
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
User Info
I only can say : EXCELLENT!

Yes , Muhle have introduce a new generation of synthetic fibres which can now compete with the natural badger hair , and thats have been a triumph for Muhle.I must say , well done for Christian and Andreas. Im sure they will be able to even improve the silvertip fibres in the years to come too.

Thanks a lot for the interview and a pity I wont be able to meet Mr Christian Muller in person this coming 24th in Chicago.Im sure its going to be a great even.

86 7,123
 10-22-2012, 10:07 AM
  • Johnny
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Codfish, thanks for the excellent interview and thanks to Christian for granting the interview. It is always good when vendors, distributors, and manufactures participate in our forum.

Job well done young man.

173 23,288
 10-22-2012, 10:48 AM
  • beartrap
  • Resident Цирюльник
  • Southern California
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Very interesting, informative interview. Thanks!

88 4,233
 10-22-2012, 10:58 AM
  • Exapno
  • Member
  • Northampton, England
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Excellent interview Codfish (I trust you are on the mend now?) and a big thanks to Christian for giving up his time.

0 132
 10-22-2012, 11:05 AM
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That was an excellent interview with a company can excels in quality.

98 12,355
 10-22-2012, 11:38 AM
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Excellent interview. I am looking forward to seeing what offerings from Muhle has in store for the future.

1 2,827
 10-22-2012, 11:42 AM
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Codfish, thank you for conducting an interesting interview Thumbsup

Christian, you for taking the time to answer the questions asked Thumbsup

23 1,872
 10-22-2012, 01:13 PM
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Thanks to both!

32 6,301
 10-22-2012, 02:22 PM
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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Thanks to Codfish for a most interesting interview and thank you Mr. Müller for taking the time to let us know about the synthetic brushes and new products to come. A job well done. Thumbsup

2 11,211
 10-22-2012, 03:00 PM
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Thanks to both of you for a good interview. Interesting.

178 11,976
 10-22-2012, 04:21 PM
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Great interview, thanks for sharing.

10 2,062
 10-22-2012, 04:39 PM
  • gijames
  • Mile High Soldier
  • TN, USA
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Always good to see products pushed further in their quality,
Thank you both for the interview! Cool

9 1,684
 10-22-2012, 05:22 PM
  • geezer
  • Senior Member
  • Menomonie, Western WI
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Well done! Thank you!

8 1,190
 10-22-2012, 07:27 PM
  • OldDog23
  • Senior Member
  • BeanTown MetroWest
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Thank you, Codfish and Christian ! If the knots in the finished brushes resemble the photo, I'll just have to try one. I have experience with only 2 synthetics so far, both sold by EJ/TESC. One is the 2012 Silvertip Synthetic, the other is the travel brush in the tube. The STS is a soft, floppy brush that will lather soap or cream pretty well. Compared to a well stuffed badger, I find the STS looks a bit "underfed". Maybe that is just how they planned it. The travel brush is more like a best badger, a tad stiffer and just a bit less soft on the face. I believe with some continuing interest and a bit of fine tuning we will start to see some very good brushes when the smoke clears. Great interview !

0 1,291
 10-22-2012, 08:40 PM
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Great interview and thank you both for your time!

74 20,788
 10-23-2012, 05:00 PM
  • matloffm
  • Senior Member
  • Culver City, CA
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Thanks for the interview. I hope that the STF and Black Fiber brushes will be offered in a greater variety of lofts. These synthetics are the best brushes I own.

16 536
 10-24-2012, 06:32 AM
  • JayPo007
  • Still making fire
  • Pottstown, PA- USA
User Info
Great quality interviews here. Very interesting as usual. I never gave synthetic brushes a chance/thought. If I find myself in need of one I will try Muhle first. Smile

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