11-16-2012, 11:10 PM
#1
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Okay, so I really got to thinking about face feel and perception of how a brush "feels" on the face when lathering. My review of the WSP two band monarch really made me think to myself, what is scritch? What is scratch? Am I crazy for thinking a brush with such revered soft tips by all the other reviewers, can actually be ever so slightly scritchy to me? Obviously as humans we all perceive things differently, ymmv is such a commonly used phrase on the forums because it is so true. Even so, how could we possibly feel things so differently even regarding the exact same hair types? Here are some personal examples.

1. The WSP two band Monarch- I completely agree that the tips of this brush are some extremely soft tips, yet I still felt a small amount of scritch when lathering up last night. The other gentlemen who have reviewed this exact same brush recently, both concur they felt absolutely no hint of scritch. It's the same brush?!

2. Teiste states that in his opinion, the WSP three band super silvertip feels a tad scritchy, just like Plisson HMW... My Plisson HMW had no hint of scritch whatsoever, none! How can our perceptions be so far off even though we are both experienced wetshavers with numerous brushes and hair types at our disposal?

3. Simpson's best- Every single brush (all sizes) that I have owned with this hair grade literally hurt when face lathering. I am talking brush burn. How is this possible when the vast majority of other experienced shavers agree that Simpson best hair is about as soft as super to them, most stating no scritch at all.

I tell myself I have an extra sensitive face, but is there more to it than that?

It is very frustrating reading reviews on brushes knowing that my opinion will probably differ greatly. I really want to try Simpson's Manchurian, but a two band hair that many agree has a slight scritch to it, may very well feel like steel wool on my face. You can see my dilemma here.

Tell me guys, how do you perceive or describe scritch? How about scratch? Scrub? Prickle?

I will start.

Scrub: Simpson's three band super in a big chubby, that's scrub to me. Lot's of badger hair that feels soft of the face and slightly exfoliating but no hint of a "sharp" hair at all.

Scritch: Usually the brush feels soft over all, but when lathering I feel an intermittant prickle here and there. Not enough to cause me brush burn at all, but enough "pokiness" for me to take notice.

Scratch: Simpson's best is what comes to mind. It hurts. I feel like someone trimmed 30% of the tips here and there within the knot and if I really get going when face lathering, I can end up with redness and a tender face for 1-2 days. It feels like a sunburn post shave.

Prickly: Pure badger comes to mind. Nothing but a prickly/ pokey feeling when lathering. I hate pure badger, it feels like lathering with a cactus.



I really would like to hear all of your thoughts on this subject. How would you describe scritch?

I want to hear your opinions, explain your perceptions and descriptions regarding the "face feel" of a shaving brush.

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 11-16-2012, 11:29 PM
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Interesting post and one I've been thinking about too. Especially about everyone's posts about Manchurian and Rooney Finest.

Scritch: that annoying little tickle. Low enough levels can remain undetectable to me. Enough scritch and I start to get annoyed. Not really painful enough to say it's bad per say, but its noticeable. Maybe it's a prickle, but it causes me no pain, just annoyance. Perhaps if I did 10 lathers in one go, it would hurt. But up to three lathers = perfectly fine.

Scratch: Painful. Think cut ends or unbroken boar.

Scrub: Manchurian, which is really just a hybrid feeling of low quality really scritchy 2 band with high quality super soft 2 band.

So, I probably should change my definition of scrub to the Prince in Finest or Chubby in the new 2 band. Redefined as scrubbiness coming from the strength of the individual hairs.

Prickly: Painful. Like a porcupine. But not like scratch which will scratch you if you move the hairs laterally. No, instead, prickle will poke you only when you press the brush into your face. Otherwise, it is perfectly fine.

Examples: Rooney Finest, Somerset Simpson 2 Band hair, Somerset Manchurian.

So, I don't think it's really differences so much in what we feel, but differences in how we try to describe it. I'm sure you experience the sensations in a more magnified way than I do, but I think we feel the same thing.

So, what to me would just be an annoying tickle, is to you sheer painful burn.

I've experienced Simpson best that was pretty bad as well as some truly excellent Simpson best. I wouldn't want to own the Simpson Best on the bad side, but consequently would love to own the Best on the good side. But at that point, I might as well just buy super to ensure the quality I desire.

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 11-16-2012, 11:55 PM
#3
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(11-16-2012, 11:29 PM)asharperrazor Wrote: Interesting post and one I've been thinking about too. Especially about everyone's posts about Manchurian and Rooney Finest.

Scritch: that annoying little tickle. Low enough levels can remain undetectable to me. Enough scritch and I start to get annoyed. Not really painful enough to say it's bad per say, but its noticeable. Maybe it's a prickle, but it causes me no pain, just annoyance. Perhaps if I did 10 lathers in one go, it would hurt. But up to three lathers = perfectly fine.

Scratch: Painful. Think cut ends or unbroken boar.

Scrub: Manchurian, which is really just a hybrid feeling of low quality really scritchy 2 band with high quality super soft 2 band.

So, I probably should change my definition of scrub to the Prince in Finest or Chubby in the new 2 band. Redefined as scrubbiness coming from the strength of the individual hairs.

Prickly: Painful. Like a porcupine. But not like scratch which will scratch you if you move the hairs laterally. No, instead, prickle will poke you only when you press the brush into your face. Otherwise, it is perfectly fine.

Examples: Rooney Finest, Somerset Simpson 2 Band hair, Somerset Manchurian.

So, I don't think it's really differences so much in what we feel, but differences in how we try to describe it. I'm sure you experience the sensations in a more magnified way than I do, but I think we feel the same thing.

So, what to me would just be an annoying tickle, is to you sheer painful burn.

I've experienced Simpson best that was pretty bad as well as some truly excellent Simpson best. I wouldn't want to own the Simpson Best on the bad side, but consequently would love to own the Best on the good side. But at that point, I might as well just buy super to ensure the quality I desire.


Interesting perspective. The way we each describe how the hair feels on our faces is actually very similar.

I think you're right, we each feel those same sensations at varying levels of intensity, which in turn prompts us to describe those feelings in different tones depending on our individual sensitivity to said sensations.

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 11-16-2012, 11:59 PM
#4
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Yup. So for those people who have pretty deadened senses in their skin, the Manchurian and Rooney Finest is a favorite of theirs because the prickle feels more like an exfoliating facial scrub to them, which can be pretty massage-like.

To others it can be pretty painful. To me Rooney Finest is painful. Like shaving with a porcupine embedded in the brush. The Somerset Simpson is not as bad because the hairs can bend more. But still annoying.

But Manchurian is not the same as Finest. I wouldn't call Manchurian prickle. I've called it scrub in the past, but what I wrote earlier in this thread is a more exact description of the sensation.

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 11-17-2012, 04:23 AM
#5
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
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This is a great thread. I love scritchy and scrubby brushes but not the other two.

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 11-17-2012, 04:54 AM
#6
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Scritch - This one is hard to define....You can feel the tips but it is not uncomfortable. Sort of like a well soaked boar before it is broken in.

Scratch - The above amplified. Trimmed pure badger comes to mind

Scrub - a whole lotta scritch. Density plays a part too.

I think one factor you have to take into account is how people use their brush. Some use a lot of pressure when lathering. Also it can be perceived differently if using painting or circular methods of lathering.

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 11-17-2012, 05:31 AM
#7
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Thanks for the thread. This is an issue for me. Since I actually like to feel like I'm using a shaving brush, language like "it feels like a pillow" sounds negative to me.

I'm actually considering getting a somewhat larger badger brush (I have the EJ C&E model now) and would like to feel like I'm getting an upgrade, but don't want to go for the super soft tips. So it gets confusing to read posts on various brushes knowing how perceptions, and language to express those perceptions, vary so much.

That said, I think folks on this forum try hard to be understood but this thread can only help.

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 11-17-2012, 06:53 AM
#8
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Cessna, thanks for a great thread. Allow me to first comment on the Monarch 2-band first. I face lathered (as usual) yesterday with it but I was just a bit more aggressive in my lathering technique. This was the first time that is noticed just a hint of scritch.

Now to try and define scritch/scrub/prickle is a completely subjective exercise. It's like when I ask a patient how much it hurts on a scale of 1-10. Your 3 is someone else's 9. There's no way to prove what you feel to someone else. In fact, our own perception is subject to change as our experiences broaden. I initially thought my Frank Shaving Finest was pretty scrubby/scritchy. Then I experienced a horsehair brush which was super prickly; brush burn all the time (caveat -- I only lathered with circular motions at this time). After experiencing this the Frank Shaving felt much softer now without being a different brush. My new experience changed my perception.

Since we all have differing & varying experiences it is absolutely expected for us to have varying perceptions of the same exact thing; shaving brushes in this case. In future reviews the best thing to do if it's possible is to relate the brush to other brushes with some wide known characteristics. So if someone has a SOC 2-band and doesn't want anything softer then they could read a comparison with the Monarch and see the the Monarch is a softer brush and may not be for them. Describing relative differences may prove more fruitful. Defining subjective terms will just create multiple definitions for the same terms.

All that being said, I still ask my patients to rate their pain. Just as we should continue to rate our shave brushes. Maybe we can adopt a 1-10 scale like the pain scale. 1 = ultra soft, zero scrub/scritch/prickle. 10 = lathering with a porcupine & using salt water.

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 11-17-2012, 07:46 AM
#9
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All very subjective:

I can only rate this with making comparisons:

Softest, barely feeling the hair on the skin: Thäter 3 band, shavemac silvertip, SR 3824, M&F Silvertip

Very Soft w/ gentle scrub: Thäter 2 band, Rooney Heritage, new Simpson 2 band, Rooney Super Silvertip, Vie Long Silvertip

Scrub w/ a bit of scritch: TGN Finest, shavemac D01, Simpson Super, TGN STA

Scritchy: Simpson Best

Scratchy: Pure badgers

I have not tried Manchurian or Rooney Finest.

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 11-17-2012, 07:56 AM
#10
  • oscar11
  • Senior Member
  • North Dakota
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I'd go along with your definitions with one exception. Scritchy is a light scrubbing feeling to me. I like knots that are soft for daily use but they must have backbone. Sritchy is ok for a shave or two a week. My preference in knots is 3 band. Of the knots I've used or have my favorite are Shavemac, Whipped Dog, TGN Grade A, and Thater and I will throw in TGN 2 band for honorable mention.

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 11-17-2012, 08:06 AM
#11
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My pure Crabtree & Evelyn felt scratch. I wasn't sure. Nothing to compare it to at the time.

Got a chubby 3 Manchurian.

Deduced: pure was scratchy to scritchy. Chubby 3 Manchurian blissful scrub - a pleasure - no pain.

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 11-17-2012, 09:02 AM
#12
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SharpSpine, Agree that the kind of comparison you describe would be helpful ... but obviously better if you've experienced several different brushes--I've never used a Franks or Horsehair--but still can get the general idea. I'm currently reading these brush threads trying to get ideas about an upgrade (thank for your thread on the Monarch btw..), not looking to build a collection. So for me, I really appreciate folks trying to describe these differences and also appreciate those little qualifiers (e.g., I do not like to feel any scritch) that help us to interpret the words used.

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 11-17-2012, 09:30 AM
#13
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(11-16-2012, 11:10 PM)cessnabird Wrote: Okay, so I really got to thinking about face feel and perception of how a brush "feels" on the face when lathering. My review of the WSP two band monarch really made me think to myself, what is scritch? What is scratch? Am I crazy for thinking a brush with such revered soft tips by all the other reviewers, can actually be ever so slightly scritchy to me? Obviously as humans we all perceive things differently, ymmv is such a commonly used phrase on the forums because it is so true. Even so, how could we possibly feel things so differently even regarding the exact same hair types? Here are some personal examples.

1. The WSP two band Monarch- I completely agree that the tips of this brush are some extremely soft tips, yet I still felt a small amount of scritch when lathering up last night. The other gentlemen who have reviewed this exact same brush recently, both concur they felt absolutely no hint of scritch. It's the same brush?!

2. Teiste states that in his opinion, the WSP three band super silvertip feels a tad scritchy, just like Plisson HMW... My Plisson HMW had no hint of scritch whatsoever, none! How can our perceptions be so far off even though we are both experienced wetshavers with numerous brushes and hair types at our disposal?

3. Simpson's best- Every single brush (all sizes) that I have owned with this hair grade literally hurt when face lathering. I am talking brush burn. How is this possible when the vast majority of other experienced shavers agree that Simpson best hair is about as soft as super to them, most stating no scritch at all.

I tell myself I have an extra sensitive face, but is there more to it than that?

It is very frustrating reading reviews on brushes knowing that my opinion will probably differ greatly. I really want to try Simpson's Manchurian, but a two band hair that many agree has a slight scritch to it, may very well feel like steel wool on my face. You can see my dilemma here.

Tell me guys, how do you perceive or describe scritch? How about scratch? Scrub? Prickle?

I will start.

Scrub: Simpson's three band super in a big chubby, that's scrub to me. Lot's of badger hair that feels soft of the face and slightly exfoliating but no hint of a "sharp" hair at all.

Scritch: Usually the brush feels soft over all, but when lathering I feel an intermittant prickle here and there. Not enough to cause me brush burn at all, but enough "pokiness" for me to take notice.

Scratch: Simpson's best is what comes to mind. It hurts. I feel like someone trimmed 30% of the tips here and there within the knot and if I really get going when face lathering, I can end up with redness and a tender face for 1-2 days. It feels like a sunburn post shave.

Prickly: Pure badger comes to mind. Nothing but a prickly/ pokey feeling when lathering. I hate pure badger, it feels like lathering with a cactus.



I really would like to hear all of your thoughts on this subject. How would you describe scritch?

I want to hear your opinions, explain your perceptions and descriptions regarding the "face feel" of a shaving brush.

+1 this (I've never tried a Simpson Super Chubby but you've described the scrub exactly as I imagine it would feel).

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 11-17-2012, 10:17 AM
#14
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I agree with the good doctor.

Since sensation and pain is determined by how fast our pain receptors are firing (correct me if wrong), our minds play a part in interpreting how "painful" or "dangerous" something is. So, if we have some past experience that is pretty horrendous, everything else pales in comparison. Likewise, if we haven't experienced said trauma, the slightest disturbance can seem like a huge deal.

When I first started using shaving brushes, I had no idea what to expect. Several years later I still didn't really have a good grasp on things. Okay, so I needed to find this out if I was going to design good brushes. I acquired examples of all the major hairs. Now, I have a wide range of experiences to draw upon and make more accurate perceptions.

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 11-17-2012, 10:55 AM
#15
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(11-17-2012, 06:53 AM)SharpSpine Wrote: Cessna, thanks for a great thread. Allow me to first comment on the Monarch 2-band first. I face lathered (as usual) yesterday with it but I was just a bit more aggressive in my lathering technique. This was the first time that is noticed just a hint of scritch.

Now to try and define scritch/scrub/prickle is a completely subjective exercise. It's like when I ask a patient how much it hurts on a scale of 1-10. Your 3 is someone else's 9. There's no way to prove what you feel to someone else. In fact, our own perception is subject to change as our experiences broaden. I initially thought my Frank Shaving Finest was pretty scrubby/scritchy. Then I experienced a horsehair brush which was super prickly; brush burn all the time (caveat -- I only lathered with circular motions at this time). After experiencing this the Frank Shaving felt much softer now without being a different brush. My new experience changed my perception.

Since we all have differing & varying experiences it is absolutely expected for us to have varying perceptions of the same exact thing; shaving brushes in this case. In future reviews the best thing to do if it's possible is to relate the brush to other brushes with some wide known characteristics. So if someone has a SOC 2-band and doesn't want anything softer then they could read a comparison with the Monarch and see the the Monarch is a softer brush and may not be for them. Describing relative differences may prove more fruitful. Defining subjective terms will just create multiple definitions for the same terms.

All that being said, I still ask my patients to rate their pain. Just as we should continue to rate our shave brushes. Maybe we can adopt a 1-10 scale like the pain scale. 1 = ultra soft, zero scrub/scritch/prickle. 10 = lathering with a porcupine & using salt water.

Great responses gentlemen, this is definitely a fun thread!

Doc, that is not a bad idea actually. We can have some sort of wiki reference as to rating the "intensity" or " level of feeling" when reviewing a shaving brush. It doesn't have to be too personal in nature. Just a 1-10 or 1-5 scale.

One might say for example that the Plisson HMW feels really soft when used in a painting motion, like a 0 on a scritch scale but a level 5 of scritchiness when using circular motion. Level 5 may not be felt the same by everyone but it would help give an idea of how "intense" said sensation is to that person.

As you stated above, we will all perceive things or rate things differently, but it would be a helpful measure to ensure a more concise review or explanation of the face feel of a particular brush.

I think I might start using the 1-10 scale from now on.

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 11-17-2012, 11:52 AM
#16
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This may be an issue of semantics. We may be all using different words to describe an inherently similar but subjective feeling.

The work "scritch" may not even exist. I looked it up online at dictionary.com. The response was that no result was found and it asked me if I meant "scratch."

I then looked up "prickly" and the definition is "full of ...prickles." "Prickles" is defined as "a sharp point."

I also looked up "scratchy" and one of the definitions is "causing itching or other minor irritation of the skin...."

A prickly brush may not necessarily be scratchy. Lately I've been focusing on my Thater and Shavemac brushes, all of them 3 band silvertips. Two days ago I decided to use my Simpson 59, which is only available in Best. When I put it to my face the word prickly immediately came to my mind. However, I would not characterize it as scratchy in the sense that it did not cause me any itching or other minor irritation of the skin. Someone with more sensitive skin may call it scratchy if it causes them itching or other minor skin irritation.

What's interesting is that I've had this 59 for about 2 years and never considered it prickly before. However, I had been using softer Thaters and Shavemacs for a while and when I suddenly changed to the 59 it felt prickly. I do wish Simpsons would make the 50 series in silvertip.

Good thread we have going here.

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 11-17-2012, 01:03 PM
#17
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Oh, no, I can assure you prickle is most definitely different. It feels like a pin going through my skin when it happens.

I'd send you the brushes so you can see for yourself, but seeing as they're basically irreplaceable, you'll have to take my word for it. Unless you want to swing by AZ. Cool

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 11-17-2012, 01:24 PM
#18
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(11-17-2012, 11:52 AM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: I do wish Simpsons would make the 50 series in silvertip.

Good thread we have going here.

With a few emails to Mark & enough $/€/£ you can!

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 11-18-2012, 05:15 AM
#19
  • Samjax
  • Active Member
  • Clearwater, Florida
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I think there are a couple of other factors to be considered as well.

Loft - with a taller loft, even a hair that would be considered "scritchy" becomes less noticeable. Combine that same hair with a shorter loft - and you will have a different feeling altogether. The terms "moppy" and "scritchy" are seldom used to describe the same brush. Backbone, or the lack thereof, plays into the face feel as well.

Soap or Cream - may sound silly, but if I'm using a "thicker" soap on the face, that too changes the dynamic of the hair against my face.

In a perfect world - I suppose it would be nice to have a collection of all the various hairs in exactly the same knot/loft sizes and simply use them with no soap or cream at all, just water, to better determine the differences.

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 11-18-2012, 05:54 AM
#20
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Samjax - very good point about the contribution of cream or soap. In my experience, a thick, creamy lather minimizes scritch.

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