12-24-2012, 10:43 PM
#1
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[Image: Shea_zpsf8c4c0a3.jpg]

Shea Moisture Company traces its origins back to Sierra Leone, Africa in 1912 to a lady by the name of Sofi Tucker. Over the years her family continued to make soaps, body and hair care products that was marketed to Africans and African-Americans. Part of the Shea Moisture product line is shaving butter and a shaving brush. The last version of the Shea Moisture Shave Ultimate Shave Brush was a simple black badger brush. It was inexpensive and it performed at a higher level than its low price point (around 10 U.S.D. with tax). Many Traditional shavers found this brush and adopted it for their own, whether as a travel brush or their primary brush. It was primarily sold at Target stores, and for some time this brush appeared to be sold out or not carried.

Recently the shelves at Target were stocked with Shea Moisture brushes again. Being familiar with the makeup of brush that had been sold out for some time, I decided to see if their were any changes to the brushes on the shelf. Looking at the box, everything appeared to be the same as before and it stated that the brush was made of "100% Badger Hair." The price was still at the 10 U.S.D. level with tax. Upon opening the box, something quickly caught my eye and my hand. The brush had not one badger hair at all. It was a synthetic brush. So now I decided to buy one take a test drive of the Shea Moisture Shave Ultimate Shave Brush.

The brush is a small. It has a compact, but easy to hold black acrylic handle with the company name in silver paint. The knot is small and has a narrow flair. It uses a third generation nylon fiber, but fiber type alone does not make a great or even a good brush. The overall height of the brush is 110 mm. The knot is 20 mm at the breech (may be 19 mm inside) and the overall loft is 54 mm in a fan configuration. The maximum bloom width is 38 mm as it came out of the box, but expanded to 45 mm after the first use and remained at that size for the remainder of the shaves. The fibers are not tightly packed. I was afraid that this would be a miserable performer as I have found in some low end synthetics. The Parker Synthetic and the "H.I.S. Bullet" (not to be confused with the larger standard H.I.S. brush) quickly came to mind, especially the "H.I.S. Bullet" because it had a thin, small profile like this brush. My concern would be would the size and lack of density cause the dreaded doughnut hole that would make this brush useless. With that in mind we proceeded to the testing.

The first test was a bowl lathering using WARS cream. WARS has been for me a very reliable cream that lathers easily and provides an excellent level of slickness, cushion and oils that helps the skin to recover from the shaving experience. I dipped the brush the one half the length of the loft into water and noticed the doughnut hole forming. I shook the brush gently and began to work the brush in the bowl. The brush was able to generate lather adequately and I began to apply in paint strokes and circular motions. The brush was soft and was able to generate enough lather for the entire shave consisting on 2 face passes and 1 head pass. The lack of density and length of the loft made the shave slightly more messy than usual due to lather splash.

The next day was a planned face lathering session with Wilkinson Sword Shave Stick (WS3). Now for me, WS3 is able to generate great lather with almost every brush in the face lathering mode. I applied enough of the stick to my wet face and a part of my head before dipping the brush the one half the length of the loft into water. I shook the brush off very gently and began to lather. I was able to do a complete lathering of my entire face and head in a single series to conserve lather for a second face pass on the brush. The brush was able to hold enough for a second face pass after the face and head generation, however, that was about all it could do. I attribute the success of that shave to the properties of WS3 more than anything else.

The third and final test was to pick up soap and generate lather in the bowl. I chose Palmolive stick that was ground into a bowl. I dipping the brush the one half the length of the loft into water and shook the brush very gently and rubbed the brush into the soap. It picked up a sufficient amount of soap to begin to lather, but I had to add water to the mix because the brush simply could not retain enough water to support the Palmolive. I was able to generate a somewhat adequate lather for two face passes, but had to go back and pick up more soap generate more lather for the head pass.

Now to my overall impression. This is not a stellar performer and the company either has, no idea of the concept of the meaning of the word "Ultimate" when it comes to a shaving brush, has a weird sense of humor, or simply wants to hype a mediocre product. Any decent handle with the 20 mm TGN synthetic knot blows this away in performance. The 20 mm TGN synthetic is a far more dense knot that holds form better which allows for a better lathering capacity in terms of generation and retention.

With all of that being discussed, there are purposes for this brush in the market. It makes a cheap travel brush that you don't have to worry about while traveling in terms of drying (synthetic properties) or in cost in case you lose it. The second area is as a beginners or cost conscious brush. It fits in price wise with the VDH boar brush and the current version Burma Shave boar brush. Overall, the VDH brush is a better performer once broken in, but this brush is easier for an inexperienced user to learn since there is no break in needed. It is an inexpensive and easy to obtain synthetic brush that can allow even the most cash strapped user to enter the world of traditional shaving. That is important because in order for Traditional shaving to grow it will require products available at all price levels. Yes, the performance is not up to the standards of most low level products in the more exclusive Traditional shaving arena, but this one of the products that can allow the uninitiated to begin without a concern of price risk.

Now as to a comparison to the last version of this line, the badger version was far better than this one. The change was more than likely a simple cost cutting measure to keep the brush around 10 U.S.D. level. The last point and maybe the real hidden item for this brush is the handle. It is solid and very comfortable. It would make an excellent candidate for a knot update to a 20 mm of any type of hair / fiber.

It is obvious that Shea Moisture should have used new boxes with correct marking. Obviously there was a large amount of boxes remaining in a warehouse marked as "100% Badger Hair" and the cost to replace them or remark them would have required a price increase that the company would rather not have to incur.

Now as for my testing brush, my Dremel tool and a new knot may be waiting in the wings ...

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 12-24-2012, 10:56 PM
#2
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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How do they get away with putting a synthetic hair brush in a box that states 100% badger? That's clearly false advertising. Even if the company was trying to save money, that's not the way to do it.

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 12-24-2012, 10:59 PM
#3
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(12-24-2012, 10:56 PM)freddy Wrote: How do they get away with putting a synthetic hair brush in a box that states 100% badger? That's clearly false advertising. Even if the company was trying to save money, that's not the way to do it.

Agreed. That is why I had to repeat it a couple of times along with the word "Ultimate" which is also an abuse ... <sighs loudly>

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 12-24-2012, 11:05 PM
#4
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Gary, thanks for the information!

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 12-24-2012, 11:19 PM
#5
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Gary , thanks a lot for this review.

Funny enough , in foroafeitado we discovered this last weekend that a supermarket brand called Carrefour (French one with supermarkets all over Spain) is doing the same , selling "badger brushes" which are actually synthetic (you can distinguish them very easily) , as you can see in this pic :

[Image: 20121224165707.jpg]

I truly like synthetics , but it seems these Shea Moisture is not the best that we can get.How would you compare it to The Body Shop one , being almost on the same price range?

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 12-24-2012, 11:45 PM
#6
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(12-24-2012, 11:19 PM)Teiste Wrote: Gary , thanks a lot for this review.

I truly like synthetics , but it seems these Shea Moisture is not the best that we can get.How would you compare it to The Body Shop one , being almost on the same price range?

I have not had the pleasure (or as others have told me the misfortune) of using the Body Shop brush. However, when I tested the Parker synthetic and displayed the results, people on other forums stated that from my photos it looked exactly like the Body Shop synthetic in terms of size and performance. That was not an endorsement because that Parker was awful. It was larger than the Shea brush and was less dense. Given that I would even take the Shea Moisture over the Body Shop.

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 12-25-2012, 06:57 PM
#7
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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I've never used their brushes but their cream is the worst I've tried.

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 12-25-2012, 10:05 PM
#8
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Good info. Thanks.

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 12-26-2012, 01:39 AM
#9
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
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Well , after your remarks , another brush that I wont use...

I wonder how is the Every Man Jack synthetic one , but seems very similar to TBS one.

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 12-26-2012, 02:09 AM
#10
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Thanks for the review, Gary.

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 12-27-2012, 04:39 PM
#11
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Hi Gary

Excellent! write up, with plenty of helpful, useful information. Thank you for sharing Thumbsup

Take care, Mike

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 12-27-2012, 05:19 PM
#12
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Good information Gary. I wonder if Target knows they are selling a product that says one thing that it is not. With false advertising laws in this country, I bet they don't.

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