The most important aspect of the "wet shave" is pinned, as you might guess, on your ability to keep your skin as hydrated as possible throughout your shave. To maximize the benefits of "wet shaving", it's therefore key that you choose the right shave brush since the brush provides the two main, distinguishing ingredients of the "wet shave": 1) the layer of warm water you need to maintain between your shave lather and skin in order to keep the razor from dragging across your skin and causing razor burn, and 2) the rich, thick lather that works to suspend your facial hair upright, exposing the greatest length of your facial hair and allowing you to shave your whiskers as closely as possible.
Typically, shaving brushes are made with either natural boar or badger hair (or some combination of the two). Boar hair tends to be much thicker and notoriously less flexible than badger, and this tends to reduce the quality of the lather produced by brushes made with boar hair while also increasing the possibility that you'll find the brush less soft on your skin. Badger hair, on the other hand, produces not only a consistently creamier lather and a softer brush, but it also tends to hold more water and more effectively raise your hairs and prime your skin in preparation for a closer and more comfortable shave. Badger hair's elasticity also works to maintain the shave brush's overall, tapered shape even after years of use (note that on average, a quality brush should last you 5-7 years). Hence why all the shaving brushes available on our site are made exclusively with pure badger hair brush heads.
That said, you will notice that the choice between either badger or boar hair isn't the only thing to consider in selecting the brush head that's right for you. Badger brushes are available in three different qualities, or grades, of hair. The different qualities affect not only the price and look of the brush, but each provides for a slightly different shaving experience. Do you prefer your brush to exfoliate your skin while applying your shave lather? Or is your biggest concern that you have the softest brush possible, to avoid irritating sensitive skin? How you answer these kinds of questions will lead you to the brush that's right for you. To help you along, we've prepared the following guide to not only what the differences between the qualities of badger hair are in a technical sense, but also what their different affects will be on your shave:
Silver Tip Badger
Silver Tip Badger hair is the highest quality hair available. The distinctive and natural silver color of the brush is created by carefully hand-selecting the softest and most elegantly tapered hairs available from the area around the badger's neck. Silver Tip brushes are not trimmed in order to create the overall shape of the brush's head, but are instead hand-shaped from naturally varied lengths of silver-tipped badger hair. Silver Tip Badger hair is the softest of the three qualities and is especially flexible as such, any shaver would certainly enjoy the luxury of a Silver Tip Badger brush, but we especially recommend this grade to shavers with sensitive skin.
Super Badger is another very high quality of badger hair. Super Badger hair's colors run from yellow-brown to light grey and it is also exclusively used in hand filled brushes. Super Badger hairs grow slightly less long than Silver Tip hairs and they tend to be slightly less soft as a result, however Super Badger brushes are still incredibly supple as their production also preserves the badger hair's natural tapering (by not trimming the hair). Super Badger is a good choice for shavers who like a shave brush that is somewhat stiffer, which increases the massaging sensation of the brush on the skin.
Best Badger tends to appear either brown-grey to black, and is another very good quality of badger hair. Best Badger should be the choice for any shaver who wants their brush to help further exfoliate their skin prior to their shave. Unlike the other two qualities, Best Badger brush heads are formed from hair that has been trimmed and machine filled. As a result, Best Badger brushes are shaped from slightly wider hairs and are a bit stiffer to the touch. The "pliant rigidity" of these brushes will work to more vigorously massage your skin, and can help to prepare slightly thicker facial hair for a more comfortable shave.
Regardless of what shave brush you decided is right for you, we want to remind you that all new brushes should be washed with warm soapy water prior to their first use. And that in your daily use, please remember to rinse the brush under fresh warm water after and to dry the brush in a holder with the bristles facing down. Before storing your brush, for travel for instance, please allow the brush head to dry thoroughly, as wet or damp bristles are more vulnerable to damage.