Best Shaving Brushes: Synthetic & Badger Hairs Reviewed

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A shaving brush is an essential tool when you want a traditional wet shave.  With the ability to whip up a rich and thick lather, a shave brush can help to make your shave both more comfortable and yield better results.

But here’s the deal:

Not all shave brushes are created equal.  As we reviewed countless brands and options available on the market, the quality of the shaving brush can vary greatly.  In this guide, we not only look at the best shave brushes, such as the Parker Silvertip Brush shave brush, but we also constructed this guide to help in both research and care of the new shave brush you decide to purchase.

Comparing The Best Shaving Brushes

For men who like simple and straightforward answers – below we compare each of the shave brushes we recommend in an objective and unbiased manner.  Here we scored each shaving brush based on the following features:

  • Shave Brush Fiber Type: The grade and the quality of the fiber itself.
  • Handle Material: The quality and durability of handle composition.
  • Shave Brush Size: If it works for men with different sized hands.
Shaving BrushBest ForBristle TypeHandle
Parker Silvertip BrushBest OverallBadger / SilvertipChrome
Omega HI-BRUSHBest SyntheticSyntheticSynthetic
Omega Professional BrushBest BoarBoarSynthetic
Kent BK8 BrushBest LuxuryBadger / SilvertipSynthetic
Parker Travel BrushBest TravelBadger / PureAluminum
Vie Long BrushBest HorseHorseWooden
Simpson Special 1 BrushBest GiftBadger / PureSynthetic
Perfecto BrushBest BudgetBadger / PureWooden

Best Shave Brushes Reviewed

1. Best Silvertip: Parker Silvertip Bristle Shaving Brush

Key Features:

  • Made from real silvertip bristles
  • Super soft bristles offer a nice pre-shave exfoliation
  • Generates a rich lather

Summary:

When it comes to silvertip shaving brushes, among the most popular, will be the Parker Silvertip Shaving Brush.  Not only is this brush made from genuine silvertip badger fibers, but it’s also affordably priced compared to other brushes relying on the same grade of fibers.  When looking at it from a performance standpoint, it stands head and shoulders above the rest. Here’s why:

  • Wet shavers love this shave rush thanks to the consistently good lather it can whip up

Whether you are a wet shaving expert or one starting to unlock the true joys of this process, the Parker Silvertip Shaving brush relies on pliable fibers that can draw out the best properties of just about any decent shave cream.  When combined with hot water, the soft badger bristles will hold moisture better than most other brushes allowing the mixture of water and shave cream to really shine.

  • Gentle exfoliation during application help to awaken and prep your facial hair prior to shaving

Beyond simply applying shaving cream to your face, a shaving brush plays a critical role in both softening your whiskers while also providing gentle exfoliation to your skin.  This can help knock loose any dead skin cells along with dirt and debris.  The quality silvertip badger bristle found in this brush makes this exfoliation both deeper and better.

  • Heavyweight chrome handle provides plenty of heft

While lightweight acrylic handles have their place, particularly when it comes to durability, the handle on this Parker Silvertip Bristle shaving brush is among the heaviest out there.  Not only does this feel great in your hand when you are whipping up a good lather, but it will also not tip over easily when it is docked in the stand.

Other Important Features:

  • Modest base and height (103mm) strikes a great balance between control and comfort
  • The 24mm knot is packed tightly and will provide a rich lather
  • Includes a clear lucite shaving stand for simple countertop storage
  • Parker is a trusted brand by wet shaving enthusiasts

Pros

  • Made from high quality genuine silvertip badger bristles
  • Provides a rich lather and gentle exfoliation
  • Affordably priced given the quality

Cons

  • Handle weight may be a bit too much for some men

What You Need To Know

When it comes to quality shaving brushes, the Parker Silvertip bristle shaving brush is among the best.  Not only does it perform exceptionally well, it is also affordably priced and should work for most men’s budgets.  Expect the quality bristles to last a long time and elevate your shave experience.

2. Best Synthetic: Omega HI-BRUSH Synthetic Shaving Brush

Key Features:

  • Synthetic fibers are easy to clean and maintain
  • Anti-bacterial design great for men with sensitive skin
  • Contains no animal derived products

Summary:

When it comes to shaving brushes, and brands respected within this space, Omega will be ranked among the top.  Their nearly 100-year history in this space has made them a force to be reckoned with.  As for the Omega HI-BRUSH Synthetic Shaving Brush, here are a few noteworthy features that we think you will like:

  • It holds shave soap and cream much better than traditional animal hair fibers

When it comes to working a thick and rich lather, a good brush should be able to draw up an adequate amount of soap so you can apply it liberally to your face (or elsewhere where you plan on shaving).  Thanks to their reliance on technologically superior thermoplastic semi-crystalline polyester fibers, the bristles in this brush perform exceptionally well.  Beyond carrying abilities, the bristles feature a moderate backbone and a soft splay to the fibers that will feel great when applied to your skin.  

  • A synthetic body has a tight knot and will resist shedding

Thanks to the reliance on a rather wide 25mm knot, the Omega shave brush has been widely reported by men to have very little shedding with continued use.  This is likely due to the fact that the strong synthetic fibers can be tied into place and will not likely break even after extended use.

  • Hygienic and great for men with sensitive skin

One of the unique advantages that synthetic brushes have over other fibers is that they can be washed thoroughly and still not lose their quality.  With that being said, men with sensitive skin find this to be a great advantage as fewer bacteria will be held in the fibers and should help to reduce any post-shave razor burn or skin irritation.

Other Important Features:

  • The reasonable price will work for any man’s process
  • The long loft (58mm) should make the lathering process much easier
  • The short 50mm base of the brush will work for most hand widths

Pros

  • High quality brush for an affordable price tag
  • Great for men that want an animal-free shaving experience
  • Generates a great lather for both soaps and creams

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a shaving or drip stand
  • Loft height may be a bit too long for some

What You Need To Know

When it comes to synthetic shaving brushes, the Omega Professional 0146745 HI-Brush is among the best.  The fibers will feel extremely soft against your skin (especially for a synthetic brush) and provide an ample backbone to provide tactile feedback. 

3. Best Boar Hair: Omega Professional (#10098) Boar Bristle Shaving Brush

Key Features:

  • Long boar bristle fibers provide a stiff backbone
  • The extended handle is great for men larger hands
  • Able to carry a significant amount of shaving cream

Summary:

The most noteworthy feature of the Omega Professional Boar Bristle Shaving Brush isn’t just the animal hair of which it was sourced, but also the extended handle that makes the brush a lofty 145mm in length.  Here are a few notes on why men loved using this boar brush:

  • A stiffer backbone will result in firmer brush shape and deeper exfoliation

One of the primary reasons why men opt for boar brushes over a traditional badger hair shaving brush is that the bristles are much stiffer.  This not only will extend the life of the brush as it can withstand more abuse (particularly when it comes to generating a lather), but it also provides a richer and deeper exfoliation prior to shaving.  This is really beneficial for those men with naturally oily skin that want to try and lift excess oil and dead skin cells prior to shaving.

  • Extended length means that you can use it with just about any mug

While some men may like to whip up a good lather in a shave bowl, when using the Omega Professional Boar Bristle Brush, your options open up when it comes to tools to use within the bathroom.  Ideal for shaving mugs and scuttles, you can still get plenty of leverage on the brush thanks to the curved resin handle.

  • A longer loft allows this brush to carry much more shaving cream than average

As the loft of a shave brush gets longer, so, too, does the amount of shave cream that can be carried in it.  While yes, some control is lost due to the longer loft, many men love this feature of the shaving brush as it can be easily used on other areas of your body.  Whether you are shaving your chest, arms, legs, or elsewhere, the extra bit of shaving cream that it can hold means that you won’t have to whip up another lather mid-shave.

  • Water retention isn’t as good as the traditional badger bristle shaving brush

Unlike the traditional badger hair brush, a boar hair brush has less than stellar water retention, hence the longer loft to compensate for this inherent difference (source).   Therefore, if you are coming from a badger brush, there may be a learning curve (albeit small) when using this shave brush.

Other Important Features:

  • The loft is one of the longest in a shave brush we reviewed standing at 65mm
  • Acrylic handle won’t rot if left in a water puddle like a traditional wooden handle
  • Widely available at several online shaving retailers
  • Not ideal for men with smaller than average hands given the length

Pros

  • Considering the price tag on this brush, it showcases high quality craftsmanship
  • Perfect for wet shavers on a strict grooming budget
  • Carries a ton of shaving cream, making it great to use elsewhere on your body

Cons

  • Using a boar bristle shaving brush takes some getting used to

What You Need To Know

It is easy to see why the Omega Professional 10098 is one of the best boar shaving brushes currently available.  The smart design, quality craftsmanship, and rock bottom price make it accessible for any man looking for a decent shave brush.

4. Luxury Pick: Kent BK8 Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush

Key Features:

  • Super-soft badger hair that offers a large bloom
  • Elegant velvet-lined storage box great for travel
  • Ergonomic handle

Summary:

Known for their well-respected combs and brushes, Kent has been a fixture in the men’s grooming category for nearly 250 years.  With such a rich history, they have helped countless men rediscover the lost art of traditional wet shaving.  The Kent BK8 is an elegant brush that is at the top of the consideration list for many. Here’s why:

  • The soft and moppy brush will feel like silk against your skin

Unlike a boar’s hair bristle brush that exfoliates deep into your skin pores, the Kent BK8 does just the opposite.  The moppy silvertip bristles are very lightweight and will glide over the surface of your face when applied.  This is a polarizing feature within this particular shave brush and some men will either love it or hate it.  

  • The storage case is the best in class and is well-crafted

One aspect of this brush that we loved was the included leather storage case.  Lined with soft red velvet and secured by a single button snap closure, it will keep your valued shave brush secure while in transit.  A perfect inclusion for business travelers or those that are looking for a nice shave brush as a gift.

  • Expect to pay a lather tax

While the Kent BK8 is among the priciest shave brushes we reviewed, one hidden cost of this brush is the amount of shaving cream that is required in order to generate a rich lather.  With such a moppy head, a lot more shaving cream will need to be used.  While many men may not mind this as the cost is negligible for most, if you are using some high-end shaving cream, it may add up over time.

  • Kent BK2 vs. BK4 vs. BK8 – what’s the difference between them?

When researching Kent shaving brushes, you’ll find that there are three models available: BK2, BK4, and BK8.  The primary difference between them is the type of badger hair used in the brush and the bristle length.  The Kent models feature the following badger hair grades and lengths:

  • Kent BK2: Pure Badger Hair / Medium Bristle Length
  • Kent BK4: Pure Silvertip Badger / Medium Bristle Length
  • Kent BK8: Silvertip Badger / Long Bristle Length

Other Important Features:

  • Kent is one of the oldest and respected brush manufacturers still in existence today
  • Bristles should remain in the knot so long as the brush has been properly cared for
  • The case cannot be purchased separately
  • The ergonomic handle is a resin made to look like mock ivory
  • The moisture-centric design makes it great for men with sensitive or dry skin

Pros

  • The soft and moppy head will feel great against your skin
  • The travel/storage case is well made
  • Uncompromising materials throughout the brush
  • Ergonomic handle provides plenty of control

Cons

  • It’s expensive

What You Need To Know

When it comes to an old-school shave tool, the Kent BK8 is the best in the business.  Relying on soft and genuine silvertip badger hair, you will look forward to using this shave brush every day you shave.

5. Best For Travel: Parker Safety Razor Travel Shave Brush

Key Features:

  • The aluminum tube is lightweight and rustproof
  • Comes in a gift box
  • Shave brush has been handcrafted

Summary:

Parker is widely known within the shaving industry for offering reliable shaving tools at affordable prices.  While this travel brush doesn’t rely on high-end bristles like their silvertip badger hair offerings, it can provide a reliable lather when on the road.  Here are the important takeaways for this travel shaving brush:

  • The aluminum tube is the perfect alloy for travel shaving

While most brands like to rely on chrome or stainless steel when it comes to traditional wet shaving, Parker did a terrific job at carefully thinking about the intent of the brush and where it will be used.  Aluminum is naturally corrosion and rust-resistant alloy.  Therefore, if the tube gets wet when sitting on the countertop or when tossed into your Dopp kit or toiletry bag, it won’t corrode at all.  Furthermore, the screw threads on the bottom of the knot will still work well whether it’s your first or 100th use of the brush.

And if that wasn’t enough – aluminum is extremely lightweight.  When compared to steel, aluminum is about 2.5 less dense (source).

  • Bristle fiber is not for daily use…and that’s okay

Unlike the other quality shave brushes we reviewed, this travel brush by Parker does rely on the lowest grade of badger hair (pure badger hair).  Therefore, you can expect a less than stellar water retention along with a slightly stiffer backbone.  With that being said, the compromise in bristle quality is more than acceptable if you plan on shaving with a brush while traveling (it still is a good quality brush nevertheless).  

Other Important Features:

  • Can be paired well with a Parker A14 travel razor 
  • When assembled the brush is full-sized
  • The brush head is affixed with a screw top tube that won’t fall off when used
  • The storage tube will resist surface dents and damage

Pros

  • A great addition to your toiletry travel kit
  • The lightweight canister is perfect 
  • Screw top tube offers a secure fit on the brush head

Cons

  • Badger hair bristles aren’t the highest quality

What You Need To Know

Whether you are going to the gym or are on the road for business, the Parker travel shaving brush is the perfect addition to your toiletry kit.  The lightweight design and quality craftsmanship will give you a great shave on the road.

6. Best Horse Hair: Vie Long Professional Horse Hair Shaving Brush

Key Features:

  • Authentic horse hair shaving brush that is affordably priced
  • Sourced in a humane way (horse mane or horse tail)
  • A reputable brand that handcrafts their shave brushes

Summary:

When it comes to finding a horsehair brush for shaving, one of the most trusted names for wet shaving enthusiasts is Vie Long.  Founded in 1940 in Paterna, Spain, Vie Long makes a wide variety of shave brushes that rely on horse hair.  Unlike the horse hair that caused the anthrax scare in NYC at the turn of the 20th century (and the reason that this fiber fell out of popularity), it has been slowly making a comeback with the modern wet shavers.  

  • Horse hair provides a familiar backbone to hog hair

One of the primary reasons that men prefer a horse hair brush is that they are often much cheaper compared to badger and feature a backbone that ages well.  

  • A long loft makes shave cream lathering easier but loses control on application

Like a boar bristle brush, horse hair brushes feature a longer loft to allow for greater water retention as this bristle doesn’t absorb nearly as much water when compared to a badger brush.

While it’s easy to whip up a nice lather with this brush thanks to the stiff bristles, when applying the shaving cream particularly to the mustache area, some control and precision will be lost.  While not a dealbreaker for many – it is an important distinction with this brush.

Other Important Features:

  • This brush does have a slightly more narrow knot diameter at 21mm
  • Bristle tips will splay and soften with continued use
  • The wooden handle features a soft grip that will look and feel nice

Pros

  • Affordably priced
  • Should last for years if cared for properly
  • An animal-friendly alternative to other brushes

Cons

  • Stiff backbone may be a bit too much for some men

What You Need To Know

If you are thinking about trying out a horse hair brush but are unsure which brand to go with, then you need to add Vie Long to the top of your list.  They are experts in this bristle fiber and are well received by the wet shaving community.

7. Best for Gift Giving: Simpson Special 1 Pure Badger Shaving Brush

Key Features:

  • Comes with a red gift box
  • Pure badger fibers are durable
  • Mock-ivory handle

Summary:

The highly popular Great Britain men’s grooming brand Simpson put together a great pure badger shaving brush that is a great introduction for men who are starting to take up the lost art of shaving.  Here’s what makes this brush special for gift giving:

  • Pure badger bristles provide great durability and offer forgiveness

Many men who try out a traditional shave brush for the first time, unintentionally damage their brush due to misuse.  Whether it’s during the cleaning process, how the brush is stored, or when generating a lather, there are a lot of easy ways to ruin the bristles and how they perform.  

In particular, we liked this brush because the bristles are durable and can withstand quite a bit of abuse.  Handcrafted in Great Britain, they will hold to the knot extremely well.  Furthermore, this grade of badger hair should still offer great water retention and provide a light exfoliation when applied to a man’s face.

  • Gift box is great for storage

The gift box included with this brush is the perfect little container that presents well.  With an old-school look, it is timeless.  Furthermore, Simpson makes a nice little shave brush container that compliments and protects the brush when in transit.  Just make sure it is fully dry before storage.

Other Important Features:

  • Simpson handcrafts their brushes and offers them at an affordable price
  • Imitation ivory handle looks timeless

Pros

  • The nice and simple design is great for gift-giving
  • Great affordable alternative to a boar brush
  • Comfortable handle with sweeping curves

Cons

  • Not the best if you are an expert wet shaver

What You Need To Know

If you are looking for a gift idea for that special man in your life (or simply as a present for yourself), the Simpson shave brush is a great entry shaving brush.  The simple design will look great on any bathroom countertop.

8. Affordable: Perfecto 100% Original Pure Badger Shaving Brush

Key Features:

  • Costs under $20 
  • Great entry brush to learn with
  • Relies on a badger bristle

Summary:

Whether you are just discovering the advantages of traditional wet shaving or you want to keep your grooming expenses to a minimum, the Perfecto Pure Badger Shaving brush should be considered.  Here’s why this brush is so popular with men:

  • Real animal hair despite the low cost

What’s really great about the Perfecto brush is that it doesn’t rely on cheap hog hair or synthetic bristle.  Instead, it uses genuine pure badger hair for the bristles.  This ensures that the moisture retention will be better than average while also providing a nice gentle exfoliation when used on your face.

  • The small handle provides control for all areas of your face

Whether you apply shaving cream to your mustache, cheek, or along the chin, the shorter loft and handle on this shave brush provide unparalleled control.  This is particularly great for those men who are learning how to use a shaving brush and don’t need a long loft getting in the way.

  • Setting expectations is important, and that’s okay

One of the biggest gripes men had about this brush was the softness of the fibers and knot quality.  We understand that this isn’t the best brush out there, but when you consider the cost into the equation, not many other brushes can match.  

Therefore, when this brush arrives in the mail, expect it to have a stronger backbone and a lengthy break-in period.  Furthermore, since this isn’t handcrafted like others reviewed, hairs will naturally shed over time.

Other Important Features:

  • The wooden handle has a clear coat to preserve the wood and prevent rot
  • Perfecto makes a complimentary stand so the brush can easily dry
  • Total length is about 65mm

Pros

  • Great affordable beginners brush to learn with
  • Made from real badger hair
  • Easy to control

Cons

  • Won’t last for several years

What You Need To Know

If you are looking for a cheap shaving brush that relies on real animal hair and can whip up a nice lather, then the Perfecto is a great place to start.  Expect to get a gentle exfoliation when using the brush.

4 Tips for Buying a Shaving Brush

Shaving brushes are similar in both form and function across all brands.  However, there are subtle differences that make an impact on performance.  Consider the following before making a purchase:

1. Bristle Type

Shaving brushes can rely on one of the following fibers:

Badger Hair

This is the most common bristle type for shaving brushes.  However, quality varies greatly. Here are the different types:

  1. Pure (appx. $15): The most common of all the badger hair fibers is also the cheapest shave brush that you can get. This is an excellent fiber for beginners.
  2. Best (appx. $25): From a visual standpoint, best badger hair will appear a bit darker than its pure counterpart.  It is softer than pure and won’t provide nearly as deep of an exfoliation. The soft bristles retain more water, allowing for a richer lather.
  3. Super (appx. $50): This bristle tends to be a bit thinner than both pure and best grades. This delicate bristle performs well with quality shaving soaps.
  4. Silvertip (appx. $50 – $100): This is the finest and softest fiber collected from badgers. Expect a reliably great lather from any shaving cream or soap. Since these fibers are very fine, a silvertip brush must be carefully handled and stored.

Boars Hair

Boars hair fiber is relatively inexpensive and typically will cost around $10 to $50 for a brush. Expect a stiff bristle that provides a strong backbone.  With continued use, the fibers will splay, resulting in a softer brush.

Horsehair

This is a much softer fiber, especially when compared to boars hair; a horsehair brush is equally affordable and can rival many quality badger hair brushes.

Synthetic

This is an excellent alternative for those men looking for cruelty-free shaving brushes.  The quality of synthetic brushes varies greatly and can be really good or really bad.  The price for a synthetic brush can range from under $20 to more than $75. 

2. Components of a Shaving Brush

The loft, knot, and handle have an impact on the performance of a shaving brush.  Here’s what you should know:

  • Loft: The length of the bristles is known as the loft.  A long loft helps the shaving brush retain heat and moisture more effectively.  Long lofts are commonly found on boar and horsehair brushes.  A short loft provides better control when applying the shaving cream.  
  • Knot Size: The diameter of the knot will often vary between 15mm to 30mm.  A larger knot allows the brush to carry more water and shaving cream within its bristles.  Shaving brushes with a larger knot will usually be more expensive.
  • Handle Length: If you have larger hands, go with a long handle as it will be easier to control.  As a point of reference, the handle should be no longer than the tip of your thumb to the center of your palm:
max shave brush handle length

3. Brand

Going with a trusted brand is heavily advised no matter what your budget is.  A well-known brand provides consistency in the fibers used on the shaving brush along with high-quality craftsmanship. Here are a few brands we recommend checking out when purchasing a shave brush:

BrandLocationYear Founded
Edwin JaggerSheffield, England1988
KentApsley, England1777
MuhleStützengrün, Germany1945
Parker ShavingYorktown Heights, NY1973
SemogueS. Félix da Marinha, Portugal1955
MaggardsAdrian, MI2012
Vie-LongPaterna, Spain1940
OmegaBologna, Italy1931
Simpson / VulfixCronkbourne, Isle of Man1919
Heinrich L. ThaterNuremberg, Germany1913

4. Return Policy

Most shaving brushes will shed a few bristles after the first couple of uses. However, if it continues to shed after a week of use, you should return or exchange the brush as it is likely faulty craftsmanship.  Before buying, double-check the return policy, so you are aware of your options.