The shaving brush is arguably one of the more forgotten and neglected elements of the average man's grooming regime. Many men choose to leave this step out of their routine either to avoid the extra time it takes in the morning or the effort involved in using another shaving tool each day. However, once you have incorporated a high-quality shaving brush into your daily shaving, it won’t be long till you can’t imagine shaving without it. Shaving brushes have been used by men for centuries, and rightly so, as they have enormous benefits for both the condition of your skin and the closeness of your shave. Not only does a luxury shaving brush add character and charm to your bathroom shelf, but it also prepares the skin for a close shave and reduces the chances of post-shave irritation.
The bristles on a brush allow you to create a much richer and thicker lather than is possible by hand. By achieving a quality lather, your skin will be far softer in preparation for your razor, and you will end up with much less irritation after shaving.
Your shaving brush will be able to get underneath your facial hair and whiskers to lift them away from the surface of the skin. By raising your hairs and causing them to stand upright, the shaving cream can get right into the skin, and your razor can slice through the hair at the perfect angle and closeness.
The lather created by a shaving brush acts as a thick lubricant and provides your razor with a hydrated surface to glide across. The less friction between the razor and your skin, the smoother your shave will be, and the more comfortable your skin will feel after shaving.
Finally, shaving brushes also act as a type of exfoliator. The bristles moving in a circular motion can brush away any debris or dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. This way, your razor can glide more smoothly and there is less chance of spots or ingrown hairs cropping up as a result.
If you have a shaving bowl, fill it with a dash of warm water to use throughout your shave. For best results, we almost recommend using a stainless-steel or porcelain bowl but if you don’t have one, the sink will do. Your water should be warm enough to soften the bristles of your shaving brush but not hot enough to be uncomfortable on the skin. Very hot water can also melt the adhesive in your shaving brush, causing the bristles to fall out, so it's always best to use luke-warm water.
Once you’ve found the right temperature, wet your brush by dipping the bristles into the warm water and allowing them to soak for a short period. It is worth noting that you won't need to do this for as long if you're using a synthetic shaving brush. Unlike animal hair, synthetic fibres cannot absorb the water so this step is just to trap moisture within the bundle. Whether you're using a badger shaving brush or a synthetic fill, remember to shake off any excess water before moving onto the next step.
At this point, you should have your shaving cream or soap at the ready. To create the richest, creamiest texture, put a small amount of shaving cream or a solid puck of shaving soap in your bowl with the warm water. You shouldn’t need much product to create a rich lather if you source your shaving cream from reputable brands. By spending slightly more on your grooming products they become far more economical by saving you from having to replace products regularly. We recommend Martin de Candre shaving soaps for this reason. While more expensive initially, these triple-milled soaps will easily last you a year's worth of shaves. If you prefer shaving cream, you can't go wrong with Geo F Trumper or Taylor of Old Bond Street. Both creams produce exceptional cushion and glide with some of the world's most admired fragrances.
Next, you can start lathering. There are a few different options for building up your lather; as mentioned beforte, we recommedn you use a shaving bowl, but you can also lather into your hand or straight onto your beard area. Move your shaving brush in a gentle circular or back-and-forth motion and you will notice the soap starts to thicken and create a satisfying white foam on your skin. It’s important not to get too carried away when lathering as you can end up over-doing it and causing your soap to become too runny, meaning it won’t protect your skin during the shave. A high-quality shaving brush should last you for many years if looked after, so it’s essential not to press too hard on your skin and end up damaging the bristles over time, especially if you're using more fragile badger hair. The most important tip of all is to enjoy the lathering process and take the time each day to give your skin some well-earned TLC rather than starting straight away with your razor.
Once you’re happy with your lather, you can go in with your traditional wet razor and shave your facial hair as usual. The thick layer of shaving cream will protect your skin and ensure a close shave.
Finally, you're ready to rinse your freshly shaven face and shaving brush under cold water. Make sure to massage the bristles of your brush with your fingers to get rid of all the soap and use a towel to absorb any excess water from the bristles. To prevent your shaving brush from smelling of damp and showing signs of rotting, you will need to store it with the bristles pointing downwards. Many shaving brushes will come with a dedicated stand, which you should keep on a well-ventilated shelf in your bathroom. Avoid the urge to declutter your shelves and accidentally shove your shaving brush in a cupboard, as this can prevent the bristles from drying thoroughly. Of course, if you use a synthetic brush you won't have to worry about this as much, as the manmade fibres are designed to dry quickly without any lingering damp smell.
The English Shaving Company are proud to stock an array of high-quality synthetic and badger hair shaving brushes allowing you to create a quality lather that is impossible with just your fingers alone. You can browse our range to find the one that works for you or get in touch with our team to find out more about which type of bristle to choose.