Tools of the Trade - Shaving Brushes
Traditional English Handmade Badger Shaving Brushes
Badger Hair has been used for more than two centuries to make the best shaving brushes; in the past it was the preserve of the wealthy, now it is available to all. Badger hair is quality graded according to the appearance and softness of the hairs; the ascending classifications are Best, Super and Silver-tip. The price of a brush will depend on the quality of the hair and the amount of it used in the brush - it is an expensive resource and the highest standards of quality control are used when the hair is sourced. The hair is cleansed and sterilised to ensure that it is not only clean but performs to meet user expectations.
Why Use Badger Hair?
Badger hair is different to many types of fur - like human hair it absorbs water and it is this characteristic that makes badger hair perfect for shaving brushes. The lathering process whips hot water, soap and air into a warm foam that cleanses the skin and lubricates the path of the razor. Water is the key element in a good shave and the more a brush can hold, the better the lather and shave will be. The fine tips of the hairs help to make a smooth and creamy lather and the exceptional softness of badger-hair cleanses the face gently, giving a comfortable and reliable shave.
Silver tip badger hair shaving brush - this is the highest quality of all. The finely graded and sorted pure badger hair is the softest, rarest and most expensive badger hair; with natural untrimmed silver tips, it is the highest quality available in shaving brushes worldwide. The pure colouring of this hair is enhanced by careful hand grading and filling. The shape of our silver tip filled brushes is created by hand. The long hair from the neck of the animal is ultra soft, flexible and will provide years of luxurious shaving.
Super Badger Shaving Brush - this is the finer hair from the back of the badger, it is longer and softer than ?best? badger and, because it is finer, requires more hairs to fill a brush. This high quality grade of badger hair is only used in hand filled brushes. Visually, the badger bundle displays a distinctive black band capped with pure white tips and is presented in a natural fan shape, using the natural hair ends to create the shape and softness. The shape of Edwin Jagger Super Badger filled brushes is created by hand. We do not trim the hairs to create the overall badger bundle shape, a time saving method used by some other suppliers.
Best Badger Shaving Brush - this is an excellent quality of pure badger hair. It is normally regarded as the benchmark standard of shaving brush manufacturers. The hair is harvested from the majority of the pelt, including the belly. It is generally darker in colour although the colours of individual hairs vary from grey and brown to black. This quality creates lather far superior to that resulting from the use of a bristle brush.
How a Shaving Brush is Made
The average brush will contain approximately 14000 hairs, weighed precisely to fit the securing ring that holds the brush together. The manufacturing process is highly skilled and most of the work is done by hand using traditional tools.
The 'bundle' of hair is combed to remove any hairs not lying straight. The hairs are then placed tip-first into a heavy metal forming block which has a concave interior to give the distinctive ?dome? shape of a quality brush. The end of the bundle is tied off securely with strong thread and then glued into a ring. This fixes the hairs in the finished shape of the brush.
The base or 'shaft' end of the hairs are sheared off (the tips are never cut as it is the fine tips that give the softness in a brush of true quality).
The clamped bundle is then carefully cemented into the chosen brush handle, creating a luxurious tool that will last for many years.
How to Look After Your Shaving Brush
A badger hair brush is a natural product that with loving care should last ten to fifteen years. When you get a new brush it is quite natural for a few loose hairs to come away from the brush in the first few weeks; these are shorter hairs that did not quite reach to the glue in the base and this should not be a cause for concern.
Wet your brush thoroughly before use, dip the tip of the brush into the shaving cream or soap and lather gently using a light circular or up and down motion; when applying the shaving cream or soap do not apply too much pressure, causing the badger hair to splay.
After shaving, rinse the brush gently but thoroughly in clean water, flick the excess water away and place the brush in a stand with the hair pointing down. If you do not have a stand, leave the brush pointing up rather than horizontal, so that air can get to all the hairs and dry the brush naturally.
Natural hair that is left wet can develop mildew; try to avoid enclosing a wet brush in too small an enclosed space. If you keep it in the bathroom cabinet ensure that it has sufficient space to dry. If you shave away from home and keep your shaving brush in a travel tube or kit bag, give it an opportunity to dry as soon as you can. If you brush becomes affected by mildew or a buildup of soap, soak it in a solution of Borax, which can be obtained from a pharmacy.