Shaving brushes have several benefits. They infuse your shaving soap/cream with water, this helps to create a lather that is richer than one you could create by lathering with your hand. It will also gently exfoliate your skin, removing any dead skin cells, to keep the skin healthy and soft. Finally, a shaving brush will help to properly lift and soften the stubble to help you achieve the closest shave possible.
PURE BADGER (also Black Badger)
This is the most common type of brush since it uses hair from the underbelly of the Badger, this is the hair that covers most of it’s body. Because of this, Pure Badger brushes vary greatly and can range in color from dark tan to black. They are generally the least expensive and easiest to find. They usually have a coarse texture that feels scratchy but will soften a bit over time. Some feel its scratchiness can be beneficial in exfoliating the skin and helping to lift the beard, it also helps to agitate the top of soaps to build better lather. Black Badger is another type of Pure Badger, they are made using only the darkest hairs and have a more overall stiffness throughout the brush. After being placed in the brush handle, Pure, as well as Black Badger, generally have the hairs cut to form the shape of the loft.
These brushes are lighter in color than the Pure Badger, ranging from lighter tan to gray and the hairs get lighter as they reach the tip of the loft. They are more densely filled and are usually fit so the tips do not need to be cut. Because of this, they are less scratchy than the Pure, but some “wet shavers” will debate whether there is much of a significant difference between the two.
These are made of hairs found on the back of the animal and are known for its black “band” through the middle and lightens at tips to almost white. Some manufacturers have been known to bleach the tips of a Super Badger to further enhance the lightness. These white tips are short but never trimmed, and because the hairs used are finer, it takes more of them to fill the brush. They are delicate, so they are more prone to damage if not used/dried properly. Super Badgers are dense and soft, with little to no scratchiness and have a more luxurious feel than the Pure and Best Badgers. They easily build lather and hold in water better than the lower grades, but are also significantly more expensive as well.
This is the highest grade badger brush and the most expensive because they use a more rare hair found on the neck of the badger. Like the Super, these have a distinct color “band” from black to white, but the tips are never bleached from their natural white color. These hairs are the most delicate and require the most care to avoid damage and prevent the hairs from breaking. They are similar to the Super Badger, yet slightly better, in their ability to absorb water and build fast/amazing lather. They do have a significantly softer and more gentle feel on the face, making the Silvertip the most luxurious of all brush grades.
Note: Although a quality brush is made of badger, Boar bristle brushes are also not uncommon because they are extremely inexpensive. They are extremely scratchy and prickly and do not hold water well. They cannot build lather nearly as well as ANY of the badger brushes.