Boar Hair vs Badger Hair Shaving Brushes – Which Is Best?
Shaving brushed come in many shapes and sizes but they can split up into four main groups:-
- Badger hair
- Boar hair
- Horse hair
The two most popular types of brush, however, are badger and boar hair. In this article we're going to look at the difference between these brushes and which one is right for you.
Boar Hair Brushes
Boar hair brushes are cheaper than badger hair brushes with a normal price range from as low as $5 up to $20.
Boar hair brushes are more "scrubby", stronger and do a very good job of lifting the hair from the surface of the skin, allowing the lather to get underneath for a good shaving experience. Boar hairs also have a hook that further improves the ability to pick up hairs.
Another feature of boar hairs is that they split (much like human hairs), making the brush softer over time. This is why people often talk about "breaking in" their boar hair brush - they mean using it until the hairs split and the brush becomes softer.
Boar hair does tend to have a strong smell. For some people the smell can be too strong and offsets the fragrance of the shaving cream that they are using. The strength of the smell, of course depends on the product that you are using.
The physical properties of the boar brush generally make it "tougher" against the face which doesn't feel as soft and luxurious as the badger brush. On the flip side, others will find that they need a tougher brush to help make the hairs stand on end prior to shaving (as described above). A lot of this is all down to personal preference.
Two Recommended Boar Hair Brushes for Beginners
If you're new to shaving and not sure what boar hair brush you should buy, then we highly recommend anything brushes from Omega or Semogue - two high quality boar hair brush manufacturers:
This is a hand made in Portugal, very high quality boar brush and is one of the most popular brushes with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com.
This is a highly recommended boar brush for those new to shaving and is one of our favourite brushes.
A cheaper alternative to the Semogue 1250, this is a high quality natural boar hair brush with chrome colored handle in a classic style.
This brush is ideal not only for veterans but for new shavers.
These brushes are more expensive than boar hair brushes and can range anywhere from $20 to over $300. Does this necessarily make them a better brush? No. Most people I know have both badger and boar brushes and use them interchangeably as they see fit.
Badger brushes certainly have a softer feel to them and the physical property of badger hair allows it to both retain water and heat better, two things that can often help to obtain a denser, stronger lather. Some say that their badger brush has a much more luxurious feel because of its softness and ability to "mould" around objects that it's pushed against.
In terms of durability, a decent badger brush can last for years and tend to be more durable than the boar alternative. When you first pick up a badger brush, it will tend tend to have a distinctive smell, however that dissipates quickly within the first two or three uses.
Two Recommended Badger Brushes for Beginners
There are three grades of badger hair brush: "pure", "super" and "silvertip". Below we have a recommendation of two of the best from the "pure" range as a great entry level brush for beginner wet shavers:-
Escali 100% Pure Badger Shaving Brush
A perfect beginner brush for those new to wet shaving. Cheap, easy to produce an excellent lather, sheds minimally and a nice wooden handle.
SimplyBeautiful Basic 100% Pure Badger Shaving Brush
Another great beginner brush that allows you to quickly and easily create a rich, smooth lather.
This brush is the best value for money on the badger hair brush market right now.
The best brush really comes down to personal preference and the type of hair that you have on your beard. A lot of the pros and cons of a shaving brush comes down to what works well for you and nobody can really tell you definitively which is "best" for your personal circumstances.
What are your favourite shaving brushes? Let us know in the comments below - we'd love to hear your opinion!
I purchased the Van Der Hagen luxury shave kit with the boar brush. I also purchased their badger brush. Both brushes work very well and I Have no preference as yet. The set is a great buy for under $30.00. I highly recommend this set.
I agree, Chris, the Van Der Hagen luxury kit is great value for money