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Thread: Circular vs straight brush strokes

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    Default Circular vs straight brush strokes

    Just got my replacement Simpson Colonel brush direct from the UK (thanks to excellent customer service from Simpsons -- see separate thread titled "Shedding Simpsons").

    The directions that come with every Simpsons brush say to use back-and-forth strokes rather than circular strokes for brush longevity. I've read this elsewhere too, that circular brush strokes are hard on the brush hairs.

    I want to do the best I can to preserve a nice brush, but find it very difficult to load the brush with a hard soap with back-and-forth strokes on the soap. It's no easier face lathering with the same back-and-forth stroke either. And virtually every video I've watched, including Lynn's DVD, shows experienced shavers using circular brush strokes, both for loading the brush with product and for face lathering.

    So --- what's the truth here? Does anyone actually use exclusively back-and-forth brush strokes to load and lather? Does it matter, for brush longevity, or can I just forget about this and do what seems most natural and use circular strokes?
    Steve
    Omaha, NE

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    This is just a guess at why Simpsons have that warning not to use circular strokes with their brushes so take it for what it's worth. I would think that there are people out there that just mash the knot flat when using circular strokes and I am sure that qualifies as abuse to the brush and causes premature wear.

    I do not mash the knot flat to load or face lather with but use just enough pressure to lightly splay the knot. I have not seen any ill effects using shave brushes this way. I am not recommending it in the face of Simpsons warnings but just saying that is what I do. Yes, I do have a few Simpsons brushes in my rotation.

    Bob
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    Senior Member Baxxer's Avatar
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    It will probably last longer but that's because you're not really using it imo, wear and tear is natural for almost any tool that gets used and I think the direction is just some BS that manufacturers write to cover their a**es for when someone damages their brush by using too much pressure or when someone is disappointed that they need a new brush after 20-30 years.

    I exclusively face lather so back and forth strokes would get me nowhere when shaving and my brush is still going strong after 4 years of bi-daily use.
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    Senior Member JTmke's Avatar
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    I think it's easier to tangle the hairs in a circular motion causing clumping which may lead to shedding. I use circular motions and painting strokes. Don't mash the brush. Just use the tips. My Colonel shed on its first two used and has not shed since nor have any of my other quality brushes.
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    King of the Shorties Aldwyn's Avatar
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    I start out doing circular strokes to spread the cream around and whip it up real good, but then go to a painting stroke to even out the stuff on my face.

    Dont really see any issues with my brushes.
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    The Assyrian Obie's Avatar
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    Gentlemen,

    I use both strokes about the same amount with some variations thrown in for good measure. No, no, mashing the brush onto the soap puck or the face is cause for shortening the brush's life. I load the brush using the tips, lather in the bowl using the tips and then apply the lather using the tips. After all, the shaving brush is not like a potato masher.

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    Senior Member Ernie1980's Avatar
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    I only use circular motions both for loading and applying- can't imagine doing it another way! I have no idea what the expected lifespan of a brush is, but mine is about to turn 2 and it is still going strong

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Haroldg48's Avatar
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    I agree with BobH on the not mashing, but would say that where I'm from in the US, we'd call it 'butt-covering' on Simpson's part.

    I've been using a brush to lather since 1975 or so, and I have always loaded the brush by doing circular strokes...never wore one out. I think you could die of boredom trying to load it back and forth, but then I only have one Simpson. Most of my other brushes cost less.
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    Thanks everyone! Great stuff. Confirms what I was hoping, that circular strokes just make sense and seem natural, for loading and lathering (with some linear "painting" strokes to even out the lather). Agree with watching out for mashing the brush.

    Just wanted to confirm, in my relative newbie status, that I wasn't missing the boat.
    Steve
    Omaha, NE

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    yea, I use both types of strokes with all my brushes and my oldest ones are about 15 years old and they haven't lost a hair or shown any negative signs so.....
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