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Thread: The Synthetic Brush Shootout

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenRipper View Post
    It seems that you and I are two of a kind as I wouldn't want to have to choose between the two either. I just finished my shave and when I stepped into the shower I was all set to put the Cashmere to work on my tub of Delor de Treget but when I got out I decided that I was in the mood for a combination of Snake Bite and Taum Sauk AS, which meant that my hand immediately drifted to the Tuxedo.

    I think that one thing I love about the hobby is the options and I like having plenty of my own, including my beautiful Tuxedo and Cashmere knotted brushes!
    Right. I've been alternating between the two each day. And I just have to say, every time I get done with one, I'm convinced it's the best. Then the next day I use the other one and I'm convinced it's the best. LOL

    Today I used Aether soap by Grooming Dept. The Tuxedo was such a treat with this incredible soap. The combination was better than anything I could have done even as short as a year ago.

    I almost feel guilty that these brushes didn't cost four or five times what I paid for them. That's how good they feel. Add Grooming Dept soap, and you have a match made in heaven.

    By the way, one aspect of these brushes that I haven't seen people write much about is that they are also very easy to clean and quick to dry. I can't find anything negative to say about them.

  2. #42
    Senior Member GreenRipper's Avatar
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    An attribute of synthetics is that they simply don't hold onto water the way badger brushes do. Some consider this a failing when it comes to using them to build a lather but almost all the wet shavers I know will admit that it's of benefit in a travel brush. It's pretty nice being able to get up for a morning shave and have your brush be reasonably dry by checkout.

    As far as a negatives go, it depends upon your perspective. First is the matter of scritch, I'm pretty scritch adverse (and it appears that we share this trait) but some guys love a brush with some scratch to it. Heck, some guys even feel that they need that scritch to lift their whiskers so that they can shave them off. If that's the case then synthetics are unlikely to be your new favorite brush. The other "negative" is that reluctance synthetics exhibit when it comes to holding onto water. This attribute makes building a lather with a synthetic brush a bit different than with a badger and some guys simply prefer having a knot that holds onto water better than the synthetics do.

    Last but not least, don't feel guilty about the price you paid! These are fantastic knots and I think far too many people give them a pass simply because the price leads them to believe that they must be inferior, that and the fact that the old synthetics were...we'll say "sub-optimal" and be nice about it. I mentioned before that when I see someone new to the hobby asking about brushes I'm quick to steer them in the direction of the latest generation of synthetics as I feel that their virtues far outweigh their sins and when it comes to price they are a great value. On top of that, any dollars you saved on a knot are likely to get used to feed some other AD. That or you can do as I did and hang around the Brushmakers' Alcove and find a piece of art to mount those beloved knots in!
    Last edited by GreenRipper; 09-17-2017 at 02:19 AM.
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenRipper View Post
    An attribute of synthetics is that they simply don't hold onto water the way badger brushes do. Some consider this a failing when it comes to using them to build a lather but almost all the wet shavers I know will admit that it's of benefit in a travel brush. It's pretty nice being able to get up for a morning shave and have your brush be reasonably dry by checkout.

    As far as a negatives go, it depends upon your perspective. First is the matter of scritch, I'm pretty scritch adverse (and it appears that we share this trait) but some guys love a brush with some scratch to it. Heck, some guys even feel that they need that scritch to lift their whiskers so that they can shave them off. If that's the case then synthetics are unlikely to be your new favorite brush. The other "negative" is that reluctance synthetics exhibit when it comes to holding onto water. This attribute makes building a lather with a synthetic brush a bit different than with a badger and some guys simply prefer having a knot that holds onto water better than the synthetics do.

    Last but not least, don't feel guilty about the price you paid! These are fantastic knots and I think far too many people give them a pass simply because the price leads them to believe that they must be inferior, that and the fact that the old synthetics were...we'll say "sub-optimal" and be nice about it. I mentioned before that when I see someone new to the hobby asking about brushes I'm quick to steer them in the direction of the latest generation of synthetics as I feel that their virtues far outweigh their sins and when it comes to price they are a great value. On top of that, any dollars you saved on a knot are likely to get used to feed some other AD. That or you can do as I did and hang around the Brushmakers' Alcove and find a piece of art to mount those beloved knots in!
    Perhaps I mentioned price as I did, a bit too much tongue in cheek. I'm thrilled with what I paid. The value is there far beyond the cost. Far, far beyond.

    I agree that people assume there must be something "lower end" about them due to price. But that is simply not so. A guy I have enjoyed on YouTube for a long time, went exclusively to synthetics. It motivated me to begin looking into them.

    Interesting what you say about holding water. With either my Cashmere or Tuxedo, I simply hold it under the water for a moment till it is wet. Then I squeeze it out and load my soap. It loads easily whether or not I am using harder or softer soaps. I don't bloom the soap at all. With softer soaps I load for about 4 seconds. With harder soaps, I load for about 6 - 10 seconds maximum. This is true with either brush. So the Cashmere has more than enough backbone.

    From there, I just add water a few times until I get the lather where I want it. So very simple. To do that, I hold my hand under running water, and let a few drops fall into my bowl.

    Drying is a real treat with these. I rinse them out, then shake them off a few times in the shower so it doesn't fling water all over. Swipe it across a towel a couple of times and hang it up. It is dry in an hour or two. And I live where it is humid.

    These FAR surpass any animal brush I've had. But they do work a bit different than animal brushes. After a couple of uses I adjusted easily. That's what I find with most people i've talked with who have gone to synthetic brushes.

    Looks like we have much in common and have come to much the same conclusions.

    I am tempted by the 30mm Tuxedo, but it might just be that it would use far more soap. One day I'll give it a try perhaps. In the meantime, I couldn't ask for more.
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  4. #44
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    I've been going back and forth, alternating between the Tuxedo and the Cashmere every day.

    One day I would say that I prefer the Tuxedo and another day, I'd say I prefer the Cashmere. I still haven't been able to come to a final conclusion.

    But I will say they both later like crazy. They are fast and efficient. And both are incredibly soft.

    I went ahead and asked Wild West Brush Works to make a 30mm Tuxedo brush. I should have it in a few weeks. Just couldn't resist.

    So I'll soon know how the larger size is.
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  5. #45
    Senior Member GreenRipper's Avatar
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    Most of the guys that I've run across that use a 30mm are head shavers but I'm interested to hear how you like it.

    Late next week I should have a new Brush Craft brush, equipped with a 24mm Silvertip, arriving in my mailbox. I'm curious as to how it will stack up against my synthetics but have little fear that any of my brushes will fall out of the rotation.
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    Senior Member CamMorris's Avatar
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    Thanks very much GR for all your work on this project, I throughly enjoyed reading it this morning! Although I've almost exclusively used badger knots till now, I do believe there may be a "Tux" in my future!
    Stay Sharp!
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  7. #47
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    My thanks as well, GreenRipper and TheKey!

    I need a new brush as my Omega boar and my Simpsons Colonel shed regularly and i find it annoying. I had not really considered a synthetic; was leaning toward a high-end badger like a Thater, but now am thinking more about a Tuxedo.

    Great info on this thread!
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    Steve
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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenRipper View Post
    Most of the guys that I've run across that use a 30mm are head shavers but I'm interested to hear how you like it.

    Late next week I should have a new Brush Craft brush, equipped with a 24mm Silvertip, arriving in my mailbox. I'm curious as to how it will stack up against my synthetics but have little fear that any of my brushes will fall out of the rotation.
    Hey GreenRipper,

    That's what I'm concerned with... since I don't head shave (at least yet, but if my hair keeps thinning, I may have to consider it, lol) is that a big brush will be overkill.

    So we'll see.

    Brush Craft makes some stunning brushes. Is Chris back from break now?

    Love to hear what you think of using an animal brush now vs synthetic. I for one and very happy with synthetic and very happy with what it does for my wallet.

    Let us know.

  9. #49
    Senior Member GreenRipper's Avatar
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    First of all, let me thank everyone for taking the time to read this. The project began as an experiment to learn a little about brushes and evolved into a review and I am very happy to see that it is being read and helping other members find, or at least try, a new brush in their rotation. I will be very honest and say that I truly believe that, when it comes to entry level brushes, synthetics offer the best bang for your buck. This isn't to dissuade anyone from a badger or boar offering and, as in pretty much all things with our hobby, YMMV.

    I briefly considered trying the 30mm Tuxedo but the 24mm knots work well for me and then I subsequently decided to write this review. I'm in the same club when it comes to thinning hair but if head shaving becomes necessary, and it might, then the 30mm Tuxedo is likely to get the nod. Who knows, you might just love that huge knot on your face but since I've kept a beard or Van Dyke for the last 20+ years that big knot is likely to result in a mess for me.

    As far as I know Chris wasn't on a long hiatus but I do know that he does most of his turning on the weekends. It is actually the high quality of Chris' work that pushed me into the Silvertip knot. The latest brush was originally going to house the Ubersoft 2 knot that I still have but as the project took form I knew that it was going to need something a bit special. Chris had a Silvertip on hand so that is what is coming in this new brush and I can tell you that while my other Brush Craft brushes are beautiful this one really is something special.

    I'd agree that the synthetics are much easier on the wallet and the last thing I need to do is become a brush collector because my wallet isn't very happy with me as it is. That said, I know that this brush probably isn't my last but it certainly is the last one for a while!
    Last edited by GreenRipper; 10-09-2017 at 11:11 AM.
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  11. #50
    The Assyrian Obie's Avatar
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    GreenRipper,

    Well done on these reviews of synthetic brushes. I have followed the thread carefully and enjoyed the commentary.

    About three years ago, I found myself slowly moving closer to synthetic brushes, first with the Plisson, then Edwin Jagger and other brands and knots. Didn't like the Muhle synthetics, and still don't.

    Because of my ultra-sensitive skin, I've had to rely strictly on silvertip badger brushes. Yet, even within that category, some silvertip brushes had a wee bit of "scritch," which for me was just as unpleasant as using boar brushes. So some of the synthetics were the answer.

    I have four silvertip badger brushes left: Wiborg, Vulfix 377 silvertip, Thater 26mm two-band and Simpson PJ3 super badger. The Wiborg is promised to a dear friend, who is heading overseas for work. The Persian Jar 3 is almost sold. So then I'll have the Vulfix and the Thater left, both of which have silky soft tips. I'll probably keep them for occasional use.

    Today my lineup of shave brushes is almost exclusively synthetic: Tuxedo, Cashmere, Uber-soft, Angel Hair, Black Wolf, and some other synthetic knots I don't know. These synthetics are a joy to use, especially the Tuxedos, and they not only help create luxurious lather, but also feel like an angel's breath on my skin.

    I am a poor writer, but I don't use synthetic brushes for their relatively low price; rather, I use them because I like them, and especially because they are gentle on my ultra-sensitive skin.

    Good show for starting this useful thread, my friend. Great job.
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