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  1. #1
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    Default $8 brush, $300 brush -- Can't tell the differfence

    OK, I'm far enough along my straight journey to experience and appreciate subtle differences in the kit -- an edge finished on an Asagi v. a fine coticule, full hollow v. 1/2, 1/4, or wedge, tallow v. glycerin, etc. But for the life of me I cannot distinguish between the lather-making qualities of any of my brushes. NB: I'm talking quality of the lather from a given soap, not how the brush feels on the skin, how floppy it appears, etc., which, for me, are minor issues.

    For the record, I have a couple of Simpsons (Polo 10 and Eshan), A Rooney Heritage, and a Kent BK8, all in silvertip, a Plisson Euro white, an AOS Pure and an EJ Best, and Omega and VDH boars -- a pretty wide range. I rotate through all of them regularly. They all feel comfortable to me, and none is the above the others in terms of making lather. Other than looks and names I find no real difference.

    Am I the only one?

  2. #2
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    In terms of lather, I generally can't tell the difference between a Tweezerman, and a Thater... However, in terms of face feel, I can... The thater feels so much softer, and more luxurious on the face... However, past a certain point, they all feel the same to me (excepting the Thater... This thing just stands alone.)

    So I'd say there's nothing wrong with your findings... There will be a difference if you take bacbone into account.. But that probably only effects how long it takes to load the brush

    Granted, I'm not the most experienced, but I'm getting pretty well along.

  3. #3
    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    IME my Simpson Supers (two band) and Rooney finests are my favorites. One of two Plisson HMWs is right up there with them. It is a two band and feels similar to them. The Plisson HMW three band is soft like a Kent BK4. I don't like that as much as stiff and somewhat scritchy the way my two bands are.

    All of the other brushes I have are not as "nice" to me. OTOH, someone else might like my other brushes better than I like my favorites. I can definitely feel a difference between the brushes, even among the favorites.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

  4. #4
    Senior Member blabbermouth JimR's Avatar
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    The differences between brushes isn't in the lather, it's in the face-feel. You're assuming the wrong thing.

    Lather is just water, soap/cream and air...you can make it with your hands. So why would your brushes make it differently?

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  6. #5
    Living and Dying in Time JBHoren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyHAD View Post
    IME my Simpson Supers (two band) and Rooney finests are my favorites. One of two Plisson HMWs is right up there with them. It is a two band and feels similar to them. The Plisson HMW three band is soft like a Kent BK4. I don't like that as much as stiff and somewhat scritchy the way my two bands are.

    All of the other brushes I have are not as "nice" to me. OTOH, someone else might like my other brushes better than I like my favorites. I can definitely feel a difference between the brushes, even among the favorites.
    So; we'll divorce our spouses, yet hold on to shaving brushes that "are not as 'nice' to [us]"... good thing we've got our priorities right, eh?

    [BOLD]Be willing to take risks; just don't take chances.[/BOLD] (this is a policy-compliant signature)

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimR View Post
    The differences between brushes isn't in the lather, it's in the face-feel. You're assuming the wrong thing.

    Lather is just water, soap/cream and air...you can make it with your hands. So why would your brushes make it differently?
    I've read so much about different brushes (esp. badger v. boar) holding water, releasing lather, being effective for soaps but not creams (or vice versa), having "backbone" to pick up soap more efficiently, "making lather out of pot roast," etc., that I assumed they went about it somewhat differently, and produced different results. I find it hard to believe that "face feel" alone (which again is lost on me), and not actual performance, is the primary thing that justifies such vast price differentials.

  8. #7
    Know thyself holli4pirating's Avatar
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    I've used only three brushes thus far: a $5 boar brush, a Semogue 730 silvertip, and a Thater finest. It was definitely easier to load up the boar brush that the Semogue with soap. It was because the Semogue didn't have as much backbone. But if I was to take the time to do it, I could load up the Semogue just as well.

    My Thater is more dense than the Semogue was; it holds heat better. The Semogue was more dense than the boar; it held heat better.

    As far as creating the actual lather; I'm sure the density and backbone make a difference as to how much you have to "work the lather" vs how much the brush does on it's own, but I haven't really paid attention to that.

    I guess in short, I did find differences in areas besides how they feel on my face.

  9. #8
    Senior Member northpaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcb01 View Post
    I assumed they went about it somewhat differently, and produced different results.
    The first, yes. The second, I don't think so, past a point. It's true that boars load hard soaps more easily and badgers hold more water (both of which DO affect the lather production process, if not necessarily the end result), but it's still possible to make halfway decent lather using TOBS cream and a fork.

    On the other hand, that's like saying your Porsche and my Pinto both got us to the same destination.

  10. #9
    I shave with a spoon on a stick. Slartibartfast's Avatar
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    I would be selling my $300 brushes and buying some more razors if I was you.

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  12. #10
    Comfortably Numb Del1r1um's Avatar
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    First off, I'm not a brush snob or a connoisseur. In fact, I spent a couple of weeks lathering with only a boar knot (no handle) this summer when I was away from my main gear. I can get the same lather out of an Omega boar (or any other so far) as Silvertip Badger, but there are some differences for me without a doubt.

    1. The boar feels stiffer on the face where the badger feels pillowy (FWIW I love both)

    2. While the lather is the same, IME my badger is noticeably faster at making the lather.

    But as Slart said, if they all felt the same to me, I'd start selling them off and putting down money for a nice custom razor
    Last edited by Del1r1um; 08-04-2010 at 04:00 PM.

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