Avoid wrecking your beautiful brush! While a shaving brush is a great way to upgrade your shave, it is merely a tool. It is your own skill that will decide just how good a service it really gives you.
Learning how to use a shaving brush is one of those things where anyone can have a go and do a reasonable enough job but still have years of practice ahead to really master it.
This guide on how to use a shaving brush will help you skip a few of those years and turbocharge your learning process with some Pro tips.
How To Use a Shaving Brush
- Find The Right Shaving Brush For You
If you don’t already have a shaving brush then you’re in luck – choosing the best one will have a big impact on your shave. If you already have one then check to see if it is of good quality.
Note that good quality doesn’t mean expensive. Pricey brushes can turn out poor while there are some cheap bargains that perform exceptionally well. Read our detailed list of the best shaving brushes here.
In general, you want a brush that is comfortable to hold that has good water retention. Silvertip badger is regarded as the best hair while there are some great synthetic brushes around now like Muhle, Supply and Yaqi.
While its not normally a good idea to buy anything for the label, there are some established brands like Simpsons, Vulfix, Omega and Edwin Jagger which you know are going to provide good quality because of their historic reputations.
- Prepare Your Shaving Brush
If you have a new badger shaving brush then you should wash it before use. This can also help with the badger smell that affects even the most luxurious shaving brushes. As for how to clean a shaving brush you can use pet shampoo if you are concerned about damaging your prized new brush.
- Soak Your Shaving Brush
When you are ready to start shaving you should soak your brush for a good few minutes in hot water. This is more important for badger than synthetic brushes in order to soften up the hairs. There are a variety of ways of doing this.
If you use a lathering bowl to shave then you’ll want to heat that up too so your lather doesn’t get cold. You can achieve two things at once here by filling your bowl with hot water and soaking your shaving brush in it at the same time.
If you are lucky enough to have a shaving scuttle – a ceramic that has a reservoir for water underneath a shaving soap holder – then you can soak your brush in the reservoir.
Don’t have any form of shaving mug? No problem. You can soak your shaving brush in a normal mug of hot water, or just in the sink as you’re probably going to fill it with hot water anyway. You can do this at the same time that you are soaking your face with a hot towel – depending on how you feel about shaving before or after showering.
Take your brush out of the water and gently shake off most of the water. You want it to be wet but not dripping.
Gently start massaging your shaving brush around your shaving soap – assuming you are using a bowl soap. You only need to scoop up a little bit of the soap.
Next start working the soap into a lather. You can use a bowl, your hand or even start lathering on your face itself. Face lathering is both convenient and lets you prepare your skin even better for shaving.
Work the brush in a circular motion to work up a mix of soap, water and air. You may find you need to go back with the brush and dip it in a little bit of the hot water again. Keep working it until you have a rich lather of foam.
You can then distribute that foam across your face. It is quite likely that you will perform multiple passes when shaving, so when you start shaving don’t rinse out the brush. Just leave it on the sink loaded with lather so you can come back to it.
Re-lather same as you did the first time, although your brush will probably hold enough soap so that you don’t need to get more the second time.
- Rinse And Dry
This step is crucial to make sure your brush stays healthy and doesn’t get damaged, clogged up or start growing mildew. It’s essential for animal hair brushes but if you have a synthetic shaving brush then these tend to dry much faster and require a lot less care.
Rinse your shaving brush in cold water. Make sure you get as much of the soap off as you can. Make sure to then dry it by shaking off the water and then gently drying it on a towel with a painting motion.
Ideally you should then leave your brush in a stand. Alternatively you can just stand it upright on its base to dry.